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Help your child, or an adult with a developmental disability, learn how to participate in healthcare decisions!  The Skills and Strategies for Healthcare Decision-making Guide outlines simple steps to progress from nonparticipant to ‘choice-maker’ and, ultimately, ‘decision participant.’  This guide was developed by URLEND trainees supported by the Rural Institute for Inclusive Communities.

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Act Early Montana

Act Early Montana helps parents and providers learn the signs of healthy child development, monitor every child's early development, and take action when there is a concern. Act Early Montana is part of the Center for Disease Control's (CDC) "Learn the Signs. Act Early." program. It provides free evidence-based resources to support early identification of developmental delays in children ages 0-5.

Keywords: child developmental, delays, milestones, early intervention

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BASE  

BASE assists individuals in the pursuit of independence and self-advocacy while providing life-enriching activities including improv, gaming, crafts, and all-abilities yoga. Open to everyone in the Missoula area of any age and ability, the team is responsive to the interests of those attending. Contact BASE to learn about their current offerings: basemissoula@gmail.com, (406) 215-1080.

Keywords: independent living, social support, peer interaction

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Best Beginnings Childcare Scholarships

The Early Childhood Services Bureau offers child care scholarships to eligible low-income families whose child receives care from a licensed childcare center, a licensed childcare home, or a family member, friend, or neighbor provider. Assistance paying for care is provided while a parent is attending school, work, or training. There is a small copayment.

Keywords: childcare, funding, financial assistance

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Big Sky Autism Project  

The Big Sky Autism Project is a nonprofit in Townsend, MT, offering adaptive exercise programs for people on the autism spectrum (other diagnoses welcome too)! As of 1/11/2021, they offer in-person programming in Townsend only, but plan to expand to other Montana city centers as soon as possible. Private pay only, but they do offer a sliding fee scale based on federal poverty guidelines.

Keywords: Autism, adaptive exercise

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Charlie Health

Charlie Health offers personalized mental health treatment for teens, young adults and families through online, 1:1 outpatient therapy, family therapy, and medication management. They serve all of Montana and offer 24/7 support. After contact, Charlie Health will provide a clinical consultation and create an individualized therapeutic plan with the help of trauma-informed masters-level clinicians. They work with major health plans including Medicaid.
Keywords: mental health, therapy, psychiatry, remote therapy

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Children’s Special Health Services Financial Assistance Program

The CSHS can provide up to $2,000/year for children and youth (under age 22) with special healthcare needs to help pay for approved expenses related to diagnosis.  To qualify, families must live at or below 300% of the federal poverty level.  services that could be covered include medical equipment, medications, and respite care. 

This program is waitlisted as of 2021.

Keywords:  Financial assistance

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Circle of Parents

Circle of Parents is a network of support groups for parents, grandparents, foster parents, and caregivers of someone with a disability or diagnosis. Group facilitators receive training on how to provide a safe place for sharing. Montana has Circle of Parents groups in Missoula, Butte, Great Falls, Havre, and the Mission Valley (Ronan, Polson, and St. Ignatius). Most Circles provide childcare during meetings.

Keywords: Help group, support group, parent support, caregivers

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Disability Rights Montana (DRM)

Disability Rights Montana is committed to “ensuring full access to inclusive educational programs, financial entitlements, healthcare, productive employment opportunities, as well as continuing to seek prevention of abuse and neglect.” DRM provides legal support and advocacy for groups and for individuals. Families can contact DRM when their own advocacy network has failed to find a fair resolution to a situation infringing on the rights of a person with a disability.

Keywords: Disability rights, legal representation, system advocacy

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Dream Adaptive

Dream Adaptive, a non-profit based in Whitefish, MT, provides year-round outdoor adventures for Montanans with disabilities. “Trained staff and volunteer instructors help break down barriers to participation, so that everyone has access to the great outdoors.” Serving age five to adults with physical, developmental, and sensory challenges, Dream Adaptive offers opportunity to ski, snowboard, bike, paddleboard, kayak, and more.

Keywords: Adaptive sport, adaptive recreation

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Eagle Mount Billings

Eagle Mount Bozeman

Eagle Mount Great Falls

Eagle Mount is a non-profit organization that provides recreational programs for people with disabilities. Eagle Mount currently has programs in Bozeman, Billings, and Great Falls. “Eagle Mount empowers children and adults with a range of challenges to enrich their lives through adventure and activity. Our exciting array of opportunities, expert staff, and caring volunteers all encourage participants to ‘mount up with wings as eagles.’” Visit the individual web sites for each location to learn more about the programs they offer.

