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Last Updated: 01/14/2017
 

What's New @ the Bridges4Kids Website?

1/4/17

Navigation structure changed in header of all pages. Old menu was not "clickable" via some smartphones.

 

1/1/17

Breaking News » Vitamin D Deficiency During Pregnancy Raises Your Child’s Risk for Autism - There has been a dramatic and concerning increase in the rates of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) over the last 30 years and experts believe the rates will continue to increase. When I was in medical school more than 35 years ago, the incidence of autism was 1 in 10,000. According to a 2013 report by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) and the CDC, data collected from the 2007 and 2011–2012 National Survey of Children's Health suggested 1 in 50 children between the ages of 6 and 17 had ASD. In April, 2016, the CDC reported an ASD rate of 1 in 68. However, that rate is only based on 8-year-olds in 11 states (Arkansas, Arizona, Colorado, Georgia, Maryland, Missouri, New Jersey, North Carolina, South Carolina, Utah and Wisconsin). Despite that limitation, the 1 in 68 prevalence is the one listed on the CDC's Autism Data and Statistics website, and the one most frequently reported in the news. Meanwhile, a government survey issued in 2015 claims the ASD rate may be as high as 1 in 45 children between the ages of 3 and 17.

 

Breaking News » MI Gov. Rick Snyder Announced Appointments to the Following (MIRS 12/27/16) - Developmental Disabilities Council: Mark McWILLIAMS of Lansing is the director of public policy and media relations for Michigan Protection and Advocacy Service, Inc. Sharon MILBERGER of Farmington Hills is the director of Developmental Disabilities Institute through Wayne State University. Paul PALMER of Lansing is a member of the board of directors for the Community Mental Health Authority of Clinton, Eaton, and Ingham Counties. Deborah ROCK of Pewamo is a regional parent mentor at The Arc of Kent County. She previously served as a teacher paraprofessional at Portland High School. Tammy YEOMANS of Grand Rapids served as a job retention specialist and case aide for the Work First Program at Goodwill Industries of Greater Grand Rapids. Heidi DEVRIES of Grand Rapids served as a personal care attendant for the Family Independence Agency and as a home health aide and companion for the Circle of Care in Grand Rapids. Steven JOHNSON of West Olive previously worked as a financial advisor from Chemical Bank. He is the president and founder of OASIS Communities of West Michigan, LLC. Richard KLINE of Grand Rapids serves as the acting director of the Aging and Adult Services Agency for the state of Michigan, and previously served in the role of executive director of the Beztak Corporation. Lisa GROST of DeWitt serves as the Autism Section Manager for the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services. Janet TIMBS of Mount Morris serves as a special education consultant for the Michigan Department of Education. She holds a bachelor's degree and elementary teaching certificate from Central Michigan University, and both a master's degree and educational specialist degree from Saginaw Valley State University. Lois ARNOLD of Mt. Pleasant is the president and CEO of the Special Olympics Michigan through Central Michigan University. David TAYLOR of Ferndale is a peer mentor and advocate at Community Living Services of Oakland County. He will represent individuals with a developmental disability. Roslynn WILLIAMS of Saginaw is a member of the parent group Saginaw Community Mental Health Authority-Saginaw Max System of Care. Matt BOLGER of Lansing is an inspector and senior executive assistant director in the human resources division of the Michigan State Police. Denise SIMMONS of Oak Park is a unit leader for Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan. She previously served as a support coordinator from Quality Senior Services. McWilliams, Milberger, Palmer, Rock and Yeomans will serve terms expiring Sept. 30, 2017. DeVries, Johnson, Kline and Grost will serve terms expiring Sept. 30, 2018. Timbs, Arnold, Taylor and Williams will serve terms expiring Sept. 30, 2019. Bolger and Simmons will serve terms ending Sept. 30, 2020.

 

12/20/16

Breaking News » MI Restraint, Seclusion Bills Move To MI Senate Floor (MIRS 12-13-16) - With just under three days of session left in the 98th Michigan Legislature, the Senate Education Committee on Tuesday afternoon moved out a legislative priority of Lt. Gov. Brian CALLEY. The legislation includes 10 bills that make it illegal to use restraint and seclusion in controlling problematic students, except in cases of emergency. The package includes HB 5409, HB 5410, HB 5411, HB 5412, HB 5413, HB 5414, HB 5415, HB 5416, HB 5417 and HB 5418, and puts into statute the recommendations of a year-long task force. Calley said the genesis of the three years of work he put into the bills was an incident in Kalamazoo that occurred 10 years ago. A student with a developmental disability was put into restraints as a means to control the child's behavior. That child later died of suffocation. (See "What Did Calley Call 'Probably The Most Important Legislation You Will Consider?' 04/14/2016). "There was, at that time, a recognition that better behavior management was necessary,” Calley told the Senate panel. In response, the Lieutenant Governor went on a listening tour. What he found was that "in too many cases, was the use of seclusion rooms for special education students in non-emergency situations." Under the bill, schools would need to let parents know when their child is put in a restraint or seclusion room. The package also requires these instances be reported. "It brings it [school policies] more in line with what is found in our health care settings,” Calley said. "There are more restrictions on restraint in our prisons than there are in our schools."  In addition to limiting the use of restraint and seclusion, the package of legislation also calls for "positive behavior intervention supports," or what Calley describes as establishing clear behavior expectations. "It's the idea of teaching behaviors," he said.  In March, Sen. Hoon-Yung HOPGOOD (D-Taylor) introduced parallel legislation in the Senate, [ ] SB 0838, that is also designed to limit seclusion and restraint in schools. It has been referred to the Senate Education Committee, where it has not yet been discussed. "This legislation is designed to provide a safe environment that promotes dignity for all students, and I'm appreciative that my colleagues on the Senate Education Committee chose to act on these important bills," Hopgood said.  According to an analysis of the 2011-12 U.S. Department of Education's Civil Rights data conducted by ProPublica and National Public Radio, restraint and seclusion were used -- and documented -- more than 267,000 times nationwide. In three-quarters of those cases, children with disabilities were involved.

 

Breaking News » MI Senate Passes Zero Tolerance School Discipline Package (MIRS 12-13-16) - School districts that suspend students for longer than 11 days would have to prove the child was a danger to others under legislation that moved out the Senate today. The package moves schools away from their "zero tolerance" policies on school violence. Rep. Andy SCHOR (D-Lansing) worked with the Governor's office to sponsor the main bill based on a personal story. His young son was suspended for two days for bringing a tiny Swiss Army knife to class to sharpen his pencils. The class's pencil sharpener was broken. Senate Judiciary Chair Rick JONES (R-Grand Ledge) successfully added the change today as part of a compromise between school groups and judges regarding when rebuttable presumption should come into play. "Other children have been thrown out for a butter knife in a lunch box," Jones said. "This brings common sense to our zero-tolerance policies." The seven-bill package passed unanimously in the Senate after coming out of committee in May and passing the House in early June (See "House Package Tackles Zero Tolerance In Schools," 05/12/2016). The lead bill in the package, HB 5618 sponsored by Schor, would require school officials, before suspending or expelling a student, to consider a number of situation-specific factors, including whether a lesser intervention or restorative practices would address the student's behavior. (See complete story on our Facebook page.)

