The TuscBDD Blog

New School Year - New School Gear

By Kerri Silverthorn   |   Fri, Jul 12th, 2019

With summer break already halfway finished, Starlight School Specialized Service Program and Preschool staff are getting ready for the new school year. This year, children can expect to receive intervention and lessons with the new school robot, Milo, play on the new basketball court, and take a rest on the donated buddy bench.

Because of a grant that TuscBDD received from the Ohio Department of Developmental Disabilities, Starlight School now has a Milo robot. Students with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) that attend Starlight School/Preschool will participate in lessons with Milo that improve their social and behavioral skills. Lessons will be facilitated by TuscBDD's Occupational Therapy Assistant, Farrah Raines, and TuscBDD's Speech-Language Pathologist, Katy Ganz. To learn more about how Milo will help children with ASD, please visit https://robots4autism.com/milo/.    

The Tuscarawas Film Festival donated a $500 gift to Starlight School that helped enable construction of a new basketball half-court on the campus. The donation was presented by Quaker Cinema owner, Mike Ernest, and fellow Film Festival volunteers in May. The construction of the court is now complete and ready for students.    

Mr.Andrew Wilsterman presented Starlight School with a Buddy Bench. The Buddy Bench’s mission is to teach children about kindness and help those struggling with loneliness on the playground to feel included. Mr. Wilsterman, the founder of the Good Neighbor Project, started the Buddy Bench project with the guidance and direction from local resident and supporter of the Good Neighbor Project, Mary Ann Lauber. His message to the students was, “If you see someone that needs a buddy, be a buddy. Everybody has the power within themselves to reach out to someone else, and we all know how good it feels when someone reaches out and helps us."

Samantha Wottle & Enoch Wright of STEAM Centers commissioned the bench for Starlight School. STEAM Centers is a 501 (c) (3) nonprofit based in New Philadelphia, Ohio. Their mission is to provide exciting, educational experiences for children and families. STEAM strives to create interest in science, technology, engineering, art and music. STEAM provides opportunities to explore integrated approaches to various topics.

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New School Year - New School Gear

Kerri Silverthorn Fri, Jul 12th, 2019

With summer break already halfway finished, Starlight School Specialized Service Program and Preschool staff are getting ready for the new school year. This year, children can expect to receive intervention and lessons with the new school robot, Milo, play on the new basketball court, and take a rest on the donated buddy bench.

Because of a grant that TuscBDD received from the Ohio Department of Developmental Disabilities, Starlight School now has a Milo robot. Students with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) that attend Starlight School/Preschool will participate in lessons with Milo that improve their social and behavioral skills. Lessons will be facilitated by TuscBDD's Occupational Therapy Assistant, Farrah Raines, and TuscBDD's Speech-Language Pathologist, Katy Ganz. To learn more about how Milo will help children with ASD, please visit https://robots4autism.com/milo/.    

The Tuscarawas Film Festival donated a $500 gift to Starlight School that helped enable construction of a new basketball half-court on the campus. The donation was presented by Quaker Cinema owner, Mike Ernest, and fellow Film Festival volunteers in May. The construction of the court is now complete and ready for students.    

Mr.Andrew Wilsterman presented Starlight School with a Buddy Bench. The Buddy Bench’s mission is to teach children about kindness and help those struggling with loneliness on the playground to feel included. Mr. Wilsterman, the founder of the Good Neighbor Project, started the Buddy Bench project with the guidance and direction from local resident and supporter of the Good Neighbor Project, Mary Ann Lauber. His message to the students was, “If you see someone that needs a buddy, be a buddy. Everybody has the power within themselves to reach out to someone else, and we all know how good it feels when someone reaches out and helps us."

Samantha Wottle & Enoch Wright of STEAM Centers commissioned the bench for Starlight School. STEAM Centers is a 501 (c) (3) nonprofit based in New Philadelphia, Ohio. Their mission is to provide exciting, educational experiences for children and families. STEAM strives to create interest in science, technology, engineering, art and music. STEAM provides opportunities to explore integrated approaches to various topics.

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Becoming an SSA: Ray's Story

Kerri Silverthorn Fri, Apr 26th, 2019

Hello, my name is Ray. I recently had the opportunity of speaking with high school students about careers in my field. In my profession, I help people reach their goals, achieve their dreams, and live their best lives; I’m a Service and Support Administrator (SSA). An SSA helps to connect people with developmental disabilities to services in the community to help them meet their needs and achieve their goals. It’s a role that entails performing clerical work and adhering to governing regulations set forth by the state and federal governments. It’s also a career that is one of the most intrinsically rewarding experiences in the professional world.

