MDRC cultivates disability pride and strengthens the disability movement by recognizing disability as a natural and beautiful part of human diversity while collaborating to dismantle all forms of oppression.
This page provides various resources for your leadership journey including organizations, curricula, books/articles, websites, and more.
We Lead! Curriculum Version
This curriculum offers information about disability history, pride and leadership skills. Participants practice this knowledge as they work together to identify, organize, and deliver a community service project. This curriculum is purely a guide and we encourage you to adapt the curriculum to fit the specific needs of your community.
Lead On: A Handbook for Starting a Disability Student Organization
Lead On has all the information you need to start a disability student organization on a college/university campus. It covers topics such as group structure, coalition building, writing a constitution, event planning, and so much more!
CCL and United Cerebral Palsy of Michigan are pleased to announce the completion of Creating Change Together, an advocacy manual for people with and without disabilities. This manual provides information on several topics relating to leadership and advocacy. In addition, the manual offers tools and activities to help increase the success of advocacy efforts and also lists resources to help individuals continue to learn about advocacy and leadership.
Building Alliances for Disability Leadership Curriculum
BADL is a mentoring program designed to promote leadership in current and potential leaders while examining identity development and establishing a sense of community. Mentor pairs engage in developmental and action learning experiences. The curriculum covers the following topics: disability history/culture; identity development/pride; systemic and internalized oppression; power dynamics in mentoring relationships; creating mutual goals; building/sustaining social networks; dealing with anger and conflict; systems change advocacy; root cause analysis; action planning; and building a community ready for action. In addition, pairs conduct a leadership project in their local community.
We believe that parents and families are valued partners in your child’s success. Below are resources to help you on your journey of parenting a child with a disability.
Michigan Alliance for Families
Provides information, support, and education for families who have children (birth through 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 as well as disability specific information. Michigan Alliance for Families offers learning opportunities around the state of Michigan, leadership mentoring, and support. In some regions, parents will connect directly to a local mentor to address the families’ needs. In areas not covered by a parent mentor, families have the support of our information and referral offices. All Michigan families are able to access 1:1 support, electronic and printed resource information, and referrals to local community resources. For more information visit their website.
Parent to Parent of Southwest Michigan
Parent to Parent serves families in 9 Michigan counties: Allegan County, Barry County, Berrien County, Branch County, Calhoun County, Cass County, Kalamazoo County, St. Joseph County, Van Buren County. They offer no cost parent mentor support, referrals, information, recreation opportunities, a bi-monthly newsletter, parent network meetings and informal social events. For more information visit their website.
Offers early intervention services for infants and toddlers, birth to three years of age, with developmental delay(s) and/or disabilities, and their families. Their website contains information on developmental milestones for children birth to three years of age. Parents can go on their website and fill out a confidential referral form to receive services. For more information on Early On’s services or the referral process visit their website.
Bridges 4 Kids
Bridges 4 Kids is an organization that provides information and referral for parents and professionals seeking help for children from birth through transition to adult life. Their website offers links to many Michigan and national resources for parents of children with disabilities. For more information visit their website.
Michigan Family Voices
Aims to provide family-centered care for all children and youth with disabilities. Michigan Family Voices offers collaborative learning opportunities on a variety of topics in local communities through the state. For more information visit their website.
Michigan Protection and Advocacy Service
Michigan Protection & Advocacy Service, Inc. (MPAS) is the independent, private, nonprofit organization designated by the governor of the State of Michigan to advocate and protect the legal rights of people with disabilities in Michigan. MPAS services include information and referral, resolution of disability-related issues, technical assistance, legal representation (where appropriate), training, outreach, seminars, and monitoring for abuse and neglect in facilities. Michigan Protection and Advocacy Service have offices in Marquette and Lansing. For more information visit their website.
Association For Children’s Mental Health
ACMH is a statewide organization that provides information, support, referral, and advocacy for children and youth with mental, emotional, or behavioral disorders and their families. For more information visit their website.
National Center on Secondary Education and Transition
The NCSET coordinates national resources, offers technical assistance, and provides information related to secondary education and transition for youth with disabilities in order to create opportunities for youth to achieve successful futures. For more information visit their website.