 

11/18/16

Breaking News and Lead Poisoning » Child Lead-Poisoning Elimination Board Releases Expansive Plan Tackling Lead Exposure - 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.

 

11/17/16

Breaking News and Mental Health » MI New Michigan Law Provides Mental Health Treatment Options - 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.

 

10/21/16

Breaking News and Lead Poisoning » MI Lawsuit Alleges Flint Schools Failing to Provide Services to Lead-poisoned Children - 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.

 
Breaking News and Lead Poisoning » MI A Legal Loophole Might be Exposing Children to Lead in the Nation’s Schools - 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.

 

10/14/16

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

 

Breaking News » MI 'Sweatshops' or a needed choice? - 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."

 

Upcoming Events » MI Teens Using Drugs: What To Know & What To Do - WHEN: 7:30 pm to 9:00 pm on the following dates - 11/01/2016. 11/08/2016. 01/03/2017. 01/10/2017. 02/07/2017. 02/14/2017. 03/07/2017. 03/14/2017. 04/04/2017. 04/11/2017. 05/02/2017. 05/09/2017. 06/06/2017. 06/13/2017. WHERE: St. Joseph Mercy Hospital Education Center, Exhibition Room, 5305 Elliott Drive, Ypsilanti, Michigan 48197 (Washtenaw County) MORE INFO: Free, ongoing, two-part series to help participants learn to understand, identify and address adolescent alcohol/other drug problems. Presented by Dawn Farm Youth and Family Services therapists. For parents, teens, professionals, others – open to all. CONTACT: For information, please contact us at 734-485-8725 or info@dawnfarm.org, or see http://dawnfarm.org/programs/teens-using-drugs.

 

10/05/16

Breaking News » A Disabled Life Is a Life Worth Living - 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.

 

10/01/16

Breaking News » MI Letter from Lt. Gov. Brian Calley (9/28/16) - 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 www.Michigan.gov/mentalhealth.

 

09/25/16

Upcoming Events » MI Autism-ASK Support Groups: The parents group meets on the 2nd and 4th Saturday of the month from 10-11:30. The next meeting will be Sept. 24th. The men's group meets on the 3rd Saturday of the month from 11-12:30. Our next meeting is Sept. 17. The women's group meets on the 1st Saturday of the month from 11-12:30. Our next meeting will be Oct. 1st. The men's and women's group is for people who have autism and are 20 or older. The parents group is for parents, grandparents or caregivers who have a loved one with an ASD diagnosis. All groups meet at Autism-ASK, 4345 Meigs Ave. Waterford, 48329.

 

Breaking News » MI Increased Disciplinary Discretion Bills Move Out of MI Senate Committee - 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.

 

Breaking News and Legal Research » Sixth Circuit Holds Eligibility for Medicare Reimbursement Cannot be Denied Based on Presence of Mental Health Condition that "Contributes" to Disability - Okuno v. Reliance Standard Life Ins. Co. - The court held for the first time that a “mental health limitation” in a LTD plan is inapplicable where there is evidence that the claimant is “disabled by physical conditions alone”—the “mere presence of a ‘psychiatric component’ does not justify the application of” the limitation.

 

Breaking News and Legal Research » Failure to Improve Is Being Improperly Used to Deny Coverage Under Medicare - Medicare must cover skilled care and therapy when they are “necessary to maintain the patient’s current condition or prevent or slow further deterioration," not just when it will lead to "improvement."

 

09/24/16

Breaking News » MI IEP Ombudsman Bill Introduced into Michigan House - 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.

 

09/19/16

Breaking News and Autism » Bridges4kids Featured Resource: Website for Spectrum Inclusion - 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 recently did for WXYZ. Also, check out this PDF with 30 of Ron Sandison's articles on Autism.

 

09/13/16

Breaking News » Bridges4kids Featured Resource: Consumer Dangers - 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.

 

09/11/16

Breaking News » Bridges4kids Featured Resource: Website for Spectrum Inclusion - 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.

 

08/02/16

Breaking News » Want to Read Good News For a Change? Click here for inspiring and uplifting stories.

 

Good News » Westland Teen Caring for Twin Sisters Gets Surprise of Lifetime - After his parents both died and he was left to care for his 17-year-old twin sisters, Patrick Marshall figured his dream of going to college was gone. He figured wrong. What he didn’t count on was the generosity that would spring forward after word of his plight got out. Marshall found out Saturday he was being offered a full-ride scholarship to Baptist Bible College in Springfield, Mo., the college which Marshall had hoped to attend to become a pastor or a youth minister.

 

06/28/16

Breaking News and Nutrition » BPA Bombshell: Industry Database Reveals 16,000 Foods with Toxic Chemical in Packaging - 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.

 

Breaking News and Autism » Could Some Symptoms of Autism Be Reversed With Probiotics?

 

06/09/16

Breaking News » MI Opportunity to Participate: Early Childhood Data Critical Questions Survey - The Michigan Department of Education, Office of Great Start (OGS), invite you to participate in an Early Childhood Data Critical Questions Survey to support the achievement of the state’s early childhood outcomes: 1. Children are born healthy. 2. Children are healthy, thriving, and developmentally on track from birth to third grade. 3. Children are developmentally ready to succeed in school at time of school entry. 4. Children are prepared to succeed in fourth grade and beyond by reading proficiently by the end of third grade. You can access the survey at the following link https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/MIDOE_EarlyChildDataGov. Surveys must be submitted by June 21, 2016.

 

Parenting/Adoption » Resource: Child Welfare Information Gateway: Adoption at https://childwelfare.gov/topics/adoption/

 

06/01/16

Breaking News » BPA's Lasting Effects on Kids May Start in the Womb - A new study tracked what happened to girls' obesity rates when their moms were exposed to the chemical while pregnant. (Mother Jones)

 
Breaking News » MI Michigan Gov Creates Child Lead Poisoning Elimination Board - (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.

 
Breaking News » MI Power Shutoff To Home Of Child On Ventilator Prompts Investigation - (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."
 

Breaking News » MI Legislators Start Petition Drive To Push Insurance To Cover Wigs For Children - 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.

 

05/30/16

Breaking News » MI Zero-Tolerance Reform Bills Moving Through Michigan Legislature - (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.
 

Breaking News » MI Card Created To Help Communication Between Police & Persons Who Are Deaf or HOH - (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 http://www.michigan.gov/documents/mdcr/Visor_card_525194_7.pdf

 

05/13/16

Breaking News » Find Out How Your High School Ranks

 

Breaking News » MI School Admins Push For Leeway On Seclusion Ban; Lawmakers Won't Yield - 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.

 

Breaking News and Children At-Risk - Truancy » MI Students Could Not Be Kicked Out For Being Truant Under New Legislation - 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.

 

Breaking News and Deaf/Hearing Impaired » MI MPSC To Fine Company For Not Providing Deaf Phone Service - (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.