I began my journey in this field during college; however, my initial goal was to become a math/English teacher for middle school or high school age kids. During my college years, I began working part-time for an agency that provided respite care for foster families. Respite care is a type of temporary care. I served as a mentor for kids, taking them into the community to participate in activities. I couldn’t believe that I got paid to do things like taking someone to play basketball, or to a haunted house, or even to Cedar Point to ride roller coasters! Some of the children that I worked with were also involved with the county board of developmental disabilities. Ohio's county boards of developmental disabilities are the local government agencies that fund and oversee services and supports needed by people with developmental disabilities. It was this job of mentoring children with disabilities that sparked my interest in the developmental disabilities field in particular.

Because of my experience with mentoring and providing respite care for children, I decided to pursue additional employment in the developmental disabilities field. I found a position with an agency providing direct support to adults with developmental disabilities and began working both jobs before I even graduated college. There was, and still is, a great need for direct support professionals (DSPs), which at that time resulted in my being able to accumulate more hours with the agency. I took on a full-time position with the adult provider agency and left the foster care agency.

During my employment with the adult provider agency, I was promoted and granted the opportunity to spearhead a new program in Tuscarawas County aimed at providing work experience through volunteerism for adults with developmental disabilities. I was excited to utilize my own creative ideas and put them into action. I had an absolute blast working with the residents, organizations, and the Tuscarawas County Board of Developmental Disabilities (TuscBDD).

When I heard there was an open position for a Service and Support Administrator at TuscBDD, I knew that I had to apply. It seemed to be the next logical step in the progression of my career in the developmental disabilities field. Needless to say, I was offered the position and still serve the county as an SSA.

Becoming a Service and Support Administrator wasn’t my original career goal; however, I can’t imagine being in any other field. The amazing people who I get to work with and for make this profession one of the best career choices. Knowing that I’m helping people achieve their dreams and goals is one of the best feelings in the world. I’m thankful for the opportunities that I’ve been presented, and I look forward to the opportunities of the future in my role as a service and support administrator.

Are you a student looking for rewarding employment? Are you interested in learning more about the many careers in the developmental disabilities field that range from information technology to community relations and beyond? If so, please contact the Tuscarawas County Board of Developmental Disabilities by phone at 330.308.7173 or by email at ksilverthorn@tuscbdd.org.

Written by guest blogger, Ray Snyder

Pictured: Ray Snyder (L), Sam Patterson (R)

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New Faces at TuscBDD

Kerri Silverthorn Wed, Apr 17th, 2019

Please help us welcome TuscBDD’s new team members, Ben Kolbrich, Amber Williams, and Devin Williams. Both Ben and Amber serve as Starlight School’s Behavior Support Specialists where they work with children that attend Starlight School or need outreach services in their home school location. Devin is TuscBDD's newest Service and Support Administrator (SSA). 

Ben holds a Master of Science in Psychology with a concentration in Applied Behavior Analysis, and he is currently pursuing a Board Certified Behavior Analyst credential (BCBA). He has worked with children for over 10 years. He has over 8 years of experience in developing strength-based treatment plans and working as a behavioral therapist with children with intensive needs. He has worked with children and their families in homes, schools, and in community settings to aid them with behavior modification so children may live their lives at their upmost potential. Ben also served in the U.S. Navy where he trained as a Nuclear Engineer Machinist.

Amber earned her Bachelor of Science in Therapeutic Recreation form Eastern Michigan University, and she is a Registered Behavior Technician (RBT). Amber interned at St. Joseph’s Hospital, HCR Manor Care for Geriatrics, and Vista Maria – providing therapy services to vulnerable, at risk youth. She served as a Rehabilitation Assistant at Rainbow Rehabilitation, a mental health facility. Using her RBT, Amber worked at the Autism Collaborative Center for 3 years. She also served as a Behavior Technician in a regular education classroom supporting students with developmental disabilities.

Devin earned an Associate of Science in Business Administration from Columbia College, Savannah, GA and a Bachelor of Science in General Education from Kent State University. Devin served in the United States Army receiving the Army Commendation Medal, the Iraq Campaign Medal, the U.S. Presidential Unit Citation, and the Nation Defense Service Medal. He has eleven years of experience in working with people with development disabilities which includes having worked with The Twelve Inc. in Massillon and most recently Goodwill Industries, Inc.

Devin Williams, SSA

Devin Williams, TuscBDD SSA

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This is Me

Kerri Silverthorn Thu, Mar 21st, 2019

March is Developmental Disabilities Awareness and Advocacy Month, a designated time when TuscBDD can create awareness and recognize the many contributions that people with disabilities bring to our community. It’s also a time when people with disabilities can share their stories and show that they are living successful lives. TuscBDD asks everyone in the community to join in celebrating victories, advocating for inclusion, and encouraging awareness! The Ohio Developmental Disabilities Council has chosen "Supports Matter" as the theme for 2019.

