Support for Parents of Children with Special Needs

Parent Support Groups

Photo of Young Hispanic girl in braids with MotherWhether you are seeking support or wish to share what you have learned to support others, in-person and online support groups are designed to help.

Please contact SD Parent Connection at 1-800-640-4553 or to learn of other available resources and/or to share information on support groups in your area.

Because support group information is subject to change, please contact groups of interest for current information.

Support Groups by disability or disorder found on this page:
| Asthma/Allergies | Autism | Brain Injury | Cross Disability/Disorder | Down Syndrome | Epilepsy  | Fragile X  | Grief and Loss Support Groups | Mental / Emotional / Behavioral Health | Sibling Support | Special Health Needs | Visual Impairment


Online Support Group is a digital resource for parents of children with learning and attention issues. The Understood community is a place to convene and converse with parents on a journey to seek free expert advice from trusted professionals; participate in daily chats and webinars; share personal experiences in a secure environment with other parents.


SD Food Allergy Connection
Meets First Monday of the Month (August - May) from 7 - 9 p.m. at Embrace Church, 2800 E. 57th Street in Sioux Falls


Central South Dakota Autism Society
For more information contact Helen Beckwith at 605-567-3391, Gail Eichstadt at 605-224-1508, or Cheryl Ulmen at 605-223-0283.

Sioux City Area Autism Family Support Group
Meetings are held the second Thursday of each month from 6:30 - 8:00 p.m. at 1520 Morningside Avenue (Sept-May). For additional information, please contact Jan Turbes at 712-222-6041 or

Sioux Falls Mom's Night Out Group
A night out for moms of children diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder. For more information contact Paula Rokusek at 605-361-3259 or

Facebook page is:

Brain Injury

Aberdeen Area Brain Injury Support Group
Group meets the third Tuesday of the month from 7-8:30 p.m. at the Rehabilitation Center on the fourth floor of Avera St. Luke's Hospital. For more information, please contact Ron Hoops at 605-395-6655.

Brookings Area Brain Injury Support Group
Meets the first Thursday of the month from 3-4 p.m. at the Brookings Hospital. Contact Doris Schumacher or call 605-697-6678.

Rapid City Brain Injury Support Group of the Black Hills

Group meets from 6 -7:30 p.m. on the second Tuesday of every month at The Brain Injury Rehabilitation Center, 803 Soo San Drive. The group is open to individuals with brain injury, their families/caregivers, and professionals. For more information, please contact Ron Sasso at or 605-718-8446.

Sioux Falls Area Brain Injury Support Group
Group meets the second Saturday of every month, from September through May, from 1 -2:30 p.m. at The Center for Active Generations, 2300 W. 46th Street. The support group provides a confidential environment where persons with brain injury and their families can share accomplishments and struggles and find others who understand. For more information, please contact Karen Brokenleg 605-275-8309, Deb Lichty 605-322-5066, Julie Brown 605-328-5194 or Mary Tommeraasen at 605-367-5260.

Cross Disability/Disorder

Pathways - Sioux Falls
Pathways is a group of parents, family members, support providers and others who believe individuals with disabilities should have the opportunity to plan a life that is challenging, balanced, and based on the individual's values, gifts and passions.  New members are welcome.  To learn more contact

GKSN - Grandparents of Kids with Special Needs
Our newest initiative—both a Facebook group and a Yahoogroup. As our members tell us, "If you have a grandchild with special needs, no one will understand your joys and concerns better than another grandparent." Visit GKSN at

Brookings Area Parenting Advocacy Group
Parents, guardians, caregivers of school aged children of any ability, school staff and anyone who is interested. Meeting times will be the first Thursday of each month from 5:30 pm to 6:30 pm. We will meet at Music Therapy Empowers, 627 2nd Street S. Ste A, Brookings, SD. For more information contact Anne Cosgrove Wimberly at 605-695-0826 or

Down Syndrome

Rapid City Ups of Downs Family Support Group
For more information, contact Angie at 605-641-5859 or visit

Sioux Falls New Directions Down Syndrome Association
Provides information about Down Syndrome, directions to resources, networking opportunities and also has a Family Financial Assistance Program. For more information, visit, e-mail or call 605-610-8026. New Directions can also be found on Facebook.


Sioux Falls Area Epilepsy Support Group
FaceBook Page. Visit and request to join this closed group for parents with children with seizure disorders and individuals with seizure disorders. Further information available from Heather Johnson at

Fragile X

Heartland Fragile X Alliance of Iowa/South Dakota
Support group for families of children with fragile X.  Email to be added to newsletter and quarterly conference call list.

Grief and Loss Support

Avera Child and Adolescent Grief Programs
Grief counseling available for a fee, by appointment $80 per session.
For more information on our grief programs please contact Dr. Mark VandeBraak, PhD, MTBC, FT at 605-322-4074. Pre-registration required. Call 605-322-4074 or 800-691-4336.

Black Hills Area Survivors of Suicide Support Group
Group meets the 2nd Tuesday of every month from 7 p.m. -9 p.m. at First Congregational Church, 1200 Clark Street. Group is facilitated by a peer and there is no charge. Contact Laura Boyd at 605-721-7720.

