Sunday, December 13, 2015

See you on Facebook

I've made the decision to no longer try to maintain this blog.  I see that I am posting less and less frequently, and I think the Facebook page is getting a bit more notice and is easier to share and maintain, so I will try to make a better effort to keep that up.

Until I become aware of a better site out there, I'll leave this blog up.

I still think the SEPAC meetings at MARESA (That's Special Education Parent Advisory Council) is the best thing going if you are looking for a support group.  They meet every third Thursday at 321 E. Ohio Street in Marquette from 6-8 pm.  Childcare was being provided the last few meetings I've attended, and if you join the group formally, you are paid a $25 stipend to help cover travel and childcare cost.  I know they will not meet in December. 

Friday, September 25, 2015

Community Stakeholder meeting in Marquette Oct 5

Two meetings:  1:30-3:30 or 6:30-8:30 at MARESA on E. Ohio St.

This stakeholder meeting will bring together families with children receiving special education and/or early intervention services for networking, dialogue, and planning and the members of the community that support them.

Online sign-up at

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Complete Summer Activity Schedule

Got a link for the poster for you! Click it, print it, post it so others can see.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Summer Activity Series sponsored by MARESA

What we've all been looking stuff to do with our kids this summer that is just right for them.

Included in this series are six opportunities to meet with other school-age children and their parents.

The kick-off event is this Saturday between 1 and 3:00 at Williams Park, across the street from MARESA.  Kids can play on the playground, the tennis courts or the basketball court.  Snacks will be provided. 

Other events are as follows:
  • Mon., June 29, 10:00-12:00:  Activity Day at MARESA (321 E. Ohio St.):  Legos, crafts, chess, origami...and more
  • Mon., July 6, 7-8:00:  Marquette Planetarium (attached to Marquette High School)
  • Tues, July 21, 1:00-3:00:  Hike and ice cream at Presques Isle.  Meet near the break wall pavilion at 1:00
  • Tues., August 4, 4:40-6:30:  Demonstration by the Raptor Center at MARESA (321 E. Ohio St.)
  • Sat., August 15, 1:00-3:00:  End of the summer get together at Lakenenland, 15 miles east of Marquette on highway M-28.
 This is a brand new program developed for students with disabilities of all ages and their general education peers.  Please make it a success by spreading the word and participating. 

I created an event on the Facebook page for this site, if you'd like to send FB invitations to your FB friends.  

Friday, May 8, 2015

Get involved in special education

I recently got the following from Lisa Casper about a Michigan Alliance for Families workshop in Munising:

The MAF workshop called Serving on Special Education Committees registration deadline is this Friday 5/8.  In order to host the workshops, I need to have a minimum number registered.  I’ve only met that number in one of the three workshops that I am offering around the W. UP next week.   

The presenter, Jessie Morton is a wealth of information.  She has had 20+ years of personal experience serving on special education committees from the local to the state level.  She has tips for both parents serving and the chairs running the meetings.  Serving on special education committees is a way that parents can have a voice in special education systems at both a local and state level.  Parent who are concerned about time, need not worry about the commitment level as each ISD or RESA has a Parent Advisory Committee for Special Education and any parent is welcome to attend whether or not they are officially on the committee. 

Come to the workshop and find out more!  Free pizza will be served.  I have childcare for the Houghton workshop.  Gas cards are available for parents who are driving long distances.  I hope to see you there.

Please e-mail me at or call at (906) 483-0442, if you are interested in attending.

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Brainstorm Session for Summer Activities

Got the following from Barb Potts at MARESA:

Are you looking for something for your child to do this summer?

Parents and caregivers of students with disabilities.

Brainstorming ideas for activities and gathering during the summer for students with disabilities (of ALL ability levels) and their families.

When:  May 7th and May 21st at 7:00pm

Where:  MARESA, 321 East Ohio, Marquette

I'm pleased to have to have this opportunity.  Let's see what we can get going. 

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Community Conversation in Marquette with MI Developmental Disabilities Council

Here's an opportunity to have your voice heard by a statewide agency: 

The DD Council wants to hear from YOU!
Are you a person with a developmental disability, a family member of a person with a developmental disability, or an advocate for people with disabilities?
The Michigan Developmental Disabilities Council is gathering information for its next 5-year state plan. This is your chance to tell us what’s important to you and what you want the DD Council to do about it
Join us to share your story, explore the challenges that affect your life and talk about the issues that are important to you.  

More information can be had at their website.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Competition for Artists with Disabilities

From the Legacy Trust facebook page:

Grand Rapids, Michigan, February 23, 2015 – Adult artists with disabilities have a chance to win $500 and have their artwork displayed in the Grand Rapids Art Museum and entered in ArtPrize 2015 – thanks to the Legacy Trust Award Collection.