 

04/09/16

Breaking News and School Climate » Bullying by the Numbers: A Breakdown of Bullying Statistics and Facts - 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.

 

Breaking News and Upcoming Events » MI Anti-Bullying Forum to be Held April 16 in Ann Arbor - This event will take place on April 16, 1-5 PM at Martin Luther King Jr. Elementary School, 3800 Waldenwood Drive, Ann Arbor, Michigan 48105. Members of the public and media are invited to attend How to Deal with Bullying and Build Self Esteem: Forum and Student/Parent Roundtable Discussion on Saturday, April 16 from 1-5 PM at the Martin Luther King Jr. Elementary School in Ann Arbor. The program will include testimonials on bullying in school and cyber bullying, a question and answer session with speakers, a roundtable discussion with the speakers, and a self defense demonstration. Speakers include Ron Aramaki, Psychologist and Counselor; Charles Schoder, MDCR Bullying Specialist; Dr. Gail Parker, Psychologist, Mary Cooper, Principal, Martin Luther King Jr. Elementary; and Master John Lyle, Professional Karate Schools of America. The forum is supported by the following organizations: American Chinese Association, American Citizens for Justice, APIA Vote Michigan, Chinese American Society of Ann Arbor, Council of Asian Pacific Americans, Healthy Asian American Project, MiIndia.com and the Philippine American Community Center of Michigan. To learn more about MAPAAC, visit www.michigan.gov/mapaac For more information about LARA, please visit www.michigan.gov/lara.

 

04/02/16

Breaking News » Cup Stacking: A Sport Whose Growth Runneth Over - 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.

 

03/12/16

Breaking News » Re-imagine Community Mental Health In A Self Determined Way - 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.

 

03/05/16

Autism » Map of Michigan Parent Support Options: Autism Spectrum Disorders updated.

 

Lead Poisoning » A decade before Flint's lead scare, there was Rhode Island - (February 22, 2016, Marquette Mining Journal) PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — Lisa Solano-Sanchez looks at her 16-year-old son and sees a bright, healthy, musically gifted teenager. A relief, considering she had no idea how he would turn out when she discovered he was poisoned by lead as a toddler. Still, she scrutinizes her son's behavior and can't help but wonder if he's been held back from his full potential. "Not knowing drives me crazy," she said. A decade before Flint, Michigan, there was Rhode Island, a tiny state that took a daring plunge by suing the paint industry to seek money for cleaning up a danger lurking on walls and windowsills in up to 80 percent of its homes. The landmark lawsuit reverberates today not only in Flint, but also in California, where 10 cities and counties are fighting to hold onto a $1.1 billion victory over the same industry. Though the lawsuit remains influential, Rhode Island has little to show for its short-lived triumph on Feb. 22, 2006. Two years later, the state's highest court unanimously overturned the verdict, saying the paint industry couldn't be held responsible. "My heart is still broken at the Supreme Court's decision that I still today cannot understand or justify," said Democratic U.S. Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, the former Rhode Island attorney general who had initiated the case. Studies have tied lead poisoning to permanent damage to children's brains and conditions including lowered intelligence, learning disabilities and behavioral problems. Symptoms can take years to manifest and be hard to confirm. Leaded paint, easily ingested by children whose fingers touch contaminated dust or who pick up sweet-tasting flakes that end up in their mouth, was a known danger and outlawed in the late 1970s. Rhode Island was hardly the only place with potentially exposed children, but in a compact and old state with an elderly housing stock, the threat was especially acute. In 1999, when Rhode Island first sued, more than 2,300 children under 6 years old, nearly 7 percent of all those tested in the state, were found to have dangerously elevated levels of lead , according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. By 2014, that number had dropped to 217, just under 1 percent of all the children tested statewide — but still 40 percent above the national rate. Education campaigns helped, health experts say, as did government subsidies for remediation and laws that put more responsibility on landlords. But blood tests still find more than 1,000 new cases each year of children with elevated levels. Few families were immune, especially in poorer areas populated by racial minorities — a connection also seen in Flint, where the culprit is the water supply. "Lead poisoning would have been wiped out" if the problem had been concentrated in wealthier and whiter neighborhoods, said Roberta Hazen Aaronson, founder and director of the Childhood Lead Action Project. "It's not an equal-opportunity disease," she said. But wealthier families did fall victim. Donna Lizotte thought she and her husband knew what they were doing when they bought a stately Victorian a decade ago in the desirable Edgewood district of Cranston and painted over old layers. Later, their daughter was found to have 23 micrograms of lead per deciliter of blood. Federal health officials have said there is no safe level of lead in children's blood, but that anything above 5 micrograms is high. The family found evidence she had scratched at a wall near her crib. "I thought lead poisoning was something that happened in dilapidated rental units," said Lizotte, an educator and scientist with a doctorate in molecular biology. "Honestly, I think I was just naive." Now 10, the girl has attention deficit disorder, something correlated with lead poisoning, and other conditions. "Here we are, 40 years later, it's still everywhere," she said. "I think the companies owe it to the children that are sick to fix it." Most companies began phasing out lead-based pigments decades before the U.S. banned them in residential paint in 1978. Plaintiffs have said the companies and the now-defunct Lead Industries Association, a trade group that declared bankruptcy during Rhode Island's litigation, should have stopped promoting and selling the paint earlier because some of lead's damaging effects had been known for a century. Whitehouse — whose own two children had elevated lead levels — sued on the state's behalf in 1999. It ended in a hung jury and mistrial, and was followed by a second trial argued by Whitehouse's successor. A jury found three companies liable: Sherwin-Williams, Millennium Holdings and NL Industries. After the industry appealed, Rhode Island's highest court recognized the long-term health consequences but dismissed the theory that a problem in homes and apartment buildings was a public nuisance for which paint companies were liable. The judges declared it landlords' responsibility to keep homes safe. Courts and state officials elsewhere scrapped lawsuits that sought to hold manufacturers responsible for the windfall of cash needed to repair hazardous housing stock. Only in California, where 10 cities and counties are defending a $1.1 billion victory, could paint companies still be liable for the lead in pigments they sold decades ago. Plaintiffs there are working with the same firm, Motley Rice, that Rhode Island hired and before that took on the asbestos and tobacco industries. A phone call Friday to NL Industries rang unanswered and an email went unreturned. Millennium Holdings has declared bankruptcy. Dale Leibach, a spokesman for Sherwin-Williams, declined to comment but pointed to the website www.leadlawsuits.com, which describes California's ruling as "the aberration" that unfairly holds companies liable for creating a durable product that was in high demand. "This litigation by hindsight has failed nationwide," the website says, calling attention to the outcome in Rhode Island. Despite the loss, Rhode Island's lawsuit was an "important and innovative piece of litigation" that "demonstrated that a lot of the paint companies knew what was going on. They knew there were hazards and they continued selling the product," said Erik Olson, an attorney who directs the health program of the Natural Resources Defense Council, which was not involved in the litigation. "It showed that there was a pretty reasonable argument that this was one way to get the resources to have their housing cleaned up," Olson said, "that the companies that created the problem ought to have a hand in cleaning it up."

