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Last Updated: 11/18/2016

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Bridges4Kids - Helping parents and professionals with Michigan's most comprehensive source of information on education news and resources for special needs and at-risk children from birth to transition to adult life.

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Welcome to Bridges4Kids!  We are a non-profit organization providing an internet-based system of information and referral for parents and professionals seeking help for children from birth through transition to adult life.

Breaking News

starWhat's New on our Website? You Can Find Out

starLooking for Goals & Objectives for an Upcoming IEP? Click

starWant to Read Good News For a Change? Click here for inspiring and uplifting

starChild Lead-Poisoning Elimination Board Releases Expansive Plan Tackling Lead Exposurestar
Enacting the recommendations would represent a paradigm shift in how Michigan approaches environmental lead exposure, moving from reaction to prevention. Board members were adamant that up-front costs should be no obstacle. The dividends that would come from lessening the societal costs of lead exposure -- in lost wages, treatment, educational services and even incarceration - would make the action more than pay for itself.

starMI New Michigan Law Provides Mental Health Treatment Options star
HB 4674, which is aimed at expanding the availability of assisted outpatient mental health treatment, was signed into law on November 16, 2016, by Michigan Lt. Gov. Brian Calley. The legislation updates Kevin's Law. Kevin's Law was named for a graduate student, Kevin Heisinger, who attended the University of Michigan. Returning home to Kalamazoo using public transit, Kevin was killed in the bus station by a man with a long history of schizophrenia who avoided treatment, and who had been in and out of the mental health care system for years.

starMI Lawsuit Alleges Flint Schools Failing to Provide Services to Lead-poisoned Childrenstar
Public officials failed children in Flint, Mich., by allowing drinking water to remain contaminated with lead for 18 months and failing to provide educational services that could counter the effects of the Flint lead exposure, a new lawsuit alleges.
starMI A Legal Loophole Might be Exposing Children to Lead in the Nation’s Schoolsstar
Children drinking from water fountains at the nation’s schools — especially in aging facilities with lead pipes and fixtures — might be unwittingly exposing themselves to high levels of lead, which is known to cause brain damage and developmental problems including impulsive behavior, poor language skills and trouble remembering new information.

starRacial Profiling in Preschool?star
Researchers are just beginning to understand the psychological mechanisms that lead teachers who see themselves as loving, supportive figures to discriminate against minorities.

starMI 'Sweatshops' or a needed choice?star
Michigan debates the future of jobs for workers with disabilities. Closing workshops would send some workers "back home playing video games in their parents' basement. It's just not a good outcome."

starA Disabled Life Is a Life Worth Livingstar
In midsummer, I learned of the death of Laurie Hoirup,a prominent 60-year-old disability rights advocate in California. Laurie drowned in the Sacramento River after a July 4 celebration. She was well-loved and accomplished. She’d served as a chief deputy director of the State Council on Developmental Disabilities for five years and wrote books about living with a disability.

starMI Letter from Lt. Gov. Brian Calley (9/28/16)star

As another great Michigan summer comes to an end, we’d like to take the opportunity to report work being done to improve the lives of Michigan citizens with a special update on increased access to behavioral health care for children. The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services continues to report progress on implementation of the 60 recommendations put forth by the Mental Health and Wellness Commission to improve both the lives of and the outcomes for individuals and families living with mental illnesses, developmental disabilities and substance use disorders in our state. Our recent progress includes: Children’s Behavioral Action Team: Reducing days children are re-admitted to Hawthorn by 65-70 percent with the use of treatment that aims to keep kids at home. This program works with relatives, guardians and community partners to transition up to 40 children and youth with intense and complex behavioral health needs back into their communities. Additional Beds: Increasing special psychiatric beds for children and adults with psychiatric and medical needs and for children and adults with developmental disabilities. The Certificate of Need Commission recently took action to allow additional beds in areas previously unable to provide these services. Michigan Child Collaborative Care: Increasing access to mental health treatment for underserved children and adolescents through phone consultation to primary care providers and tele-psychiatry assessment by child and adolescent psychiatrists. Hawthorn Center Transitional Program: Recently opened and admitted the first eight children into the unit. Hawthorn Center’s Transitional Program is a trauma-informed 12-14 bed program for children and youth ages 13 to 17 providing appropriate care as they prepare to transition to a community-based aftercare setting. The Program’s goal is to reintegrate youth back into their community into a family or the most family-like setting. While there remains much work to be done, our state is taking action to increase access to behavioral health services for children. We look forward to continuing our work to make a better Michigan for everyone. For more information on our efforts and state resources, visit

