Family Life
Photo of family with picture framesSDPC's vision is to be the "go-to" resource of choice for families when they need information or assistance in supporting the unique needs of their child and family.

Helping families is at the heart of SDPC's work.  Key to keeping that heart beating is an experienced staff, most often parents of children with special needs themselves, who provide caring and knowledgeable assistance to families from the very first contact, often at the time of diagnosis.

SDPC is unique in that it serves children with all disabilities and special needs, including emotional/behavioral, learning, physical, and mental health needs. No other organization in South Dakota offers such a broad range of service to families.  SDPC also works in coalition with a variety of organizations to coordinate and broaden the scope of assistance available to families.

Supporting Families in Meaningful Ways
to Ensure Access to Self-Determined Lives

Mary Lee Fay works with states to create sustainable systems that will fully engage people with intellectual and developmental disabilities in their communities and honor the families and relationships that support those outcomes.  She recently spoke in Sioux Falls, SD on Supporting Families - What's Happening on the National Level.  To hear her presentation at Pathways in Sioux Falls Click Here.

South Dakota Parents Urged To Check Their Child's Immunization Status as Cases of Measles
Are Reported South Dakota

Measles is a highly contagious respiratory disease caused by a virus. It spreads through the air through coughing and sneezing. Measles starts with a fever, runny nose, cough, red eyes, and sore throat, and is followed by a rash that spreads all over the body. About three out of 10 people who get measles will develop one or more complications including pneumonia, ear infections, or diarrhea. Complications are more common in adults and young children.
It is a serious illness that causes permanent brain damage in one in every 1,000 patients and is fatal in three out of every 1,000 patients.  Although measles is usually considered a childhood disease, it can be contracted at any age.
The best protection against the disease is the measles vaccine (MMR). For full protection, two doses of the MMR vaccine are recommended. Parents who need vaccine for their children can contact their usual health care provider or check the list of childhood vaccine providers on the SD Department of Health's website, . Or, call the South Dakota Department of Health Immunization Program at 1-800-592-1861 (in SD only) for help finding a provider in your area.
Because the South Dakota Department of Health supplies the vaccines, these conditions apply:

  • You cannot be charged for the vaccine.
  • You may be asked to pay a small administration fee, which is capped at $20.73 per injection; this fee must be waived if you are unable to pay.
  • You may be required to pay for an office visit fee in order to receive the vaccine.
  • Adults who were born in 1957 or after, and don't have a record of being vaccinated or having had measles, mumps and rubella, should talk to their health care professional about how many doses of MMR vaccine they may need
What are the symptoms of measles?
Measles symptoms generally appear in two stages. In the first stage, the individual may have a runny nose, cough and a slight fever. The eyes may become reddened and sensitive to light while the fever consistently rises each day. The second stage begins on the third to seventh day and consists of a temperature of 103-105? F, and a red blotchy rash lasting four to seven days. The rash usually begins on the face and then spreads over the entire body. Koplik spots (little white spots) may also appear on the gums and inside of the cheeks.
How soon do symptoms appear?
Symptoms usually appear in 10-12 days, although they may occur as early as eight or as late as 13 days after exposure.
When and for how long is a person able to spread measles?
An individual is able to transmit measles from seven days before onset of rash and until four days after rash onset.
Does past infection make a person immune?
Yes. Permanent immunity is acquired after contracting the disease.
What is the treatment for measles?
There is no specific treatment for measles.
What are the complications associated with measles?

Pneumonia occurs in up to 6 percent of reported cases and amounts for 60 percent of deaths attributed to measles. Encephalitis (inflammation of the brain) may also occur. Other complications include middle ear infection and convulsions. Measles is more severe in infants and adults.

Learn More:

Protect Your Children from the Flu!
Flu is serious business. Children and youth with special health care needs and disabilities are particularly vulnerable and at increased risk for influenza complications. Intellectual disability and epilepsy were the two most common neurologic/neurodevelopmental conditions among children who died during the 2009 influenza pandemic, but were conditions least likely to be recognized as high-risk by physicians.

What should families do?
Parents and caregivers should take steps to make sure everybody in the household is as protected as possible. Ensure children with special needs receive a flu vaccination annually. Vaccinations of other household members will provide additional protections, especially if a child with special health needs is unable to be vaccinated.

South Dakota's Child Influenza Immunization Initiative offers free flu vaccine for South Dakotans aged 6 months through 18 years. While the vaccine is free, providers may charge an administration fee; the fee must be waived if the individual is unable to pay. Contact your primary care provider to schedule a vaccination or contact SD Department of Health at 1-800-738-2301 (or visit to locate a vaccine provider near you.

Steps to Protect Your Family From the Flu!

Family and Medical Leave Act Provision
Related to Parents of Children with Disabilities

Parents can take leave from work to care for their adult children with disabilities who are unable to care for themselves because of a mental or physical disability. This is the result of a new interpretation of the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) by the U.S. Department of Labor. This clarifies that FMLA-protected leave for a parent is not dependent on the age of the adult child or the date of onset of their disability. It also broadens the definition of 'disability’ to reflect the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act (ADAAA). Learn more about the FMLA and read the interpretation.

Resources for Families

For articles and helpful tools on a variety of issues,
visit our Virtual Library.

For information on Disabilities and Disorders Resources for Families,
visit our Helpful Links - Disabilities and Disorders page.

For information on Sibshops and other supports for siblings,
visit our Siblings page.

For information on statewide trainings and events,
visit our Calendar of Events.

For information on support groups for parents or youth,
visit our Parents Support Groups and Youth Support Groups pages.

For information on upcoming learning opportunities, parenting classes and more,
visit our Parenting page.