The TuscBDD Blog

This is Me

By 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.

After high school I went to a career center.  I had a hard time there.  I cried almost every day.  I missed my friends from school.  I did not do good at the career center.  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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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.

After high school I went to a career center.  I had a hard time there.  I cried almost every day.  I missed my friends from school.  I did not do good at the career center.  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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A Look at Advocacy

Chris Sapp Tue, Nov 27th, 2018

What is self-advocacy?

Self-advocacy is learning how to speak up for yourself, and its learning self-confidence. It is learning that as you grow, become more mature, and learn to choose what you want in your life that with all the perks of adulthood there are also responsibilities. It is learning how to accept those responsibilities in a very mature and respectful way.

Why is it important to advocate with others?

If someone was contemplating whether or not to get involved with an advocacy group, I would encourage them to make their own decision. I would give them as much information that I could so that they could make an informed decision on what is right for their life. I believe that networking with like-minded people is something that all of us need to do. It helps us grow, and it gives us confidence. I think that the sense of belonging that you get from being in a self-advocacy group and knowing that what you think really does matter is very powerful.

Local self-advocates weigh in on the reason that they advocate:

Because I want what everyone else wants: To be happy, to have a good life, to have family and friends

I advocate because I like where I am living at

Because I like doing things that are fun

I am a big supporter of myself, and everyone should have a voice

Because I like to remain a professional zoologist

I hang out with my friends and do some fun stuff with them on Fridays

I care about the community

It means you work it out and be thankful

Because I love my group

Because I like helping people, and I want to help people understand what an advocate is and what it means

Because we want to be treated like everyone else

Because we like to make our own goals

Want to know more?

For more information or for questions about self-advocate groups or school age advocacy, please contact the Community Connections Specialist by phone at 330.339.9769 or by email at csapp@tuscbdd.org.

For additional information regarding Special Olympics Input Council, please email the local coordinator at tuscarawascountyspecialolympic@gmail.com.

For more information on FANS Network Allies Outreach (advocacy), please email fans@tuscbdd.org or call 330.339.3199.

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Serving Hands Has a Need

Kerri Silverthorn Mon, Sep 17th, 2018

 The FANS Network Serving Hands needs you. Serving Hands relies on help from the community and has a current community need. Serving Hands aims to help people that receive TuscBDD services by providing a service or item that they might not be able to afford.

Currently, there are several people in need of household items such as bedroom suite, microwave, and etc. because they are in the process of moving. Anything that you could donate to the program would be most appreciated. The FANS Network has already collected and successfully distributed a table, a dresser, and lamps to such people in need.

If you have anything that you wish to donate, or have any questions about any of our programs, please contact Nicole Donant-Moore by email at fans@tuscbdd.org or call at (330) 339-3199.

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Swimming for Gold

Nate Kamban Fri, Jun 29th, 2018

Growing up I was definitely not the most coordinated kid in school. When playing kickball or soccer, I often ended up on my back just like Charlie Brown after yet another failed punt with Lucy. However, in the water, it was a totally different story. By the age of three, I was swimming up and down the pool at my grandparent’s house as my grandma would shout, “how can someone be so clumsy on land, but so coordinated in the water?”

Needless to say, I was very excited to hear that Tuscarawas County Special Olympics would be starting a swim team. I immediately decided that I would join the team in order to get to better know some of the individuals and families served by TuscBDD and also enjoy a sport that I love. Like all other members, I was quickly welcomed as part of the team, and I enjoyed attending practices and competitions. I was a member of the unified medley relay team as the swimmer for the breast stroke portion of the race. We did well as a relay team and we were able to compete in the state swim meet at The Ohio State University. It was truly an awesome experience.

When I reflect on this past season, my mind quickly goes back to all of the individuals and families that I was able to meet while participating on this team. The ability to build these relationship was more memorable to me than the competitions or even the gold medal! As someone who works in the administration side of Ohio’s developmental disabilities sector, a lot of my work takes place behind the scenes. It can be easy to get bogged down by deadlines and the intricacies of the Medicaid system. However, by clearing off some time to interact with individuals served by TuscBDD, I was quickly reminded why I love this field and why this work is meaningful and good.

While on the team, I was able to make many new friends one of which is a young man named Donovan. Like me, Donovan enjoys swimming and (drumroll please)…geography! While at an event, I noticed that Donovan carried around a large atlas. This definitely peeked my interest and we became fast friends. When I see Donovan, we immediately begin role playing Who Wants to be a Millionaire and ask each other a series of obscure geography questions. Donovan usually wins by the way.

These moments and these friendships serve as guideposts along the way that hopefully make me a better employee, advocate and friend. I would encourage you today to think about how you can get involved in partnering with our friends, neighbors and co-workers who happen to have a developmental disability in order to create a more inclusive future. You might look into being a unified partner on a Special Olympics team like I did or visit a provider agency to inquire about how you might help out. However you get involved, I am sure that you will also be greatly impacted.

Enjoy your summer!

Your friend,

Nate Kamban

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