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Last Updated: 08/02/2016

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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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Breaking News

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

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starLooking for Goals & Objectives for an Upcoming IEP? Click

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 Michigan Gov Creates Child Lead Poisoning Elimination Boardstar
(MIRS 5/20/16) Lt. Gov. Calley will chair a 12-person board charged by Gov. Snyder to look into how to prevent kids from getting lead poisoning, how to get more kids tested for lead and what to do about it if they have significant levels in their bodies. The Child Lead Poisoning Elimination Board, which will also include four state directors and seven other gubernatorial appointees, has until Nov. 4 to come up with a report on how the state can improve its response to lead poisoning. The department heads of the Department of Environmental Quality, HHS, Licensing and Regulatory Affairs and the Michigan State Housing Development Authority (MSHDA) sit on the panel. Snyder signed the Executive Order creating the new board during today's Flint Water Interagency Coordinating Committee -- a public body coordinating the various government responses to the Flint water crisis, in which government slip-ups caused lead-tainted water to run through the city's municipal water supply. "By looking at lead exposure through a statewide lens, we hope to identify and reduce the hazards and impact to protect all children," Calley said. The move was quickly praised by the Michigan Environmental Council (MEC), whose president participated in the Flint water task force Snyder created late last year to get to the bottom of the lead poisoning. One of the task force's recommendations was a deeper dive into the issue of lead poisoning statewide. "Lead poisoning is entirely preventable if we take action to eliminate lead hazards," said MEC President Chris KOLB. "Establishing this board is an important step in the right direction. I am hopeful that the group will take a comprehensive, statewide approach to ending this public health threat and outline a way forward that gets lead out of our homes, our water and all other sources of danger to Michigan's kids." The board may include representatives from pediatric hospitals, local government, education, nonprofit and health agencies. It replaces the Michigan Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention and Control Commission, whose charge expired in 2010 after its 2004 creation. Its recommendation will include how to improve blood testing in kids, increase the percentage of families using follow-up services when a child tests for high lead levels and finding more ways to get rid of lead poisoning dangers around children.
starMI Power Shutoff To Home Of Child On Ventilator Prompts Investigationstar

(MIRS, 5/20/16) The Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC) today announced it would investigate DTE Energy after a report of a power shutoff to a home with a child relying on artificial respiration. The MPSC approved an order initiating an investigation into DTE's "guidelines, rules, procedures, and practices, relating to medical emergency holds," with a report due back to the MPSC Aug. 29. By medical holds, the MPSC is referring to rules to aid "critical care customers" -- people who need medical equipment or a life support system at home -- in preventing shutoff of a utility service due to an unpaid bill. MPSC Chair Sally TALBERG said today there were news reports a few months ago about power being shut off to a home that had a child on artificial respiration. Talberg said the family called 9-1-1 and a firefighter ending up paying the electricity bill for the family. "It kind of spurred just looking into overall procedures," she said. The MPSC order said a "particular customer" of DTE "may have had" service shut off "despite attempts to obtain a medical hold," and that this was the second such issue that had come to the MPSC's attention. The MPSC order today said the commission is "deeply concerned" that guidelines on this issue, "as interpreted and employed by some Michigan utilities, may not be achieving the desired goal of preventing harm to critical care customers due to shutoff." The order also said the MPSC and Michigan Agency for Energy would initiate a collaborative with interested parties -- including utilities -- to study emergency medical hold guidelines, rules, procedures and practices. DTE spokesperson Stephanie BERES said that while DTE Energy currently has a verification process in place for every medical hold request received, "we are always looking for opportunities to improve both our policies and processes. "We are looking forward to collaborating with the Commission and Michigan Agency for Energy throughout this study."
starMI Legislators Start Petition Drive To Push Insurance To Cover Wigs For Childrenstar

MIRS 5/20/16: Rep. Sarah ROBERTS (D-St. Clair Shores) and Rep. Jon HOADLEY (D-Kalamazoo) launched an online petition drive and website today outlining their efforts to pass legislation to require health insurance companies to cover wigs for children who suffer hair loss because of a medical issue or treatment that causes hair loss. Roberts sponsored HB 4718, which would require insurers to cover human or synthetic hair replacements for children under the age of 19 who have experienced hair loss as a result of a medical condition or the treatment of a medical condition, and mandates that insurance coverage for wigs cannot be less than coverage offered for any other prosthesis. Hoadley sponsored HB 4808, which would mandate that Medicaid offer this same coverage for wigs for children.

