At this writing, on a cold and snowy January day, 2019 is off to a healthy start! The Stone County Developmental Disability Board is observing January with the theme of “Health and Fitness.” The anticipation of our first listening session in Crane, set for January 26, is important as the board fulfills its goal of being a presence throughout Stone County. The contractual agreements, that the board has entered into during 2018, are coming to life with activities designed to offer opportunities to our citizens who quality for services. In order to apply for services, individuals and/or their family advocate first qualify through the Springfield Regional Office and then are referred to LinkAbility for case management. LinkAbility makes it possible for developmentally disabled individuals to reach their goals through their service coordinator. Some outcomes may be to live where they choose, to choose their activities, to have support in their decisions, to be educated about their rights, and to be an active member of the community.
In 2019, there are varied activities available to enhance the lives of developmentally disability individuals in Stone County. Transportation in Stone County, historically and at present, has been an identified need and through the services of the OATS buses, our consumers have access to transportation with thoroughly vetted drivers who drive with compassion from door to door. This service minimizes the barrier of transportation for our citizens with a developmental disability, offers opportunities to meet new people and make new friends, makes increased independence possible, and provides trusted drivers who are professional, caring, committed to safety, and friendly.
In keeping with January’s theme of health and fitness, Champion Athletes of the Ozarks is an athlete driven program that teaches athletes to adapt to change, to cope with change, and to work with varying authority figures. Champion Athletes focus on individual success and offer programs at no cost such as basketball and bowling. The experiences and skills that are gained through Champion Athletes are building the strategies for each athlete to progress toward their full potential. This assists in helping individuals to adapt to change, interruptions, and upsets by learning to be flexible in order to cope with accepting winning graciously and viewing defeat as a means to celebrate the success of others.
Music and art therapy activities are offered for 2019 with sessions being held at the Stone County Developmental Disability office. Individuals express themselves in varying ways and the mediums of art and music can unleash significant strengths and bring satisfactory means of emotional release. The music and art sessions are conducted by certified professionals who have the expertise to empower our consumers to engage which often reveals talents that may have been hidden.
As January draws to a close, all Stone County citizens can be proud of the advent of services and activities for our developmentally disabled citizens. Keeping in mind the theme of “Health and Fitness,” the year is off to a very positive start.