 

02/21/16

Breaking News » Suicide is Forever - 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.

 

Breaking News » MI Calley Calls For Bill Restricting Restraint, Seclusion Of Students (MIRS 2/9/16) - Michigan Lt. Gov. Brian Calley called on Gov. Rick Snyder and the Legislature to pass legislation restricting the seclusion and restraint of students, as part of recommendations to reform how special education is handled in Michigan. Those recommendations were the end result of a task force chaired by Calley. The task force, appointed by the Governor, followed a "listening tour" conducted by Calley to gather input on how special education is working for those who use it across the state. Calley also said there would be resources devoted to the Michigan Department of Education (MDE) in Snyder's 2017 budget presentation to develop a network of people who can help schools with some of the task force recommendations. Calley wouldn't say how much the budget request would cost. In addition to the legislation calling for the restriction of seclusion and restraint, Calley outlined other ideas aimed at making the system work better for those in special education. The ideas were sorted into several categories, including improving access, scope and quality of services, creating a better problem-solving process and supporting parents, guardians and educators with more resources. Calley dug into the nitty-gritty of improving access to services, pushing the development of initiatives for professional development of educators regarding positive behavioral interventions and supports. Under the "creating a better problem-solving process" category, Calley and the task force suggested encouraging mediators while discouraging the use of attorneys, and reinstating the 10-day appeal for written complaints. There was also the section on providing parents, guardians and educators more resources. Calley said the state should promote its special education help desk, which he said he didn't know much about before this process. Calley became more engaged in this issue when he spoke out against proposed special education rule changes that MDE was pushing a few years ago and also included in the recommendations were methods to reform how special education rulemaking is conducted, including providing more opportunities for discussing the proposed rules and increasing the number and duration of public hearings. Calley presented the recommendations to the Michigan State Board of Education (SBE).

 

Breaking News » MI Download Lt. Governor Calley's Full Report from Special Ed Reform Task Force

 

01/24/16

Breaking News » Bridges4kids Featured Resource: Batec Mobility - Totally cool biker wheels that attach to a wheelchair and turn them into really cool motor scooters. Watch the YouTube videos!

 

01/16/16

Breaking News » MI MSEMP Offers Free Mediation Services - Free services to help schools & parents communicate before battle lines are drawn. Call (800) 873-7658.

 

Breaking News » MI Michigan Unveils Badges And ID Cards For Service Animals (MIRS 1/13/16) - Michigan Department of Civil Rights officials, Lt. Gov. Brian CALLEY and lawmakers involved with the subject today rolled out specific details of a program dedicated to making it easier for owners of service animals to access public spaces and businesses without misunderstanding or trouble. Calley joined Sens. David KNEZEK (D-Dearborn Heights) Margaret O'BRIEN (R-Portage) and Rep. Tom BARRETT (R-Potterville) to unveil special badges that can be placed on service animals registered to the state by their owners. Once registered, the owner of a service animal will also be given an identification card to present to those who may question the presence of their service animal. Qualified animals include dogs and miniature ponies. The policy was spurred by a package of bills that were drafted in response to reports of those with service animals, including veterans, being turned away from businesses because of the animals. SB 0298, sponsored by Knezek, makes it a crime to refuse entry to a person using a service animal or to assault a service animal. SB 0299, sponsored by O'Brien, exempts service animals from licensing fees if they are a service animal to someone with a disability or a veteran with a service-related disability.

 

Breaking News » MI Michigan Legislators form Bipartisan Disabilities Awareness Caucus (MIRS 1/13/16) - Rep. Frank Liberati (D-Allen Park) and Sen. Rick Jones (R-Grand Ledge) today announced the formation of a new Disabilities Awareness Caucus. "I serve as a board member of the Special Olympics of Michigan,” said Jones. “Many concerns of special needs children and adults have been brought to my attention over the years, and I hope to work on some of these concerns with this caucus.” Liberati said the caucus brings "together a great group of legislators who will bring disability issues to the forefront of policy discussions in Lansing." Lt. Gov.Calley applauded the move. "People with disabilities deserve a chance to live self-determined, independent lives, but are often judged based on what they can't do, instead of what they can," said Calley. "I'm pleased that Senator Jones and Representative Liberati are making opportunities for people with disabilities a priority by forming the caucus." Also named as part of the effort are Sens. Margaret O'BRIEN (R-Portage) and Curtis Hertel (D-Meridian Twp.), and Reps. Hank Vaupel (R-Handy Twp.) and Christine Grieg (D-Farmington Hills).

 

12/25/15

Breaking News » Mother Stunned as Santa Delivers Life-Changing One Liner - When her boy confided his "secret worries" to Santa at the mall, you won't believe what he uttered when asked about the "naughty list." 21 words that will make your jaw drop...

 

08/20/15

Study Topics: Science » NEW! An Overview of Simple Machines: A Resource Developed by Marcus Kirby, Student

 

Upcoming Events » MI Teens Using Drugs: What To Know & What To Do will take place from 7:30 pm to 9:00 pm on the following dates - Oct 6, 2015. Oct 13, 2015. Nov 3, 2015. Nov 10, 2015. January 5, 2016 . January 12, 2016. February 2, 2016. February 9, 2016. March 1, 2016. March 8, 2016. April 5, 2016. April 12, 2016. May 3, 2016. May 10, 2016. June 7, 2016 . June 14, 2016. at St. Joseph Mercy Hospital Education Center, classroom EC4, 5305 Elliott Drive, Ypsilanti, Michigan 48197 (Washtenaw County). Free, ongoing, two-part series to help participants learn to understand, identify and address adolescent alcohol/other drug problems. Presented by Dawn Farm Youth and Family Services therapists. For parents, teens, professionals, others – open to all. For information, please contact us at 734-485-8725 or info@dawnfarm.org, or see http://dawnfarm.org/programs/teens-using-drugs

 

07/06/15

College & Financial Aid » New College Affordability Resource from College Affordability Guide (7/15) - Our organization (based in Washington, DC) recently put the finishing touches on a website that helps students make informed decisions about paying for college - www.CollegeAffordabilityGuide.org. We approached the topic from two angles: first, we compiled a list of the most affordable schools for low-income students by state and subject (our methodology - http://www.collegeaffordabilityguide.org/methodology/), and second, we developed in-depth financial aid resources for current students. Here are three that we're particularly proud of: A comprehensive guide to financial aid, including federal aid, public and private loans, grants, payment plans, and more. We made sure to include information for many different types of students (undergrads, grad students, returning veterans, etc.).  http://www.collegeaffordabilityguide.org/financial-aid/ Advice for transfer students, including an overview of the process for each type of school, understanding articulation agreements, getting the most out of your credits, and more. http://www.collegeaffordabilityguide.org/transfer-credit/  A detailed introduction to competency-based education, which includes over 10,000 words on how prior-learning assessments, MOOCs, independent learning, and other programs can be used to earn credits for a fraction of the cost. Schools don't often publicize these options, which is why the guide is especially valuable to current students. http://www.collegeaffordabilityguide.org/blog/competency-based-education-why-moocs-and-independent-learning-are-tomorrows-course-credits/

 

06/14/15

Breaking News » Path For Expelled Students to Get Back in School Could Become National Model - For most students, being caught in the fall of their senior year with prescription pills that appeared to be packaged for distribution would dash any hopes of graduating with their class. They likely would face a 180-day expulsion, not to mention charges in juvenile court.
 

