409 Linden Avenue Jackson MI 49203 www.disabilityconnect.org
August 2017 Newsletter ~Editor: Holly Peterson
Welcome back to school...there was a time when that looked pretty much the same for everyone! That certainly is not the case any longer. It could be going to school in a traditional school building close to your home, you could be bussing to a career center type program, going off to a community college, trade school or university or even doing any of the above from your living room in online classes.

No matter whether your children, grandchildren or yourself are headed to an Early Childhood program, grade school, middle school, high school, charter school, college or other, we all need to know about the supports to make these the very best opportunities!

In this newsletter we will talk about where and how to find the needed supports to make education and accommodation needs work hand in hand.
  Start with the basics...
Written by: Holly Peterson

Let's start with babies... you may have concerns with your infant or toddlers development, you can't quite pinpoint what it is, but you are just concerned. You have talked to your doctor and they told you to wait a little while "because all children develop a little differently at their own rate". This isn't yet settling to you because this is YOUR child and you want them to excel! It's a pretty easy answer~ all you have to do in Jackson County is to contact Early On by calling 1-800 early on. They can talk to you about your concerns and offer free evaluations.

    Now let's say your child is in elementary school and you have concerns about his/her ability to keep up with other students. Maybe your child has Cerebral Palsy, ADD or ADHD and focus is a big concern in learning. Their is a way to ask for help and to have assists in a "formal plan" for their education. This could happen with an IEP (Individual Education Plan) or a 504 Plan. First an evaluation must be requested. In order to learn about his process ~ you can call us at disability Connections or contact Michigan Alliance for Families ~ michiganallianceforfamilies.org They have a most wonderful website full of information AND there is also a local parent mentor; Andrea Mann who can help you. I can't recommend this resource enough!

   Next, let's assume your child has a 504 Plan or an IEP providing the extra need3ed services already. Be sure that you understand how to make the most of that plan to best fit your child!  We as parents need to educate ourselves so that we can best advocate for our child!  We need to know how those supports will look as we transition from one classroom to several. Some special education settings and some inclusion classroom settings. Be sure you have a clear understanding of the "diploma" track or "certificate of completion" track. Some students qualify for services to the age of 26 in Michigan while others do not. Be sure you know the options.

    Graduation...this can be a scary process! it is something that you need to plan for far before 12th grade! Students with an IEP or 504 Plan may qualify for other community resources. They could come through providers like disability Connections, Michigan Rehabilitation Services, Kit Young's ~ Young Adult Program Lifeways or others. I am sorry to tell you that if you don't know about them ...you may not be told about them! Let me repeat... EDUCATE yourself!

    College, trade programs and even volunteering can be your next level getting you closer to employment. Maybe college isn't for you, but getting work experience through employment or volunteering will be your "education".  Showing employers that you are reliable, willing to learn and work to your abilities is what will get you closer to paid employment in the end.

    Transition to "adulthood" is huge for both students and parents! I can NOT stress enough that you contact myself or other individuals in the know! Jackson County ISD contracts wit me to work with families on these issues including guardianship, community resources, SSI, trusts, CHORE services, food benefits, respite, social programs and job coaching to name a few. Typically I will meet with a family a few times to go over all that is available that fits the student, adult and their needs. I can help direct and get you enrolled with LIFEWAYS,, DHHS, SSI and more. We will also talk about the future, what plans are for housing, living supports, finances and more. As a parent of an adult child with special needs, I understand these programs and services first hand.

There are additional program through disAbility Connections that work with local students to build on work and self help skills.
Know your resources...
 The point of what has been said about education is that we shouldn't wait! Don't wait when you as a parent have questions about learning disabilities and supports!

Don't wait to be proactive about the IEP or 504 Process! Learn all that you can so that you are a contributing member of the educational team that plans for your child.

Call disAbility Connections, we have staff that works with individuals of all ages. Our staff is knowledgeable about local resources and are interested in connecting you to those that will give you the best opportunities for personal success.

Don't worry...We don't expect you to know it all or remember it all. We are happy to meet as often as you need in order to have a more full understanding for yourself and your child.
Michigan changes all schools to common calendar starting August 23rd

  • September 4th ~ Monday
  • disability Connections will be CLOSED LABOR DAY!

  • September 12th ~ Tuesday
  • Parkinson Support Group 6:15 - 7:45 PM at disability Connections 

  • September 13th ~ Wednesday 6 to 8 PM GOGOs ~ Camp McGregor Hay Ride

disAbility Awareness Dinner
October 5th ~ Country Club of Jackson ~ Speaker:
State Supreme Court Justice Bernstein
Tickets: $45 each or sponsor tables of 8 $400. Reserve by phone at 782-6054 or online at www.disabilityconnect.org
     CREATE IT.... 

One way to do that is to make your voice heard! Take part in the things that affect you and family members. I will throw this out there yet another time..."if it is to be, it is up to me" because there is so much truth in that statement. 

When things arise that you could assist us in advocating for we will try to pass them onto you , together we do make a difference...create our own future.
Public Act 280 of 1939, as amended, and consultation guidelines for Medicaid policy provide an opportunity to review proposed changes in Medicaid policies and procedures.
Please review the policy summary and the attached materials that describe the specific changes being proposed. Let us know why you support the change or oppose the change.
Submit your comments to the analyst by the due date specified. Your comments must be received by the due date to be considered for the final policy bulletin.
Thank you for participating in the consultation process.
Director, Program Policy Division
Bureau of Medicaid Policy and Health System Innovation
Project Number: 1712-HCBS Comments Due: August 30, 2017 Proposed Effective Date: October 1, 2017 Mail Comments to: Elizabeth Gallagher
Bureau of Medicaid Policy and Health System Innovation
Medical Services Administration
P.O. Box 30479
Lansing, Michigan 48909-7979
Telephone Number: 517-335-5068 Fax Number: 517-241-7816
E-mail Address: GallagherE@michigan.gov
Policy Subject: Compliance with Federal Home and Community Based Services (HCBS) Final Rule by New Providers
Affected Programs: Habilitation Supports Waiver, Managed Specialty Services & Supports Waiver, MI Choice Waiver
Distribution: MI Choice Waiver Agencies, Prepaid Inpatient Health Plans
Policy Summary: This bulletin informs new HCBS providers and their provider network that effective October 1, 2017, they must be in immediate compliance with the federal HCBS Final Rule in order to render services to Medicaid beneficiaries.
Purpose: The purpose of this policy is to comply with the federal HCBS Final Rule deadline