Children with and without visible disabilities playing on a playground; text: Paving the Way to Self Determination.

Paving the Way to Self Determination is a program developed to support children with developmental disabilities (ages birth – 12) and their families in raising expectations people have for them by introducing the concepts and tools they need to lead self-determined lives. This series provides virtual (online) educational opportunities for children with developmental disabilities and their families on topics that promote self-determination and independence, including history of the disability rights movement, disability pride and ally-ship, how to ask for an accommodation, supported decision-making and self-determination and how employment will impact social security benefits.  The program will also provide information and referral services to families on a statewide level and access to the Charting the Life Course program.

Below are the webinars being offered within the Paving the Way to Self Determination program at this time. All webinars are live and interactive; participation is available through an internet connection or a phone call, and accommodations are available.

If you have any questions about this program, please click here to contact Mary Fortney, Disability Network Program Development Coordinator, or call her at 269-345-1516 x 201.

Paving the Way to Self Determination is a collaboration with Michigan Developmental Disabilities Council, Arc Michigan, Michigan Alliance for Families and Charting the Life Course and was made possible through funding from Michigan Developmental Disabilities Council. 


Instilling Disability Pride in Your Child
For family/guardians
Disability pride refers to a positive outlook that a child can develop over time about their own disability. Pride helps to develop self-esteem, self-worth, and an understanding of abilities. In this presentation, we will help you to empower your child to embrace their disability as part of their identity and see the gifts and community it brings with it.
Presented by Miranda Grunwell of Disability Network Southwest Michigan on:
●   Tuesday, June 4, 2024 at 9:30 to 11:00 AM — Click here to register

Positive Behavior Intervention Strategies
For family/guardians
When a child with a disability demonstrates behavior that impedes their learning or the learning of others, appropriate behavioral supports may be needed to ensure a Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE). Does your child have challenging behaviors at school? Come learn about services provided through the Individualized Education Program (IEP) to teach and support positive behaviors at school. Join us to learn:
– What a Functional Behavior Analysis (FBA) is and how to request one 
– How an FBA leads to the development of a Behavior Intervention Plan (BIP)
– How to make sure the BIP utilizes Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS)
– What to do if the plan isn’t working
Presented by Stephanie Nicholls of Michigan Alliance for Families on:
●   Thursday, June 6, 2024 at 12:00 to 1:30 PM — Click here to register

Understanding Social Security Benefits
For family/guardians
Parents and guardians often feel lost when it comes to navigating Social Security disability benefits for their loved one with a disability. This training will provide an overview of the two Social Security disability benefit programs – Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) – which can provide financial support to individuals with disabilities. Presenters will touch on the benefit application process, important factors around turning age 18, the impact of parental income/assets, and the myth that people receiving benefits can’t hold employment to reach further financial security.
Presented by Pete Mulder & Allison Leece, Social Security Benefits Counselors of Disability Network Southwest Michigan on:
●   Tuesday, June 11, 2024 at 12:00 to 1:30 PM — Click here to register

Preparing Your Child for Employment (LONG Before Employment!)
For family/guardians
Many parents worry about the employment future of their child with a disability. This training, led by staff who spent years removing barriers to employment, will focus on important independent living and pre-employment skills that you can help your child start building today in preparation for a successful and fulfilling work life in the future!
Presented by Mary Fortney of Disability Network Southwest Michigan on:
●   Wednesday, June 19, 2024 at 3:30 to 5:00 PM — Click here to register