Orange Grove Centers

Orange Grove Centers LogoOrange Grove Centers is a private, non-profit organization serving adults and children with developmental disabilities. Orange Grove was established in 1953 by families of children with intellectual disabilities in Hamilton County, TN, who desperately needed educational services. 

Chattanooga Speech & Hearing Center

Speech & Hearing Center Logo

“The Speech & Hearing Center was established in 1953 to serve children and adults with communication disorders. For 60 years, the organization has strived to ensure that all individuals with speech or hearing impairments have access to the services and equipment they need, regardless of their ability to fully afford services. To this end, we provide free screenings for early identification, in partnership with a variety of area childcare centers and youth-serving nonprofits.

Siskin Children’s Institute

Siskin logo“At Siskin Children’s Institute, our goal is to make life better for children with special needs and their families. Founded in 1950, Siskin Children’s Institute is a non-profit organization based in Chattanooga, Tennessee that helps children with special needs, families and professionals through four areas of focus: education, outreach, health care and research.  (more…)


Chattanooga Autism Center

CAC logoChattanooga Autism Center  is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization and a parent/advocate-driven center providing lifespan support and services for people with autism spectrum disorders and for their families. The center also serves as an advocacy resource and builds awareness about autism in our region. (more…)


31 Days of Supporting the Special Needs Family

Together – Katie, Kathryn, Sara, and I want to see the walls separating the special needs community from the rest of the world fall down. We want to see bridges built and friendships forged. We want to see churches and communities step up their game to rally around the parents of special-needs children.

Over the course of the next 31 days, we will be hearing from Kathryn, Sara, and Katie – as well as several other special needs moms and dads. We will be highlighting several different diagnoses (not just autism). We will speak about the intense challenges that these families face (financial considerations, marriage struggles, and more). We will discuss what factors build walls between the special needs community and others. We will talk about how those walls can come down and how these families can get more support from their friends, family, churches, and communities. Join us?

To read the 31 blog posts with valuable insights from parents, friends, and others, go to


Fragile Kids Foundation: New Equipment Grants for Georgia Families

fragile kids foundation“For over 25 years the consistent mission of the Fragile Kids Foundation is to enhance the quality of life and wellbeing of children with support, supplies and prescribed medical equipment not covered by Georgia Medicaid or private insurance for Georgia’s medically fragile children living with chronic illnesses, genetic and traumatic disorders and orthopedic and neuro-muscular challenges.

Our Goals: Fragile Kids strives to create safer, healthier lives for Georgia children living with a wide range of diagnoses, including: Cerebral Palsy, Muscular Dystrophy, Spina Bifida, Mitochondrial Disorder, Retts Syndrome, Angelmans and other genetic/traumatic injuries.

Assistance offered to families includes: wheelchair lifts, stair-lifts, and overhead lifting systems to safely transport children in wheelchairs, ramping for homes and vans, specialized car seats, toileting and bathing systems, gait trainers, standers, pediatric strollers and more through grant and loaded equipment initiative. (more…)


Christian Royal Pottery

“Christian Royal is a young man with Down syndrome who struggles with single words and has yet to grasp basic addition or time.  However, since his teen years, Christian has shown an interest in, and aptitude for, working with clay. Christian was unable to “do” school as other students did and began making pottery as part of his homeschooling program.  Since his first lesson with Kris Neal of Fire And Earth Pottery, pottery has increasingly become the  focus of his life. ” Check out for a gallery of his work as well as the opportunity to purchase some of his work.


Finding IEP/504 Help in Other States

I am regularly asked the question “Is there a LifeLine near me?” by people who live outside of Tennessee and Georgia.  While LifeLine is a stand-alone organization, there are other organizations who offer services similar to LifeLine’s Special Education Services.   To find an organization near you who provides services through the PTI (Parent Training & Information) grant or the CPRC (Community Parent Resource Center) grant from the US Department of Education, you can consult their master list of currently funded organizations.  (This list does not included previously funded organizations like LifeLine who may still be providing services without a grant.)



Upcoming Workshops

HCDE-blk-and-whiteTwo free workshops hosted by Hamilton County Department of Education are coming up soon! (more…)


Youth Success Academy Work Connections Event

The Youth Success Academy is hosting a Work Connections Event for youth on Friday, October 17th 2014 at 10:00 at the Bank of LaFayette Community Room in LaFayette, Ga.   This flyer has additional information.

Final YSA flyer GED & Beyond


Inclusion Fusion – Disability Web Symposium

“Inclusion Fusion is a worldwide web symposium to equip churches to more effectively minister to families of kids with disabilities.  Inclusion Fusion is designed as an opportunity for Christ followers everywhere to come together to share ideas and resources to advance the movement among Christ-honoring churches to serve, welcome and include families of kids with disabilities. Inclusion Fusion is made available free of charge, to ensure the participation of as many church leaders, volunteers and families as possible.” (more…)


Sensory Fidgets – Wacky Sacks

“Wacky Sacks – Squeeze, throw, mold & play!”
This is a cool idea for families, teachers, and children’s ministry leaders.  (Unless someone in your family/classroom has a latex allergy, then you may want to rethink it.)



Doing Ministry Like A Missionary

“Whether you want to call it “outeach,” “missional,” or “go and tell,” I think it’s important for church-based special needs ministries (and churches without special needs ministries) to start operating again like missionaries.

We need to be the ones to shoulder the responsibility of being missionaries and take the initiative to cross cultural barriers in order to reach the people that we’re passionate about to meaningfully communicate the Gospel.” – Mike Woods



Opportunities to Practice ASL

In searching for an ASL teacher for one of our families, Lisa Fielder, a local sign language teacher  contacted me with the following information.  She created the following groups, when she first started teaching so that her students could have exposure and learn hands on. These groups are still going 5 years later and kid friendly. This will give everyone learning ASL some exposure and opportunity to practice their skills.

Parents Guide to Georgia’s New Tests

“In 2010, Georgia adopted the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) in English language arts and mathematics and incorporated them into the existing Georgia Performance Standards (GPS). Georgia’s new state-mandated set of standards is called the College and Career Ready Georgia Performance Standards (CCGPS). (more…)


Supporting a Family Whose Child is in NICU/PICU

We were only a NICU family for two weeks, but some of these ideas were so helpful to us.  These same supports can be provided to a family whose child is in PICU as well.