APRIL 2020
 Click here to download a text only version of this newsletter in Microsoft Word format. 

This is indeed a time of uncertainty. Schools and businesses are closed. Public gathering cancelled. Terms like "social distancing," and "flatten the curve" dominate the news. And Michigan residents have been asked to stay in their homes except for essential things like picking up groceries and food, medical reasons, or for exercise. Many are feeling a sense of isolation, many are confused, and many are rightfully scared.

And while our offices might be closed, we want you to know, Disability Network is here for you.  Our staff is working diligently to contact each and every one of our consumers. We are planning "virtual activities" for our peer groups, consumers, and their families.  Our staff are available via email or on the phone to answer questions, to provide information, or just to lend a listening ear to anyone who might need it.

How Can We Help?   -  CALL TODAY  -  1-800-782-4160

Our Information and Referral program is your first point of contact for all your disability-related questions or concerns. 

  1. Disability Rights & Resources - Know your rights, the law, find support groups, access community resources, and learn facts about disabilities.
  2. Basic Needs - Our I&R specialists will help you access community resources for anything from utility shut off notices, food pantries, or resources for housing assistance.
  3. SSI/SSDI - Anyone needing to apply for these programs can contact us for help with applications. No matter if you are just starting the process or are seeking assistance on the best direction on filing an appeal, we will work with you along the way.
  4. Medicare/Medicaid - A certified MMAP (Michigan Medicare/Medicaid Assistance Program) counselor is located at DNMM to help with any Medicare Part D, low income subsidy or Medicaid needs.
  5. DHHS Applications - Home help services, food stamps, cash assistance, and more. We will help you determine what you want to apply for and offer assistance in applying if you need it.
  6. Housing - Whether you're looking for housing or looking for help staying in your housing, we can help with resources for affordable and accessible housing, ramps, housing vouchers and payment assistance.
  7. Peer Support and Mentoring - Sometimes someone with a disability wants to talk to someone else with a disability about obstacles in their life or in their community. We have a network of individuals dedicated to helping people overcome barriers. We also offer peer groups that meet monthly for a variety of activities in Bay, Midland and Saginaw Counties. During this "Stay Home" period, the peer groups will be meeting "virtually."
  8. Assistive Technology - We can help you find the assistive technology you need and the resources to pay for the AT. We also have several low tech AT items and offer AT Demos on an individual basis to help you decide what you may need before buying an item for your home.
Please note, due to regulations in place during the COVID-19 outbreak, some of these services may be limited in scope and/or availability. We will do our best to address any needs or concerns we can. We appreciate your patience during this time.

Making My Own Choices

Terry is a 41 year old gentleman. He had a long history legal issues including petty theft. He was on multiple psychotropic medications.  Terry had a been assigned a public guardian, but he was not happy under that arrangement.

For the past six years, DNMM staff have been supporting Terry primarily with regard to medical appointments and follow-ups. Terry's supports coordinator, Jody, accompanies Terry to appointments and she works with him to ensure understanding of information. With Jody's support, Terry has been able to focus on achieving other independent living goals.

Terry's sister successfully sought guardianship over Terry and he began began living with her. Under the new arrangement,  Terry made significant improvements in his life. He was taken off of all of the psychotropic medications and no longer needed mental health services. 

The arrangement was working so well, that Terry felt it was time to become his own guardian; to make his own choices. In 2019, Terry became his own guardian with his sister as his payee. DNMM continued supporting him in whatever areas he requested. He has not gotten into any legal trouble and is now competitively employed at SVRC Industries working on the production floor. 

Terry now has a girlfriend and spends a lot of time with his nephews. He attends DNMM's community inclusion activities and the Consumer Advisory Dinner. He enjoys riding his bike, working in the yard, and going to see Saginaw Spirit hockey games.  Terry is proud of how far he has come and gives a lot of credit to his sister for turning his life around, and to Jody for the support she provided.  
April is Autism Awareness Month

Austism Awareness Ribbon
Disability Network of Mid-Michigan is proud join the Autism Society of America in celebrating National Autism Awareness Month (NAAM). This year's theme, "Celebrate Differences," is designed to build a better awareness of the signs, symptoms, and realities of autism.
#CelebrateDifferences focuses on providing information and resources for communities to be more aware of autism, promote acceptance, and be more inclusive in everyday life.

The prevalence of autism in the United States has risen from 1 in 125 children in 2010 to 1 in 59 in 2020. R ecognizing this continued increase, the goal for NAAM is  to further increase awareness about autism signs, symptoms and opportunities through: information and referrals, events, printable and digital resources, and community partnerships with businesses and organizations dedicated to building inclusive experiences.

Now more than ever, we need to come together to support each other, and remember our most vulnerable populations. The global pandemic has greatly affected efforts to host events celebrating NAAM, from fundraisers, support walks, and even sensory-friendly showings at theaters. But, you can still make a difference. You can click here to Take The Pledge to spread autism awareness, promote acceptance and ignite change! 

National Autism Awareness Month: Autism Society #CelebratesDifferences
National Autism Awareness Month: #CelebratesDifferences

sensory kit bag with dow diamond logo_ a heart with puzzle pieces in multiple colors_ and the logos of DNMM_ arc of midland_ great lakes loons_ and midland noon rotary
The COVID-19 pandemic has affected each and every one of us. One of the many things affected is the minor league baseball season, which for those of us in mid-Michigan means our beloved Great Lakes Loons. There's no baseball right now...but it will be back. And when it does come back, we are pleased that Dow Diamond will offer sensory kits for its patrons. As sponsor of accessible services, Disability Network of Mid-Michigan is proud to be a part of this new service. 