starMI Increased Disciplinary Discretion Bills Move Out of MI Senate Committeestar
The Michigan Senate Judiciary Committee, this afternoon, unanimously voted to report a seven-bill package to the Senate floor that would require that schools use more discretion regarding disciplinary action. Most significantly, this discretion would be applied to disciplinary steps that schools often interpret as being mandated under statute.

starMI IEP Ombudsman Bill Introduced into Michigan Housestar
Creates IEP ombudsman within office of special education. Amends 1976 PA 451 (MCL 380.1 to 380.1852) by adding section 1706. Also, Restraint & Seclusion Bills Move From Michigan House Committee on 9-22-16. The Michigan House Education Committee today reported out a package to ban restraint and seclusion practices except in cases of emergency, led with a special effort by Lt. Gov. Brian Calley.

starBridges4kids Featured Resource: Website for Spectrum Inclusionstar

The mission of Spectrum Inclusion is empowering young adults with autism/Asperger's for employment and independence through resources and mentoring. I am currently mentoring over 20 young adults on the spectrum sharing articles and resources. Here is an interview he did for WXYZ. Also, check out this PDF with 30 of Ron Sandison's articles on Autism.

starBridges4kids Featured Resource: Consumer Dangersstar

This site is here to help inform you and enable you to take steps to secure consumer safety and prevent anyone from injury or harm.

starCould Some Symptoms of Autism Be Reversed With Probiotics?star

starBombshell: Industry Database Reveals 16,000 Foods with Toxic Chemical in Packagingstar
EWG has created the first easily, searchable database of nearly 16,000 processed food and drinks packaged in materials that may contain the hormone-disrupting chemical bisphenol A, or BPA.

starBPA's Lasting Effects on Kids May Start in the Wombstar
A new study tracked what happened to girls' obesity rates when their moms were exposed to the chemical while pregnant. (Mother Jones)
starMI School Admins Push For Leeway On Seclusion Ban; Lawmakers Won't Yieldstar
The devil is in the details of the Lieutenant Governor's legislative package to scrub seclusion and restraint procedures from the state's education system.

starFind Out How Your High School Ranksstar

starMI Students Could Not Be Kicked Out For Being Truant Under New Legislationstar
Children couldn't be kicked out of school for being chronically absent from school under legislation that received its first hearing in a Senate committee this afternoon.

starBullying by the Numbers: A Breakdown of Bullying Statistics and Factsstar
Bullying can come in many different forms. Sometimes, mean kids bother others on the playground, on the bus, or in the halls at school. You might run into a bully in the lunchroom or in a quiet corner of the library. Bullies also are mean to people online on social media sites, in email, and in text messages. But no one is allowed to bully others at any time or in any place. If you have a problem with a bully or you see someone else struggling with one, always tell an adult to get help. Teachers, parents, and other adults will step in to stop the abuse.

starRe-imagine Community Mental Health In A Self Determined Waystar
Currently, every dollar appropriated to support people who use behavioral health, I/DD, SUD, SED and autism services, passes by contracts through 3 or more layers of high cost bureaucracy. By the time funds reach the actual beneficiary of service and the individuals who provide their direct care, there are pennies left for the individual’s supports and services and a poverty-level wage for the direct support professional. This is unconscionable.

