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.

Young child in Halloween CostumeHalloween Tips for Parents
of Children with Special Needs

A Project Guide containing information, instructions, and easy to use tools for a fun and successful Trick-or-Treat event for children of all abilities!  Includes information for non-food treats.

Facts and Precautions Related to

Enterovirus D68 has been confirmed in South Dakota.

What are Enteroviruses?

  • Enteroviruses are very common viruses; there are more than 100 different types.
  • Enterovirus D68 infections are less common than infections with other Enteroviruses.
  • Infants, children, and teenagers are more likely than adults to get infected with Enteroviruses and become sick.
Symptoms of Enterovirus D68?
  • Runny nose, sore throat, cough, wheezing, rash, and a fever.
  • Children with asthma and other chronic lung conditions are particularly vulnerable, as are children with weakened immune systems.
  • Difficulty breathing, chest pain, wheezing or blue lips are signs that the child requires immediate medical care.
Important information for children with asthma: Children who have previously been diagnosed with asthma should follow their asthma action plans and communicate with their health care provider regarding yellow and red zone instructions. More than half of the children with lab-confirmed EV-D68 in 2014 have a history of asthma or wheezing, according to the CDC. It's important for children with asthma to have their asthma be well-treated and controlled. Enteroviruses are spread by close contact with an infected person. You can also become infected by touching objects or surfaces that have the virus on them and then touching your mouth, nose, or eyes.

To reduce the risk of infection with Enteroviruses, recommendations include:

  • Wash hands often with soap and water for 20 seconds, especially after changing diapers
  • Avoid touching eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands
  • Avoid kissing, hugging, and sharing cups or eating utensils with people who are sick
  • Disinfect frequently touched surfaces, such as toys and doorknobs, especially if someone is sick
  • Stay home when feeling sick, and consult with your health care provider
Enterovirus is different from the flu. To minimize confusion with influenza, and to protect against the flu virus, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends all children ages six months and older be vaccinated against influenza at the earliest possible time.

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.

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.