About Bridges4Kids.org

A non-profit parent organization providing an internet-based system of information and referral for parents and professionals working with children from birth through transition to adult life.

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Bridges4Kids is a non-profit parent organization dedicated to building partnerships between families, schools and communities to help promote developmental and educational success for all children.

Bridges4Kids operates a comprehensive website providing parents, educators, and others the information they need to help children who might be at-risk or have special needs. It is updated daily and includes information on child development, education issues and opportunities, and extensive disability, gifted, at-risk, parenting, and teaching resources. Choose the "search" function on our menu to search the entire site for the information you need.

Where To Find Help For A Child is a comprehensive listing of contacts, resources, and programs available in each county, state, and province. Click on "Michigan", "Anywhere in the U.S." or "Canada" in the main menu.
Breaking News, on the Bridges4Kids home page, provides daily updates of local, state and national news on all topics related to children that might interest parents and educators.

Mission Statement


"We are a community of equal partners coming together to provide a circle of support for ALL children from birth to adult life with a special focus on those who have disabilities, special needs, or who are at-risk."


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Organizational Goals
  • To provide parents with the knowledge and supports they need as their children's most important teachers and caregivers.

  • To respect the diversity of all families with regard to race, ethnicity, religious beliefs, philosophy, disabilities, and income.

  • To promote high expectations for all children from birth to adult life.

  • To form meaningful and effective partnerships between families, schools and communities because we know that positive inter-relationships are key to success for children.

  • To utilize and contribute to best practice models.

  • To value the free exchange of ideas and to embrace thoughtful, carefully considered change.

  • To love, care for, and cherish all children by remembering that what is right for each of them is our primary focus.

  • To uphold our mission and carry out our goals in an environment of mutual respect and collaboration.

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A Brief History of Bridges4Kids & Who is Behind Bridges4Kids?

Bridges4Kids was founded in 2002 by Deborah K. Canja and Jackie D. Igafo-Te'o after realizing the need for a comprehensive system of support on the web for ALL children. "We know first-hand the struggles that parents face. We've been there." By using personal experiences and the experiences of others, Bridges4Kids developed a system of support and information & referral that is used worldwide by millions who are interested in the education, health and the overall well-being of children.


"We would not be able to realize this dream without the loving support and steadfast dedication of Bernard Travnikar, Brunhilde Merk-Adam, John Brower, Kim Murphy, Bella Djordjevski, our families, and countless others. The support that we've received has been phenomenal. As long as there's a need, we'll be here."


If Bridges4Kids has touched your life or assisted you in any way, we'd love to hear from you.


About Deborah K. Canja

Deborah Canja currently serves as the CEO of Bridges4Kids, a non-profit organization serving the needs of parents and professionals working with children with special needs or who are at risk. Bridges4Kids also operates an extensive informational website as well as websites for other organizations and groups. Before becoming CEO of Bridges4Kids, Ms. Canja was the executive director of CAUSE, Michigan’s federally funded Parent Training and Information Center for children with disabilities. Prior to that she practiced law for 12 years as a Michigan assistant attorney general. Ms. Canja has also been a hearing officer and management consultant and a trained facilitator for the national parenting program “Parent to Parent.”


About Jackie D. Igafo-Te'o

Jackie Igafo-Te'o currently serves as webmaster for Bridges4Kids, and as an Independent Consultant working with several disability-related organizations in the U.S. She moderated a large online support group for families living with autism at Yahoo!Groups called "autism-michigan" for nearly a decade. Now that the "kids" are all adults and technology has progressed, she moderates groups on Facebook. She currently resides in Michigan with her husband and their three children.  Their oldest child wrote a book about his life and how he deals with his ADHD. Their youngest child wrote a book to express her feelings on being a sibling. Their middle child is a talented artist and animator who was diagnosed with Autism at the age of 3; he illustrated both of the books. In November 2009, the younger kids starred in an interstitial on Disney Channel. Watch their Disney Channel Interstitial from November 2009!


Jackie's prior volunteer work on TroopUpdate.com (retired) earned military honors two years in a row. "Behind our mobilization there stands a person that went out of her way to ensure our soldiers were looked after and for that we wish to publicly acknowledge our sincere gratitude for her outstanding support by acknowledging her as an 'Outstanding Center of Influence'. Mrs. Jackie Igafo -Te'o developed and maintained a website specifically for our deployed soldiers in GTMO. At any given time, families could access the internet and see up to date information regarding their loved ones, to include pictures and comments." [Lt. Yordy, MiARNG]


About John Brower, J.D.

