Our History: PEAK Parent Center was founded in 1986 by Barbara Buswell and Judy Martz and began as a grassroots efforts by two mothers who both had young children with disabilities. Today the mission of PEAK Parent Center is to provide training, information and technical assistance to equip families of children birth through twenty-six including all disability conditions with strategies to advocate successfully for their children.
As a result of PEAK’s services to families and professionals, children and adults with disabilities will live rich, active lives participating as full members of their schools and communities.
When Barbara’s second child was born in 1979, he was deprived of oxygen and, at three months old, was diagnosed with cerebral palsy. Immediately, Barbara and her husband set about trying to learn all they could to support their child. They looked everywhere for information. Books in public libraries were out of date, support groups were non-existent, and even physicians’ information varied from doctor to doctor. Barbara Buswell says, “Before this, we rarely saw ourselves as incompetent people, but it was almost impossible to figure out how to navigate the systems, whether they be educational, medical, social, or financial. We wanted to find out how to help our son and we were coming up empty.”
While Barbara and her husband found few answers, they did find other families – lots of them – asking similar questions. When they found information, they shared it. Barbara realized that the information they were learning could help other families, so they started a parent support group in Colorado Springs, Colorado for any family who had a child with a disability. They met many people, including PEAK’s co-founder Judy Martz. They asked more questions, they shared more information, and eventually they learned about a grant available through the U.S. Department of Education that could provide money to support their fledgling group. In 1986, PEAK Parent Center was awarded the grant to serve as the Parent Training and Information Center (PTI) for the State of Colorado.
Since its founding in 1986, PEAK has become a beacon of hope for families of children with disabilities. PEAK’s motto is: “Helping Families, Helping Children” and reflects PEAK’s commitment to support ALL families from ALL diverse backgrounds, experiences, and cultures. By living this motto every day, we help change lives for the better.