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Friday Mail

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August 28, 2014

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News Items:

Opportunities for Comments and Involvement

The movement for persons with disabilities, the movement for inclusive communities and the Arc movement lost a warrior.

Jon Barckholtz passed away on Saturday August 23rd.
A survivor of Michigan’s Institutions, an active, participating citizen of the Midland Community and friend of many of us, Jon will be missed. Jon was a president of the Arc Chapter in Midland and served on the Board of Directors for the Arc Michigan. His life and accomplishments will be celebrated with a Memorial Service next week. We will supply details as they are finalized.

Acting Director of the Bureau of Community Based Services for MCDH Named

from Lynda Zeller, Deputy Director, August 28, 2014

"I am pleased to announce that Tom Renwick is being named Acting Director of the Bureau of Community Based Services for MDCH beginning September 25, 2014.


Tom began his career with the Department of Mental Health in 1986 and moved to Central Office in 1990. His responsibilities have included working as a team leader on the Department's site review team, managing the Quality Assurance Section in the Division of Quality Management and Planning, and most recently directing the Division of Program Development, Consultation and Contracts. Tom has played key leadership roles in integration of key processes related to Public Act 500 and 501 (merging of PIHP and Coordinating Agency functions) and strengthening of customer service responses from all callers to the administration.


Please join me in welcoming Tom and at the same time thanking Liz for her service."


Save the Date! MiOTA & Autism Society of Michigan Advocacy Event October 9th

Lansing Convention Center, 333 E. Michigan Avenue, Lansing, MI 48933

The Michigan Occupational Therapy Association (MiOTA) in Michigan, and the Autism Society of Michigan are teaming up to raise awareness of Occupational Therapy as a beneficial and evidence-based treatment for individuals with Autism. With much of the discussion across the state focusing on Applied Behavioral Analysis, clarification in the insurance coverage and benefits of other therapies, including OTA, is needed.


This Advocacy even will pair up one Occupational Therapist with one Autism Society of Michigan staff, board member or society member, and meet with elected officials and their staff and provide information about Autism and Occupational Therapy.


For more information, please email Denise Hoffman, or call the MiOTA office at (517) 267-3918.                      top

The Myth of 'Out of Control' Disability Benefits

(U.S. News & World Report) Chad Stone, August 22, 2014

"The rising number of people receiving Social Security Disability Insurance benefits in recent decades and the projected depletion of the program's trust fund in 2016 are whipping up a frenzy in some quarters that disability insurance is “out of control.” Don’t believe it. These developments were largely anticipated and are quite manageable if policymakers don’t lose their heads over them." Click here to read moretop

MDCH Releases Request for Proposals for Health Innovation Grants

The Michigan Department of Community Health has release a Request for Proposal (RFP) for organizations interested in applying for Health Innovation Grants. These funds are for one-time projects up to $35,000 that demonstrate a creative approach to improving the delivery of Michigan’s health services. MDCH plans to award grant funding to approximately 40-50 projects.

This is the second year Michigan has awarded Health Innovation Grants. Last year, 170 grants were awarded for $1.25 million. Applicants may be public, non-profit and private organizations. Questions from applicants are due by Sept. 5 and all applications are due Sept. 22.

For more information, please reference the attached press release. Additional details regarding the application process are available on the MDCH website at,4612,7-132-2946_43858-335463--,00.html

Please contact Geralyn Lasher at (517) 241-2112 or e-mail at with any questions or concerns.                                 top

2014 Prader-Willi Syndrome Conference to be held in Kalamazoo - October 4th

The Prader-Willi Syndrome Association of Michigan is proud to sponsor and host a Behavioral PWS Conference at the Bronson Gilmore Center for Health Education in Kalamazoo. Don’t miss this opportunity to explore the various challenges that families, educators and providers face over time and come away with great hints and tools needed to managing behavior and what affect the environment plays in the behavior.

This year we are excited to announce our National and International speakers. Jennifer Miller, MD – Pediatric Endocrinologist and Barbara J Goff, Ed.D – Professor of Special Education.


Lunch will be provided at no charge for professionals and $10.00 per person for family and friends. Click here for additional information and to register. Deadline is Sept. 26th. Send questions to          top

MI Alliance for Families seeking Regional Parent Mentor to cover Branch, Calhoun, Hillsdale and Jackson Counties - Respond by: September 15th

MI Alliance for Families is hiring a new Regional Parent Mentor to cover the following counties: Jackson, Calhoun, Branch and Hillsdale. This is a part-time position working 24 hours per week. If you live in one of these counties and are interested in providing information and support to other families around educational issues, please read the attached job description (pdf) for more information.