The kits would not have been possible without the efforts of our friends and partners at the Great Lakes Loons, Midland Noon Rotary, and the ARC of Midland. Together, we are all striving to make our community, and the world at-large, a kinder, gentler, and more respectful place for everyone. And certainly we hope to make Dow Diamond a place where everyone can #DiveIn.  We look forward to the upcoming season. See you at the ballpark!
It's Census Time! Be Counted 2020! 

Every ten years, the U.S. Census Bureau conducts a census to count the number of people living in the United States. Starting in March, census invitations were mailed to households, and now, more than ever before, the Census Bureau is encouraging people to fill out the census electronically (i.e. online). You can also call the Census Bureau directly to file at 1-844-330-2020. 

CALL DNMM TODAY!  1-800-782-4160

everyone counts census day april 1_ 2020 shows clip art people with arms raised in all colors of the rainbow

The census count has consequences we will live with for the next decade, if not longer. This makes the stakes even higher.
Michigan stands to lose millions of dollars in federal support for programs that use census data. These include Medicaid, nutrition assistance, highway construction and planning, Title I and Special Education Grants, Foster Care and Child Care Grants, K-12 education, Section 8 Vouchers, and Head Start/Early Start - for which Michigan received more than $14 billion in 2015.

The Census Bureau has identified people with disabilities as a hard-to-count population, which means they are at a greater risk of being under-counted in the census. The reasons for this include accessibility challenges and wider systemic inequalities. People with disabilities are also over-represented among other groups that are considered hard-to-count, such as people of color, people with low incomes, and people experiencing homelessness.

Census 2020 Video Ad: Michigan (Confidentiality)
Census 2020 Video Ad: Michigan (Confidentiality)


The Census Bureau's online response option represents both an opportunity and challenge to the disability community. For many, the option will be more convenient than responding by mail. This is, in part, due to the greater availability and increased effectiveness of screen readers, electronic magnifiers, and other assistive technology tools. However, a significant digital divide exists between people with and without disabilities: people with disabilities are about 20 percentage points less likely to own a computer, tablet, or smartphone or subscribe to home broadband. Without reliable internet access, people with disabilities may encounter difficulties completing the online form.


We want to make sure Michigan gets as accurate a count of its residents as possible. You can help by sharing this article with your family, friends, neighbors, and coworkers. Click on the images below to download some helpful questions and answers about the census.


Disability Network of Mid-Michigan (DNMM) is pleased to announce it has once again received a three-year CARF accreditation for the following programs:
  • Centers for Independent Living
  • Employee Development Services
  • Board Governance
  • Services Coordination
  • Supported Living
  • Transition Services
CARF Accredited
CARF is an independent, non-profit accrediting body whose mission is to promote the quality, value and optimal outcomes of services. CARF establishes consumer-focused standards to help organizations measure and improve the quality of their programs and services. Achieving accreditation requires a service provider to meet extensive standards of care, commit to quality improvement, and place its focus on the unique needs and results of services for each of the persons the provider serves. DNMM has been CARF accredited since 1998.
"This significant achievement is an indication of our organization's commitment to improving the quality of the lives of the consumers we support," said Kelly PeLong, DNMM Executive Director. "This accreditation represents the highest level of accreditation that can be awarded and it shows our substantial conformance to CARF standards. It is a credit to the teamwork and dedication of our staff and our board. The CARF accreditation precisely aligns with our mission of promoting and encouraging independence for all people with disabilities and our vision of inclusive and accessible communities that provide opportunities for individual choice."
Virtual Peer Groups

Due to the COVID-19 outbreak and the Governor's "Stay Home" order, our Peer Groups will not be meeting in-person through April 30th. We are reaching out to each member of the peer group via virtual platforms like Skype and Zoom. We are also planning virtual peer group meetings in addition to our already existing virtual groups.  For more information, or if you just need someone to contact you, please email LaraBeth Sullivan.

silhouette of twelve women holding hands with brilliant blue sky above

An empowering virtual peer group for women with disabilities.  
This event will be held using the Microsoft Teams app on your mobile device or home computer. The group meets every two weeks.

clipart image of two people one in red shaking hands with another in a computer screen
"O.C.T - Our Chat Time"

This virtual peer group meets once a month. Each month will feature a new topic. 

At Disability Network of Mid-Michigan, inclusion is a universal human right for all people, regardless of race, gender, religion, disability, sexual orientation, or any other discernible quality. To be inclusive is to promote a sense of belonging, respect, and value for who you are as a person. It is about equal access and opportunities for everyone. Inclusion is an integral part of our Independent Living philosophy and of our agency's vision of "Accessible and Inclusive communities that provide opportunities for individual choice."

In the twelve counties we serve in Mid-Michigan, Disability Network offices have been, and continue to be, places of solace, understanding, and information for all.  We are committed to promoting and protecting diversity and inclusion, within our offices, among our community partners, and throughout the 15 Centers for Independent Living in Michigan.

Pride. Access. Inclusion on rainbow flag with disability logo
DNMM advocates for the removal of barriers to independence and full inclusion of people with disabilities throughout the Mid-Michigan area. DNMM pledges to ensure accessibility. Each year, DNMM conducts a review of its own architectural, environmental, attitudinal, employment, communication, transportation, and other barriers that may exist which prohibit full access to our services.  
If you have any issues of concern regarding the accessibility of DNMM services and facilities, we encourage you to share that information with us.  
Please send your concerns or suggestions to:
        Executive Director
        Disability Network of Mid-Michigan
        1705 S. Saginaw Road
        Midland, MI 48640
Disability Network of Mid-Michigan | 989-835-4041 | Email Us | dnmm.org