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Last Updated: 05/13/2016

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

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

Breaking News

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

starLooking for Goals & Objectives for an Upcoming IEP? Click

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

starMI Calley Calls For Bill Restricting Restraint, Seclusion Of Students (MIRS 2/9/16)star
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).

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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