Breaking News » MI Mental Health - Legislation Allows Help Before a Major Incident Occurs - Requested change to Kevin’s Law to protect both the public and persons with mental illness by making it easier for friends and family members to obtain a court order for outpatient treatment. Michigan Representative Tom Leonard (R-DeWitt Township) has introduced new legislation to help family members help loved ones struggling with mental illness. Leonard’s legislation, House Bill 4674, would amend the assisted outpatient treatment (AOT) provisions of the Michigan Mental Health Code to make it easier for friends and family members to intervene on behalf of loved ones before a major incident occurs. Many persons with severe, uncontrolled mental illness do not recognize their condition or critical need for treatment. AOT law permits intervention before severe consequences result from untreated major mental illness.
 

Breaking News » MI Legislation Would Provide Coverage for Wigs for Children Suffering Hair Loss - (MIRS 6-11-15) On the 11th floor of the Michigan House Office Building, Jaeleen Davis told reporters and Democratic Party personnel about the time she lost the will to live after losing every inch of hair on her body at age eight. After being diagnosed with alopecia universalis -- a condition that causes universal hair loss, she went from dreaming about being a Broadway star to being told to "go fetch my hat like a dog" by elementary school classmates, Davis said. "What they don't tell you in the diagnosis or when you're at the hospital wondering why your hair is falling out, is that you're also going to lose your self confidence," Davis said at a press conference today, hosted by Rep. Sarah Roberts (D-St. Chair Shores). "You're gonna lose your self-esteem, and you're gonna lose the dreams that you've held onto, and you're gonna lose that thing that matters most, and it's the drive and passion to live." Roberts described what she called "the absolute need" for her soon-to-be-introduced bill, which would mandate insurance companies to cover the expensive cost -- anywhere from $1,500 to $2,500 -- of child wig-construction. Retailers don't mass-produce kid wigs. They have to be custom made, stitched together with real hair by sensitive wig makers with subtle hands, a deft touch for technique and a soft-spot for children suffering from hairlessness. Luckily, Davis found a nonprofit group to stitch her a custom wig at age 10. It turned her life around. "I am now able to say that I can step up on a stage in front of thousands and a panel of five judges that are ultimately judging me, describing me based on a physical beauty that they see," she said, wearing a plastic tiara atop her blond wig while grinning. "And that physical beauty involves my hair, whether or not it be mine." Founder and CEO of the nonprofit group, Maggie VARNEY with Wigs 4 Kids, installed the new wig for Davis free of charge, as she did for all of the other 2,000 patients who lost their hair from cancer, alopecia universalis or another illness. Varney said she gets the raw hair from donations, then she ships it to a California-based company called Tailor Made to have it stitched into wigs, shipped back to Michigan and installed onto children. Davis was noted with resounding applause during the House session, during which she even received a recommendation from Gov. Rick Snyder for joining the Miss Michigan beauty pageant competition.

 

05/07/15

Breaking News » Bridges4kids Featured Resource: Cerebral Palsy Guide

 

05/02/15

Assistive Technology (AT) » Michigan Alliance for Families has teamed up with Michigan Integrated Technology Supports to produce a parent/educator friendly AT guide.

 

04/30/15

Breaking News » Michiganders: Lt. Governor Brian Calley is conducting a survey. Here's a chance to be heard! "I will take your experience and the experiences of families across the state and use them to bring about positive changes that make our children’s lives and futures better."

 

Breaking News » MI Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder Appointments for April 2015 - Michigan: Governor Appointments to the Advisory Council on Deaf, Deafblind, and Hard of Hearing: Ann LIMING, of Lansing, now retired, most recently worked as a hard of hearing specialist for the Michigan Division on Deaf and Hard of Hearing. She represents deaf or hard of hearing persons and replaces Mel WHALEN, who resigned. K.T. MAVIGLIA, Miss Michigan 2014, of Dundee, is the founder of the KT Maviglia Foundation for Hearing Disabilities and the co-author of a bill aiming to improve services and insurance coverage for children with hearing loss. She replaces Freida MORRISON. Liming will serve the remainder of a three-year term expiring Jan. 18, 2016. Maviglia will serve a three-year term expiring Jan. 18, 2018.

 

04/17/15

Breaking News » Miss Michigan KT Maviglia Brings Attention to Hearing Loss - Michigan Sen. Dale Zorn (R-Ida) and 2014 Miss Michigan winner KT MAVIGLIA have introduced legislation in the Michigan Senate meant to assist children with hearing disabilities. The legislation, a reintroduction, would guarantee children suffering from hearing loss would have hearing aids covered under their health insurance until age 21. Maviglia was diagnosed with hearing loss at age nine and has two hearing aids, leading her to advocate for other children faced with similar hearing disabilities.

 

04/06/15

Breaking News » MI Job Opportunity: Autism Transition Specialist - The Autism Transition Specialist is the recognized expert responsible for supporting, monitoring and evaluating the delivery of services for all individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) as they experience transitions throughout the lifespan from early childhood, into adolescence and young adulthood to adult supports and services the Medicaid and MIChild health care systems.

 

Breaking News » Video: Lt. Gov. Brian Calley and Julie Calley recognize Autism Awareness Month - "Different is not less. Different is beautiful." Click here to watch a new video where Lt. Gov. Calley talks about the importance of raising both awareness and acceptance for autism.

 

03/24/15

Breaking News » Let's Get to Know: Kendra Garcia - Take a moment to support one of the most promising young ladies weve met in a very long time. She has passion and drive, not to mention she's practically a genius! She is only 21 and is about to finish her first year of medical school (if you do the math, that's 5 years of college studies under her belt). Talk about a go-getter! Help make her dreams come true...oh, and she's a sibling of an adult with autism. Who better to work in the medical field than someone who knows what it's like to be one of us? Go Kendra! (We never post things like this but we're making a one-time exception since we have known her for almost 15 years.)

 

03/19/15

Breaking News » Bridges4kids Featured Resource: The Arya Foundation - 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. Note: Applicants must live in St. Louis, Missouri or the surrounding areas.

 

03/15/15

Breaking News » MI Michigan Gubernatorial Appointments - (MIRS March 11, 2015) Gov. Rick SNYDER announced the following appointments and reappointments to the Developmental Disabilities Council: Andrea SARGENT, of Ludington, was appointed to the Developmental Disabilities Council for the remainder of a four-year term expiring Sept. 30, 2016. Jane REAGAN, of Williamston, was appointed to the council for the remainder of a four-year term expiring Sept. 30, 2016. Marnie WILLS, of Lansing, was appointed to the council for the remainder of a four-year term expiring Sept. 30, 2016. Paul PALMER, of Lansing, was reappointed to the council and will serve a four-year term expiring Sept. 30, 2018.

