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Family Advocacy & Support

Individuals with disabilities and long-term health care challenges are supported by family members, extended family and friends. This section provides resources related to family support and advocacy.

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Accessibility and Assistive Technology

SD Deaf Resources & Outreach Programs


SD DROP provides support services to individuals who are Deaf, hard of hearing or speech impaired.  This ranges from Deaf or hard of hearing individuals, Deaf children with hearing parents, Deaf parents with hearing children, parents of children that are non-verbal and in need of a mode of communication, and more. Programs are at no/reduced cost to the consumers, such as sign language instruction, advocacy, peer support, information and referral, communication assistance, and trainings. They also run the Telecommunication Equipment including iphones/ipads at no cost to qualified applicants. 

Dakota Link

Rapid City



Sioux Falls
Dakota Link provides direct services to individuals with disabilities and the elderly. These services include individual assessments, equipment, sales, installation and training of assistive technology. The one stop concept has evolved into a statewide organization that had 6 certified rehabilitation technicians located in 4 regional offices. 

Mobility Works



Provides wheelchair users with the mobility, independence, and personal freedom they desire. 

Independent Living Centers (ILC)
ILC has the following programs to support independence: adaptive devices program; advocacy; assistive daily living services; home modification; independent living skills; information and referral services; peer support program; summer transition program; telecommunication adaptive devices; and other programs. Statewide Coverage. 

Sioux Falls
Serving Flandreau Santee, Lincoln, McCook, Moody, Minnehaha, and Turner  Counties

Serving Brown, Day, Edmunds, Marshall and McPherson Counties

Serving Brookings, Kingsbury, Lake and Miner Counties

Serving Faulk, Spink, Hyde, Hand and Beadle Counties



Serving the counties and tribal nations, Bennett, Jackson, Oglala Lakota, Todd, Pine Ridge and Rosebud

Serving Campbell, Corson, Dewy, Potter, Walworth, Ziebach, Cheyenne River and Standing Rock Counties

Serving Aurora, Brule, Buffalo, Davison, Hanson, Jerauld, and Sanborn Counties

Serving Clark, Codington, Deuel, Grant, Hamlin, Roberts, and Sisseton Wahpeton.

Serving Bon Homme, Charles Mix, Clay, Douglas, Gregory, Hutchinson, Union and Yankton

R and R Conversions

Sioux Falls
R & R sells wheelchair accessible vans, trucks, SUV’s, and crossovers and also modifies vehicles, homes, businesses, and schools. The shop repairs all brands of lifts, lifters, and modified vehicles while also offering free advice and education.  Serves Sioux Falls, Tea, Brandon, Harrisburg, Hartford, and many other communities in South Dakota, Minnesota, Iowa, and Nebraska. 

SD Assistive Technology 4 All
A web site combining several state agencies, private businesses, and lending programs along with individuals that are listing items for sale, giveaway, demonstration, or loan. Each agency, business, or program will have their own criteria for selling or lending their equipment. If you have any questions, please contact the specified person for that item.

South Dakota Relay Service
Relay SD Telecommunication Relay Service is a free service that provides telephone access to people who are deaf, hard of hearing, deaf-blind, and speech disabled. This services allows text-telephone (TTY) users to communicate with standard telephone users through specialty training Relay Communications Assistant (CA). All services are available in Spanish. 

Child Care and Respite Care

Advanced Special Needs Childcare Assistance, Childcare Services, SD Department of Social Services
This program helps eligible families maintain employment when there are challenges in obtaining quality, affordable, childcare for their child (under age 19) with special needs. These families often do not meet eligibility requirements of the regular childcare assistance program. A limited number of slots are available statewide at any one time; eligible families will be placed on a waiting list until an opening occurs.

ARCH National Respite Network

Assist and promote the development of quality respite and crisis care programs, help families locate respite and crisis care services, and serve as a strong voice for respite in all forums.
Nationwide listing of caregivers for children and adults, including caregivers with special needs knowledge or experience. For fee.

Childcare Helpline
Sioux Falls region
Childcare database for Lincoln, McCook, Minnehaha and Turner Counties and general childcare resources.

Child Care Provider Search, SD Department of Social Services
Search for registered or licensed childcare providers in South Dakota communities.  Families without access to the internet may contact their local office of SD Department of Social Services, Child Care Services to request a printed copy of available providers.

Child Care Services, SD Department of Social Services
The Division of Child Care Services provides assistance to low income families who need held with childcare costs while parents work or attend school. Information on licensed childcare providers in your area can be accessed on the 800 number or by calling your local Department of Social Services, Child Care Services.

Early Childhood Enrichment Program, Child Care Services, 
SD Department of Social Services
Statewide, regionally based free or low cost services to support early child care providers and parents. May include telephone, consultation, on-site help and/or training on issues such as managing behaviors, encouraging development, and financial management. Developmental toy/equipment and resource lending libraries.

Especially 4 You Child Care

Sioux Falls
Especially 4 You offers respite care for children ages birth to 12 with special needs. Limit of eight children per care time.

