PEAK Parent Center

A nonprofit organization

$3,193 raised by 28 donors

64% complete

$5,000 Goal

Children with all disabilities can become full, contributing school & community members. PEAK Parent Center helps families achieve success! Donate today to ensure every family who has a child with special needs can build a bright future!


"PEAK was instrumental in helping me create a vision about what I wanted my son's life to look like. The journey has not always been easy but knowing that PEAK is always just a phone call away helps keep me going during the hard times."
~ Sarah Billerbeck, Parent of Son with Down Syndrome

"I feel 100% comfortable referring families to PEAK, knowing PEAK is a professional, responsible organization." ~ Teacher, Colorado

"I believe in PEAK Parent Center. They don't fix. They don't pathologize or patronize. They empower. Unlike others mired in deficits, disorders, and disability, PEAK is the foremost leader in disability as a valued element of our culture."
~ Jonathan Mooney, Self Advocate, Author and International Public Speaker

"After speaking with Shirley and receiving the resources from her, I felt that I was finally speaking the same language as the school. The information I received opened doors, and I feel very knowledgeable. Shirley is fantastic." ~ Parent of a Child with a Disability, Colorado

"In PEAK I found a community of other parents, educators, and researchers who believed that we are all better together, that disability does not mean less, it means different and those differences are OK. PEAK gave me the courage to follow my deeply held belief that my daughter would benefit from going to school with everyone else, and that the other kids would benefit from getting to know her as well."
~ Liz Healey, Parent of Daughter with a Disability, Executive Director, PEAL Center

"Without PEAK Parent Center's strong commitment to families and educators, I would still be struggling to make my son's voice heard. In Colorado, they have created positive and lasting changes for the students, families, and educators. PEAK is an essential team member on our journey to an inclusive community for all persons with disabilities."'
~ Tonya Sivinski, Parent of Child with a Disability

"Through the support of PEAK Parent Center, I realized that our
boys can be included and learn successfully…and they have! PEAK Parent Center has helped us as parents to hold the vision for our
children's future." - Teresa Wright, Parent of Two Boys with Autism

"The information that PEAK provided helped me, as well as the school, to develop the best possible plan for my son. When I had questions, I called the PEAK toll free hotline and talked to a Parent Advisor. They not only gave me invaluable suggestions over the phone, but followed up with written materials that were a great help to me. The conclusion of this story is that my son did persevere with his education, graduated from community college, continued on in school, and recently graduated from the University of Wyoming. I want to thank PEAK for being there for my family from the beginning of my son's education to his graduation from the University of Wyoming!" ~ Diana Jolly, Parent of a Son with a Disability

"Services for students in our district are better today because of our involvement with PEAK. In addition to direct support to parents, PEAK has consistently provided superior training and consultation for our staff about best practices and methodologies." ~ Director of Special Education, Colorado

Giving Activity


The mission of PEAK Parent Center is to provide training, information and assistance to equip families of children with all disabilities from birth through age twenty-six, with strategies to advocate successfully for their children in school and into adulthood.

Background Statement

Throughout the years, PEAK has achieved many milestones. Each endeavor has been mission-driven, fueled by the passion we have for our work and directed by the emerging and dynamic needs of the families we serve. We remain steadfast in our conviction that every family deserves the chance to help their child grow into a full and contributing member of society, regardless of challenges arising from disability and difference.

Over 86,000, or about 10% of Colorado's children (birth through age 21) are receiving special education services. Many of these children have significant disabilities that require long-term support throughout their life.

Imagine the mix of emotions that parents experience when learning that their child has been diagnosed with a disability, which can happen at virtually any stage in a child's development. Everything that they previously imagined for their child and their family's future comes into question. Depending on the severity of the condition, a lifetime of doctor visits, therapy, special education, and life-planning meetings await. PEAK Parent Center provides families with the support they need to navigate this new world of uncertainty. We provide information, resources, mentoring, individualized assistance, trainings, and education, to help families understand their child's disability and how they can effectively advocate for their child.

The phrase "Helping Families, Helping Children" reflects PEAK's commitment to empowering families to become their own best advocates, so they don't need to rely solely on professionals, experts, and systems. We remind families that they are experts, because they know their child better than anyone, and with information and resources, they hold the power to create a positive future for their child and their family.

PEAK Parent Center was formally founded in 1986, but its history began in 1982 and embodies the grassroots effort of real families searching for answers. When Co-Founder and current Executive Director Barbara Buswell's second son was born, he was deprived of oxygen and diagnosed with cerebral palsy. The family immediately began to search desperately for any information about how to support their new child with his challenges. While they were frustrated with the lack of information, support groups, and agency support available to them, they met other families and formed their own parent support group. Barbara, along with PEAK Co-Founder Judy Martz, a mother she met in this support group, learned about a federal grant that could provide money to help the support group transform themselves into a resource for all other struggling families across Colorado. In 1986, PEAK Parent Center received funding from the U.S. Department of Education to become Colorado's federally designated Parent Training and Information Center and subsequently became incorporated as our own, independent, nonprofit.

Almost immediately, PEAK began developing relationships with families, support agencies, and various systems across the state. We started applying for and receiving small grants for other projects beyond our Parent Training and Information Project. Across the past 29 years, PEAK has developed practical resource materials and publications that translate complex research, evidence-based practices, and strategies for families, general and special education teachers, and other professionals to use to effectively support children with disabilities. PEAK has been a foremost leader in demonstrating the power and possibilities that come from parents teaming with professionals and being actively involved in their child's education.

In 1987, PEAK hosted its first Conference on Inclusive Education as an outgrowth of the lessons we had learned about what was possible for learners with disabilities and the partnerships that we had developed along the way. This unique conference quickly propelled itself onto the national scene and gained prominence as a powerful resource for families, teachers, and professionals in Colorado and beyond. Across the last 29 years, this conference has drawn well over 10,000 participants from Colorado, the nation, and the world.

As PEAK grew, its expertise expanded, and PEAK began serving as technical assistance center, helping many parent centers.

Organization Data


Organization name

PEAK Parent Center

other names

PEAK Parent Center, PEAK, Parent Education and Assistance for Kids

Year Established


Tax id (EIN)



Education, Civil Rights, Social Action & Advocacy, Diseases, Disorders & Medical Disciplines, Public & Societal Benefit, Youth Development

Organization Size

Large Organization


917 E Moreno Ave. Suite 140
Colorado Springs, CO 80903

Service areas

El Paso County, CO, US



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