On March 28th, we had another great turnout for Lego Club: Farm Animals. It’s always such a pleasure to watch how everyone works together to create such amazing creations!
For the past few years, we have held our annual Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month Kickoff Dance— This year our theme was “Boots & Belles”. We collected donations for Riverside Recovery Services- they enjoyed spending the evening with us, collecting donations and helping us tear down decorations at the end of the evening. Thank you everyone who made this night a success!
Please enjoy some of our photos! If you have any you’d like to share, feel free to send them our way!
Thank you to everyone who came out to Lego Club at MVNU on 1/31! We had another great turnout and families enjoyed creating fun ‘out of this world’ Lego Creations!
On January 16th, over 60 people joined us and built their very own Castle Creations! Everyone had a great time— especially those who won door prizes!
Thank you everyone for joining us and to MVNU for hosting us! Stay tuned for our next Lego Club event in a couple of weeks!
For the past five years the Knox County Board of Developmental Disabilities has thrown our annual "Summerfest" to celebrate summer, sun and have fun! Each year carries a different theme and activities- this year we celebrated with many different organizations across our county! We love being able to partner and collaborate with so many amazing organizations to help with inclusion and break down barriers for the people and families in our program!
It was wonderful watching everyone interact with the various booths set up from community partners and having conversations by asking unique and thoughtful questions to all of the first responders that came to support our event! Thank you to everyone who helped make last week so successful!
Thank you to all of the organizations that helped bring such fun to our day! Knox County Sheriff, Mount Vernon Police Department, Fredericktown Police Department, Mount Vernon Fire/EMS, Danville Police Department, Lashley Training Center, Knox County Health Department, Mount Vernon Street Department, YMCA, Knox Community Hospital, Ohio State University Extension, Center for Disability Services, Easter Seals, ODOT, Help Me Grow & Early Intervention, Knox Area Transit, Prosecutor's Office, Ariel-Foundation Park
ICAN2 (Involvement, Community, Advocacy and Networking Too) is a group of Self-Advocates from Knox County who are dedicated to promoting inclusion and improving accessibility for all. Last year they learned about the Akron Zoo and how they were the second zoo in the United States to create a Sensory Inclusive environment for all patrons that come to their zoo. Akron Zoo partnered with KultureCity to improve their ability to assist and accommodate guests with sensory processing needs. Their objective is to provide an inclusive and seamless experience for ALL guests regardless of age and ability including those with sensory processing needs.
In April 2018 ICAN2 met with Elena Bell, who works with the Akron Zoo so she could help the group understand how they implemented this program into their zoo. She explained that all of the staff at the zoo are trained in recognizing what a "melt down" looks like and understanding what sensory sensitive means, what it can look like and the different needs people may have. They provide Sensory Bags at no cost to anyone who comes to the zoo. The bags include noise cancelling headphones, fidget toys, sunglasses and a cue card to help them express their wants and needs. There are guest comfort stations that individuals or families can use to help calm down and get away from the crowds. There are quiet zones and headphone zones throughout the entire zoo. On Akron Zoo's website, they have a Social Story that people can view prior to coming so they know what to expect before they arrive.
In June the self advocates were able to go to the Akron Zoo to see the new program! Many people noticed how easy it was to find the "headphone zones" and "quiet zones" so they knew what was coming. They also appreciated the fidget toys so they could have something to occupy their hands while waiting to view an exhibit.
ICAN2 is hoping that the Columbus Zoo will take note of this wonderful program and implement it in their zoo! If you would like to see this become a reality for Columbus, Eleana Bell recommended that patrons should write down the different things Akron Zoo does on the Columbus Zoo's comment cards when you visit and give them Elena's contact information:
Elena Bell Marketing & Group Sales Manager, email: email@example.com, Phone: 330-375-2550, ext. 7251
For the past 8 years, the Knox County Board of DD has collaborated with ESC Parent Mentor Program to host the "Education In Action" Awards banquet for all of the county schools. This ceremony gives all teachers across Knox County an opportunity to nominate and honor any student in their classroom. Teachers nominated 40 students across the county for their hard work in Academics, Arts, Athletics, Community Service, Employment, Extracurricular Activity and Independent Living Skills.
Awards were given to:
Knox County Career Center- Dakota Welch
Centerburg- Colton Love, Deacon Goulter, Caila Scmitz
East Knox- Dakota Wooden, Freddy Evans, Jonathan Cisco, Alivia Elliott
Fredericktown- Mikail Diagne, Tripp Gray, Carter Hempfield, Hadlee Miller
Mount Vernon- Alexa Hartshorn, Jacob Rivers, Sabrina Dannes, Isabella Carpenter
Clear Fork- Student is recognized under Knox Educational Service Center Group Awards
Knox Educational Service Center- Corey Woods, Savannah Carpenter, Keyon Atkinson, Alexis Darr, Ronnie Andrews, Gage Johnson, Spencer Jones, Austin Martin, Carolyn Parrish, Wayne Rittenhouse, Haven Shelton, Jackson Slater, Dustin Starmer, Vinnie Wilson, Faith Bowers, Madison Flack, Robert Simpson-Rine
Group Awards- Elijah Clark, Cody Hanna, Tyler Morris, Robbie Pyott, Katie Sharp, Will Smith, Grant Yoder
The “Distinguished Service” award is given out each year to honor a professional who always goes above and beyond expectations. This year’s award winner was Sarah Craft, a special education teacher from Fredericktown Local School District. She is an exemplary educator and she continually focuses on developing independent living skills for every student she works with. The Special Education Coordinator stated, “Sarah is tireless with her efforts in addressing the often diverse and intense needs of the students she serves. She is supportive and encouraging with her support staff. She is quick and continual to celebrate student achievements with every milestone reached, as well as involving, acknowledging and celebrating teachers, custodians, administrators, therapists, secretaries and aides with their partnerships. She demonstrates care and consideration for all of her shared students with their well-being and development.” Sarah was touched and honored to receive the award last week at the ceremony.
We would also like to thank Creative Foundations for their ongoing generous support to hold this event! Your kindness is appreciated!
"We love getting to do normal things- go to the movies, the zoo. We do totally typical things!" -Laura Sanders, mother to the beautiful and wonderful Elli and Levi, siblings who were both born with Down Syndrome!