guide to Special education

The Ingham ISD Parent Advisory Committee have developed this Guide to Special Education in an easy-to-read, question-and-answer format. It provides information to help you understand the process used to make decisions about special education eligibility, educational programs, and related services and supports for students.

PDF DocumentGuide to Special Education

Ingham ISD Plan for Delivery of Special Education Programs and Services


For more information, please contact:

Rhiannon Schindewolf-DeShais
Administrative Assistant


Please see three important documents below that are designed to protect students accessing special education: Administrative Rules for Special Education, Procedural Safeguards Notice, and Dispute Resolution Options.

External LinkMichigan Administrative Rules for Special Education

External LinkProcedural Safeguards Notice

External LinkDispute Resolution Options

The following are important resources that you may find useful while navigating the world of Special Education.

Able Eyes

Video DocumentAbout Able Eyes

The mission of Able Eyes is to provide visual, state of the art experiences/teaching tools to children and adults with disabilities. Able Eyes provides a user friendly platform to teach skills, and explore environments from several different perspectives. Our ultimate goal is to make businesses and public venues more accessible for people of all abilities by offering video tours, making them “Able Eyes Accessible.”

Contact: Meegan Winters, Co-Founder/CEO, 517.819.7284


ASPPIRE is a welcoming community providing collaborative supports, services, and programs for adults with social challenges and disabilities.

Contact: Maria Peak, Director, 989.272.2977

Autism Alliance of Michigan

Video DocumentPersonal Introduction: Autism Alliance of Michigan

We are leading collaborative efforts across the state that will improve the quality of life for individuals with autism through education, access to comprehensive services, community awareness, inclusion efforts, and coordinated advocacy.

Autism Society of Michigan

Provides educational resources and materials, workshops, seminars and other services for individuals and families living with autism in Michigan. The Autism Society Of Michigan creates opportunities for families of autism spectrum disorders to network, share information, and offer support.

Balance MI-Skills

Video DocumentBalance MI-Skills, LLC Video Overview

Communication, employment, soft, and social skills learning opportunities for individuals with developmental and intellectual disabilities such as autism, ADHD, learning delays, co-existing conditions, and others seeking to improve interpersonal and soft skills for employment.


Capital Area Down Syndrome Association

The Capital Area Down Syndrome Association (CADSA) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization (Tax ID # 55-0821583) that supports people with Down syndrome and their families in the Mid-Michigan area by providing resources, education, advocacy, and awareness. Our objective is to enhance the lives of people living with Down syndrome so they can reach their potential and be valued members of our community.

Cerebral Palsy Resources in South Central Michigan

A list has been compiled of cerebral palsy resources for residents who live in South Central Michigan. We encourage residents with cerebral palsy to contact nearby cities and communities for services, programs, and medical facilities that serve their unique needs.

Chalgian & Tripp Law Offices

Video DocumentSpecial Needs Planning

Chalgian & Tripp Law Offices serves clients across Michigan with eight convenient offices located in East Lansing, Kalamazoo, Jackson, Battle Creek, Southfield, Midland, Saginaw, and Ann Arbor with offering practice in estate planning, will and trust contests, guardianship, elder law, special needs, Medicaid planning, estate and trust administration and financial exploitation of vulnerable adults. 

Contact: Chalgian & Tripp Law Offices, 517.332.3800

Children with Special Needs Fund

The Children with Special Needs Fund provides support for children in Michigan with special health care needs not available through any other funding source. The Fund helps with the purchase of equipment and services that promote optimal health, mobility, and development, enhancing the lives of children and their families.

Dean Transportation

Video DocumentPersonal Introduction: Dean Transportation

Dean is proud to be part of our community and connecting people with purpose for more than 50 years. It is our top priority to provide safe, reliable and positive experiences to the students we transport daily.

Disability Network Capital Area

Video DocumentDisability Network Capital Area Programs for Students - Jean Harris and
Video DocumentBasic Social Security - Phil Kozachik, Disability Network Capital Area

Transforming thinking to improve the environment and quality of life for people with disabilities.


  • Jean Harris, Youth Transition Program Manager, 517.999.7517
  • Phil Kozachik, Benefits Planner - Work Incentive Practitioner, 517.999.7529

Michigan Alliance for Families

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

Contact: Andrea Beachnau, Regional Parent Mentor, 517.492.5021

Michigan Bureau of Services for Blind Persons

The Michigan Bureau of Services for Blind Persons (BSBP) believes in the capacity of people who are blind or visually impaired to achieve employment and independence. BSBP provides training and other services that empower people to achieve their individual goals.

Contact: Rosemarie Van Ham, Rehabilitation Counselor, 517.643.2380

Michigan Developmental Disabilities Council

The Michigan Developmental Disabilities Council’s mission is to support people with developmental disabilities to achieve life dreams.

Contact: Mary Shehan-Boogard, 517.284.7288

Michigan Protection and Advocacy Service, Inc.

Michigan Protection & Advocacy Service, Inc. (MPAS) is the independent, private, nonprofit organization designated by the governor of the State of Michigan to advocate and protect the legal rights of people with disabilities in Michigan. MPAS services include information and referral, short-term assistance, selected individual and legal representation, systemic advocacy, monitoring, and training.

Michigan State Police - Vulnerable or Impaired Persons (VIP) Program

In Michigan, MCL 722.774 and MCL 28.274 allow a parent/legal guardian/power of attorney of an individual with special needs to voluntarily provide the Vulnerable or Impaired Person’s (VIP’s) fingerprints and photograph for inclusion in a State of Michigan repository that can be used to assist in identifying the VIP should he/she become lost in the future or find him/herself in a situation in which he/she cannot identify him/herself.