Back for its sixth year, the Legacy Trust Award Collection is soliciting artwork from Michigan artists with disabilities for its popular mini-competition in advance of ArtPrize.  Four winning artists will each receive $500 and sponsorship in ArtPrize, the radically open art competition scheduled this year Sept. 23 through Oct. 11 in downtown Grand Rapids.

The statewide competition is open to all Michigan artists with disabilities and seeks paintings, sculptures, photographs, drawings, collages, mixed media and other works for art.  Four winners will be chosen by popular vote, a panel of celebrity judges and the LTAC Advisory Committee.  

Artists must register with LTAC by Friday, April 3 to be considered for the 2015 competition.

Sponsored by Grand Rapids-based investment advisory and wealth management firm Legacy Trust, LTAC will be held this year in the Grand Rapids Art Museum May 5-6.  A private reception for all artists, judges and LTAC supporters will be held on the evening of Monday, May 4.  

The public will have a chance to view and vote on the art on Tuesday, May 5 and Wednesday, May 6 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the GRAM, which is located in downtown Grand Rapids. On Tuesday, May 5, Meijer sponsors free general admission to the GRAM. 

Winning artists will have their work displayed during ArtPrize at DeVos Place in downtown Grand Rapids.  Last year, 88 artists from around the state submitted artwork to LTAC, nearly triple the number from the previous year.

“We are incredibly pleased LTAC will partner with Grand Rapids Art Museum and DeVos Place for a third year,” said William Walker, CEO of Legacy Trust.  “Our artists value the opportunity to display their work at one of Michigan’s leading art museums and at one of the highest-traffic ArtPrize venues in the competition.

“Over the past years, artists from Lansing, Detroit, Northern Michigan and the UP, as well as the greater Grand Rapids area, have entered their works in the Legacy Trust Award Collection.  We expect this year we will again showcase art and artists from all corners of Michigan.”

LTAC debuted in 2010, the brainchild of Walker and his wife, Deborah.  Like others in the community, the Walkers were swept away by the magic of ArtPrize and wanted to find a meaningful way to join the dialogue.  As the parents of a daughter with special needs, the Walkers decided to launch LTAC, an art competition designed to remove barriers for participation in ArtPrize for adult artists with disabilities.

In 2013, Legacy Trust established an advisory committee of those in the business, arts and disability communities.  This LTAC Advisory Committee established the Lillian Perry Walker Award, a special juried award to honor the young woman whose spirit was the spark that brought LTAC to life in 2010.

Winners of LTAC 2015 will be announced on Monday, May 11.  Along with having their artwork entered into ArtPrize, the winning artists will each receive a cash prize of $500.  All entry fees and promotion expenses for ArtPrize will be paid by Legacy Trust, which – for the third year – has secured the high-profile DeVos Place venue for the winning artists during ArtPrize.

Artists from all genres are invited to participate in the competition. All artists must submit an artist registration to Legacy Trust by April 3.   All artwork must be completed and available for showing in Grand Rapids by 5 p.m. on Friday, April 10.

Following is a list of guidelines for submitting artwork:
  • All participating artists must be a resident of Michigan and at least 18 years of age by April 3.
  • All artwork must be original, attributable to the applicant and completed within three years prior to September 23. 
  • All artwork is subject to the “Official Rules for Artists-ArtPrize,” which can be found at
  • The four top artists will retain ownership and all rights to their artwork, subject to the rules and restrictions of ArtPrize 2015. The artists agree to make themselves and their artwork available to LTAC and all partnering agencies and sponsors prior to and during ArtPrize for promotions and marketing efforts.
  • The top four artists who receive the award will be entered into ArtPrize 2015 as a Legacy Trust Collection Award winner. 
  • LTAC artists agree that if their artwork wins any ArtPrize award, they will donate 25 percent of any award to create a special Legacy Trust Endowment Fund to continue arts programs for adults with disabilities in greater Grand Rapids. 
  • Winning artists will be notified by Legacy Trust by May11 and will be entered into ArtPrize.
  • There are no restrictions on artists who are not part of the Collection from entering ArtPrize on their own. 

Artwork may be delivered by mail, UPS, FedEx or in person to Legacy Trust, 99 Monroe, Suite 600, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 49503 by 5 p.m. on April 10. See the registration form for additional rules and details at

ArtPrize, an international art competition that draws tens of thousands of people to West Michigan each fall, returns to Grand Rapids for its sixth year on Sept. 23 through Oct. 11.  It debuted with much enthusiasm in 2009 and participation has soared the following years.  This year is expected to see a continued increase in community engagement and entries. 

