Cruise-in to help youth with disabilities

Published 12:00 am Friday, July 29, 2005

The Ironton Tribune

SOUTH POINT - Two-year-old Ivy Hogan smiled from ear-to-ear with her little red pony tails bouncing as she hung out in the playhouse Wednesday at the Lawrence County Early Childhood Center.

The playgroup is part of the early intervention program provided by the Lawrence County Board of Mental Retardation Developmental Disabilities.

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Early Intervention is for children from birth to age 3 who have been diagnosed with disabilities.

It provides the children with occupational therapy, speech therapy and other tools to aid with their development.

"It is a Godsend," Samantha Short, Ivy's mother, said of the program. "She comes to keep her developing on schedule."

Soon, Ivy and others at the center may have some new additions to help them grow, but it will take some community support.

On Saturday, the Board of MR/DD will host the third annual Cruise-In for Kids at the center located at 1749 County Road 1 in South Point. Proceeds will be used to purchase sensory integration equipment for use by children up to age 5 who receive services from the Lawrence County Board of MRDD.

"These children will be reaping the benefits of the cruise-in," said Sarah Diamond Burroway, grants/special projects coordinator. "Projects like the cruise-in are really important to help us."

The cruise-in is from 3 to 8 p.m., but they will begin registering vehicles at 2 p.m. Hot dogs and other concessions, music, door prizes and a raffle for a gas grill valued at more than $300 will be available. Admission is free.

The registration fee is $10 for anyone who wants to display cars, trucks or motorcycles. Dash plaques will be available to the first 50 vehicles registered.

The entire goal is to help the children, organizers said.

Once the children come to programs such as the playgroup, they learn socialization, Short said. In the program, each child has his or her own specialist to work with, she said. They come into the home until the child is two, then the children come to the center.

Short said the specialists also helped her by giving her activities to work on with Ivy at home. Short said bringing awareness about the program is important because she had no idea it was available until she had Ivy.

Jennifer Rollins, an early intervention specialist and service coordinator who works with the children at the playgroup, said the program is a good start for the children enrolled, and it helps them work on socialization and motor skills.

"Being an early intervention program, it is a good start for birth to three," she said. "The playgroup is for 2-year-olds to work on socialization and motor skills."

Rollins said she really enjoys her job and that it does not even feel like work. The best part of her job is seeing a child achieve something, she said, adding that the program helps them get the therapy they need.

"The big challenge that we were facing was the socialization," Ginger Plumley said. "It gets him used to being around people and interacting."

Plumley's son, Kaden Kitts, was diagnosed with autism. After attending the playgroup, his socialization skills are improving.

As Kaden "works" at the tool bench during playgroup, Plumley said, with all the services he has received, he has come a long way, and now because of that he has had a better outcome for the future.

Sue Vanderhoof, Early Intervention and Preschool Services Director, said the community's support is important in all they do.

"We don't do it without everyone in the community, it takes a total effort," she said.

For more information about the cruise-in for kids or sensory integration for young children, contact Sue Vanderhoof at (740) 377-2356.