starMI Map of Michigan Parent Support Options: Autism Spectrum Disordersstar

starMI Download Lt. Governor Calley's Full Report from Special Ed Reform Task Forcestar

starHere Are 14 of Attorney John Brower's Latest Special Ed Q&As In One Convenient Spotstar

star10 Things I Thought I'd Never Say...Until I Had Boysstar
Since being a mother to boys has to have some sort of anthropological distinction to it, I've decided to compile my very own list of observations of things I never thought I would say until I had boys.

starThis Story About a Mother's Love Brought an Entire Middle School to Tearsstar
If you know anything about middle school, you know that young teenagers can be hard to motivate and inspire. For former professional wrestler Marc Mero, however, it only took four minutes to bring an auditorium full of middle school students to tears with his personal story about his mother, her passing and his regrets about pushing her away. His speech is a must watch, but be'll need a box of tissues by the end.

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starMI Standards for the Emergency Use of Seclusion & Restraintstar
The document, Supporting Student Behavior: Standards for the Emergency Use of Seclusion and Restraint is now available on the Office of Special Education Web site. The document summarizes how a positive behavior support approach uses proactive strategies to reduce or eliminate the use of seclusion and restraint; defines the terms "seclusion" and "restraint"; outlines procedures for emergency use of seclusion and restraint; and provides a framework for training.

starSpecial Education Law Questions and Answersstar

starClaims of Abuse are Outside of IDEAstar

and Administrative Remedies Do Not Have To Be Pursued

The district court erred by dismissing plaintiffs' § 1983 and breach of contract claims, which arose from allegations that the defendant-school district's (MCS) aides physically, sexually, and verbally abused the plaintiff-child, because the § 1983 claims did not arise under the IDEA. In an issue of first impression, the court also held that the claim for breach of a settlement agreement need not be exhausted before filing suit.

starFeatured Resource: Math Blasterstar

starFeatured Resource: Special Education Guidestar

starFeatured Resource: Jumpstartstar

Jumpstart offers free grade and subject based worksheets, printables and educational games for kids. Hiccup’s Science Workshop features science experiments, free worksheets with a focus on the scientific method.

starComputer and Software Accessibility for the Disabledstar

starList of 125 Twitter Pages Related to Disabilitiesstar

starCourt Throws Out Mental Retardation: Columnstar

starLooking for Summer Camps? Try Bridge Center in MAstar

star10 Tips for Good Advocatesstar
Wrightslaw's Pat Howey says parents need to understand that the law gives them power to use in educational decisions for their children. Parents should not be afraid to use their power. But, there are better ways to obtain positive results than to roar through IEP meetings in a Mack Truck. Here are Pat's newest tips for effective, successful advocates.

Link to Important Programs, Partnerships, and Websites Related to the Education of Children

Connect For Kids Education News No Child Left Behind Wrightslaw
U.S. Department of Education (DOE) U.S. Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS) U.S. Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) Children and Adults with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (CHADD)
Families and Advocates Partnership for Education (FAPE) National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR) Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA) Parent Advocacy Coalition for Educational Rights (PACER)
National Information Center for Children and Youth with Disabilities (NICHCY) National Early Childhood Technical Assistance Center (NECTAC) National Parent Teacher Association (PTA) National Coalition for Parent Involvement in Education (NCPIE)
Disabled Action Committee for Virginia (DAC4Virginia) AUTCOM: Autism National Committee

Link to Important Programs, Partnerships, and Websites Related to the Education of Children

  Michigan Department of Education (MDE)

Michigan Chapter of the International Dyslexia Association

Michigan Alliance for Families Michigan Public Schools Online
Michigan Special Ed Law Center VSA Arts of Michigan Michigan Developmental Disabilities Council (DDI) Partnership for Learning
Center for Educational Networking (CEN) Michigan Disability Rights Coalition (MDRC) The Education Law Center Michigan PTA
 Michigan Department of Community Health (MDCH) The Arc Michigan

Michigan 4C Association

Michigan Special Education Mediation Program (MSEMP)


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