More information on LTAC is available at Join the conversation on Facebook and on Twitter with #LTAC. 

LTAC is also sponsored by Meijer, Sabo Public Relations, Kantorwassink, Gilson Graphics, Kitchen Sage and Andrews Hooper & Pavlik.
About Legacy Trust
Legacy Trust is an independent, locally owned, Michigan-chartered bank that specializes in providing investment and wealth-management services to individuals, families, foundations and non-profits in West Michigan.  Legacy Trust delivers highly customized financial and investment solutions tailored to meet the unique situation of each client.  For more information, visit us at

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Transition: How to Plan, Implement & Succeed

Sorry for the late notice, but those of you whose children are progressing through school may want to catch this program tonight at MARESA.

Here's the information I got this morning:

Registration is still open and drop-ins are welcome
(A head-count is appreciated for planning purposes)

Michigan Alliance-PTI in Western Michigan Upper Peninsula is offering a free workshop, hosted by Lisa Casper, on March 24, 2015 from 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm EST at MARESA321 E. Ohio Street, Marquette, MI. Sign-in opens at 6:00 pm. Pizza will be served.

Transition is a required part of the IEP process for students. This workshop will help parents/families plan for this process.

Topics include: Reducing duplication of work by learning how the transition IEP requirements can draw from other mandatory planning tools for students; Collaborative opportunities; and Assessment instruments to provide a framework for robust conversations around transition planning students. 
Who should attend: families of children/young adults with disabilities or learning challenges, school staff, community members and organizations.
For more information, see the flyer at
Please remember to RSVP, or call Lisa at
(906) 483-0442.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Peer to peer presentation at SEPAC meeting

Special guests Barb Potts and Meghan McLeod will be presenting on how a Peer to Peer program works at different stages in the schools at the next SEPAC meeting, February 19 at 6:00 in the MARESA building on East Ohio St. in Marquette.  They will answer questions. 

SEPAC meetings are open to all.  Childcare is provided.  

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Sensory friendly films at the new Thomas Theater

I got the the following information from Luanne Peterson at MARESA:

Sometimes it is difficult for families with special needs children to attend movies together. Thomas Theater in Marquette has started a program they call Special Showings for Special People that serves
families and individuals with special needs such as autism or other challenges, who seldom attend movies.

These sensory-friendly showings feature open captioning, lower sound and the lights turned up to encourage families with children who need accommodations to share the experience of seeing features at a theatre.

Next Special Showing is scheduled for:

 Saturday, January 31, 2015
10:00 AM.
Thomas Theater’s Marquette Cinema  

They hope is to do these on, at least, a quarterly basis for now. They will be doing e-mail blasts for these events and posting them on their Facebook page as well as their web site.

Contact Thomas Theatre Group at (906) 774-5404 with questions or for more information.

I checked their website tonight and couldn't find any additional information.  They did have a spot where you can sign up to have their newsletter emailed to you, so I did that and will post again if I can figure out what movie they'll be showing.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Assistive technology speaker at SEPAC this Thursday

The Special Education Parent Advisory Committee is meeting this week on Thursday (20th) at 6 pm in the MARESA building. If the MARESA "Office" is closed on Thursday because of weather our meeting will be canceled.

Sara Menzel, UCP AT Center Director, will be presenting on Assistive Technology.

Anyone who is curious as to how assistive technology might help their child succeed in school won't want to miss this presentation.  

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Day long program on behavior next Thursday

I got the following information from Lisa Casper:

Speaks Education is sponsoring a free program on Thursday, November 13 from 9-4:30 called Behavior Mysteries of Children.  The morning speaker is Kelly Dunlap, an Autism Specialist.  Afternoon speakers include Mary Sullivan and Dr. Nidiffer of the Specialty Clinic at MGH. 

Lunch is included, but registration is required.  Register at, or call 906/635-8984.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Basically Me

Got this link from some friends in Alaska.  You'll find a short documentary about a young man with Asperger Syndrome (my friend's nephew).  It's a neat story about a young man who finds his own way to be.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

SEPAC meeting tomorrow -- Thursday, Oct 16

This is just a reminder that the next Special Education Parent Advisory Committee meeting is tomorrow,
Thursday, October 16th from 6-8 ​​pm at MARESA.
There will be a guest presenter: Lisa Casper, Parent Mentor from Michigan Alliance for Families.

