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Information Every Parent Should Know

As a parent, you are the most important advocate for your child. Please use our website for informational documents about what you need to know when advocating for the rights of your children.

Find a doctor:
The American Academy for Cerebral Palsy and Developmental Medicine website can help you find a list of physicians in Michigan with expertise in cerebral palsy. Select 'Michigan' on the search page and it will bring up a list of doctors in Michigan.

Early On
Early On is a free state program for children with special needs from birth to 3 years of age, regardless of family income. Early On provides services like physical therapy, nursing, play groups, parent education, and transportation, in cooperation with local school districts’ special education services. Call 1-800-EARLY ON (1.800.327.5966).

Special Education
Some children with disabilities have cognitive impairment or learning disabilities, and some do not. If your child does not need special help with academic subjects, he or she may still obtain physical therapy, assistive technology, etc. through your school district’s special education program. In Michigan, students in special education may receive services until age 26 or until they earn their high school diploma.

From ages 3-5 your child may be eligible for special preschool services called "pre-primary impaired," or "PPI." You will be an active part of setting the course for your child’s education through team meetings and "Individualized Education Plans", known as "IEPs." 

The Michigan Alliance for Families is an organization that specializes in helping parents know their rights regrading special education laws. 1.800.552.4821.

Children’s Special Health Care Services
CSHCS helps families of children with disabilities up until age 20 for 2,500 diagnoses, and persons 21 and older with cystic fibrosis or certain blood coagulation disorders may also qualify for services. It has a sliding fee scale based on the family's income.

CSHCS helps with referrals and coverage for specialty medical services, equipment, and supplies not covered by private insurance or basic Medicaid. It is a state program, but sign up is through your local county health department.

Parents can call 1.800.359.3722 with questions about the program, or send an email to .

CSHCS runs the Family Support Network, which will put you in touch with other parents of children with special needs. View the informational brochure or call 1.800.359.3722.

The Arc Michigan runs the Michigan Alliance for Families. Michigan Alliance for Families provides information, support and education to families of children and adults with disabilities from birth to age 26 who are in the educational system. The purpose of the project is to increase the involvement of families in their children's education and the educational system in general. Call 800.552.4821 for more information.

Respite and Childcare
The Lansing Area Parents’ Respite Center compiles the Michigan Respite Resource Guide, which lists by county the agencies that provide respite care throughout the state. Contact the Center at 517.372.6671 or contact UCP Michigan for agencies in your county.

Michigan Community Coordinated Child Care (known as 4C’s) tracks all licensed day care providers in the state, and notes specialties such as being equipped to accept children with special needs. The main office can put you in touch with the 4C's office for your area and its list of childcare providers that can meet your child's needs. Call them at 517.351.4171.

Financial Help
Depending on family income and the severity of your child's disability, your child may qualify for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) from the federal Social Security Administration. Contact them at 1.800.722.1213

The Family Support Subsidy offers monthly payments of $222.11 to families of children with disabilities with taxable incomes under $60,000. Contact at 517.241.5773.

If a child with a severe disability is at risk for requiring out-of-home care, the Children's Waiver Program enables children to remain in their parent's home or return to their parents' home from out-of-home placements, while receiving regular Medicaid State Plan services (i.e., case management, private duty nursing) and waiver services, regardless of their parent's income.

Both the Family Support Subsidy and the Children's Waiverprograms are administered through your county Community Mental Health Services program. You can find their numbers in the county government section of your phone book or by calling 517.335.8216.

Physical, Occupational, and Speech Therapy
Therapy, starting as early and as much as possible, can make a big difference in your child's future independence. Therapies may be obtained through your public school's special education services, Early On, CSHCS, and through private practitioners reimbursed by insurance companies.

Conductive Education is an intense therapy developed specifically for cerebral palsy. Aquinas College offers it in Grand Rapids (616.575.0575) and The Conductive Education Center of Metro Detroit  offers it in Sterling Heights (248.894.2072).

Assistive Technology
A child's disability may affect their physical functioning significantly, or very little. If needed, there are many devices that can help your child with communication, mobility, eating, etc. Schools often work with the Michigan's Integrated Technology Supports (517.908.3930) or, in the Upper Peninsula, with UCP Michigan's Assistive Technology Center (906.226.9903) to determine what technology will best meet your child's needs.

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