starMI Zero-Tolerance Reform Bills Moving Through Michigan Legislaturestar
(MIRS 5/26/16) The Michigan House Education Committee voted unanimously to report a seven-bill package to scale back zero-tolerance policies in schools. The package previously included HB 5618 through HB 5621, but three bills offered by Reps. Martin HOWRYLAK (R-Troy), Dave LAGRAND (D-Grand Rapids) and Peter LUCIDO (R- Shelby Twp.) were introduced on Wednesday. The three new bills, HB 5693, HB 5694 and HB 5695, make technical adjustments to the first four bills and incorporate the new reforms in the Revised School Code. Lucido, who as a Macomb attorney represented public schools students in disciplinary hearings, emphasized the need for “due process” in disciplinary proceedings. Lucido brought in a former client to testify before the committee who was suspended for taking off his shoes and participating in a school walk-a-thon for disabled students, along with around 150 classmates. “I think it was about singling out a single student,” Lucido said. “He's a rambunctious guy who they would say has a little to so much giddyup in his step.” The overall package would prohibit suspension or expulsion for chronic absenteeism or truancy and encourage implementation of “restorative justice” practices in conflict situations. The package scales back “zero-tolerance” legislation passed in the 1990s amid a rise in in-school violence. According to the National Council of State Legislatures, research over the last 25 years has shown zero-tolerance policies disproportionately affect minority and disabled students.
starMI Card Created To Help Communication Between Police & Persons Who Are Deaf or HOHstar
(MIRS 5/26/16) Lt. Gov. Brian CALLEY, the Michigan Department of Civil Rights (DCR) and various law enforcement groups joined forces today to unveil a tool to help deaf or hard of hearing people communicate with police officers. The state rolled out a newly-designed visor card - to be stored in a vehicle - that deaf or hard of hearing people can give to police officers to help facilitate communication at traffic stops. “Removing barriers for Michiganders with disabilities is instrumental in helping them live self-determined, independent lives,” Calley said in a statement. “This new communication tool is a positive step that improves safety for individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing as well as law enforcement partners across Michigan.” The card contains pictures of possible violations - a seatbelt and a stop sign are examples - as well as the header “Please point to the pictures that help me understand what you want,” with a picture of a driver's license and icons for insurance, registration and concealed pistol license. These visors had been available previously, but the DCR recently updated them and also made them accessible on mobile devices. They'll be available online to the general public, as well as promoted to law enforcement officials across the state. The tool is supported by statewide law enforcement organizations, including the Michigan State Police, Michigan Sheriff's Association, Michigan Association of Chiefs of Police, Michigan Fraternal Order of Police, and Michigan Commission on Law Enforcement Standards. A sample of the card can be viewed at

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 MPSC To Fine Company For Not Providing Deaf Phone Servicestar

(MIRS, 4/14/16) The Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC) today found a company did not provide required telecommunications relay service (TRS) for its deaf, hard-of-hearing and speech-impaired customers. The MPSC approved an order stipulating it would charge CMC Telecom $200 each day it's been in violation. The MPSC will reopen a proceeding to determine what date, if any, the company began providing TRS. This follows a June 2015 order the MPSC issued directing CMC Telcom to show it was providing TRS. In 2014, AT&T told the MPSC it was moving out of the business of providing TRS statewide in early 2015, which left some other local providers to arrange for providing their own TRS.

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.

starCup Stacking: A Sport Whose Growth Runneth Overstar
William Orrell is the best in the world in his sport. A 17-year-old from North Carolina, Orrell is ranked No. 1 and is the reigning junior Olympic and world champion. He has a popular YouTube channel, a product line named after him, and legions of admiring fans in dozens of countries. He has gained all this notoriety by stacking cups in small pyramids at a mind-boggling clip.

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

starSuicide is Foreverstar
Suicide is God awful. It snuffs out precious life and leaves a wake of agony for those left behind. I know the pain all too well, as both my older and younger brothers took their own lives. Writing these words are painful as it conjures up the memories of better times with two of my siblings, brother Ed and Phil, the jokes, laughter, fights and enjoyment of the simplest pleasure of life. Now, they are gone and all I have are the memories.

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

starBridges4kids Featured Resource: Batec Mobilitystar

Totally cool biker wheels that attach to a wheelchair and turn them into really cool motor scooters. Watch the YouTube videos!

starMI MSEMP Offers Free Mediation Servicesstar

Free services to help schools & parents communicate before battle lines are drawn. Call (800) 873-7658.

starBridges4kids Featured Resource: The Arya Foundationstar

Mission: Even the smallest actions can impact a life. With this belief in mind, The Arya Foundation was inspired to become what it is today. It motivates us, moves us, and provides the principles for the vision we believe in. Not everyone can afford the medical supplies and equipments that are necessary in a child’s life. Sometimes, sadly, the costs are too high. By giving small financial aid to these families, the costs become lower and easier to afford. The Arya Foundation was created so that more than 95% of the money donated would go to families who need help paying for medical supplies. Providing the financial aid is our way of alleviating some stress from the families we help. It is our way of improving lives. But most importantly, it is our way of bringing a smile to the faces of children who really deserve happiness. ***Applicants must live in St. Louis, Missouri or the surrounding areas.

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.

starMI Drama Students Meet Real-life Inspirationstar
Chad DeKatch hopes every production he leads as director of the Okemos High School theater department is a learning experience for his students. But for the school's latest play called "The Boys Next Door," DeKatch also wanted the experience to be life-changing.

starBecause...Who is Perfect, Anyways?star

starSix Healthy Habits to Teach Kids Who Worry Too Muchstar

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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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