Here4Youth After School and Summer Program, Lutheran Social Services
Sioux Falls
Care for children ages 3-21 of all abilities. Daycare, after school care, summer, and respite night programming available. Families can use services on day/week to five days/week depending on their needs. Staff-to-student ratios are much higher than a typical daycare.

Respite Care Program, SD Department of Human Services
Respite, a break for caregivers and families, is temporary care provided to a child or adult with disabilities or chronic illnesses. This program helps families pay for respite services that families set up. Respite can occur in out-of-home or in-home settings.

Culture and Language

Refugee & Immigration Programs / Community Interpreter Services, Lutheran Social Services

Sioux Falls
Refugee & Immigration Programs help individuals, community service providers, employers, hospitals, schools, and law enforcement agencies serving people with limited English skills. Community Interpreter Service promotes cultural and language communication by making available interpreters who are well-trained, unbiased, objective and confidential.


Sioux Falls Multi-Cultural Center
Sioux Falls
A resource center for the culturally diverse community through assistance with housing, adult services, youth services, interpreter and translation services, and community education.

Family And Friends

Caring Bridge
Free and easy-to-use personalized web sites allows families to connect with friends and family, and receive emotional support, when a loved one is receiving care.


Sibshops provide an opportunity for children, ages 6-12, who have a brother or sister with a disability or chronic health concern to come together and share experiences, make new friends, learn and have fun.

Military Families

Helpline Center

Sioux Empire, Rapid City, Northern Hills, Yankton areas – Statewide

Referrals to programs that support members of the military and their families.

Secure website provides a single gateway to find comprehensive information on military-operated or military-approved childcare programs worldwide.

Military k12 Partners offers a variety of programs promoting quality education, seamless transition and deployment support for military families.

Military One Source
Provides special needs consultation, research, resources and materials to families with special needs as well as free tip sheets, booklets, CDs and cassettes.

STOMP (Specialized Training of Military Parents)
Assists military families in accessing resources for their children by enabling them to navigate a variety of educational and medical systems/programs, both military and civilian, regardless of their current duty station/location.

Parenting and Grandparenting

Responsive Parenting Classes, SD Dept. of Social Services
Responsive Parenting classes are free six-week classes for parents with children ages birth to 3 years old and offered throughout the state. Some locations provide child care at no cost.

South Dakota Parent Connection

Rapid City

Sioux Falls
Contact SD Parent Connection or visit the website for information/referrals related to parenting, grandparenting and parenting classes.

SD Parent Information and Resource Center Parenting Classes
Links to statewide Common Sense Parenting classes, appropriate for parents/caregivers caring for children aged 3 and above.  Be sure to check the link for Common Sense Parenting Classes at the bottom or the page. 

AARP Grandparent Information
Information, guides and resources.

Grandparents of Kids with Special Needs
Meet other grandparents through Yahoo Group or Facebook groups, share ideas for supporting your kids and grandkids, and even post pictures of you and your grandkids.

Grandparents Raising Grandchildren –
Information on financial assistance, childcare, health and safety, state resources and more. 

Support, Advocacy and Family Leadership

Brain Injury Alliance of South Dakota
Brain Injury Alliance of SD is a statewide organization of individuals, families and organizations who educate the public, advocate to improve the quality of life for people with brain injuries and their families and support programs to help prevent brain injury.

Diabetes, Incorporated
Rapid City
Diabetes, Incorporated holds a diabetes camp for children in the winter.

Disability is Natural
Parent, author, and trainer Kathie Snow offers new ways of thinking about developmental disabilities, in the belief that attitudes drive actions, and changes in attitudes and actions can help create a society where all children and adults with developmental disabilities have opportunities to live the lives of their dreams.

Disability Scoop
Disability Scoop is on online source for developmental disability news.

Family Village
A global community that provides information, resources and communication opportunities for persons with cognitive and other disabilities, the families, and those that provide services and support.

NAMI of South Dakota (National Alliance on Mental Illness)

Sioux Falls
NAMI provides education, support and serves as an advocate for persons with mental illness and their families. Local affiliates are in the following cities: Aberdeen, Brookings, Huron, Pierre, Rapid City, Sioux Falls, Sturgis, Watertown, Yankton.

Disability Rights South Dakota
800-658-4782 (Voice/TTY)

605-224-8294 (Voice/TTY)
Disability Rights South Dakota provides information, referrals and representation to help protect the rights of persons with disabilities.

South Dakota Council on Developmental Disabilities
SD CDD provides funds to assist people with developmental disabilities and/or their family members to attend in-state conferences, training events, committees, and other similar activities or to attend out-of-state conferences or training events when there is nothing similar held in South Dakota.

South Dakota Parent Connection
(800) 640-4553

South Dakota Parent Connection provides information, support, and training to families with children with special needs and the professionals serving them. Call or visit the website for information on support groups, training events, and more.

The Arc
The ARC is the largest national community-based organization advocating for and serving people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families. The ARC encompasses all ages and all spectrums from autism, Down syndrome, Fragile X and various other developmental disabilities.

Featured Resource

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Check out our most recent publication, “Understanding School Testing and Test Scores” created to help parents better understand the data included in their child’s evaluation so they can best advocate for their needs.

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