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Developmentally disabled

Janice Fialka, left, with her husband Rich, son Micah and daughter Emma in Syracuse.
Courtesy of Janice Fialka

How do you express your feelings when a team of experts sits you down to tell you your child is developmentally disabled?

When Janice Fialkaof Huntington Woods came home reeling from such a case conference about her five-year-old son Micah, she sat down and tried to put her feelings into words.

The result was a poem she calls Advice to Professionals who must "conference cases."

"I want my son back," she writes. "I want him back now. Then I'll get on with my life."

And that she did. Fialka and her family - husband Rich, daughter Emma and son Micah - launched themselves on a mission to prove that labels and IQ tests are not true measures of someone's ability to be valuable to the world, to contribute, to learn. 

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

President Barack Obama will visit Flint tomorrow to get an update on the city’s drinking water crisis.

In Flint, thousands of children under the age of six have been exposed to high levels of lead in their drinking water, creating problems that could last a lifetime.

But there’s a new effort underway to try to help children most at risk.   

For weeks, teachers and other volunteers have been knocking on doors in Flint.

On Monday, they once again fanned out across a south-side neighborhood.

Gov. Rick Snyder formed a workgroup that made 69 recommendations on how the state of Michigan should manage and improve its mental health care system. The question is, how many of those recommendations will be turned into actual policies?
gophouse.com

The hallmark of Rick Snyder’s tenure as Michigan’s governor has been his relentless drive to run government like a business.

Many believe that putting the bottom line first is what helped cause the Flint water crisis.

Kate Hiscock / Creative Commons http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

Funding cuts are forcing a west Michigan organization that helps people with developmental disabilities and other employment barriers find jobs to shut its doors.

Kandu Industries in Holland provides vocational training, job placement and other services for thousands of people with cognitive impairments, physical disabilities and other barriers that could make it difficult to find employment.

Bills call for erasing the 'R-word' from Michigan laws

Mar 4, 2014
Michigan State Capitol
Jimmy Emerson / Flickr

A bipartisan package of bills to remove words like "mentally retarded" from all state laws is working its way through the Michigan Legislature.

The words will be replaced with more respectful terms like "intellectually or developmentally disabled."

Lois Arnold is director of Special Olympics Michigan. She supports the bills, which were recommended by the Michigan Mental Health and Wellness Commission.