The TuscBDD Blog

What is an SSA?

By Kerri Silverthorn   |   Fri, Feb 14th, 2020

What is an SSA?

TuscBDD's SSAs assist over 600 people with developmental disabilities and their families to identify and acquire appropriate services and supports. People can choose services for themselves among a variety of resources. SSAs provide support to connect individuals to the services and supports they need. SSAs help discover what is important to the person and what is important for the person. SSAs provide advocacy to safeguard the rights and protect the interests and choices of people served. SSAs also monitor and work closely with agencies and organizations that provide services to individuals with developmental disabilities. For more information on eligibility, please email bstarkey@tuscbdd.org or call Beth at 330.308.7172.

SSAs are advocates that want people they support to exceed goals and live a good life. The SSA service is available for free to eligible children and adults who reside in Tuscarawas County. TuscBDD services are funded by local levy dollars as well as state and federal funds.

READ MORE

What is an SSA?

Kerri Silverthorn Fri, Feb 14th, 2020

What is an SSA?

TuscBDD's SSAs assist over 600 people with developmental disabilities and their families to identify and acquire appropriate services and supports. People can choose services for themselves among a variety of resources. SSAs provide support to connect individuals to the services and supports they need. SSAs help discover what is important to the person and what is important for the person. SSAs provide advocacy to safeguard the rights and protect the interests and choices of people served. SSAs also monitor and work closely with agencies and organizations that provide services to individuals with developmental disabilities. For more information on eligibility, please email bstarkey@tuscbdd.org or call Beth at 330.308.7172.

SSAs are advocates that want people they support to exceed goals and live a good life. The SSA service is available for free to eligible children and adults who reside in Tuscarawas County. TuscBDD services are funded by local levy dollars as well as state and federal funds.

READ MORE

Starlight School's Comfortable Cafeteria

Kerri Silverthorn Thu, Feb 13th, 2020

What is a Comfortable Cafeteria Program? 
The Comfortable Cafeteria Program is designed to promote social skills, emotional wellness, and healthy eating patterns. The program is for six weeks and follows weekly topics. A weekly lunchtime lesson is introduced by the Occupational Therapy Assistant and Speech Language Pathologist. Lessons involve fun activities focused on building conversations and healthy eating habits. Our goal is to provide a comfortable cafeteria for all where students can enjoy a meal, converse with friends, be responsible and respectful, and follow directions.

Creating a Comfortable Cafeteria is one of several model programs developed as a part of the Every Moment Counts: Promoting Mental Throughout the Day initiative, which focuses on embedding strategies throughout the day to help all children and youth become mentally healthy in order to succeed in school, at home, and in the community. For more information, please click here. 

Image Caption: Picture of young students with Starlight School Principal, Holly Lawver.

READ MORE

Extra Mile Service Award

Kerri Silverthorn Mon, Feb 10th, 2020

The Extra Mile Service Award is a way of recognizing employees who go above and beyond their regular duties. This award recognizes an employee who is going the Extra Mile or exhibiting the Extra Mile Attitude in any of TuscBDD’s top value areas such as: People First Culture, Respect, Communication, Education, and Teamwork.

Joyce Robson joined TuscBDD in 1994 as a Bus Aide. In January of 1998 she was also classified as a Substitute Classroom Assistant. She has been the Secretary at Starlight Schools for 22 years, assuming that role in May of 1998. Joyce graduated from New Philadelphia High School and worked at the Ohio Bureau of Employment Services as a Claims Examiner for 14 years.  Please join us in thanking Joyce for her Extra Mile Service in our community.

"Starlight School Secretary, Joyce Robson, is the reassuring voice that parents hear on the phone when they call Starlight School. Beyond that, she is the glue that holds together the staff, students, and parents that make Starlight School a state recognized Gold Level PBIS School. When you ask students if they have a favorite person at school, most will respond “Joyce.” That’s because she’s the calming, welcoming presence for kids coming to school for the first time and the encouraging door greeter for students who struggle with intensive behavioral needs. For school staff, Joyce is the superwoman who keeps morale high by planning events throughout the year that include things like: ugly sweater parties, Mardi Gras pot lucks, and Pi Day desert bars. When Special Olympic athletes come to the school gym for basketball, Joyce is the familiar face they see year after year. When people think of secretaries, the first thing they may think of is files and paperwork. While it is true that Joyce remains the only person that the copy machine allows to send faxes, Joyce’s real role at Starlight School is solver of problems that no one ever sees. She performs this role with poise, grace,and the occasional pointed finger.” Nominated by: Katy Ganz & Farrah Raines.  

The Mission of TuscBDD is to enhance the lives of individuals with disabilities through quality services and community partnerships. We strive to go the Extra Mile with people that we serve and their families, community partners, colleagues, and community members.

 

READ MORE

3 Minutes of Play a Day

Kerri Silverthorn Thu, Jan 30th, 2020

“Oh no! A zombie is coming, and I might get attacked.”

 A pretend zombie has entered our home and put the entire family in danger.

 “Hurry, and get your blaster. Laser that zombie!”

 G. runs and blasts the zombie, and mommy is safe and sound… Whew!

Sound like a familiar fun and energetic pretend game? G. and I play this one quite a bit. I think the best of times that I have as a parent are when my children are fully immersed in play with me. My kids crave this type of interaction, but sometimes I’m just too tired, exhausted, or overwhelmed to get down on the floor and roll around. Some days I have the energy and other days I just don’t, and that is why I love the Joyful Together guide by Ohio Guidestone and the PLAY Project (PLAY). 