Michigan State University Autism Lab

Video DocumentPersonal Introduction: MSU Autism Lab

The MSU Autism Lab focuses on the development, dissemination, and implementation of evidence-based, community-viable interventions for children with ASD and their families, with the goal of improving meaningful outcomes. 

Mid-Michigan Autism Association

Video DocumentMid-Michigan Autism Association

The Mid-Michigan Autism Association (MMAA) is made up of local people working to improve the quality of life for individuals and families living with developmental disability in Mid-Michigan. In 2008, the MMAA was started by a small group of parents and professionals who wanted to understand best treatment options and local resources for our kids with autism. Early on, we identified that the work we were doing applied to families living with developmental disabilities of all kinds. Thus the by line Autism Driven, not Autism Specific.

Special Education Mediation Services

Video DocumentResolving Disputes Collaboratively

Special Education Mediation Services (SEMS), formerly known as Michigan Special Education Mediation Program, provides mediation, facilitation and training services for working through disagreements so that children with disabilities promptly receive the services they need to develop and succeed in school. These services often help to avoid disputes or help resolve them early.

Contact: Cindy Van Neste, 517.819.5456

Statewide Autism Resources and Training (START) Project

The Statewide Autism Resources and Training (START) Project is funded by the Michigan Department of Education, Office of Special Education to provide evidence-based training, technical assistance, and resources to educators in Michigan that serve students with Autism Spectrum Disorder.

U of M Health System: Your Child Development & Behavior Resources

Parenting is an adventure! The Your Child library was designed to provide parents with helpful information on common physical, mental and social health topics.

Michigan Rehabilitation Services

We are a statewide network of vocational rehabilitation (VR) professionals developing creative, customized solutions that meet the needs of individuals and business. We deliver individualized services that assist potential employees with differing abilities pursue and retain careers. We partner with business in employee development, business consulting and corporate relations. We are committed to building the workforce of tomorrow . . . today.


Video DocumentPeckham School To Work and Youth Career Development
Video DocumentPeckham's Corporate Video

Peckham, Inc., a nonprofit vocational rehabilitation organization, provides job training opportunities for persons with significant disabilities and other barriers to employment. Peckham provides people with physical, cognitive, behavioral and socio-economic challenges, a platform to demonstrate their ability, learn new skills, participate in work and enjoy the rewards of their success. Peckham provides opportunities so clients can experience meaningful employment growth.

Contact: Alyse Johnson Munishamaiah, LMSW, 517.492.8129

All MDE Family Matters Fact Sheets are available in English, Arabic and Spanish. The fact sheets explain special education laws and practices. The documents are easy to read and give links to more in-depth resources. Family Matters fact sheets are intended to enhance public understanding of Michigan's special education system and are not a substitute for official laws and regulations.

Capital Area College Access Network

Video DocumentFive College Tips and Tricks

Who we are: The Capital Area College Access Network (CapCAN) is a community collaborative focused on making completion of postsecondary education an achievable reality for all residents by fostering high educational aspirations through the alignment of our institutions and resources.  Our geographic area includes Ingham and Eaton counties. Our goal is to increase college and postsecondary readiness, participation, and completion.  Our network includes representatives from education, higher education, business, nonprofit, philanthropy, and government stakeholders.  CapCAN targets our support and services to low-income, communities of color, and first-generation students.  Help us create a college- going culture!

Contact: Michele Strasz, Executive Director, 517.203.5011

Graduation Alliance

Video DocumentHow Graduation Alliance Works with School Districts

Graduation Alliance partners with districts in Ingham County to provide an online education program with robust wraparound supports. The high school diploma program includes courses that help prepare students for college and career opportunities. The following districts have programs in place with Graduation Alliance: East Lansing, Haslett, Holt, Lansing, Mason, Okemos, and Williamston.

Contact: To learn more please call 888.615.6115

Lansing Community College - Center for Student Access

Support for students with disabilities at Lansing Community College


Lansing Community College - Technical Careers Division

Program Area Videos:

Michigan Career and Technical Institute

The Michigan Career & Technical Institute (MCTI) is an educational center for adults with disabilities in Michigan offering career assessment services that help students explore job options.

Contact: MCTI Admissions, 269.664.4461

Community Mental Health-Clinton, Eaton, Ingham

CMHA-CEI has formed many partnerships in the community of which resources are shared in hopes to help enrich the lives of the persons who receive services, and help family, friends. In addition these resources can be of help to educate, bring awareness, and reduce stigma.  

Equine Center for Learning at Beekman

The Equine Center For Learning at Beekman provides therapeutic horseback riding, natural horsemanship, horse camps, and specialized workshops for children and adults.

Contact: Julie Vruggink, Program Manager

Miracle League of Mid-Michigan

The Miracle League of Mid-Michigan is dedicated to helping children with physical and cognitive challenges to develop and achieve their fill potential cognitively, socially and physically by providing the opportunity for them to play baseball as part of a team in an organized league.

Special Olympics Michigan, Area 8 - Ingham & Eaton Counties

The mission of Special Olympics Michigan is to provide year-round sports training and athletic competition for children and adults with intellectual disabilities.

Athletes develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage and experience joy while participating in the sharing of gifts, skills and friendship among their families, Special Olympics athletes and the community. The athletes achieve their dreams with the support of caring volunteers, coaches, family members and staff. Donations from Michigan citizens and businesses provide funding for the program.