 

02/28/15

Breaking News » MI Michigan's Contentious Special Education Proposal Halted - The issue: The MDE had proposed changes that the department said will simply align Michigan's rules with federal rules. But some advocates for special education students have raised concerns, saying the changes would have an adverse effect: among them, giving districts flexibility to overload classes and giving parents less input. MDE officials have said those conclusions are based on misinterpretations of the proposed changes.

 

Breaking News » MI Dome Magazine: Michigan's Mental Health Failure - Wayne County Chief Probate Judge Milton Mack is deeply frustrated with the mental health system in Michigan. He’s seen a lot of mentally ill people pass through his courtroom in the nearly quarter-century he’s been on the bench. Many show up again and again. Some are jailed, treated for a brief time and then released, only to start the cycle all over again. Soon after Judge Mack got to the Bench, Michigan closed most of its mental hospitals, part of a wave of “deinstitutionalization” that swept the nation. Unfortunately, arrangements were never made to ensure adequate facilities for outpatient care. “Legally, we still have an inpatient system in an outpatient world,” he told me during an interview in his chambers last week.

 

02/20/15

Breaking News » MI Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder Appointments for February 2015 - Appointments to the Developmental Disabilities Council: Deborah Rock, of Pewamo, was appointed to the council for a four-year term expiring Sept. 30, 2018. Rock is the mother of a child on the autism spectrum with developmental disabilities. She earned a teacher paraprofessional certificate from the Lansing Community College. Appointments to the Michigan Mental Health Diversion Council: Lt. Gov. Brian Calley was reappointed as chair of the council. Joanne Sheldon, of Clark Lake, was reappointed. She is health services administrator for the Michigan Department of Corrections. Anthony Wickersham, of Macomb, was reappointed. He is the Macomb County sheriff. Lynda Zeller, of Lansing, was reappointed. She is senior deputy director of the Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities Administration within the Michigan Department of Community Health. Appointees will serve four-year terms expiring Jan. 30, 2019. Appointments to the Advisory Council On Deaf, DeafBlind And Hard Of Hearing: Elizabeth Bystrycki, of Otsego, is former chair of the conference committee of the Michigan Deaf Association and replaces Jamie Maes-Eischen. Jill Gaus, of Jackson, is a consultant with DeafBlind Central, replaces Odessa Carter and is also appointed chair. Miriam Horwitz, of Huntington Woods, is a consultant with DeafBlind Central and replaces Laura Scott. Jeannette Johnson, of Grand Rapids, is the development director for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services in Grand Rapids and replaces Brenda Neubeck. Appointees will serve three-year terms expiring Jan. 18, 2018.

 

Upcoming Events » MI Nature's Playhouse Offers FREE Support Groups in Ferndale. WHEN: Ongoing. WHERE: 318 W. 9 Mile Rd., Ferndale, Michigan. MORE INFO: We are an all natural playspace and wellness center for families and host free support groups for families. Childcare is available; registration is not required. Current groups include: "It Takes a Village" Parenting Support Group, La Leche League Breastfeeding Support Group, Birth Recovery Group, Detroit Baby Wearers!, and Mompreneur Support Group. CONTACT: For information, please contact us by visiting http://www.naturesplayhouse.com or by calling Lisa Ball at 248-955-3219.

 

Children At-risk » Two resources for Children At-risk Added: Child Abuse Education Guide and ChildWelfare.gov

 

02/17/15

Breaking News » MI New Report Released: A Healthier You - Using the National Core Indicator and state data to understand health status and the experiences of persons with intellectual/developmental disabilities served by the Michigan public mental health system (Feb 2015).

 

02/12/15

Breaking News and Ask the Attorney » Here Are 14 of John's Latest Special Ed Q&As In One Convenient Spot

 

02/03/15

Autism » Map of Michigan Parent Support Options: Autism Spectrum Disorders updated.

 

02/01/15

Breaking News » MI Aquatic Programs for Kids with Special Needs - Download the pdf flyer to learn more about this opportunity based in Holland, Michigan.

 

Breaking News and Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) » MI Legislation Introduced to Replace the Michigan Traumatic Brain Injury Services and Prevention Council Introduced on January 27, 2015 - Click here.

 

Breaking News » MI Lt. Gov. Brian Calley: Advances Made in 2014 - Significant progress was made in 2014 to improve the lives of citizens facing mental health issues, substance use disorders and developmental disabilities, according to a new report issued today by Lt. Gov. Brian Calley on behalf of the Mental Health and Wellness Commission.

 

01/24/15

Breaking News and Visual Impairments/Blindness » Blind Man Teaches Blind and Disabled Kids To Hunt and Fish - Mike Gates can recall — achingly, painfully — the day he lost his sight. But, "from where I was to where I am today is pretty unbelievable," he says.

 

Breaking News » 10 Things I Thought I'd Never Say...Until I Had Boys - 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.

 

Breaking News and Inspiring Stories » This Story About a Mother's Love Brought an Entire Middle School to Tears - 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 warned...you'll need a box of tissues by the end.

 

01/21/15

Breaking News » MI Drama Students Meet Real-life Inspiration - 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.

 

01-14-15

Breaking News » MI Murky Future For New Michigan Special Ed Rules - (MIRS. Jan 13, 2015) The future is unclear for the Michigan Department of Education's contentious proposed rules governing special education in Michigan. This much is clear though: Lt. Gov. Brian CALLEY will continue to be involved and plans to meet with MDE officials about the next steps. The proposed rules had to be withdrawn after they failed to sit in front of the Legislature for 15 days. This came after Calley urged the Joint Committee on Administrative Rules (JCAR) to not grant the rules passage. Michelle Fecteau, arguably the State Board of Education member who is the most vocal special education advocate, tried to get more details out of MDE officials about what's next for the package. When Fecteau asked MDE spokesman Martin Ackley about the next step for the rules, he said MDE is still surveying its options, which could include re-submitting the same rules or going back to the drawing board and starting anew. He wouldn't say if the rules would be re-submitted as is or with changes at this point.

 

12-22-14

Children's Medicaid Waiver » MI Updated Information: Michigan Medicaid Provider Manual: http://www.mdch.state.mi.us/dch-medicaid/manuals/MedicaidProviderManual.pdf

 

College » bridges4kids Featured Free Publication: Affordable Colleges Foundation's Financial Aid Guide

 

Cyberbullying » Should Parents Be Criminally Liable for Their Children's Cyberbullying? - After 12-year-old Rebecca Sedwick of Florida jumped to her death from a tower in an abandoned concrete plant in late 2013, two classmates were charged with tormenting the girl so viciously on social media and in person that she committed suicide, but much of the blame landed, not on the two classmates, but on their parents. Lawyer Mark O’Mara drafted legislation to hold parents criminally liable for their children’s cyberbullying saying that parents who let their children "use social media as a weapon need to wake the hell up.”