Not only is playing fun but children learn through play also. Both Joyful Together and PLAY are evidence based interventions used by TuscBDD therapists in the schools, homes, and daycare centers. Joyful Together is designed with all kids in mind and encourages families to find short 3 minute bursts to connect through play each day.  Dr. Ben Kearney, the Ohio Guidestone Chief Clinical Officer, used the latest research in neurobiology and interpersonal psychology evidence as well as his experiences as a professional and parent to create Joyful Together (“Getting Joyful,” 2018). PLAY is geared toward children with suspected autism or delays in social communication and is an evidence-based, intensive, autism early intervention.

Engaging in play leads to improved relationships between parents and their children; it can strengthen an already strong bond, be a part of the trauma healing process, and improve social skills for children with delays. As a result, the child improves in their social and functional development (“Autism Treatment,” 2019). Doing simple activities together helps the brain in a positive way that enables people to reduce stress and build relationships, which ensures trust and the ability to learn new behaviors. Try starting out with 3-5 minutes of intentional, simple play each day. When your child engages in play, eye contact, safe hands and feet, or any positive connections, make sure to award them with lots of love and praise.  

TuscBDD employs several types of therapists, behaviorists, and interventionists to help families and children learn and grow together through various programs such as: Early Intervention, Starlight Preschool, Starlight School Specialized Service Program, PLAY Project, Joyful Together, PBIS (Positive Behavior Intervention and Support), therapeutic respite, and more. These services are free to Tuscarawas County residents and are locally funded by the TuscBDD levy, which is generously supported by our kind community. Thank you for your continued support for your friends, neighbors, and family members with developmental disabilities. 

Ideas for Play

  • Hair Dresser: Allow your child to brush & pretend style your hair and visa versa.
  • Burrito Blanket: Lay out a large blanket on the floor and wrap your child up like a burrito. You can roll him or tickle him if he likes that too.
  • Echo: Use many different voices to echo each other. The adult will say a positive phrase in a voice then the child has to repeat the phrase and voice. Remember to take turns and use a different voice (use a silly voice, a deep voice, a robot voice, a baby voice). Say phrases like: I love you, you are good, and I enjoy playing with you.
  • Brain Power: Hold your child’s head with both hands and look into her eyes. Your words and gaze are going to fill her brain up with power, quick wits, confidence, and love! Tell your child that it’s Brain Power time! Tell her you are filling her brain up with extra strength and smarts! You can say that you are adding bravery and love!  You can ask her what else she needs in the day.
  • Waiting in Line: A great time to get in 3 minutes of play a day is when you are standing in line at a store. Try tickling, singing, rhyming, I spy, or name that tune.

 

References

Autism Treatment | Autism Intervention Program. (2019). Retrieved from https://www.playproject.org/

Getting Joyful Together. (2018). Retrieved from https://ohioguidestone.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/SOH_FALL_WEB.pdf

PLAY Project at Work. (2018). Retrieved from https://ohioguidestone.org/interventions-for-asd-children/Ohioguidestone

 

READ MORE

TuscBDD Extra Mile Service Award

Kerri Silverthorn Tue, Jan 14th, 2020

TuscBDD Extra Mile Service Award Recipient:
Kayla McKnight

The Mission of TuscBDD is to enhance the lives of individuals with disabilities through quality services and community partnerships. We strive to go the Extra Mile with people that we serve and their families, community partners, colleagues, and community members.
 
The Extra Mile Service Award is a way of recognizing employees who go above and beyond their regular duties. This award recognizes an employee who is going the Extra Mile or exhibiting the Extra Mile Attitude in any of TuscBDD’s top value areas such as:
 
• People First Culture
• Respect
• Communication
• Education
• Teamwork
 
“We nominate Kayla McKnight. She hit the ground running when she started at TuscBDD and was strongly advocating for her caseload within the first week.  She’s dealt with a lot of difficult situations without missing a beat and is actively working to make a difference in the lives of those she serves. Kayla has worked diligently to assist R., an individual on her caseload, with switching day service providers. I know from working with R. over the years that big changes can be difficult for the team. She was persistent with helping the team to see that this change was what R. wanted and what was best for him.”
 
Kayla McKnight joined TuscBDD as Service and Support Administrator (SSA) on July 15, 2019.  Kayla’s previous experience includes being a Program Coordinator for Midwest Services in Wooster, being an Individual Small Group Instructor for North Canton Schools.  She has a B.S. in Education from Kent State University.   
 
Please join us in thanking Kayla for her Extra Mile Service in our community.
 
Nominated by: Candice Eckhardt, Amanda Burnsworth, & Stacy Savage

READ MORE

Message from the Superintendent

Kerri Silverthorn Tue, Jan 14th, 2020

As we look into the year 2020 with hopeful vision and our sights on new goals, we also reflect on the year gone by, the challenges we encountered, and the accomplishments we achieved. It is the work that these employees do that ignites the energy needed for growth, support, collaboration, and success to occur. It is this outstanding work that has helped this agency to continue to pursue innovative solutions for our friends, family members, and co-workers who happen to have a developmental disability.

I want to acknowledge TuscBDD employees who work each day on behalf of people with developmental disabilities. I also want to acknowledge the people that we serve and their families who each day seek to learn, work, grow, advocate, support, and overcome.

As we forge ahead in this new year, TuscBDD wants to focus on community needs. Three areas of focus this year are: supporting our local school districts through the Starlight Specialized Service Program, investing in services to provide respite, residential, and treatment options for youth and adults in crisis, and working to help the Ohio Department of Developmental Disabilities with the development of a single statewide template for individual service plans (ISPs). We are hopeful that the objectives we plan to focus on will help individuals with developmental disabilities to further reach their goals.


Sincerely,
Nate Kamban
TuscBDD Superintendent 

READ MORE