The PEAL Center
Helping Families of Children with Disabilities and Special Health Care Needs
412-281-4404 (Pittsburgh)
215-567-6143 (Philadelphia)
866-950-1040 Toll Free
412-281-4409 TTY

Help Us Move Forward!

The PEAL Center is a life line for so many families raising children with disabilities and special health care needs. Please consider a tax deductible gift to support the work of the PEAL Center.

The PEAL Center is a non-profit 501c 3 organization that serves families of children with disabilities and special health care needs. We provide information and training on education and healthcare needs along with support services.

PEAL provides all of our services to parents and families at no charge. To continue our work to help individuals with disabilities and all those who support them, we welcome financial contributions.

Or mail your tax deductible donation to:

PEAL Center
2325 E Carson St.
Suite 100-A
Pittsburgh, PA 15203

PEAL Center: Helping families help their kids

This past calendar year, the dynamic team at the PEAL Center has helped 156,284 people. Parents have told us that our efforts are very helpful.

"…At times it has been overwhelming to navigate the educational support system and advocate for our son. You leveled the playing field for us! What a blessing it is to have people like you to empower parents to advocate for their child…"

In 2012, the PEAL Center directly assisted over 4,000 individual families and nearly 400 professionals

"I want to tell you that I have been in a few IEP trainings and this one offers much more in resources and 'plain English' explanations! Thank you!"

In 2012, the PEAL Center held over 74 trainings and 3 webinars reaching 1,791 people

"I want to thank the PEAL Center for the wonderful information and opportunities that have been afforded to me and my family through absolutely inspirational individuals and education and sharing; please see 'A Friend for Me' on facebook for the support group I recently started in honor of my son, Joey, and my family...this center gave me the inspiration to start something I have thought about for a very long time, and I will never forget the love and dedication that has come from the PEAL Center and the parents and children I have encountered!"

In 2012, the PEAL Center graduated over 150 Parent Leaders through the PEACE Project and the Parent Leadership Institute. Many of these parents are in stronger leadership roles as a result. Several parent leadership graduates are now managing parent leadership projects themselves.

"I know what steps I need to take next. Thank you."

In 2012, the PEAL Center distributed 5,659 publications that were requested by parents. For example we've distributed almost 1,000 copies of our "Let's Play: Building Literary and Language into Every Day" packet this year. The packets are geared towards families of pre-K children across Pennsylvania in areas of low literacy and poverty.

Who We've Helped

Three sons. One husband. All diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome (Autism) at the same time.

In 2004, Sharleen Johnson's life was forever changed by these diagnoses. She didn't know it then, but she was in for a long road to obtain appropriate support for her boys – and have them included in school.

"I felt like I was in a constant battle with time, trying to ensure my sons would have every chance at being included in school and transitioning into adulthood."

Over time, the stress began to take its toll on Sharleen. The IEP meetings, the constant worrying and planning, the lack of appropriate Autism support in her school district. Sharleen was at her wit's end. That's when she ran into a PEAL Parent Advisor.

"I shared my story, and the PEAL advisor immediately gave me her card and invited me to call her anytime. At this point, I felt so parent-battered that I wasn't sure anyone could help me anymore. But with more meetings coming up, I knew I needed help."

The reassurance Sharleen received while talking to a PEAL advisor helped her feel calm and strong. With the help of PEAL, Sharleen was able to obtain additional help and resources that she may have never known about. Knowing she had an advocate in her corner gave her a sense of renewed hope. The PEAL advisor provided Sharleen with guidance, insight and most importantly – friendship.

"The PEAL advisor has stood by me these past few years and made herself available to me as her schedule permits," said Sharleen. "She continues to encourage me, even when things look bleak."

Sharleen's family has made progress, thanks to the help of PEAL. All three of her boys are now included in the classroom, and her oldest just graduated from high school. It hasn't been an easy journey by any means – but it's been rewarding. Little by little, the Johnson family has moved forward. Sharleen credits the help of others, especially PEAL.

"I thank God for the PEAL Center and for everything they do to help families. It is a fight that I have to endure for my children. But thankfully, I'm not alone."