Pierre Adult Grief Grief Counseling
Monthly support group meets the 14th of every month at 6:30 p.m. and is open to all adult survivors of suicide. Meetings are held at Capital University Center, 925 E Sioux Avenue. Contact Julie Moore at Avera St. Mary's Foundation 605-224-3451 or

Rapid City Suicide Grief Counseling
Suicide Grief Education/Support Class meets for 8 consecutive weeks, 2 times per year, in evenings. Pre-registration required. Group facilitated by peers who serve on the organization's LOSS team. Contact Stephanie Schweitzer-Dixon at 605-348-6692 or

Avera Behavioral Health Center
Grief is usually a painful feeling that can affect your entire being - emotionally, socially, physically and spiritually. Counselors will offer information about the normal grief process during this program for adults or seniors. Group meets three consecutive Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. three times a year. 
Pre-registration required. Call 322-4074 or 800-691-4336. Sessions held at 2015 at Avera Behavioral Health Center, 4400 W. 69th Street.  
Sioux Falls Grief and Loss Support Group
Sanford Hospice
For those who have experienced the loss of a loved one through death. Grieving a loss is a process that involves accepting the reality of the loss, identifying and expressing the feelings associated with the loss, adjusting to life without your loved one, saying good-bye and moving on. This group will facilitate your accomplishing these tasks in a supportive, comfortable environment. Call Sanford 605-328-4440 to register.

Sioux Falls Infant Loss Support Group
Sanford USD Medical Center
Offers infant loss support for families that have encountered miscarriages, stillbirths or SIDS. If you, or someone you know, would benefit from this service, please call 605-312-3938.

Avera McKennan offers a 6 week series support group for families who are grieving the death of a child through miscarriage, stillbirth, or infant death.  This series is offered three times throughout the year.  Meets each Tuesday from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.  Next session is October 20 - November 3 at Avera Behavioral Health Center, 4400 W. 69th St. , Education Classroom G610.  For more information or to register for this sesson please contact Mark VandeBraak PhD, MTBC< FT at 605-322-4074 or through email at
Pre-registration required. Call 322-4074 or 800-691-4336.

Sioux Falls Sad Isn't Bad Grief Support Series

For children and families who have lost a loved one. Groups for children (K-12) and adults led by trained professionals. Each series is four sessions in length and follows an evening meal. Sad Isn't Bad series are free to families. 
For more information, please contact Jill at 605-212-3037 or or

Sioux Falls Area Compassionate Friends
For children and families who have lost a loved one. Support Group meets at Westminster Presbyterian Church, 3801 E. 26th Street, Sioux Fall from 7:15 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. the first Tuesday of each month.  For more information call 605-201-1426.

Sioux Falls Surviving After Suicide Support Group
Surviving After Suicide Education/Support Class meets on 9 consecutive Tuesday evenings, 3 times per year from 7 - 8:30 p.m.  Pre-registration required. Class is co-facilitated by a peer and a mental health professional.  An ongoing Support Group meets the 1st Thursday of each month from 7 - 8:30 p.m. and is facilitated by a peer. There is no charge to attend.  Contact: Twyla Steinberger 605-274-1416 or   

Mental / Emotional / Behavioral Health

See also Cross Disability/Disorder Listings

Aberdeen NAMI Support Group
Meetings will be held on the 2nd and 4th Tuesdays of each month at Zion Lutheran Church, 1732 S. Main.  Family members and friends of people living with mental illness welcome. 

Brookings NAMI Support Group
Meets the third Thursday of each month at 7 p.m.  at the Brookings Hospital, 300 22nd Avenue.  For more information visit

Huron NAMI Support Group
Meets the third Wednesday of month from 5:15-6:30 p.m. at Drop Inn Center, Manor Apt. Building, 255 Iowa Street Se.  All families of people with neurobiological brain disorders (mental illness) and their families welcome.  For more information contact Lois Knoke at 605-350-2320.

Northern Hills NAMI Support Group
Connections Recovery Support Group
meets every Thursday at 7 p.m. at Behavior Management System, Dahl Road.  NAMI In Our Own Voice shares remarkable stories of recovery through presentations that introduce audiences to people with mental illness and provide a glimpse into the world from their perspective. For more information or to schedule a presentation contact Loran Harris (605) 723-6044 or and Timothy Flaskamp (605) 271-1871 or

Pierre NAMI Support Group

Meets every Thursday of month at Bradford Hall, 123 N. Highland Avenue from 7-8:30 p.m. Connections Recovery Support Group meets every Thursday at St. Joseph School Family Center from 7-8:30 p.m. NAMI Family Support meets every Thursday at Bradford Hall from 7-8:30 p.m. NAMI Family to Family classes also available. Call 605-222-3874 to reserve space. Classes held at 123 N. Highland Avenue.

Rapid City Parents of Children with Anxiety Disorders and OCD

Meets the 3rd Thursday of every month from 6-8pm at the Morningside Café-710 N. LaCrosse #2. For more information, call Shelly at 605-342-7267.