Regional Parent Mentors must have a child or close family member with a disability who is or has received early intervention or special education services, strong connections to community resources, leadership experience, excellent interpersonal, communication and computer skills as well as experience working on boards or committees.

Please send resumes to Michelle Miller at by Monday, September 15th.                                           top

Free ADA Workshop for Employers: Employment & the Workplace - Understanding the Americans with Disability Act (ADA)

Date: Monday, September 15

Time: 8:30 am - 10:00 am

Place: Michigan First Credit Union, 2700 Evergreen Road, (696/Evergreen), Lathrup Village, MI  (Please park on the east side of the building)


Panelists: Bart Feinbaum, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan; Gail Cober, U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission - Detroit Office; and Susan Hartmus-Hiser, Vercruysee, Murrqy & Calzone P.C.

Panel Discussion will cover: Hiring a person with a disability; Providing reasonable accommodations; and Title I of the ADA


Please RSVP to Tamara Kincaid at or (248) 557-5070


Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) signed into Law on July 22nd

President Barack Obama on July 22, 2014, signed into law the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA). Congress passed the Act by a wide bipartisan majority; it is the first legislative reform in 15 years of the public workforce system. WIOA is designed to help job seeker employment, education, training, and support services to succeed in the labor and to match employers with the skilled workers they need to compete in the global economy.

This Act will make important changes to disability programs. Under the new law, the Independent Living and Assistive Technology Act programs, and the National Institute on Disability and Independent Living Rehabilitation from the U.S. Department of Education to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Administration for Community Living (ACL).

The Act will increase individuals with disabilities’ access to high-quality workforce services to prepare them for competitive integrated employment. It requires better employer engagement and promotes physical and programmatic accessibility to employment and training services.

Click here for more information about the WIOA   top

August 5th Primary Results from RWC Advocacy

As Michigan's August 5 primary election night draws near a close, the results show voters kept many, but not all, incumbents who faced primary challenges and voted in favor of Proposal 1, the measure that dedicates funds to local units, while ensuring legislation will go into effect to phase out industrial personal property taxes. A lack of challengers for the top slot and bad weather may have been a perfect storm of low voter participation, however, it is too early to tell if the current 1990 record for voter apathy will fall.

Click here for election results summary from RWC Advocacy (pdf)

Click here for results of all races in Michigan (htm)


Social Security Field Office Service Changes Effective August 1, 2014
Effective August 1, 2014, the Social Security Administration (SSA) is making changes to its field office services that may affect individuals and families working with chapters of The Arc on support and service coordination, information and referral, emergency services, and other services. Click here to read more.                 top

Save the Date! Michigan Supporting & Including Brothers & Sisters 2014 State Conference Saturday, October 18th - See Flyer  (pdf)

8:30 am  - 4:30 pm

Crowne Plaza Lansing West Hotel, 925 N. Creyts Road, Lansing, MI


Leaders in Policy Advocacy Accepting Applications for October Class in Mt. Pleasant

Leaders in Policy Advocacy, an intensive leadership development project administered by the Arc Michigan and funded by the Michigan Developmental Disabilities Council, is now accepting applications for the next class, scheduled to begin in October in Mt. Pleasant. Eligible applicants are adults with developmental disabilities and parents of minor children with DD. More information and an application form can be found here:      top

Congress Weighing Tax-Free Disability Savings Accounts 


July 24, 2014

A long-stagnant bill that would establish a new way for people with disabilities to save money
without jeopardizing their government benefits is starting to make its way through Congress.

The legislation known as the Achieving a Better Life Experience, or ABLE, Act would allow people with disabilities to create special accounts where they could save up to $100,000 without risking eligibility for benefits like Social Security. What’s more, under the plan, individuals would not lose Medicaid coverage no matter how much money is deposited in the proposed accounts.

A U.S. Senate hearing Wednesday marked the first step in Congress for the bill which has been under consideration since 2006. Click here to read more.  

HHS Issues New Guidance on Implementing Person-Centered Planning and Self-Direction

On June 6, 2014, The Secretary of Health and Human Services issued guidance on person-centered planning and self-direction for implementing Section 2402(s) of the Affordable Care Act. This provision of law requires the Secretary to ensure all states develop systems for delivery of home and community-based services and supports (HCBS) that are designed to respond to the changing needs of beneficiaries, maximize independence, support self-direction, and achieve a more consistent and coordinated approach to the administration of policies and procedures across programs providing HCBS. Click here to read more. (pdf)


Do you need a ride to a Medicaid health appointment?