Keywords: Adaptive sport, adaptive recreation, therapeutic programming

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Gender Inclusive Schools

Gender Inclusive Schools provides online and in-person training and consultations for parents and educators “to help create supportive and affirming learning environments for LGBTQ+ young people.” Contact them if you need help communicating with teachers and administrators or advocating for your child and other LGBTQ+ children in your community. Scholarships are available and sales are advertised via Facebook.
Key words: LGBTQ parenting, advocacy training

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iTALK Autism Foundation

iTaalk Autism Foundation is a non-profit organization based in Ohio, dedicated to providing iOS communication devices (iPads, for example), training, and resources to individuals with autism for the purpose of developing greater independence. The website also lists other ideas for funding, and hosts an “App Facilitator” program that will purchase a maximum of five apps (or max of $250) each calendar year.
Key words: funding, autism, technology, communication

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Jadyn Fred Foundation

In honor of Jadyn Fred, the Jadyn Fred Foundation provides financial assistance to families facing serious health issues. The Foundation has assisted with costs associated with emergency travel, motels, food, gas, and airfare. Although assistance is distributed per a three-tier system, going first to families with a child receiving cancer treatment, the Foundation does assist families with other needs as funds allow.

Keywords: Financial assistance

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Montana ABLE

In times past, it was difficult for a person with a disability to save money for a special purchase or a rainy day without risking eligibility for assistance programs like SSI (Supplemental Security Income) and Medicaid. Now there are two options that make the security of savings an option. One is to set up a special needs trust with the help of an attorney.  The other is to open a Montana ABLE account.  With an ABLE account, a person can save up to $100,000 without affecting SSI.  A person with Medicaid remains eligible regardless of the ABLE account balance. Investment earnings are federally tax-free so long as you use your funds for qualified disability-related expenses.

Keywords: Financial savings, financial planning

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Montana Autism Center

The Montana Autism Center is housed at the Rural Institute for Inclusive Communities and hosts a web site with resources for families with autism and professionals working with families. You will find general information about autism as well as Montana-specific resources. Individual enquiries submitted to this site are managed by Montana Family to Family Health Information Center staff.

Keywords: Information, resources

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Montana Autism Education Project (MAEP)

The Montana Autism Education Project provides training and technical assistance to support schools in educating students on the autism spectrum. MAEP offers in-person and online trainings on a wide range of autism-related topics, on-site consultations for school teams to help address the needs of specific students, and a blog of autism information with an archive of helpful articles, videos, and social stories.  Trainings are listed on the blog and are open to families, but educators are given priority.

Keywords: Autism, education, training

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Montana Association for the Blind

The Montana Association for the Blind is a nonprofit organization that helps Montanans who are blind or low vision connect with others in the community and find resources.  The MAB also offers training in independent living skills through the annual Summer Orientation Program, a month-long program providing free room, board, and training. Email or call for more information:  mab.sop15@yahoo.com, (406) 442-9411.

Keywords: blind, low vision, resources, independent living

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Montana Centers for Independent Living

Montana has four Centers for Independent Living, which provide services for any Montanan with a disability. They are private nonprofit organizations and offer a range of services in the general areas of information, referral, independent living skills training, peer mentoring, advocacy, and transitions. Find contact information for LIFTT (Billings area), MILP (Helena area), NCILS (Great Falls area), and Summit (Missoula area).

Keywords: Independent living, peer mentorship, self-advocacy 

 

Montana Dog Guide Group

The Montana Dog Guide Group (MDGG) is a support group for those who are blind or low vision and currently use a dog guide, families of someone with a guide dog, and those considering a guide dog. AT MDGG meetings, attendees discuss topics of interest.  MDGG is a forum to connect, receive practical and emotional support, problem-solve, and identify opportunities to advocate.   Meetings are currently via Zoom.  Learn more at their website.

Keywords: blind, low vision, guide dog, support, independent living

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Montana Hands & Voices

Montana Hands & Voices is an organization dedicated to building community and providing resources and support for families of children who are deaf or hard of hearing. Montana Hands & Voices is parent led and focused on supporting parents striving to raise “a WASK (well-adjusted successful kid).”

Keywords: Deaf, hard of hearing, parent support, help group, advocacy, training

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Montana Medical Home Portal

This free online resource allows Montana families to research diagnoses and conditions and explore resources about caring for a child with a disability or diagnosis and advocating for that child. The Portal also houses a directory of medical providers and therapists practicing in Montana, searchable by location.

