Center for Exceptional Families


Dr. Youngs 

An Exceptional Mission . . .
Our Mission at the Center for Exceptional Families

Through our medical home model of comprehensive and innovative rehabilitation care, children with special needs and their families will be supported throughout their unique life journey.

They will evolve and grow in strength to advocate for health, education, independence and community inclusion.

They will learn to negotiate the joys and realities of living with differing abilities, and they will emerge as young adults and families able to pursue their own dreams.

I want this program to live on forever, not as a personal legacy but for the patients and families who would otherwise have nowhere else to go. Not anywhere else would our families access comprehensive, coordinated care for their complex, life-challenging medical diagnoses and injuries, in an intimate, familiar and truly loving facility and staff.

The Center is an ‘all-comers’ program where we treat any disability or developmental concern. All-comers includes the families who come with the child with special health care needs; the moms and dads in our support groups, financial seminars, education and resource programs, the siblings in our tutoring, recreation and Sibshop programs. Our CEF staff wraps their arms around families and guides them through their child’s journey of living with a disability, celebrating the struggles and the joys along the way together.

We feel very blessed by the tremendous support from donors and organizations. Not only were we blessed to move into a comfortable building that allows us the space and comfort to offer comprehensive programming for families in a natural atmosphere, but further blessed by our donors support for our programs, and their efforts to endow staff positions and programs at the Center to many different levels. The Endowment campaign allows us the ability to be innovative and creative in best supporting our families, and ultimately to secure the future of the Center for Exceptional Families. The donations coming in to the Center for Exceptional Families are cared for with the greatest sense of responsibility to both our donors and our children and families, with our knowledge that the gifts are not only heart-felt, but also well thought out. Our donors are awesome. And as we tell our patients….”You are ‘different’…and that’s only natural.”

Thank you for your support of the Center for Exceptional Families!

Susan Youngs, MD
Medical Director

because together, we do so much good!

Oakwood’s Center for Exceptional Families is the only place in Michigan – and one of the few in the United States – to offer fully integrated, family-centered care for children with special needs. The Center provides high quality health care, social work, mental health, and physical therapy services to benefit these children, their siblings and parents – all under one roof. This approach enables our young patients to reach their highest potential for personal independence, supported by their families and communities.

Since its inception in 1997, the Center for Exceptional Families has assisted more than 800 children living in 10 counties in southeastern Michigan. Given the Center’s success, it has outgrown its current facility and needs room to expand its reach. What’s more, the Center now has a unique opportunity to begin a one-of-a-kind academic collaboration with the University of Michigan-Dearborn Early Childhood Education Center, allowing teachers to partner with clinicians for the best outcome for all students in their care.

because these children are our future

The Center for Exceptional Families Rotunda Drive facility has given us much needed space dedicated to clinical services and innovative, high-impact programs for children with disabilities and their families.  This allows us to set a new high standard of healthcare and education for children with disabilities, emphasizing collaborative, multidisciplinary research. This creates and environment where a new generation of teacher's and children with or without disabilities can learn and interact side by side.

This state-of-the-art facility includes:

  • A mobility gym, including a climbing wall
  • A family resource center
  • Sensory gardens
  • Sensory deprivation and integration spaces
  • Unique private observation rooms
  • And more!

to create a unique learning experience

The University of Michigan-Dearborn Early Childhood Education Center is a learning center for children one through six years of age and an early childhood teacher preparation and research facility.

In 2006, the Early Childhood Education Center entered into a ground-breaking collaboration with the Center for Exceptional Families, and it shares the space in the renovated Rotunda Drive facility. This allows the Center to serve additional children with special educational needs and provide university students with the necessary training to teach these young children within the early childhood classroom.

Both programs take a family-centered approach to the care and education of children with special needs. They are
likewise committed to the inclusion of young children within a regular classroom setting and focus on preparing future
educators to help all children thrive in a mixed environment.

to realize our vision of exceptional care

The power of philanthropy transcends time - it begins today to shape and form tomorrow's realities. The desire to leave a legacy of clinical excellence, compassionate support and self-reliance to future generations of multiple disabled children and their families, is expressed in many ways by Center for Exceptional Families' benefactors. 

The Center for Exceptional Families is funded by patient care revenue, annual philanthropic contributions and endowment fund earnings. Many of the Center's services are non-reimbursable through insurance. Without philanthropic support, services such as physiological assessments, speech and hearing screenings, developmental assessment clinics and many other programs that make the Center unique, would not be possible.

Oakwood Healthcare is embarking on a $10 million campaign to ensure the sustainability of the Center. Together we can change a life, make a dream come true and help build the future for so many.  Your financial support can change a child's life for the better. 

For gift opportunities or to visit our facilities, please contact the Oakwood Foundation at 313.586.5234.