When your child has a disability—whether physical, emotional, or behavioral—it can be tough to know where to begin in your search for support. That’s one reason that the Bridges4Kids website (bridges4kids.org) was created. According to the site’s founders, Deborah Canja and Jackie D. Igafo-Te'o, "We know first-hand the struggles that parents face. We've been there."
The two founded the site in 2002, based on personal experiences (in addition to Bridges, Igafo-Te’o moderates a large online support group for families living with autism at Yahoo!Groups titled "autism-michigan”). Their hands-on, been-there-done-that approach has resulted in a site rich with categories from educational options for public and home schools, legal advice, childcare references, book reviews, and much more.
While the site is Michigan-based and contains county-by-county information on help options for parents and children, information is also available for every state in the U.S. and Canada. A testimonial area on the site features thank you notes from professionals and parents around the country and beyond. One parent, currently based in Okinawa, Japan,
writes, "I would just like to express my thanks for this wonderful website! We are a military family overseas, about to move back to the states with a child with an ASD (autism spectrum disorder). His website has helped us so much in determining the right state to chose for our next duty station!"
Browsers of Bridges4Kids may also be a little overwhelmed, as there are hundreds of links. Visit the site with a particular question in mind, and use the search tool. For instance, a search on PDD (Pervasive Developmental Disorder, a condition on the autism spectrum) produces seven pages of links that include extended definitions and FAQs, book reviews, and stories of parents as they deal with their children’s conditions.The all-volunteer organization is now accessible exclusively online; the dedicated group no longer operates a toll-free phone line. Use Bridges4Kids as an outstanding internet resource for your special needs or at-risk child from birth through transition to adulthood. Bridges4kids.org
Special Needs Sensory Friendly Jump Sky Zone will turn off the music and dial down the distractions for the comfort of extra special jumpers. They welcome children and adults with special needs and their siblings, family and friends to jump for 60 minutes for just $7. They’ll make every effort to accommodate all jumpers with any kind of special needs. 4 – 7:30pm. $7. Sky Zone, 42550 Executive Dr., Canton. 734-981-0007.skyzone.com/Canton