Our visitors' legal questions are answered by John Brower. John is a Professor of Education Law and managing partner of the Education Law Center who also regularly represents parents of disabled children via the Law Office of John Brower - Brighton, MI.  For more information about John, click here


One Person is a Fruitcake, 50 People are a Powerful Organization! - Millions of children attend under performing schools. Millions of parents struggle to get appropriate educational services for their children. What can you do to help these parents and children? What can you do to improve the lives and educational outcomes for children in your community? To boost your creative thought processes, we’ll tell you what others are doing…

How do I get more information about Bridges4Kids?


Email:  info@bridges4kids.org


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What People Are Saying About Us...

Here are just a few of the great things that people are saying about Bridges4Kids:


"I would just like to express my thanks for this wonderful website! We are a military family overseas, about to move back to the states with a child with an ASD. This website has helped us so much in determining the right state to chose for our next duty station!!!!!!!" Casey P., Okinawa, Japan [02-07]


"I would simply like to thank you for being the finest website for professionals & families in existence! I am a Director of an agency that supports children with disabilities & families, as well as the father of a son with Asperger Syndrome. Keep up the great work!" Brendan M. [4-05]


"A wonderful website and resource, right here in Michigan, for families of kids with all kinds of disabilities, is www.bridges4kids.org. Sign up for the weekly e-newsletter with articles from across the state and the nation. The website has many many links, and resources for public and charter school families, as well as homeschool families. It would be a good place to visit before your IEP." Lydia S., President, Parents of Blind Children of Michigan [4-05]

"I wanted to say to you how great I think the Bridges4kids site is. Thanks for all the hard work you do on it." Signe R. [4-05]


"I found your Website today and found it to be...a robust source of information..." - Linda M., Life Planners Newsletter [1-05]


"Thank you so much for e-mailing a list of some schools in the area that I may have my son attend for special ed. Right now my son is at a crossroad. Glad to know there IS another option: a school for children with behavior disabilities. I contacted several organizations in Michigan [names removed] before contacting you...including a few disability-related organizations [names removed]...even the statewide parent hotline [name removed]. Finally, Senator Kuipers office suggested I call the Michigan Dept of Education...which suggested I e-mail Bridges4Kids. Thanks again, Ms. Igafo-Te'o...I WAS frustrated - but not anymore." - R. Burke, Jenison, MI [1-05]


"Their website if full of very helpful and timely information about many topics of interest to parents and those working with children. Visiting their website is time well spent." - Jeffery L., MA, LLP, Orchards Children’s Services, Inc.


"Bridges4Kids provides a glossary of special education terms to help patients and families." - Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center


"A comprehensive site providing health and education information and links for parents and professionals on a variety of topics including specific disabilities and disorders, programs for children from birth to 3, special education, gifted education, substance abuse, bullying, suicide, Medicaid and insurance." - OnlineHealthResources.org


"Bridges4Kids NewsDigest...full of information related to Parenting Concerns, Child Development issues, Special Education and Disabilities." - Detroit Public Television

"This site contains information on a very large variety of topics covering everything from health to education. The site also provides links to other information sources which can be a great aid in locating information." - Nevada's Children With Special Health Care Needs Website

"This useful site has information on School issues, IEP’s, IDEA, Section 504, Parenting/Adoption, SSI, FSS, Insurance, Positive Behavior Support, Cultural Issues, Children At-Risk, College Financial Aid, and more." - Kentucky's Commission for Children with Special Health Care Needs

"This website includes a wealth of information on Positive Behavioral Support on a variety of topics." - Family NET Works


"The following materials have stood the test of time and are as relevant today as the day they were published: Positive Behavioral Support [contains] Research Briefs [that] inform families about positive behavioral support (PBS) and how they can use PBS with their children with developmental disabilities. The bridges4kids Web site, at https://www.bridges4kids.org, offers a vast amount of information geared toward building partnerships between families, schools, and communities." - (NICHCY) National Dissemination Center for Children with Disabilities [4-03]


"A great resource, incredibly well organized and easy to use!" disAbility Connections, Summer 2004 Newsletter