Additionally, March 21 is World Down Syndrome Day. I asked my friend Chelsea if she would write a guest blog for TuscBDD. I asked her to write about whatever she wanted; whatever she felt like sharing with the world on World Down Syndrome Day. In her blog, I can really see what "Supports Matter" means and how her supports help make her life more fulfilling and her dreams obtainable.

This is Me

My name is Chelsea.  I am 24 years old.  I live with my mom in Newcomerstown.  I am in lots of sports in Special Olympics.  I work with Advocates for Success (AFS) in the day.  

I grew up in Newcomerstown.  I went to school and loved it.  I was in the marching band, plays, and musicals.  I had lots of friends, and they voted for me for prom queen my senior year.  When I was just a kid I meet my mom at my school.  She was my teacher.  Then I was in Middle School and my mom picked me.  She picked me for her daughter.  Me.  Chelsea Lefler.  My other family did not want me anymore.  They stop taking care of me.  I had a meeting about this.  I was so sad.  But then they tell me that my mom picked me to be her baby girl.  I am being okay after this.

I went to a career center after high school. I had a hard time after high school because I missed my friends.  I cried almost every day.  I missed my friends from school. I feel like something was wrong with me.  My mom was worried about me a lot.  I graduated in May and started to feel better.  My mom told me to not stop dreaming.  She tell me to believe in myself.

I met my SSA Ray after I graduated.  He was nice and talked to me about having a job.  I want a job.  I need to make money so I can live on my own someday.  Ray helped me find a job.  He helped me be in REM with Kim Chaney.  Kim is my coach.  Job coach.  She taught me about working and doing my best.  After I am done with REM I started work at Advocates for Success.  Kim and Nancy and my coaches teach me how to work hard at my jobs.  I have worked at the mall in Claires, Marshalls, Joann Fabrics, and maybe the Kitchen Collection someday.  I have worked on tags.  I have worked at my mom's school.  I have worked at Browse & Buy.  I have worked at Giant Eagle.  I have worked on tags and painting the walls.  We talk a lot about feelings and no drama at work.  I have friends at work.  I go to cooking class after work on Mondays.  I am still dreaming.  I want to work at my job and get a paycheck.  I want to buy my own things.  I want to live on my own.  My mom tells me I can when I am ready.

I am also in Special Olympics.  My mom is the coordinator.  In Special Olympics I am part of bowling, swimming, pep club, skills basketball, volleyball, track, bocce, and skills softball.  I have lots of friends at Special Olympics.  I have lots of coaches.  These are my Rockets family.   We laugh a lot and cheer for each other.  We try our best and work hard every time.  Special Olympics taught me to have a goal and to work on the goal.  I love to win gold.  I have to work to win this gold.  I love to go to state.  I have to work hard to go to state.  If I cannot win I am be brave in the attempt.  I am try my best.  My coaches tell me this is all I can do.  I have partners in Special Olympics.  My uncle Adam bowls with me.  Angelica plays bocce with me.  Kelly and Shar swim with me.  We work together as a team to win.  My partners and my team and my Rockets are amazing.  I love them.  I have friends again.  I have a family again.  

In Special Olympics I am part of the leadership council.  I speak a lot.  I get to vote.  I take notes at the meetings.  I help others.   I have a voice.    

My mom and I talked about Down Syndrome.  We watched a TV show (Born This Way) and I see other people with Down Syndrome.  I asked my mom if I have Down Syndrome.  She said yes.  My mom asked me if I know what that means, and I said I am awesome.  My mom smiled and said yes.  Sometimes Down Syndrome makes me feel different than my friends.  I am learn from my mom, my coaches, and my friends that different is okay.  I am not always different.  I have Down Syndrome but I want friends, a boyfriend, a job, live on my own, hang out, play sports,  and learn.  I need some help but my mom says to keep dreaming and working. 

This is me.  Chelsea Lefler.   I love my life and I love you guys.  Thank you for reading.  

Written by guest blogger, Chelsea Lefler 

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Celebrate March with Us!

Chris Sapp Wed, Feb 27th, 2019

TuscBDD is gearing up for another exciting March as we celebrate Developmental Disabilities Awareness and Advocacy Month.  There are many reasons to celebrate March; however, today we share with you a specific reminder: People living with developmental disabilities have many things in common with you and I, and we are better when we stand together.

From beginning to end, the fun never stops as we join together for our all-time favorite events.  There is something for everyone to enjoy!  Check out this year’s schedule of celebration. 

March 1 –Sensory Friendly Movie is being held at the Quaker Cinema located at 158 W. High Avenue, New Philadelphia for all county providers.      

March 5 – Developmental Disabilities Awareness and Advocacy Day at the Ohio Statehouse in Columbus Ohio.     