Please join us. Remember, free childcare is provided.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Free Family Fun Night at Childrens Museum

On Sunday, October 12, The Special Education Parent Advisory Committee (SEPAC) will be hosting a fun-filled evening for families at the Upper Peninsula Children’s Museum, 123 W. Baraga Avenue, Marquette.  Doors will open to all special education students and their families at 5:30 pm, and the fun will be ongoing till 7:30 pm.  Guests will be free to explore the many hands-on exhibits.  SEPAC members will be on hand, serving pizza and beverages, and available to answer your questions.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Next SEPAC meeting this Thursday, Sept 18

The September meeting is this Thursday, Sept 18th from 6-8pm at MARESA.  A light supper of sub sandwiches and lemonade will be served. Free childcare will also be provided. Anyone with a child receiving special education in any school district in Marquette or Alger country is welcome to attend. 

Shining Stars – Special Needs Dance Classes

Studio Dance Arts, a new studio located in Marquette township, knows the importance of making dance accessible and fun for all. They’ve created a unique, fun filled program using music, props, and choreography to add joy through movement to your child's day.
This class will be offered for students with down syndrome, Autism and other developmental disabilities. Through this class your child will improve motor skills, confidence, and socialization all while having the opportunity to explore dance in a friendly and motivating environment. Special needs dancers will have the opportunity to perform with their costume in the year end show.
Currently they are waiting to find enough interested people to schedule a six-week class.  To express your interest, call 379-0525.  A description of the class can be found on their website under “open sessions” 

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Michigan Alliance for Families

A few weeks ago I spoke with Lisa Casper the Michigan Alliance for Families representative for the Western Upper Peninsula.  She was here in June to do a presentation on positive behavior supports at MARESA.

Michigan Alliance for Families  is a statewide resource to connect families of children with disabilities to resources to help improve their children’s education.  They help facilitate parent involvement as a means of improving educational services and outcomes for students with disabilities.

Lisa wanted to remind people of the resources they have available on their website. They have archived  webinars on different topics including autism, IEP's, transition and positive behavior supports (if you missed the program in June). They also have lots of resources about schools and the special education system.

As our local parent mentor, Lisa can assist you in navigating the educational system and is knowledgeable about state and local resources.  Parent Mentors support existing and emerging parent leaders involved with groups such as Local Interagency Coordinating Councils (LICCs), Parent Advisory Committees (PACs), the Special Education Advisory Committee (SEAC), and the Michigan Interagency Coordinating Council (MICC).

You can contact Lisa at (906) 483-0442.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Drama and dreams still has space for program starting 8/4

Just heard from Nikki Nason that they have a smaller group than normal signed up for this great week- long program for kids.  Do call her ASAP if you are interested: 906/362-6453.

This summer marks the fifth anniversary of Lake Superior Theatre's Drama & Dreams Playscape Summer Camp; a one-week theatre camp. Children with special needs are particularly encouraged to enroll.  Space is limited!  Due to the success of the camp for the past two years, people are already asking about it.  Please sign up now to reserve your child’s spot!   The camp is designed to help children, ages 8-14, work on socialization and communication skills as they learn about theatre, costume and set design, stage make-up, facial expression, voice projection, team building and leadership.    Students will sing, tell stories, read poetry and develop a live performance in a fun, safe, creative environment. Drama and Dreams Playscape Camp is being held 9 am-1pm on August 5th-8th (Monday-Thursday).  Most camp activities will take place at Graveraet School located at 611 N. Front St., and will culminate in a live performance for family and friends on the evening of Thursday, August 8th in Kaufman Auditorium.   There will be an optional final session/award celebration for students the morning of Friday, August 26. The cost is $40/person. Each child will receive a t-shirt for the final performance that s/he can keep.  Makeup, props, costuming and professional coaching will be provided.  Need based scholarships are available.   

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Next SEPAC meeting Aug 21

SEPAC stands for the Special Education Parent Advisory Committee.  It's a friendly group of parents of Special Needs kids enrolled in public schools in Marquette and Alger Counties.  We meet once a month to plan events and share concerns.  There is always a report from the Superintendent of Special Education and from a member of the MARESA school board. 

I highly recommend participation in this group, not only do you get a really good sense of how the system works, you get compensated for your travel costs to attend. 

The next meeting will be at 6:00 pm, Thursday August 21, at MARESA 321 E. Ohio Street in Marquette.  Child care will be provided and they will be serving pizza. 

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Walk and Roll this Saturday

When: Saturday July 26, 2014
Registration:  10-11:30 am
10K:  10:45
5K:  11:15
1/2 mile:  11:30

Where: Tourist Park, Marquette
Race Registration: $25.00

It's time again to join SAIL for our Walk & Roll event. This is a 5k, 10k or 1/2mile walk, run or by any means. There will be outdoor games, snacks and a cookout following the race