 

Disabilities - Traumatic Brain Injury » MI NFL Chooses Michigan Site for National Brain-Injury Treatment Program (MIRS December 17, 2014) Michigan will host the only brain-injury treatment program in the nation to help both military veterans and professional athletes recover from injuries sustained on the battlefield and football field. The program will take place at Eisenhower Center in Ann Arbor. Representatives from the residential neuro-rehabilitation facility were joined by veterans and the NFL Players Association (NFLPA) in announcing the "After the Impact" program. Eisenhower Center will become the main facility used by the NFLPA for treating brain injuries and other neurological issues. "After the Impact" provides intensive treatment for soldiers and athletes recovering from concussions, mild traumatic brain injury, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and chronic traumatic encephalopathy in intense transitional treatment of multiple deficit areas resulting from the injury. It also includes education and other supports for living with a brain injury. It evolved from the Eisenhower Center’s transitional treatment program to help military members deal with brain injuries.

 

12-17-14

Breaking News » Congress Approves Sweeping Legislation to Help Disabled - Congress gave final approval to the most sweeping legislation to help the disabled in a quarter century, allowing Americans with disabilities to open tax-free bank accounts to pay for needs such as education, housing and health care. The bill, called the Achieving a Better Life Experience Act (ABLE), now goes to President Barack Obama for his signature. Modeled after tax-free college savings accounts, the ABLE bill would amend the federal tax code to allow states to establish the program. The ABLE accounts would be able to accrue up to $100,000 in savings without the person losing eligibility for government aid such as Social Security; currently, the asset limit is $2,000. Medicaid coverage would continue no matter how much money is deposited in the accounts.

 

Breaking News » Because...Who is Perfect, Anyways?

 

12-11-14

Breaking News » MI Michigan Diversion Council Expanding Efforts to Help Mentally Ill, Developmentally Disabled - The state of Michigan is expanding its efforts to divert the mentally ill and developmentally disabled from incarceration and get the help they need by approving an additional six sites for pilot programs focused on innovative solutions and expanding two existing efforts.

 

Breaking News » MI Controversial Proposed Special Ed Rule Changes Stopped - (MIRS News, 12/11/14) A controversial package of special education rules that state officials claim they need to carry out federal law stalled in a legislative committee this morning amid confusion from mostly parents on what the changes mean for them. Under the law, that means the Department of Education (MDE) will likely be forced to withdraw the rules and start over again in the New Year since the rules were not before the committee for the required 15 session days before the end of the year. The Joint Committee on Administrative Rules (JCAR) can only vote to waive that time to let the rules go into effect faster. All told, it means MDE's proposed rule changes, which have faced criticism from various special education advocates as they've made their way through the rule changing process, will not go into effect. The 4th floor Capitol room where JCAR met was packed this morning with those who indicated they intended to speak against the rule changes. But they ended up not having to voice their opinions, after Lt. Gov. Brian CALLEY made an appearance and urged the committee to let the rules die and advocated for a more inclusive process to changing special education rules in particular. JCAR Chair Sen. John PAPPAGEORGE (R-Troy) agreed. Although he didn't take testimony from the public, he said their presence today indicated that there was more work to be done.

 

12-4-14

Breaking News » Six Healthy Habits to Teach Kids Who Worry Too Much

 

Help for a Child - Ingham County » MI Great Start to Quality: www.greatstarttoquality.org

 

10-29-14

Breaking News » MI Gov. Must Lead By Example in Hiring People w/Disabilities - Also see the Executive Directive

 

Study Help - Math » Featured Resource! Math Doctor - Algebra Help

 

Study Help - Spelling » Spelling it Right comprises seventy pages of advice and free worksheets on spelling and is used by many parents, students and teachers in North America and the UK. It is featured in internet educational directories throughout the world, including those specializing in homeschooling.

 

Parenting - Safety Issues » Fire Safety - Informative resource focused on fire safety for families and educators.

 

Parenting - Safety Issues » Home Hazards - Fun interactive resource that allows kids to get a visual understanding of hazards in the house.

 

09-25-14

Breaking News » Claims of Abuse are Outside of IDEA 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.

 

Breaking News » Featured Resource: Math Blaster

 

09-13-14

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

 

Breaking News » Featured Resource: Special Education Guide

 

College & Financial Aid » bridges4kids Featured Resource: Search the Online College Database for online colleges in Michigan (or in any state and much more!)

 

Parenting - Adoption Resources » MyDNATest is now available at Walgreens. "It's the most accurate test on the market, and can save people hundreds if not thousands of dollars in lab fees."

 

Parenting - Adoption Resources » DNA Diagnostics offers DNA testing for all stages of the adoption process, including relinquishment and potential reunification. They can verify paternity, maternity, siblingship, and granparentage as needed.

 

08-11-14

Breaking News and Assistive Technology » Computer and Software Accessibility for the Disabled

 

Upcoming Events » MI Teens Using Drugs: What To Know & What To Do is a free, ongoing, two-part series to help participants learn to understand, identify and address adolescent alcohol/other drug problems. Presented by Dawn Farm Youth and Family Services therapists. For parents, teens, professionals, others – open to all. Dates throughout 2014/2015.

 

07-13-14

Breaking News » MI "Progress" Being Made On Mental Health Issues in Michigan - "Michigan has made great strides in improving how mental health and wellness issues are handled since a special commission created by Gov. Rick Snyder in 2013 released its recommendations in January. That Executive Order and commission resulted from a special message on health and wellness the governor presented in the fall of 2011."

 

06-20-14

Breaking News » List of 125 Twitter Pages Related to Disabilities

 

Breaking News » Court Throws Out Mental Retardation: Column

 

Breaking News » Looking for Summer Camps? Try Bridge Center in MA

 

06-09-14

Breaking News » MI Great Start Forums Across Michigan in June - The Office of Great Start is convening 10 outreach forums around the state in June.

 

05-29-14

FEATURED RESOURCE: We highly recommend Wrightslaw's latest book - All About Tests and Measurements! To order your copy, visit www.wrightslaw.com/store/aat.html.

 

05-20-14

Disabilities - Celiac Disease » Added to "Medical Information" section: "Dental Effects of Celiac Disease"

 

05-04-14

Early Childhood » Helmets Do Little to Help Moderate Infant Skull Flattening - Luke Reissig wears a helmet that is supposed to correct for skull flatness. A new report says, however, that these helmets are ineffective. Pediatricians have long urged parents to put newborns to sleep on their backs to help prevent sudden infant death syndrome. While the practice undoubtedly has saved lives, it also has increased the numbers of babies with flattened skulls.

 

04-22-14

Early Childhood, Music Therapy, and Michigan - Jackson County » MI Harmony Garden Music Therapy in Jackson County, Michigan - A music therapy provider for children of all ages with any disability. Check out the Music for Sprouts program, which is an early childhood/early intervention group for parents and their children ages birth-7yrs old. For more information on the early childhood program, please visit my website: http://www.hgmusictherapy.com/music-for-sprouts/. Other services offered can be found here: http://www.hgmusictherapy.com/services/.

 

Early Childhood » Parenting Experts Believe You Can Teach Your Baby to Talk from Birth - Do you want your child to do well in school? Shouldn’t everyone? New research shows that academic success can be predicted by how well children communicate by 18 months - in other words, by speaking to them starting from birth you can boost their intelligence.