March 16 – STEAM Pop-up Museum at Charmed: Gifts With Meaning located at 117 W. High Ave. New Philadelphia.  STEAM is science, technology, engineering, art and math and the museum provides fun and interactive ways to inspire the next generation of innovators.  The museum is sensory friendly and fun for the whole family.

March 21 - Talent Show from 11am to 1:30pm for all county providers being held at J.I.M.’s Place located at 228 W. High Ave., New Philadelphia. 

March 26 – Special Olympic Basketball team is joining with staff members and community members for a good will basketball game starting at 6p.m. at Tuscarawas Central Catholic High School located at 777 Third St. NE, New Philadelphia.  Doors will be open no later than 5:30pm.  Admission is free. 

March 28 – Community Partners Pancake Breakfast from 7:30am to 9:00am with breakfast being served by TuscBDD staff and friends at 7:45am.  To be held at Tuscora Park Dining Hall located at 161 Tuscora Ave. NW at New Philadelphia. RSVP required.

If you are a resident of Tuscarawas County and receive services through TuscBDD, call Chris Sapp at 330-339-9769 if you have questions about the great things happening in March. 

TuscBDD will also be decorating the lower level hallway and display cases at the New Philadelphia Public Library for the month of March in celebration of DD Awareness and Advocacy.  Crafts and Art pieces will be on display from March 1 until March 29.     

Enjoy!

Chris Sapp

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Top 10 Toys that Offer Sensory Input

Kerri Silverthorn Thu, Dec 6th, 2018

Snow is in the air, and the giving season is upon us. This week I teamed up with TuscBDD Starlight School’s Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant, Farrah Raines, to get an idea of some fun and unique toys that offer sensory input. This list was compiled by: Farrah Raines, BS,COTA/L. Click yellow boxes to link to websites. 


Movement 

#1 Door Pong: The goal is to hit the ball back to your opponent every time without missing - But more than a game, Door Pong is a fascinating, skill-strengthening activity to enjoy with a friend. It enhances hand-eye coordination, concentration, reflexes, cooperation, and more. $24.95 +$2.10 tax and $3.99 shipping

#2 SwipeShot:  Pulling, swinging, swiping, and bashing - Kids must use the wrecking ball to try and knock down all of his or her opponent's cups first. Encourages active play, gross motor skills, coordination, strategy, quick thinking, fast reflexes. $19.95 & FREE Shipping

       


Deep pressure

#3 Space Explorers: Allow children and young adults to jump, crawl, and pretend while improving sensory integration. This fun suit helps children develop spatial and body awareness, muscle strength, motor planning and creativity. Price $30.99 - $43.99


Visual, auditory, and Olfactory (smell)

#4 Fairy House Room Diffuser: Using the included sticker sheets, kids can decorate this unique-looking room diffuser to make it look like a beautiful fairy house. Then, fill the diffuser with the included lavender scented oil and switch it on. Soothing lights glow from within while clouds of calming smells spread throughout the room. $17.23 & FREE Shipping

#5 Rockin’ Light Up Guitar: Sized just right for little rockers and featuring two volume levels (for playing both small clubs and packed arenas), the Rocking' Light up Guitar really is an ideal introduction to the thrills of music-making. Encourages fine motor skills, coordination, music skills, cause-effect learning, imaginative play. $15.59 & FREE Shipping.

#6 Whirly Squigz: Stick them to any smooth, flat, non-porous surface - like a bathtub wall, a tabletop, or a window - give them a spin, and... WHOOSH! - Around and around they go, faster than the eye can see! Sensory exploration spins in a new direction with Whirly Squigz. Price: $21.95


Tactile (Textured)

#7 Melissa & Doug Monster Bowling: Children make gains in concentration, hand/eye coordination, gross motor abilities, sensory awareness through various textured pins, motor planning, and visual tracking as children’s eyes follow the path of the moving ball. The colorful monsters reinforce cause and effect, taking turns, and friendly interactions. Children learn colors, they practice counting pins that fall, and they count the bowling pins as they stand them up again. As educational play, Monster Bowling scores a strike every time! Price $16.99

#8 Brain Food Putty: Squish it as flat as possible. Stretch it as wide as your arms can go. Squeeze it and watch as it oozes between your fingers. Sculpt it into all kinds of wild, mind-bending shapes. Builds hand strength & improves fine motor skills and Provides relaxation; reduces stress and anxiety. Price $8.95


 Fine Motor

#9 Spin Again: This visually stimulating toy will keep your little ones enthralled as they practice their hand-eye coordination and engineering skills! $29.95 & FREE Shipping

#10 Gears! Gears! Gears! Lights & Action Building Set: Glow in the dark pieces snap together easily and pull apart so kids can build anything they imagine. Sized right for small hands, vivid toy gears encourage fine motor skills, creativity and problem solving. There is no wrong way to build. Price $28.49


TuscBDD Starlight School’s Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant, Farrah Raines, BS,COTA/L

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