Keywords: provider directory, service directory, medical information, education

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Montana Lifespan Respite Coalition

The Montana Lifespan Respite Coalition provides funding to eligible caregivers so they can access respite care. Getting a break now and then supports a caregiver’s mental and physical wellbeing and decreases family stress. Depending on your income, there may be a co-pay based on a sliding-fee scale. Call to learn more at 1-800-551-3191 or fill out an application here: www.respite.mt.gov

Key words: respite, caregiver burnout, stress, financial assistance

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Montana Parent Partner Program

The Montana Parent Partner Program trains parents of children with healthcare needs to be supportive advocates for other families. Your Parent Partner can provide emotional support and help you learn skills to build positive relationships with your care team and advocate effectively for your child with medical providers, school professionals, and others involved with your child.

Keywords: Special healthcare needs, parent support, advocacy

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Montana Empowerment Center

The Montana Empowerment Center (MEC) is Montana’s Parent and Training Information Center. MEC provides information and individualized assistance to help Montana families of students with disabilities/diagnoses navigate the education system. Contact MEC for help understanding your child’s rights under IDEA (the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act), getting answers to questions about school services, and brainstorming conflict-resolution options.

Keywords: Education, IDEA, IEP, advocacy, parent support

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Montana Vocational Rehabilitation and Blind Services

Montana Voc. Rehab. helps individuals with disabilities find and maintain employment. Voc. Rehab. can assist with career exploration, work experiences, and support on the job as needs dictate. There is a waitlist for services in Montana, and current wait time (2020) is between one and two years; however, high school students with disabilities age 14-21 can take advantage of limited Voc. Rehab. services through the Pre-ETS program. Learn more about Pre-ETS here: https://dphhs.mt.gov/detd/youthtransitions/preemploymenttransitions 

Keywords: Disability employment, vocational support

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MonTECH

MonTech is Montana’s assistive technology program.  MonTECH houses adaptive equipment and assistive technology that can help mitigate challenges in communication, hearing, vision, learning, computer access, and mobility.  Borrow equipment for free, and receive free 1:1 training upon request. Appointments can be in person or online. MonTECH provides free shipping and return shipping anywhere in Montana.

Keywords: Assistive technology, adaptive equipment, training

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Mountain States Regional Genetics Network

The Mountain States Regional Genetics Network supports Montanans with genetic disorders, and their families, by connecting them to services and providing resources to their providers. They can answer questions about prenatal genetic screening, when to involve a geneticist, and whether your insurance will cover testing.

Keywords: Genetic screening, developmental concerns

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MT Deaf-Blind Project

The Deaf-Blind Project serves Montanans from birth through 21, who have combined vision and hearing loss. This program provides trainings, resources, and technical assistance for teams working with families, children and youth.

Keywords: Vision impairment, hearing impairment, school support, training

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MT Hope Project

The Montana Hope Project is sponsored by the Association of Montana Troopers and is not affiliated with any national wish-granting foundation. This project fundraises to grant wishes of children with life-threatening illnesses.  Montana Hope Project also holds two reunions each year for families.

Keywords: Wish, dream, travel

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NAMI Montana

Montana’s chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness has affiliates in Billings, Bozeman, Bitterroot, Great Falls, Havre, Helena, Kalispell, Lewistown, and Missoula. NAMI helps people with mental illness and their families through support groups, information sharing, advocacy, policy work, and concerted effort to erase the stigma associated with mental illness.

Keywords: Mental health, mental illness, education, family support, advocacy

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National Federation of the Blind of Montana

You can live the life you want; blindness is not what holds you back.”  The National Federation of the Blind (NFB) of Montana hosts monthly chapter meetings and an annual state convention to bring together Montanans who are blind, have low vision, or have an interest in the blind and low vision world. The NFB supports education, shares research and information, and encourages advocacy.

Keywords: Blind, low vision, advocacy

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Ski for Light Montana

Ski for Light Montana is a nonprofit program that coordinates cross-country skiing and trail hiking events for adults who are blind or have low vision.  The cross-country skiing program is held in West Yellowstone each winter and provides a sighted guide for each program participant. Trekk for Light is held each summer in central Montana. Participants enjoy three days of hiking with sighted guides. Contact them through their website.

Keywords: blind, low vision, adaptive recreation, adaptive sport