 

Inspiring Stories » Embrace The Day: Preacher Born Without Limbs Spreads His Anti-bullying Message in Times Square with 10,000 Hugs Tour - Melbourne-born Nick Vujicic has rare tetra-amelia syndrome. After a suicide attempt at the age of 10, Vujicic turned his disability into a motivation to spread the gospel. His New York appearance was part of 10,000 Hugs Tour.

 

04-17-14

Breaking News, Special Ed and Disabilities » Children’s Mental Health Disorder Fact Sheet for the Classroom - This document gives information regarding symptoms/behaviors, educational implications and instructional strategies/accommodations broken down by disorder. A very useful document for IEPs.

 

Breaking News and School Climate/Bullying » PA Teen Reported to Police and Fined for Secretly Filming Bullies - Christian Stanfield, 15, made a seven-minute recording of alleged bullies at Pennsylvania's South Fayette High School in February. The ADHD sufferer said he did it after months of harassment. School officials accused him of wiretapping and called police. A court found Stanfield guilty of disorderly conduct and fined him $25. His family is suing the school district and appealing the judge's ruling. Stanfield's mom is furious that her son, and not his alleged bullies, has been punished.

 

Breaking News » Saving Eliza - Last July, our 4-year-old daughter Eliza was diagnosed with a rare terminal genetic disease called Sanfilippo Syndrome-Type A. In one terrifying instant, we were told that we would have to watch her fade away before our eyes.

 

Breaking News and Disabilities - Anorexia » Could These 'Smart Scales' Cure Anorexia? - 75% of patients who used device were free of symptoms a year later.

 

04-15-14

IEP - Goals and Objectives » Featured Resource: The Goal Bank - A tremendously popular guide which gives hundreds of examples of goals in many areas of life and education. Download your copy today!

 

04-11-13

Autism » New Nonprofit in Lapeer: Inspiring Hearts for Autism - Call 810-656-6139, visit www.hearts4autism.org or email jennifer@hearts4autism.org for more information. "We are a 501(c)(3) Nonprofit Inspiring Hearts for Autism. We offer monthly support group meetings, advocacy & parent-led social events for ASD individuals."

 

02-08-13

Upcoming Events » MI Dr. Temple Granding Comes to Michigan in April: Metro Parent is very excited to have Dr. Temple Grandin speaking at our 6th annual Living with Autism Workshop on April 26. At www.MetroParent.com/AutismEvent, you can get all the details about the event.

 

01-27-13

Autism » Map of Michigan Parent Support Options: Autism Spectrum Disorders updated.

 

07-21-12

Autism » Map of Michigan Parent Support Options: Autism Spectrum Disorders updated.

 

Upcoming Events » MI Teens Using Drugs: What To Know & What To Do will take place from 7:30 pm to 9:00 pm on the following dates - PART ONE DATES: 10/02/2012, 11/06/2012, 01/08/2013, 02/05/2013, 03/05/2013, 4/02/2013, 05/07/2013, 06/04/2013. PART TWO DATES: 10/09/2012, 11/13/2012, 01/15/2013, 02/12/2013, 03/12/2013, 04/09/2013, 05/14/2013, 06/11/2013. Location: St. Joseph Mercy Hospital Education Center, classroom EC4, 5305 Elliott Drive, Ypsilanti, Michigan 48197 (Washtenaw County). "Teens Using Drugs: What To Know and What To Do" is a FREE, ongoing, two-part workshop series. Presented by Dawn Farm and Growth Works therapists. Co-sponsored by Dawn Farm, Livingston/Washtenaw Regional Coordinated School Health Program Advisory Team, & St. Joseph Mercy Greenbrook Recovery Center. Targeted primarily to parents; inclusive of anyone interested. Call 734-973-7892 to RSVP

 

04-20-12

Breaking News » NY Restrained Boy at Leake and Watts in Yonkers Dies

 

Breaking News » MI Michigan Autism Coverage Bill Signed Into Law - Insurance companies will have to offer coverage for autism treatments six months from now, a move the parent of one autistic boy said will make a huge difference to families struggling to pay for their children's treatment. "This legislation means the world to us and to thousands of other families across the state of Michigan," said Scott Koenigsknecht of Fowler, who attended a bill-signing ceremony at the official governor's residence Wednesday with 7-year-old Cooper and the rest of his family. "The beauty of this legislation is ... no family will have ever to leave a doctor's appointment without some kind of hope."

 

Breaking News » An Invisible Danger in Our Yards - In hundreds of neighborhoods across the United States, children are living and playing near sites where factories once spewed lead and other toxic metal particles into the air. The factories, which melted lead in a process called smelting, closed long ago but poisonous lead particles can still be found in the soil nearby. Families interviewed were unaware of the dangers posed by their yards – and the government has done little to warn them, a USA TODAY investigation has found.

 

03-22-12

Breaking News and Assistive Technology » Next Generation Wheelchair Lets Users Stand Up - Developed in Turkey, the Tek device allows paraplegics - those without the use of their legs - to perform everyday tasks from shopping in the supermarket to ironing with ease.

 

03-19-12

Breaking News » MI Download the March edition of "Family Linkages"

 

02-07-12

Upcoming Events » MI Free Parenting Classes For Families With Children 0-5 will take place at the Child and Parent Center, 606 Greenwood Place, Jackson on Mondays 6-7:30pm Feb 6 - Sept 10, 2012. Topics include: Feelings, Attachment, the Importance of Reading, Stress, Choices, Testing and more! Complete all 6 workshops and receive a Certificate of Completion from the Child & Parent Center and a Parenting kit from the Talaris Institute (value $40)! Free child care & pizza dinner provided. For more information, call 517-788-4445 for more information and to register.

 

01-14-12

Autism » Map of Michigan Parent Support Options: Autism Spectrum Disorders updated.

 

01-05-12

Breaking News and Children At-Risk » Humble and Hopeful: Welcoming First-Generation Poor and Working-class Students to College - Students who are the first in their family to enter higher education join a rarified and often mystifying culture of rules, rites, and rituals. A first-generation working-class college student who became a faculty member offers his insights and recommendations after forty years in the academy.

 

Autism » Map of Michigan Parent Support Options: Autism Spectrum Disorders updated.

 

Breaking News and Asperger's Syndrome » NC School Offers Special Curriculum for Students with Asperger's -The Asperger Connection School, reportedly the first school in the country designed for students with Asperger's syndrome, opened in August 2011 in Pikeville, N.C. The school offers a computer-based approach to learning with students working on laptops who are allowed to progress at their own pace. The screen time is supplemented with three outdoor breaks each day and weekly horseback-riding therapy to help develop students' balance and gross-motor skills. A second location for the school is set to open in Durham, N.C., on Jan. 9, and organizers say plans for a third location are in the works.

 

01-02-12

Upcoming Events » MI Michigan Alliance PTI Now Offering Free Webinars - Join Michigan Alliance for Families as they present a series of webinars focusing on specific parts of the Individualized Education Program (IEP) process. For more information or to register, click here.

 

 

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