• Preschool Referral Form

    Please click here to complete the Preschool Referral Form. This form is for preschool aged children only, 3+. If your child is school aged and enrolled in school, please contact your child's home school to request a special education evaluation. 

    If you reside within the Merrillville School District and would like to refer your preschool aged child (3 years and older), please call the Merrillville Special Education Department at 219-650-5330.

    ESA Demographic Information Form

    Please click here to complete the ESA Demographic Information Form.


    NCLB and IDEA: What Parents of Students with Disabilities Need to Know and Do

    The No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) are two of the nation's most important federal laws relating to the education of children.  Learn more....

    Special Events / Meetings

    Watch for postings of special events and meetings in your area.


    Caregiver Support Services Offered by the State of Indiana:

    The Division of Disability and Rehabilitative Services (DDRS) has announced that Caregiver Support Services funds are available starting today September 1, 2013. Caregiver Support Services is totally state funded and available on a first-come, first-served basis. An application must be completed each year, even if you have received services in the past.

    To be eligible for Caregiver Support Services an individual must meet the state definition for Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities level of care. Services are not available if the individual with a disability receives or begins to receive other services from BDDS or programs such as Vocational Rehabilitation Services, First Steps, CHOICE, or Medicaid Waiver services.

    Applications no longer have to be made in-person at the Bureau of Developmental Disabilities Services (BDDS) district office. Families may apply online, by mail or in-person.  Here is the link to apply online: Caregiver Support Request Application. You may also contact your BDDS District Office and ask them to send an application or apply in-person at the District Office. Find the address and telephone number for your local district office at: Bureau of Developmental Disabilities Services - District Offices.

    Sports Activities

    Local sporting activities are posted as they become available. You can also view current programs offered by YMCA and other organizations by visiting the "Links" section of this website.

    Special Olympics in Indiana
    "Unleashing the human spirit through the transformative power and joy of sports."

    True Friends
    Camps.  Respite.  Program.  Travel.
    Experiences and Adventures for all Abilities.


    Attend meetings and workshops to learn more. A well educated parent is a child's best advocate! Workshop information will be posted as it becomes available each school year. Watch for upcoming topics and dates.

    INSource Training Workshop Schedule for Parents and Professionals

    CSRI (Cooperative Special Recreational Initiative)

    The Cooperative Special Recreation Initiative is a partnership between the park and recreation departments of Cedar Lake, Crown Point, Dyer, Highland, Lake County, Merrillville, Munster, Schererville, and St. John and Community Hospital, the Hammond Port Authority and several volunteers. CSRI is a cooperative venture seeking ways to increase recreational opportunities for individuals of all ages who have special needs and abilities.  Check out what's happening...




    • SSA: Social Security Administration


    • ASK: About Special Kids
    • Caring 4 Our Kids:  A Resource for Parents of Kids with ASD, CFS, or Fibromyalgia
    • Center of Possibilities:  Striving to improve the quality of life for young children and adults with developmental disabilities and their families.
    • FEMA:  Have a plan before disaster strikes.
    • Geminus:  A non-for-profit organization which provides services for the Regional Mental Health Center throughout Lake County, Indiana; Geminus Head Start for Lake and Porter Counties.
    • InSource: Indiana Resource Center for Families with Special Needs
    • IPAS - Indiana Protection and Advocacy Services:   To protect and promote the rights of individuals with disabilities, through empowerment and advocacy.
    • Parent Roadmaps to the Common Core Standards:  The Council of the Great City Schools' parent roadmaps in English language arts/literacy and in mathematics provide guidance to parents about what their children will be learning and how they can support that learning in grades K-8.
    • Yahoo Group NWI Parents of Special Needs Children: This is a group of parents of kids in Northwest Indiana with any type of special needs.  Feel free to chart, share information, meet new people who truly know where you're coming from, offer support, vent, or brag about an accomplishment your child has made.