Rapid City NAMI Support Groups
NAMI Rapid City Affiliate now meets on the second Wednesday of each month from 7 - 8:30 p.m. at Rapid City Area School/Admin Building, 300 6th Street.  NAMI Connection Recovery Support Groups meets every Tuesday at noon at
Behavior Management Systems (BMS) Impact West, 111 North Street. OR  every Friday from 5 - 6:30 p.m. at Behavior Management Systems, 350 Elk Street.  Anyone living with a mental illness is welcome to attend.  Family members are also welcome.  CARE GIVER Family Support Group meets on the 3rd Tuesday of the month from 7 8:30 p.m. at the Rapid City Area School / Admin Building, 300 6th Street.

Sioux Falls NAMI Support Group
Family Support Group (for family members and caretakers of people living with mental illness) meets on the 1st & 3rd Sunday of the month at 6 - 7:30 p.m. at St. John American Lutheran Church. 1912 West 13th Street (13th St and Western Ave) and on the 2nd & 4th Sunday of each month at First Congregational, 11th & Minnesota, 6  - 7:30 p.m.  The NAMI Sioux Falls Educational Program and support group meets the 4th Monday of each month from 7 - 9 p.m. The meeting is open to the public- free of charge- and includes an educational program followed by a one-hour support group. Meetings held at: First Floor, 1601 E 69th Street. Contact 605-610-7226 or for more informaton.

Watertown NAMI Support Group
Meets on the first Monday of the month at 7 p.m. at Cornerstone Church, Fireside Room,1350 11th Avenue NE.  Meetings are open to the public. Support time is available for individuals who are living with a mental illness and their family members.  Family to Family Classes offered each spring. For more information contace Nancy Reisch at 605-882-2254.

Yankton NAMI Support Group
Meets second Monday of month from 7 -9 p.m. at Avera Pavilion, Conference Room III, 501 Summit Street.  Both education and support.  For more information contact Diane Nicholson at 605-661-3043.

Sibling Support

SD SIBS: Support and Inspire our Brothers and Sisters
SD SIBS is a state chapter of Sibling Leadership Network (SLN), an organization committed to providing siblings of individuals with disabilities the information, support and tools to advocate with their brothers and sisters and to promote the issues important to them and their entire families.
For more information, contact Sara Hansen at

Designed for siblings (ages 6-13) of children with special needs. Visit our Siblings page on this website. Contact SD Parent Connection at 1-800-640-4553 or (Family Life/Sibling) for more information.

SibNet is online community of sisters and brothers of people who have disabilities. They share concerns and challenges,  insights and joys that only other sibs are likely to understand as well as information about services, resources, and strategies that help members advocate for their brothers and sisters, themselves, and their families.

SibTeen is Facebook group where teenage sibs of people with disabilities can connect with others who get it.


Sib20 is a Facebook group where twenty-something sibs of people with disabilities connect with others who "get it." It's sibling support from a young adult perspective. 

Sibling Leadership Network
The mission of the Sibling Leadership Network is to provide siblings of individuals with disabilities the information, support and tools to advocate with their brothers and sisters and to promote the issues important to them and their entire families.

Special Health Needs

Food Allergies Support Group
Informational and supportive group for parents of children with food allergies and related diseases. The group meets the first Monday of each month, August through May, at 7 p.m. at Embrace Church in Sioux Falls, SD. Child care is available. For more information contact Brenda Nour at 605-480-1482 or at

Gluten Intolerance Group of the Black Hills (GIG of the Black Hills.)
Meets the 2nd Monday of every month (January thru December) at 6:00 p.m. at Rapid City Regional Hospital, Rushmore Room. To learn more, please contact Joan Clements at 605-484-0393 or or Karen Herrington at 605-348-1202 or or visit

Rapid City Thumpers

Support group for parents of children with heart anomalies. Call Dixie at 642-1669 for more information.

Sioux Falls Mended Little Hearts of the Sioux Empire

For children and young adults with a heart condition and their families. Polly Rames, 605-361-5337.
Website: Email:

Spina Bifida Support Group of South Dakota
Located in Rapid City, SD. Whether you were born with Spina Bifida, or have a family member or friend with it, we want everyone to know that you are not alone. This group is also for parents and siblings of those who have Spina Bifida.  If you or anyone you know who would like to be a part of this support group please email Andrea Ebsen at

Visual Impairment

Aberdeen Area Family Support Group for Parents of Children with Visual Impairments
Meets quarterly. For more information, please contact Amy Scepaniak at 626-2580 or

Sioux Falls Area Family Support Group for Parents of Children with Visual Impairments
Please contact Indira Dillon at 605-995-8191 or or Julie Van Dover at or 605-626-2580 for information.

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The contents of this website were developed under grants from the U.S. Department of Education Project Grant H328M140021; Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Grant H84MC07994, Family to Family Health Information Center, $90,030 and approximately 5% financed with non-governmental resources. The contents should not be construed as the official position or policy of, nor should any endorsements be inferred by US Department of Education, HRSA, HHS or the Federal Government.