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Organization Information:

Organization Name:
The Detroit Institute for Children (The DIC)
City & State:
Organization Website:
Organization's Mission Statement

The mission of The Detroit Institute for Children is to passionately and positively impact the lives of children with special health care needs and their families by helping them to maximize their potential.

Submission Information

Impact Essay

For nearly 90 years, The Detroit Institute for Children (The DIC) has provided high quality medical and rehabilitative services to children with special health care needs in our community. Through our physical and occupational therapy programs, children have taken their first steps. With the help of our speech therapists, children have spoken their first word or learned to communicate with an augmentative device. Within our pediatric neurology clinic, parents of children with Autism have found answers and comfort.

One of our special kids is a little girl named Sadia. She is 8 now and has been coming to The DIC for 4 years. When she first arrived at our doors, she was in her father’s arms – unable to walk and not wanting to be out of his comforting hold. Very slowly, she began to open up to the therapists and over time she began using a motorized wheelchair. She would practice the controls by wheeling through The DIC’s halls, meeting with many staff along the way. Sadia charmed us all. We watched her progress as she advanced with the wheelchair, learning how to speed away from her therapists!

Throughout the process of learning how to operate her wheelchair, Sadia pushed through physical therapy. As she gained strength in the muscles in her legs, she was given braces and a walker. What a joy it was to watch this shy little girl take her first steps in our hall.

Another one of our special kids is Mitchell. Mitchell’s Mom provided the following words: “Our 13-year-old son, is a very loving, social and happy young boy who was diagnosed at age 1 with a rare syndrome named Hypomelanosis of Ito. He struggles with low muscle tone, cognitive impairment, epilepsy, scoliosis, asthma, obesity and his inability to speak.

Three years ago, we were very fortunate to discover The DIC. Through his therapy sessions, Mitchell has been able to accomplish tasks and excel to levels we did not think possible including “speaking” with communication device.

The DIC not only provides a high level of medical care but also an extremely professional and caring group of therapists who provide weekly one on one care in all critical areas of occupational, physical and speech therapy. This level of care would not be available to Mitchell anywhere else.

Like every parent, we strive to provide the best for each of our children. As parents, having Mitchell attend The DIC has aided us in attaining this goal.”

These are just 2 of the many success stories we see at The DIC every day.

At The DIC, we recognize the personalized needs of all our patients, and strive to care for them with the most effective treatment plan so that they can maximize their potential. Due to economic and transportation constraints, many families are unable to make more than one visit to a doctor or therapist a week. The DIC offers families a “one-stop shop” approach to healthcare in which patients may visit each of their clinicians during one coordinated visit.

In today’s economy – particularly in Detroit and surrounding Southeastern Michigan communities – nonprofit organizations must be increasingly aware of cost-saving opportunities. Through, Microsoft has provided just such an opportunity. By offering tremendous savings on the basic applications we use everyday – Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Outlook – Microsoft allows us to utilize our funding for direct patient care and expansion of services.

We are able to use Word to compose letters to donors. We manage financial reporting using spreadsheets and formulas in Excel. With PowerPoint presentations we can tell The DIC’s story at open houses and seminars. Outlook keeps us all connected. These may not be flashy, but with this support system, we are able to focus on what’s important – highly personalized, quality care for our special patients.

With a solid foundation and efficient use of resources, we have also been able to respond to the changing needs of our community by creating 4 new programs at The DIC. Within the last 2 years, we have expanded our services to include:

  • Activities of Daily Living Center – By using real life items – including a real car installed in the Center – our patients and their families will be able to relate to their surroundings and learn to use the adaptive equipment provided in their therapy sessions at home and in the community. During this time, therapists will be able to evaluate the movement of patients and their caregivers to assure that the methods being used are safe to both. In this setting, parents are free to ask questions and will receive hands-on practice and advice.
  • Multi-Sensory Gym – The multi-sensory gym is a space in which the therapists can modify the stressors for children with sensory integration dysfunction. The gym environment will encourage trust and relaxation by providing the space, time, and access to enjoy the sensations. These sensory experiences will be created through items such as: a 60" interactive, multi-colored bubble tube; fiber-optic bundles that a child can lay on, wrap themselves in, or stroke gently; or a soothing Vibromusic wedge.
  • Primary Care Clinic – It is estimated that at least half of our patients are without an identified primary care physician. As a result, many of these children and their families utilize local emergency rooms for non-emergent care as well as for acute and chronic health problems, or sadly they go untreated. The primary care services at The DIC will offer our patients and their families a reliable source of health care with the convenience of a single point of access.
  • Neurodevelopmental Clinic – If a child fails to meet developmental milestones it can be difficult to diagnose the root cause of the delay. While in many cases, the child may only be exhibiting a mild delay, there are cases that require additional testing and treatment. For these children, it is critical to have a clinic with personnel who are qualified to diagnose and treat such delays and disorders to distinguish what is significant and what is not significant in developmental and behavioral patterns, and to understand not only the current but future implications of these findings.

The DIC has recently seen increased funding cuts and reductions in Medicaid insurance reimbursements. We remain a strong organization, committed to the highest quality of care for children with special health care needs in our community. With the support of organizations like and Microsoft we are able to be prudent stewards of our resources. In the end, we work together to make the impossible possible – going back to basics – helping kids to take their first steps, button their shirt for the first time or speak their first word.

On behalf of all of us, and in the words of Mitchell’s Mom: “Thank you for enabling DIC the opportunity to provide our son with the very best!”

Submission Category
Optimize Mission Delivery
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Supporting Work Files