PAC Newsletter
February, 2021

Volume 2, Issue 2
Nichole Moore, Ed.S.
Director of Special Services
Take a Break,
Keep Perspective,
Be Kind in Uncertain Times

The COVID-19 pandemic presents a perfect storm of unknowns. Educators, Parents, and Students are experiencing anxiety and overwhelm in the face of school closures and uncertain timelines. Try these three mindful practices to ride the waves of this challenging time. Click on the link below to review mindful practices during uncertain times.

Rebecca Smedley
Adult Transition Program

Becky Smedley is a teacher in the Adult Transition Program. She has been with Walled Lake Schools since 2018. Becky has had a long career in special education. She received her undergraduate degree in special education from Central Michigan University.  Becky received a Master's in Educational Leadership from Wayne State University.  

Becky loves working with individuals with special needs and encourages them to gain as much independence as possible. Becky is passionate about all student success.
Do you know an exceptional person who has supported the special needs community within Walled Lake Schools? Consider nominating them for a Shining Stars Award! Qualities include a positive attitude, dedication, dependability, self-motivation, helpfulness and more.
Nominees can be anyone within the special needs community: teacher, para, bus driver, aide, parent, volunteer, etc.

A panel of anonymous judges will select 2 top entries.

All nominations must be received on or before April 5, 2021
Children's Special Health Care Services (CSHCS)

Children's Special Health Care Services (CSHCS) is a program within the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services. It is for children and some adults with special health care needs and their families.

CSHCS helps persons with chronic health problems by providing:
  • Coverage and referral for specialty services based on the person's health problems. 
  • Family centered services to support you in your role as primary caretaker of your child. 
  • Community-based services to help you care for your child at home and maintain normal routines. 
  • Culturally competent services which demonstrate awareness of cultural differences. 
  • Coordinated services to pull together the services of many different providers who work within different agencies. 
  • Assistance with applying for the Children with Special Needs Fund. Created to help children with special health care needs when other funding sources are not available.

Several factors determine if a person is eligible for CSHCS:
  • Qualifying medical condition
  • Children must be under the age of 21
  • Citizenship: The client, or a parent of the minor client, or court appointed guardian must be one of the following:
  • A US citizen, or
  • A documented non-citizen who has been admitted for permanent residence, or
  • A non-citizen legally admitted migrant farm worker (i.e., seasonal agricultural worker).
  • Must be a Michigan resident
  • Not based on income. Families with any income are eligible as long as the previous criteria are met.
  • There is a fee to join CSHCS. This fee is waived if the client has Medicaid, MIChild, a court-appointed guardian or lives in a foster home. The fee is determined with a sliding scale based upon family income and family size. Please call the Local County Health Department CSHCS office or the Family Phone line at 1-800-359-3722 if you have specific questions about this fee.
For more information:
81st Annual Virtual Michigan Conference for Exceptional Children (MCEC)

March 3rd-March 5th
Attend any one or all days

The Michigan Council for Exceptional Children (MCEC) is a community of educators and partners in learning dedicated to advancing the success of students with exceptionalities in Michigan. The mission of MCEC is to strengthen the field of education to impact success for individuals with exceptionalities by providing professional development, support, and advocacy for children, youth, families, special, and general educators. 

Michigan CEC presents national speakers, breakout sessions and exhibitors. The goal is for each participant to have a productive learning experience through quality, research-based sessions, enjoyable receptions and productive organizational meetings.
20th Annual Virtual START Conference

Fueling Engagement for Meaningful Outcomes

Monday, May 3rd

Keynote speakers:
Emily Rubin, Director, Communications Crossroads & Gregory Hanley, CEO Behavioral Consulting

Learn ways to foster a child's social emotional development to fuel their learning and ways to address problem behavior, particularly for those with autism

Scholarships are available
UM researchers are seeking Michigan parents to complete a series of online surveys learning more about families’ experiences with childcare, school, child remote learning, and family media use during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The study will recruit about 300 parents of 5-10 year old children in Michigan, particularly interested in the experiences of parents raising children with developmental differences and special needs. Eligible parents can receive $30 for participating.
Filling Your Toolbox
Social Emotional Well-being:
Bullying 101
Technology Tips:
1.DeafBlind Central Story Time Virtual Book Readings - including ASL interpreting, vocabulary and more!
2.Learn how to create 2 screens on a Chromebook as well as on Zoom!
3.Learn how to use the Select to Speak (screen reader) accessibility feature
Peer-to-Peer Resources:
Houseparty app - a free social networking app for kids ages 12 and up
Friendship Circle’s Great Bike Giveaway provides an opportunity to win a bike as well as provides a fundraising platform for friends and family members. The Great Bike Giveaway gives a child with special needs the experience, joy and independence of riding a special bike.

