The Arc Muskegon defines its core work to people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, their families and others as our Advocacy & Outreach Services. The Arc Muskegon is contacted for many reasons including questions, needed information and support about housing, education, employment, recreation, access to services, legal issues, and much more.
Advocacy & Outreach Services include:
- Self Advocacy
- Service Navigation
- Public Policy Initiatives
- Special Education & Mental Health Advocacy/Support
Consumer Voice Part II
The purpose of Consumer Voice Part II is to help individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities, who may or may not be receiving services with HealthWest, to grow in their self-advocacy capabilities. This comprehensive program was created to build upon the foundation established by the original Consumer Voice program, which The Arc initiated in 2002. That program was effective in moving the needle for self-advocates by facilitating the representation of consumers on various HealthWest committees. The redesigned program has grown and expanded that effort by helping individuals to pinpoint and participate in activities that they are interested in and that contribute to their growth in areas of self-advocacy.
Increased knowledge, social skill building, and increased self-esteem, are just some of the results for adults with developmental disabilities.
Education Advocacy & Support
On average, in Muskegon County, there are approximately 3500 students receiving special education services and supports. Often times, parents and students need help navigating the education process, understanding special education laws, their rights, how to achieve a student’s maximum potential during the school years and receive a free and appropriate education. Please visit the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA)on The Arc US website (https://sites.ed.gov/idea/).
Students eligible for special education services will complete an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) (http://www.michiganallianceforfamilies.org/iep-checklist/) of service on an annual basis. This Plan will consist of educational goals for the school year, services needed to support them and any other accommodations needed. It is a team approach. The IEP team consists of the parents/guardian, student, teachers, therapists, school administrator and whoever else is playing a role in the students educational journey. An example might even be the bus driver.
Students who need accommodations even for education success but do not meet the threshold of an IEP eligibility may have a 504 Plan (http://www.michiganallianceforfamilies.org/section-504/) also developed on an annual basis.
The Arc Muskegon offers a number of services and resources to assist families, professionals and students participating in special education services.
What to expect when you call or email
- Phone conversation/consultation.
- Gather pertinent information (current IEP, evaluation, etc.)
- Set up meeting if deemed necessary
- Release and advocacy agreement, signed, if applicable.
- Hold meeting with parent/student (releases need to be signed). -Review information -Identify further needs and supports able to provide
- Plan and attend IEP
- Follow-up as needed.
- File created and stored at The Arc Muskegon
- Add parent to data base(s) to stay and keep informed.
- Satisfaction Survey sent
- All information gathered and stored is confidential.