North Texas Nonprofits Assisting Those with Developmental Disabilities
March 17, 2020

North Texas Nonprofits Assisting Those with Developmental Disabilities

March is National Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month

By CJ Stevenson | March 17, 2020

(Photo Credit: Camp Summit Website)

The Rees-Jones Foundation is continuing to support organizations that serve youth who suffer from a broad range of conditions that impair daily functioning and quality of life. Services that are funded through the Foundation include therapeutic interventions, youth and family supports, and enrichment opportunities that serve youth with disability conditions that they will live with all their lives or chronic health conditions that may or may not be curable. The Foundation also supports organizations that assist with the transition to adulthood for these individuals.

What is a developmental disability?

Developmental disabilities are a group of conditions due to impairment in physical, learning, language, or behavior areas. These conditions begin during the developmental period, may impact day-to-day functioning, and usually last throughout a person’s lifetime.[1]

Examples of developmental disabilities include Autism Spectrum Disorder, Cerebral Palsy, hearing loss, fetal alcohol spectrum disorders, intellectual disabilities, learning disorders, Tourette syndrome, vision impairment, and language and speech disorders.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention states, “Children develop at their own pace, so it’s impossible to tell exactly when a child will learn a given skill. However, the developmental milestones give a general idea of the changes to expect as a child gets older.”

If you’re concerned about your child’s development, be sure to speak with your child’s doctor. There are also organizations in North Texas that can aid in identifying and preventing development disorders.

Why is early intervention important?

Early detection and intervention can make a huge difference for your child and you. Early intervention helps children improve their abilities to learn new skills.

According to the CDC, “The connections in a baby’s brain are most adaptable in the first three years of life. These connections, also called neural circuits, are the foundation for learning, behavior, and health. Over time, these connections become harder to change.”

About The Warren Center

The Warren Center is a nonprofit agency that advocates, serves and empowers the children and families impacted by developmental delays and disabilities.

(Photo Credit: The Warren Center Instagram)

They have a plethora of information on their website by developmental delay (such as behavioral challenges, communication, feeding, etc.) and developmental diagnosis (like Autism, Cerebral Palsy, Down syndrome, sensory processing, etc.), as well as community resources, which provides info on basic needs (housing/rent, food, utilities, insurance, transportation, etc.), medical specialists (developmental pediatricians, low cost clinics, behavioral specialists), respite, parenting classes/family counseling, legal assistance and more.

The Warren Center offers developmental assessments for children ages 0-3. They stress that early detection is key to improvement potential.
For those with diagnosis, The Warren Center provides Early Childhood Intervention (ECI) through personalized therapy sessions for children (ages 0-3) either at home or at daycare, and Clinical Therapy Services for children three to five years of age.

The Warren Center also offers programming for families and caregivers such as their Family Education and Support Program that equips families and caregivers through education, workshops, support meeting, and “recess” which provides parents with the opportunity to take a break. Through their “recess” program, parents are able to drop their child off and go out to dinner, run errands or just go take a nap– whatever it is that will help them recharge.

About The Grow With Me (Crece Conmigo) Program at The University of Texas Foundation

The University of Texas Foundation has an initiative called The Grow With Me (Crece Conmigo) Program that serves as a resource for the identification and prevention of developmental disorders for children ages 0-5. The Program offers comprehensive developmental screenings in both English and Spanish at various sites in greater Dallas.

(Photo Credit: Grow With Me Program Website)

The screenings, conducted by trained developmental specialists, serve both to identify developmental problems and connect families with needed services and to prevent developmental problems by providing developmental guidance in the course of the screening. The screenings help parents learn more about their child’s development and how they can promote their child’s healthy development, as well connect them with further assessment and early intervention services when the screening indicates such needs.

Grow With Me offers Screening Fairs in high-need communities in partnership with community agencies. At the Fairs, children ages 0-5 (with an appointment) receive developmental, speech, and hearing screenings.

To schedule a screening or for more information, contact Maria A. Maese, M.S., IMH-E (I) at (972) 883-3877 or

My child has a developmental disability – what now?

There are tons of resources for families with a child or children who have been diagnosed with a developmental disability. Below is a list of North Texas organizations that The Rees-Jones Foundation has supported recently.

About the Association for Independent Living

The goal of the Association for Independent Living is to develop life skills in young adults so that they can live independently and become contributing citizens.

(Photo Credit: AFIL Website)

AFIL is a unique and innovative residential program located in Dallas. AFIL is unique in that they are a transitional, residential program tailored to meet the needs of each individual. Each person stays in the program as long as it takes him or her to grow, mature and learn to the maximum level of his or her abilities. The curriculum is based upon the resident’s abilities rather than his or her disabilities. AFIL believes that people with intellectual and developmental disabilities are an underserved population who deserve the opportunity to live a full and independent life within their communities.

