DETROIT (WWJ) Detroit Public Schools opened a unique shop on Wednesday geared only to parents of students with special needs.

But they won’t be perusing retail items — Parents will be shopping for resources in one easily navigated place.

The One Stop Support Shop kicked off with a free half-day event that drew parents from across the district who were able to sample the comprehensive services that will be available year-round at the center.

Services will include:  support and coordination with housing, employment, resources, access to health and therapeutic service, advocacy and more, referrals, education information, support groups, parenting classes and parent training, physical therapy, behavioral treatment, and independence training.

“Being able to provide a wide array of information and support to our parents and those across DPS – all in one place – will positively impact them and their children,” said Robert Avedisian, principal of Drew Transition Center, where the shop is located. “We hope this innovative process will become an urban model that can be replicated locally and nationally based on how we service parents of students with special needs.”

The One Stop Support Shop, which is modeled on an integrated approach to servicing parents, will provide ongoing services from a variety of partners and service providers. Partners include: Community Living Services, Detroit Parent Network, Alliance for Families, Michigan Rehabilitation Services, Neighborhood Service Organization, PsyGenics and Synergy Partners LLC.

Research shows that students benefit when physical and behavioral health professionals work collaboratively to improve health indicators rather than simply using a referral method, said David Pankotai, MA, LPC, Executive Director at ConsumerLink Network, Inc.

“In a referral model, parents were given information and educators had to just hope for the best,” Pankotai said.

She added at the shop, educators and other professional school staff, such as social workers, psychologists and occupational therapists, will be working more collaboratively with staff from community mental health and counselors from a variety of disciplines.

“Being able to go to Drew Transition Center and access all of the services makes sense and is a huge boon to families,” said Penny C. Thomas, LMSW, Unit Director for Neighborhood Service Organization (NSO) Life Choices, which provides comprehensive services to people with developmental disabilities. “We have seen a dramatic improvement in our relationship with the consumers and the families, as the communication has improved.”




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