"Dear Bridges, I didn't realize what a great site this is until I got on the web looking for information. Keep up the good work...Thanks" - Cindy R., Early On Coordinator, Manistee County Michigan [12-04]


"This is indeed an AWESOME site. Please keep up the good work!" Judy H., President NAMI NE Michigan, NE Michigan Community Mental Health Board Member and Michigan Association for Children's Mental Health [11-04]


"I was referred to your website from the department of education of Michigan. Wow. What a huge amount of useful information! I am overwhelmed, and will be visiting often, as my brain permits! Thank you!" - M. J. Westbrook [11-04]


"I happened upon your website and just wanted to tell you what a great job you are doing with it! I am not from Michigan but I can tell that Michigan cares about it's special needs kids just from the resources listed! Thanks for making information available on the internet in such a good way for the parents in your state and others who happen upon it!" K. McBride, Hancock, Maryland [10-04]


"This is a wonderful site!" - K. Levine, New Jersey [10-04]


"As both a parent of a child with Autism and a Director of a program that assists children with developmental disabilities I would like to thank you for the great information that your newsletter provides. As a great fan of your newsletter I inform many [people] of its useful articles and encourage them to sign up to receive it..." Sincerely, B. McCormick [10-04]


"Just wanted to say what a wonderful website Bridges4Kids is! I work at MDCH as follow-up coordinator of the Michigan Birth Defects Registry and added a description of your site to our family resource pamphlet. We will also be sure to add a link to your site on our Genetics website at www.migeneticsconnection.org. Nancy Peeler shared information with me about Bridges4Kids--I am so glad she did and am really impressed with the wealth of information available!! I have already added it to my favorites list! Thanks again for your devotion to families and children, especially those with special care needs." - Jane S., RN, MPH, Michigan Birth Defects Registry, Follow-up Coordinator


"Your newsletters are so full of useful information for everyone that I had to devote a page on my website just for your news...so at least my readers will have access to everything you post plus they can subscribe to you as well. Keep up the great work and keep on keeping us informed." - Keith K., Founder of DAC (Disabled Action Committee), Dale City, VA [9-04]


A StumbleUpon.com reviewer from Houston, Texas says "Great information and insight for parents. I have no children, but even so, it is a great site to let your friends know about if they are in need of assistance."

A to Z Teacher's Stuff says "This site has a WONDERFUL newsletter with up to date topics in special ed. They send links to articles online from other magazines and journals and such."


"I can not find the words to thank you enough! God bless you! What an extraordinary group of people we have in the disability community...I don't know what I would do without the Bridges4Kids newsletter. I forward it to other parents all over the country who are dealing with special education issues for their kids with psychiatric disabilities." - Dorothea B., Schizophrenia.com [8-04]


"Congratulations on providing such a nice and informative Bridge4Kids website! With the disabled populations growing it's important for everyone to know where to find this helpful, accessible information." - Matt W., Viewpoint Mobility, Kalamazoo, MI [7-04]


"You have a great web site...I hope that one day we'll have a website as good as Bridges4Kids in Ohio." Mike N., Akron, OH [7-04]


WrightsLaw gives the Bridges4Kids News Digest 5 Stars! "If you want to stay current on special education news and issues - but also want to keep your email box from overflowing - we recommend that you subscribe to Bridges4Kids News Digest." [7-04]

I am placing your wonderful website on our front page...which will list resources that cover special education nationally. - Betsy C., ParentAdvocates.org [6-04]


You do a masterful job on Bridges4Kids. - Pam W., Wrightslaw.com [6-04]


Your website is the best that I have found. I love it. I live in Macon, Georgia and have an 11 yr old with Autism. You have so much info that helps parents. Thanks and don't ever go away. Holly M. [5/04]

Thanks for putting such a useful site on the Web! Sincerely, Matthew B., MSW, LSW, Hanover, PA www.enterthefreudianslip.com [5/04]


Thank you for your latest e-mail. Your information is so important. I am a paraprofessional...have been working in the school system for 19 years and have been with the special education field for seven years. Theresa G. [4/04]