In Michigan people eligible for Medicaid get their health care either through a managed care plan or through fee-for-service.


If you get Medicaid through fee-for-service and need a ride to a Medicaid health appointment (like a doctor or dentist), contact the person on the attached list who works for your county's Department of Human Services (DHS). If you get Medicaid through a managed care plan and need a ride to a Medicaid health appointment, contact you managed care plan.


Welcome to the Organizer's Forum! NEXT CALL Tuesday, September 16th

presented by National Disability Leadership Alliance (NDLA)

How can you get involved? Join our monthly Organizer’s Forum calls!

Calls are held the third Tuesday of every month, 1:00 - 2:00 pm EST.

Call in number: 1.213.342.3000

Code 193134#

The Organizer’s Forum is a resource for disability organizers. Our goal is to build the organizing capacity of the disability community across the country. We aim to support community organizers in the disability community, share tips and tools to do our work more effectively, and provide organizers a sounding board and community for this work.


We host a call on a different topic every other month. About half the time the topic covers a specific community organizing skill, such as setting up a town-hall meeting or getting out the disability vote. The other half, we focus on expanding our organizing work by looking at intersections of disability with race, age, immigration, labor, etc. These calls generally follow the format of a welcome followed by two or three experts in a given area speaking for a few minutes on their experiences, advice and challenges. The calls include a 20-30 minute question and answer period. Read more here.  top

Michigan Community Dental Clinics (MCDC) accept Medicaid 

MCDC has a number of dental clinics throughout the state and accepts Medicaid. Visit the website to see what services are available and where the clinics are located or call the MCDC administrative office at 231.547.7638.           top

Sexual Abuse of Children with Disabilities: A National Snapshot
The Ms. Foundation for Women and the Center on Victimization and Safety (CVS) of the Vera Institute of Justice, partnered on a report investigating the sexual abuse of children with disabilities entitled "Sexual Abuse of Children with Disabilities: A National Snapshot"
(pdf). The issue brief, which hopes to begin a conversation around strategies to end the sexual abuse of children with disabilities, provides an overview of the latest research on the incidence and prevalence of this abuse. It discusses the dynamics of sexual abuse, the factors that contribute to its high prevalence, the status of prevention and intervention services designed to address this problem, and critical gaps and opportunities. It concludes with recommendations to create a national strategy in response to this epidemic. top
Michigan Alliance for Families announces release of new DVD “Making the Most of Early On®

"Making the Most of Earlyon" is designed to help parents better understand and access the system of supports and services for children from birth through age three.

This video is chaptered into six easy to navigate topics:

  • What is Early On?

  • Parent to Parent Advice

  • Natural Environments

  • Problem Solving

  • Transition: Leaving Early On

  • Parent Survey

Each topic includes options for Spanish subtitles, Arabic subtitles, and English closed caption. In addition to the DVD, parents can find more early intervention resources at:

Parents and professionals can view the videos via the Michigan Alliance for Families YouTube Channel  at

A limited quantity of DVDs is available.

“Making the Most of Early On®” was produced through an IDEA grant awarded by the Michigan Department of Education to Michigan Alliance for Families.


Michigan Alliance for Families' upcoming workshops can be viewed at:  Upcoming and archived Webinars can be viewed at:

Check out our new brochure (pdf)


Michigan History of Our State Institutions for People with Developmental Disabilities

This video documents this regretful history and celebrates the hard work of families and advocates with the final closure of our last institution in Michigan in 2010.  top

The White House Disability Group E-mail Distribution List
In order to keep the public informed about various disability issues the White House has been hosting monthly calls. To learn about future calls, request to be added to the White House Disability email distribution list, by visiting the White House website.

These calls are open to the public and offer a unique opportunity to hear about important disability issues from individuals who work in the Federal government. You can also submit questions before the call at                              

Michigan Alliance for Families Web site offers Resources to help Families

Michigan Alliance for Families is excited to announce that our website ( now includes information to help families become more involved in the growth and development of infants and toddlers.

Michigan Alliance for Families, in partnership with Early On Michigan, announces resources to help families know their rights, better communicate their child’s needs, support the development of infants and toddlers, and prepare for the transition out of Early On into the preschool years. These resources are available to families, Early On Service Coordinators and Service Providers to increase the involvement of Michigan families in the growth and development of infants and toddlers.
Website resources include:

Handouts and video information on developmental milestones and how to promote development and learning through play

  • Handouts and video information to help families prepare to leave Early On and move on to Preschool
  • Learning tools to help families improve communication skills
  • Information to help families know their rights (Procedural Safeguards), including evaluation, Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP) development, natural environments and service coordination.                       top



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