AFIL residents are young adults with a medical diagnosis of an intellectual and developmental disability. The average resident is between the ages of 20 and 35 years old and entered the program between 18 and 30.  Each person must be capable of at least part-time competitive employment and/or volunteering in the community.

About ManeGait

(Photo Credit: ManeGait Website)

At ManeGait Therapeutic Horsemanship, children and adults with disabilities move beyond their boundaries through the healing power of the horse and the dedication of a professional and caring community.

ManeGait provides equine therapies such as Therapeutic Horseback Riding, which provides many physical, cognitive and emotional benefits like greater core strength, balance and coordination. Other services include Therapeutic Carriage Driving and ManeGait to Freedom veterans program.

As a result of ManeGait programs, their riders are reaching milestones once thought impossible. Their riders are learning to move, walk, and connect with others and their environment in new and exciting ways. The great strides that ManeGait celebrates in the arena translates to a better quality of life for their clients and families.

About Camp Summit

(Photo Credit: Camp Summit Website)

Camp Summit is a one-of-a-kind camp for individuals with disabilities where the emphasis is on each camper’s abilities rather than his or her disabilities. Traditional camp activities are adapted to each individual, provided in their barrier-free facilities, and implemented by trained, caring staff. The campers are grouped by age, providing the opportunity to make friends within peer groups while having fun and experiencing new adventures.

Camp Summit is located in Paradise, Texas, just north of the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex on 460 acres of land. They are accredited by the American Camp Association and licensed as a Youth Camp in the State of Texas.

Camp Summit has vowed to never turn away a camper due to the severity of a disability, or an inability to pay. Their campers may be: Physically challenged (Cerebral Palsy, Spina Bifida, paralysis, etc.), developmentally delayed (Down syndrome, autism, intellectual disabilities, etc.), dual-sensory impaired (deaf or blind), and ages 6-99 (no upper age limit).

Other Organizations Supported by The Rees-Jones Foundation:

Orgs that help with finding employment or living independently:

(Photo Credit: Best Buddies Website)

Orgs that provide day programs:

  • Advocates for Special People – offers year-round day programs at three different locations in Arlington
  • Evergreen Life Services – offers uniquely structured days for adults so that they can participate in activities that are important to them and build relationships; also offer community homes, independent living, supportive employment and vocational training
  • My Possibilities – provides vocational education and job placements for adults

Orgs that offer traditional and nontraditional therapies and services:

  • Equest – provides equine facilitated therapies and activities as well as vocational training

    (Photo Credit: Equest Website)

  • Grow With Me Program – provides early developmental screenings
  • Huckleberry Foundation – provides financial assistance to families of children with special needs for recreational programs, evaluations, social skills training, tuitions, therapies, safety related items, devices for communication or transportation, etc.
  • ManeGait – provides therapeutic riding for children and adults with disabilities
  • Paws for Reflection Ranch – provides therapeutic horsemanship
  • Ranch Hands Rescue – provides animal-assisted therapy for children and adults
  • The Warren Center – provides early developmental screenings, therapies and resources for families of children with disabilities in North Texas

Orgs that offer medical treatment:

  • Texas Scottish Rite Hospital – provides services for those with developmental disabilities including PT/OT

    (Photo Credit: Camp Barnabas)

Orgs that offer summer camps or after-school programs:

  • Camp Barnabas – offers Christian camping experiences to individuals with special needs and chronic illnesses, along with their siblings
  • Camp Summit – offers year-round camp for those with disabilities; located in Paradise, Texas (northwest of Fort Worth)
  • Joni and Friends – offers Christian summer camps for families of children with disabilities; camps offered across the nation and internationally

(Photo Credit: Green Oaks School Instagram)

Alternative School Programs:

  • Chase’s Place – Dallas-area private non-profit school, serving students with moderate to severe developmental disabilities
  • Dallas Academy – restores the promise of full academic enrichment to students with learning differences
  • Green Oaks Education and Support – Christian school and adult day program for individuals with Down syndrome and similar intellectual disabilities in the North Texas area
  • New Key School, Inc. – funding for scholarships for students with learning differences

Learn more about the nonprofit organizations that the Rees-Jones Foundation supports by visiting

[1] Developmental Disabilities: Delivery of Medical Care for Children and Adults. I. Leslie Rubin and Allen C. Crocker. Philadelphia, Pa, Lea & Febiger, 1989.

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