I will be sure to recommend your site to many others. I am amazed at the amount of information Bridges4Kids provides about anything and everything a parent would need to know to help their child. Sincerely, Sherry H., SMG-CAN Parent Advisor, www.selectivemutism.org [3/04]
Wow! Thanks for all the very quick info! I work with a little boy with this syndrome. Thanks, E. M. Clarke [3/04]
Thank you so much! You were a big help! Your information and advice were very useful to me. I truly appreciate your time and consideration. Jearelly [3/04]
Just a quick note to thank you and all of your staff. I am a parent of a child with a disability (now an adult) and have worked professionally as a disability advocate for many years. I subscribe to many newsletters and journals but am always pleased to see Bridges on my e-mail. Your newsletter encompasses such a variety of issues that I always spend time checking it all out. Again, Thank You. Laurie D. [3/04]
Thanks for all the wonderful information...Mary Ellen S., Madison, WI [3/04]

Wow, you guys cover so much in your news letters on line. I get a better update on education matters on your site than any other, including staff in Lansing, as you cover the Senate also. Thanks! Michigan State Representative Ruth Johnson [3/04]

Congratulations on your web site! I found your web site quite by accident and I APPLAUD THE GREAT WORK YOU HAVE DONE. Jane T., Co-founder, Greater New Haven Connecticut Celiac Group [1/04]

Congratulations on both an excellent Web site and a great resource for families and professionals. Sincerely, Judy W. www.JudyWinter.com  [1/04]


I love your newsletter! I am impressed with the amount of information made available and how it is displayed. You (and your staff) do a fabulous job. I refer to your newsletter often and I share it with the members of my Special Education Parent Teacher Organization (SEPTA) among others - even though we live in New York. Nassau county Long Island to be exact. I enjoy your 'national' coverage as well as the 'local' Michigan stories, as we seem to all be confronted with the same issues. Seeing how you and your state are approaching the issues provides me with insight as to how we may approach and resolve our issues. I love the upgrades with the graphics - the newsletter is really beautiful and easy to navigate. Keep up the GREAT WORK! Thanks for your time and consideration, Sincerely, Suzanne L.

I looked at your site and was very intrigued - so much useful information! Narmina O., Tiny Ears [12/03]

Thank you for responding so promptly! Your information was very helpful. Have a great day. Theresa S. [11/03]

Thank you so very much for replying so quickly. The information you sent me is WONDERFUL!!! I can't thank you enough for the link to this valuable resource. I have added your email address to my list of very important and helpful resources. Thank you again! Julie B. [11/03]

Thanks for the helpful information you sent a few weeks back. We appreciated it. Dan Z. [11/03]

I would like to ask your permission to share this information with all of my email contacts who could benefit from these stories. Thank you so much and GOD will always bless you. I have cried so hard with some of these stories that need to be shared as well as guiding people to your web site. I have them ready to click on send to dozens of people who COULD benefit. Sincerely, Linda J. [10/03]


Special Contributors to Bridges4Kids


Ask the Attorney with John Brower, J.D. - Our visitors' legal questions are answered by John Brower. John is a Professor of Education Law and managing partner of the Education Law Center who also regularly represents parents of disabled children via the Law Office of John Brower - Brighton, MI.  For more information about John, click here


As an attorney, Calvin Luker comes across many issues pertaining to special education.  He and Tricia Luker are long-time child advocates and experts in many fields related to disabilities and special education.  Their combined knowledge is a virtual powerhouse of information for parents and professionals alike.  They have created many works that are available on this website.  Modules, articles, and book reviews are just a few of the treasures you'll find here from Calvin and Tricia.  As parents of Jessica, a child with disabilities and special needs, these two wonderful people have experienced the struggle first-hand.  We trust that you'll find their contributions as valuable as we have.


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Website Disclaimer


The documents posted on this site contain hyperlinks to information created and maintained by other public and private organizations.  These links are provided for the user's convenience.  Bridges4Kids does not control or guarantee the accuracy, relevance, timeliness, or completeness of this outside information.  Further, the inclusion of links to particular items is not intended to reflect their importance, nor is it intended to endorse any views expressed, or products or services offered, on these outside sites, or the organizations sponsoring the sites.  Bridges4Kids does not recommend or endorse specific diagnostic or therapeutic regimens, whether educational, psychological, or medical. Parents and caretakers should consult with experienced professionals to determine the best course of treatment for their child, or for themselves. All information provided by Bridges4Kids is for informational and educational purposes only.


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Copyright Information


The Bridges4Kids logo and custom images (except where noted) are Copyright © 2002-2018 Bridges4Kids, Inc.  All rights reserved.  Permission is granted to reproduce Bridges4Kids original material as long as credit is given to Bridges4Kids.


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