Children’s Special Health Care Services
Helps families of children with disabilities up until age 20 for 2,500 diagnoses, and persons 21 and older with cystic fibrosis or certain blood coagulation disorders may also qualify for services. It has a sliding fee scale based on the family's income. CSHCS helps with referrals and coverage for specialty medical services, equipment, and supplies not covered by private insurance or basic Medicaid. It is a state program, but sign up is through your local county health department. For more information visit their website.
The Family Support Network of Michigan
National Gateway to Self-Determination
Offers resource guides and information for families about intervention to promote self-determination of people with developmental disabilities. For more information visit their website.
Has information about college options for people with intellectual disabilities. For more information visit their website.
Michigan Integrated Technology Supports
Provides information services, support materials, technical assistance, and training to local and intermediate school districts in Michigan in order to increase the capacity to address the needs of students with disabilities for assistive technology. MITS provides support materials, technical assistance, training, and an extensive lending library focused on improving outcomes for all students. For more information visit their website.
United Cerebral Palsy of Michigan
UCP Michigan provides information on housing, special education, employment, technology and equipment, and public benefits. UCP assists people with all disabilities not just Cerebral Palsy. For more information visit their website.
Books and Articles
Parents and Professionals Partnering for Children With Disabilities: A Dance That Matters. By Janice M. Fialka, Arlene K. Feldman and Karen C. Mikus
Foreword by Ann P. Turnbull
From Puddles to Pride: A mother’s poems about her son, his disability, and her family’s transformation. By Janice Fialka M.S.W, A.C.S.W.
The Dance of Partnership: Why do my feet hurt? Strengthening the parent-professional partnership. By Janice Fialka, M.S.W, A.C.S.W.
Opening Doors, Opening Lives: Creating awareness of advocacy, inclusion, and education for our children. By Jennifer Greening
Whose Life Is It Anyway? How One Teenager, Her Parents, and Her Teacher View the Transition Process For a Young Person with Disabilities By Janice Fialka, M.S.W., A.C.S.W., Martha Mock, Ph.D., Jennifer Wagner Neugart, M.S.
Stories of Transition to the Adult World. By Beth Swedeen
Parent Advisory Committees
Michigan law requires that each Intermediate School District (ISD) have a special education Parent Advisory Committee (PAC). Listed below are a few counties in Michigan and a link to their website to learn more information about these committees.
Ingham ISD Parent Advisory Committee
This committee consists of a parent representative from each of the twelve local school districts and the public school academies in Ingham County. The committee's role is advisory to the Intermediate School District special education administration and parent representatives serve as liaisons between other parents they represent and the local special education administrator in their resident district. The PAC meets monthly at the Ingham ISD. Meetings are open to all parents and other persons interested in special education within Ingham County. Members of the Ingham ISD Parent Advisory Committee (PAC) are parents of students with disabilities. Their top priority is to inform and communicate with other parents of students with disabilities in their district or academy. For more information visit their website.
Eaton ISD Parent Advisory Committee
Group of parents from the district working with local special education directors to insure the best possible education for children with special needs. The PAC is a way for parents and administrators to communicate the needs of all children. For more information visit their website.
Clinton County RESA Parent Advisory Committee
The committee's role is advisory to the CCRESA special education administration, and parent representatives serve as liaisons between other parents they represent and the local special education administrator in their resident district. The PAC meets monthly at the Clinton County RESA. Meetings are open to all parents and other persons interested in special education within Clinton County. For more information visit their website.
Shiawassee Regional Education Service District Parent Advisory Committee
Parent advisory committee members advise the SRESD on the delivery of special education services. Free parent trainings are provided to assist parents in being an active participant in their child’s Individual Educational Plan (IEP) Team planning process. For more information visit their website.
Livingston Educational Service Agency Parent Advisory Committee
We provide parent support in finding resources, support, training opportunities and information in all areas of education of students with disabilities. PAC members are available to assist parents in understanding the special education process and the IEP (Individual Education Program). For more information visit their website.