Our Play And Learn or PAL group is a parent, caregiver, and family support group. PAL is open to all families in the community who have a child experiencing special needs. We provide information, education, and support to address the concerns and stressors which may accompany having a child with special needs. The group is parent-led, which gives parents time to truly connect with each other. We also provide opportunities for children to play together and make friends. Both your child with special needs and their siblings are welcome!

What do parents say about PAL Group?

 "It's a great opportunity to talk with other parents about the things we are going through."

"I've learned so much from talking with other parents and hearing about their journey."

"Parents help each other learn ways to advocate for their child!"

"Our children look forward to seeing the other children!"

This group began nearly ten years ago through the dedication and interest of a core group of parents who wanted to continue to share support and networking with other parents as their children grew. Prior to the pandemic, this group met twice monthly, with a separate parent and children's group meeting concurrently.

We hope to resume this format; in the meantime, we're meeting family-style at a local park for picnics during the spring, summer, and fall months and via Zoom during the winter.

If you are interested in attending a PAL group, please contact Mary Lehman at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or (309)452-0069 x108.

Still unsure if PAL is right for you and your family? Here are a few more fun facts about Marcfirst's PAL Group:

Sometimes the children love the PAL group so much they beg their parents to attend in-between the group sessions!

Parents who attend PAL group have formed friendships and scheduled play-dates for their children in-between group sessions for increased social opportunities.

If parents are interested in learning more about specific topics, Marcfirst will try to arrange a speaker to support their learning. In the past, we have had speakers about advocating for your child within the school system, nurturing discipline strategies, and financial topics related to providing for a child with special needs.



For more information, reach out to our Pediatric therapy team at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 309-452-0069 ext. 298.