Where to Find Support for You and Your Special Needs Child
Having a child with special needs can feel pretty isolating, but it doesn’t have to be! There are numerous resources around West Michigan just waiting to serve you and connect you with the support you need.
Our hope is to provide a starting point for families that are wondering if their child needs additional services or intervention, plus a link to support groups for parents and anything else a family with special needs might want to be aware of.
We recognize that this is not a full list of special needs resources and hope you will help us grow the list. If you know of anything else that could help families with special needs, please leave us a comment below and we will add it to our guide.
If you’ve used any of these services please leave a comment and let others know how they have helped you.
And please, share this list with others so that we may make it as complete as possible.
Special Needs Support in Greater Grand Rapids
Resources for Social, Personal and Emotional Support
- Bright Beginnings – Kent ISD’s program empowers parents with the skills and tools they need to be their child’s first and best teacher. They serve children birth to kindergarten with free home visits, playgroups and screenings. 616-365-2277
- Arbor Circle – Arbor Circle helps clients build coping skills through more than 35 counseling, education and prevention programs addressing everything from school readiness and child abuse prevention to substance use and homelessness. 616-456-6571
- Pine Rest – Mental health services; provides testing & assessment for ADHD, autism, learning disabilities and cognitive impairment at the Psychological Consultation Center (866-852-4001), and Parent Support and Counseling Services through the Outpatient Clinic Network (866-852-4001)
- Cerebral Palsy Guide – Cerebral Palsy Guide provides free educational materials, financial options and support to help those across the country affected by this disorder. 1-855-329-1008
- Cerebral Palsy Guidance – Cerebral Palsy Guidance provides vital guidance and assistance to parents of a child with cerebral palsy through symptom information, financial assistance and daily living articles.
Help with Developmental Delays
- Family Futures – Family Futures programs and resources are designed to provide a wide range of support for West Michigan parents, teens and families through education and prevention-based programming, including Connections (616-454-4673), a free program which helps families track their child’s growth and identify any developmental delays from birth to age five.
- Early On – Kent ISD Early On program assists families with infants and toddlers, from birth until 36 months, who have a delay in their development or a diagnosed disability. They provide evaluations for your child’s development right in your home and if they qualify, they create a plan and provide services and support to help your child reach their full potential. 616-365-2310
- Ken-O-Sha – Students who reside within Grand Rapids Public Schools are provided services in a continuum of settings including home or school buildings located throughout the district. Programs include: Early Childhood Special Education, Autism Spectrum Disorder, Emotional Impairment, Moderate Cognitive Impairment, and Resource Programs. Ken-O-Sha Early Childhood Center provides services to children birth through age five with developmental delays. (Call Child Find Hotline 616-819-3514)
- HeadStart – HeadStart for Kent County’s early childhood programs focus on education, nutrition, medical and dental care, parent involvement and social service. Programs include home visits and free preschool for children ages three and four. 616-453-4145
- Family Tree Therapies – Family Tree Therapies is a multidisciplinary therapy clinic specializing in occupational and speech-language therapy. 616-447-7799
- Wedgwood Christian Services – Wedgwood Christian Services provides a wide range of social services to children, youth and families who are struggling with tough problems including: sex trafficking, abuse and neglect, sexual abuse and sexual behavior issues, substance abuse, teen pregnancy, developmental delays, learning difficulties, school expulsions and more. 616-942-2110
- Comprehensive Therapy Center – Comprehensive Therapy Center offers the West Michigan community speech-language pathology, occupational therapy, sensory integration and motor therapies. 616-559-1054
- Hope Network – Provides services including rehabilitation, behavioral health, developmental and community support. 800-695-7273
- Conductive Learning Center – The Conductive Learning Center serves children birth to age 26 with motor disorders related to complications of prematurity, Cerebral Palsy, Spina Bifida or brain injury. 616-575-0575
- Great Start to Quality – Great Start to Quality is Michigan’s tiered quality rating and improvement system that supports early childhood programs and providers in their efforts to improve their programs while helping families find and choose quality programs that meet their children’s needs. 616-447-5678
- Grand Rapids Public Schools Early Childhood – Preschool and Kindergarten Registration, including The Great Start Readiness Program, a state funded free preschool program for qualifying four-year-old children.
- Mary Free Bed Pediatric Rehabilitation and Therapy – An inpatient rehabilitation hospital where pediatric doctors, nurses, and therapists treat young people who have experienced brain injury, brain related illnesses and concussion, cancer, neurological conditions, stroke, spinal cord injury, fractures, chronic pain conditions, surgery, burns and other debilitating illnesses and injuries. 800-528-8989
- Michigan Alliance for Families – A statewide resource for families of children with disabilities to help improve educational services and outcomes. 1-800-552-4821
LIFE THERAPEUTIC SOLUTIONS INC. provides children with personalized recreational therapy sessions including in home therapy, aquatic play, or community outings. Our Recreational therapist work on facilitating inclusion into activities your children enjoy, despite their disability. Children benefit from recreational therapy by overcoming specific obstacles to engage with their peers and environment. Funding may be available through the Children’s Waiver Program.
- Integrity School of Dance Arts is now partnering with Darby’s Dancers to provide free dance classes to students with special needs. Classes, costumes and shoes are FREE for participants. Class meets Mondays 5-6:00pm at 2495 84th Street SW in Byron Center and is for ages 6 and up. Fill out an application at: integritydance.com or call 616-583-9886 for more information.
Parent Support and Counseling Services
- MomsBloom – MomsBloom’s programs provide hands-on, nonjudgmental practical and emotional support to women and their families while rebuilding a sense of community and connecting people to each other. 616-828-1021
- Spectrum Health Maternal Infant Health Program – A team of nurses, community health workers, counselors, and nutritionists who make home visits and telephone calls throughout your pregnancy and your baby’s first year, with the goal to help you to be a healthy mom who has a healthy baby. 616-391-8601
- Network180 – Network180 connects individuals and their families to services for mental illness, substance use disorders or developmental disabilities. 616-336-3909
- Wellspring Counseling – A non-profit organization dedicated to assisting churches and community organizations in providing superior counseling care. 616-460-3341
- Pine Rest Christian Counseling Center – The Christian Counseling Center provides quality behavioral health services, including therapy and psychiatric services for children, adolescents, adults, and families. 866-852-4001
- Levine Benjamin Law Firm – A social security disability firm specializing in helping individuals and families that want to apply for or have been denied benefits based off their disabilities. 1-888-613-1254
Resources for Healthcare
- Medicaid – Essential health care coverage available to those who otherwise cannot afford it. Michigan has many health care programs available to children, families and adults who meet eligibility requirements. (Michigan Department of Health and Human Services – Kent County 616-248-1000)
- Children’s Special Health Care Services – A program within the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services that provides certain approved medical service coverage to children and some adults with special health care needs. 1-800-359-3722.