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Updated 4:00 PM January 24, 2007




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U-M-Dearborn, Oakwood agreement
will benefit development center, children with disabilities

The School of Education at U-M-Dearborn and Oakwood Healthcare Inc. formally have signed a collaboration agreement to support U-M-Dearborn's Child Development Center and other campus programs, as well as Oakwood's Program for Exceptional Families, which serves children with disabilities and their families.

"Our goal with this partnership is to build a comprehensive, long-term relationship between U-M-Dearborn and Oakwood while supporting each other's missions for education, clinical care, research and service to the community," says Paul Zionts, dean of U-M-Dearborn's School of Education.

"The affiliation Oakwood has created with the University of Michigan-Dearborn is reason to celebrate," says Dr. Susan Youngs, director of the Program for Exceptional Families. "We can now begin the journey of establishing educational, clinical and research partnerships that ultimately benefit children with disabilities and their families."

Oakwood's Program for Exceptional Families is designed for children with complex disorders and disabilities such as autism, cerebral palsy and Down syndrome. The program, which serves more than 800 families annually, is the only clinic in southeastern Michigan where care for health, social service needs, mental health and physical therapy all are available in one location.

"This collaboration also opens the door for the formation of joint ventures, the education of professionals to better serve children with disabilities, the enhancement of specialized clinical services and the exploration of research opportunities," Youngs says. "When the medical community for kids with disabilities comes together with the education community—it's a win for the kids."

The joint venture will support collaborative work between U-M-Dearborn and Oakwood Healthcare Inc. in four main areas—education, clinical services, research and development opportunities—over the next 20 years.

In the future, both the Child Development Center and the Oakwood program will share a new expanded facility on the U-M-Dearborn campus, housing both an expanded Child Development Center and the Oakwood program.

The partnership will allow U-M-Dearborn to: diversify the educational experience for future teachers; recruit and retain high-quality faculty; and expand educational services for children with disabilities in the region and the professionals serving these children and their families.

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