From February 10th, 2021 to March 10th, 2021, participants have the opportunity to participate in the giveaway and win the bike best suited for them.
Project SEARCH - Troy Beaumont Hospital

Project SEARCH Program is a unique, business led, school-to-work program that takes place entirely at the workplace. Project SEARCH is a one-year transition program that involves the collaboration of business partnerships, community agencies and education to assist students with disabilities in gaining specific job and employability skills. Project SEARCH is an internationally recognized program that was established in 1996 by at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center. Troy Beaumont Project SEARCH program started in September 2011. The cornerstone of Project SEARCH is total immersion in a large business. Total workplace immersion facilitates a seamless combination of classroom instruction, career exploration, on-the-job training and support through internships or worksite rotations. The goal of Project SEARCH is competitive employment upon completion of the program
Virtual College Financial Aid Night

Students and families looking for help paying for college are encouraged to register for an upcoming Virtual College Financial Aid Night hosted by Michigan Department of Treasury's MI Student Aid team. Sessions will be available from 6:30-8 p.m. EST every Tuesday and Thursday in February. All sessions are free and open to the public. Participants will be able to gather information on the following financial aid topics:

 * FAFSA application information
 * Federal financial aid programs
 * State financial aid programs
 * Scholarship searching
 * MiSSG Student Portal Accounts

Due to limited space, participants are encouraged to sign up for one session only.

MiABLE Disability Savings Program webinar

presented by Scott de Varona, Division Director
hosted by Michigan Department of Treasury in collaboration with Oakland Schools

Learn about this important disability savings program

Access code for viewing: GvCifNP4
Rethinking Guardianship: Facilitating Lifelong Self-Determination
Tuesday, March 9, 2021

Join Michigan Alliance for Families and Dohn Hoyle from The Arc Michigan

This workshop covers guardianship from a historical perspective, strangers as guardians, and alternatives to guardianship
• What are alternatives to guardianship?
• What is power of attorney?
• How can medical and financial decisions be handled?
• What is self-determination?
• What is supported decision making?
• How can we best support students as they transition to adulthood?
Log On and Log In to Virtual Meetings
Tuesday, March 9, 2021

Join Michigan Alliance for Families and Special Education Mediation Services

Virtual meetings are probably here to stay and in this uncertain and ever-changing school year, communication between families and schools is even more important. Learn how to optimize the effectiveness of this new way of planning. This one hour session will help you be prepared for a productive virtual experience. It will cover:
• Pre-meeting preparation
• Communication techniques for during the meeting
• Protecting confidentiality while online
• Managing the challenges of virtual meetings
• Follow up suggestions
Behavior Intervention in a Virtual World
Thursday, March 18, 2021

Join Michigan Alliance for Families and Special Education Mediation Services

Behavior supports and interventions look very different when students are learning remotely. Schools have the responsibility to update their intervention plans and help students learn replacement behaviors and reduce the behaviors interfering with their learning. Parents are an important part of this process.
• How to determine what updates or changes might need to be made to your student’s behavior intervention plan in the remote setting
• How to collect data on your student’s current behavior intervention plan
• How to collect data on any strategies for changes to the behavior intervention plan that you have implemented in the remote setting
• How to address the concerns or struggles in the remote setting with the IEP team
Skills for Effective Parent Advocacy
Tuesday, March 23, 2021

Hosted by Michigan Alliance for Families

In times of COVID parent advocacy is important. This free online workshop explores skills parents can use to become more effective advocates for their child with a disability.
• Understand your child's disability
• Know the key players
• Know your rights and responsibilities
• Get organized
• Clear and effective communication
• Know how to resolve disputes
Family Matters - Michigan Department of Education

Family Matters provides parents and families with information about special education and other resources. Find useful information about Transitions (age of majority), Personal Curriculums, PBIS, FBAs, ABA, FAPE, IDEA and more!
A great resource to utilize.
Walled Lake Schools are lucky to have a parent and talented musician in the district.

Ms. Marlowe, of Swingset Mamas, works with the Special Services population providing music in fun and interactive ways.

Check out one of her many YouTube videos below

Walled Lake has developed a Social Emotional Learning page where families can access resources and tools to help support the social and emotional growth of your child. Resources are organized by grade level and are constantly updated so be sure to check back often.
If you need additional resources please contact your child's classroom teacher, school counselor or administrator.

Click on the links below to access the
newsletters of these organizations!
For over 29 years Oakland Mediation Center (OMC) has provided conflict resolution and education services that are quite affordable and quickly empower community members, families, businesses, courts and schools to resolve conflict. OMC is an apolitical, non-profit, volunteer-based Community Dispute Resolution Program (CDRP) center whose volunteers represent and serve the community.
Michigan Alliance for Families provides information, support, and education for families who have children and young adults (birth to 26 years of age) who receive (or may be eligible to receive) special education services. This website can help you with finding information on special education issues, disability specific information and FREE webinars.

As parents of children with IEPs we feel it is vitally important to share information, resources and opportunities related to Special Education services. Navigating special education is no easy task and our hope is that this monthly newsletter will keep you updated.

PAC Executive Committee
Cory Hensley -
Aimee Page -
Denise Dunn -
Emma Tryson -

Our mission is to increase awareness and current best practices in special education while working towards a larger voice, meaningful communication and more inclusive practices and parental involvement.

We Are On Social Media!

Stay informed about our upcoming events! Click on the image to
access the Parent Advisory
Committee (PAC) website.