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.

Photo of a MosquitoA single mosquito bite can
transmit West Nile virus to your child.

Most children who get West Nile virus (WNV) have only mild symptoms or no symptoms at all. Symptoms may include fever, headaches, body aches, nausea, vomiting or skin rash. In a very small number of infected children, the illness can become severe and involve the brain (West Nile Virus encephalitis or meningitis). Symptoms involving the brain include high fever, stiff neck, severe headaches, muscle weakness, mental confusion, tremors, vision problems, convulsions, paralysis, and loss of consciousness. If your child experiences any of these symptoms that are associated with a severe West Nile virus infection, such as high fever, severe headaches, and a stiff neck, contact your pediatrician.

To prevent WNV infection, it is not necessary to limit outdoor activities, unless local officials advise you otherwise. However, you can and should try to reduce the risk of being bitten by mosquitoes. In addition to reducing stagnant water in your yard, make sure all windows and doors have screens, and that all screens are in good repair. If West Nile Virus is found in your area:
  • Minimize time spent outdoors between dusk and dawn.
  • Wear shoes, socks, long pants and a long-sleeved shirt when outdoors for long periods of time, or when mosquitoes are most active.
  • Use mosquito repellent containing DEET, Picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus, or IR3535, according to directions, when outdoors.
There are no medications to treat or vaccines to prevent West Nile infection. Parents need to watch for West Nile symptoms until a hard freeze occurs. For more information about the West Nile Virus visit the Centers for Disease control at

New Interpretation of Family and Medical Leave Act Includes Time Off for Parents of Adult 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.