Resources listed are not endorsed by DSAWM, but are a list of options that are available. If you know of additional West Michigan resources, please let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For Individuals with Down Syndrome, Parents, and Caregivers
Michigan Alliance for Families maintains an informative and thorough guide to assist parents and caregivers in understanding and navigating the IEP.
Kent ISD collaborated with the Parent Advisors for Special Education (PASE) to develop an informational handbook to make the IEP process more manageable and user friendly for parents.
State Law Resources
Family Matters an outreach effort from the Michigan Department of Education’s Office of Special Education to provide parents with information about special education and other resources
Michigan Special Education Website
Michigan Administrative Rules for Special Education With Related IDEA Federal Regulations
Special Education Mediation Services SEMS provides mediation, facilitation, and training services for working through disagreements so that children with disabilities promptly receive the services they need to develop and succeed in school.
Federal Law Resources
IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act)
Section 504 ensures children with disabilities have equal access to education, including accommodations and modifications
ACCESS Education Ann Arbor, Lansing, Plainwell
Advocacy Services for Kids Kalamazoo
The Arc of Michigan find your local Arc office
Council of Parent Attorneys and Advocates search to find a local advocate
Disability Advocates of Kent County
Dispute Resolution Center of West Michigan free mediation services in Ionia, Kent, Lake, Mecosta, Montcalm, Newaygo, and Osceola counties
Michigan Alliance for Families find your local Parent Mentor
West Michigan Special Education Advocacy
Wrightslaw Yellow Pages for Kids extensive listing of Michigan advocates
Many school districts have parent advisory committees (PACs) that represent and advocate for students who receive special education services. Contact information for PACs in West Michigan can be found below.
Teacher Information Packet
The Teacher Information Packet is a collection of information for parents, caregivers, and educators of students with Down syndrome in grades K-5. It is intended to assist each classroom teacher in (1) getting to know his or her student with Down syndrome and (2) building a comfortable and effective learning environment for every student.
The material addresses a wide range of subjects—from subject adaptation and student supports to social inclusion. A Getting to Know Me section is included for parents/caregivers and their children to complete together, as is a sample letter to distribute to parents of the other students in your child’s class.
1. Getting to Know Me
2. Educator Manual: Supporting the Student with Down Syndrome in Your Classroom
3. Sample Introduction Letter to Other Parents
4. School Accommodations and Modifications
5. Positive Steps to Social Inclusion