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Lawrence County DD recognizes March as DD Awareness Month

Huff is sworn in as board member

COAL GROVE — Lawrence County Developmental Disabilities is recognizing March as Developmental Disabilities awareness month.

Developmental Disabilities Month helps to raise awareness about the inclusion of people with developmental disabilities in all facets of community life and awareness of the barriers people with disabilities continue to face in connecting to the communities where they live.

In past years, Lawrence County DD held an annual chili fest and craft show to create an opportunity for an all-inclusive event in the county. The event typically recruited about two dozen agencies and individuals throughout the county to participate in the cooking competition, along with dozens of local crafters and vendors. Last year’s event was postponed due to COVID-19 precautions and the event will once again be vacated due to those continued safety measures.

Julie Monroe, superintendent at LCDD, says that despite not being able to hold the event, the need to create awareness surrounding developmental disabilities remains.

“Our ultimate goal and purpose is to broaden possibilities for all individuals with disabilities throughout Lawrence County,” Monroe said. “One of the most important aspects of our agency is to allow for more inclusion so everyone is afforded the same opportunity to live a life of fulfillment.”

The agency plans to share factual information about developmental disabilities, programs available, success stories and information about the agency itself. In addition, Open Door School plans to celebrate Dr. Seuss Day and hold a staff versus students basketball game, in addition to holding a balloon launch later in March.

Lawrence County DD also had a new board member appointed by the Lawrence County commissioners.

Tanner Huff, sworn in on March 4, receives service and support administrative services from LCDD and brings a level of personal experience to the agency’s board.

“I was shocked when I found out that I was selected,” Huff said of his appointment. “I was made aware of the open position and I thought it was a good opportunity for me to apply.”

Huff participates in the Ohio Tech Ambassadors Network program, which promotes how adaptive technology use enhances lives and independence for those with developmental disabilities. Huff says his work in the program helped to secure his appointment the board.

“(Monroe) and my service and support administrator saw the work I do with the tech ambassadors and were impressed with things I did in that program. I’m also getting involved with getting my service dog trained,” he said. Huff hopes his self-advocacy efforts will act as an influence to others with developmental disabilities to become active in decisions that will affect their lives.

For over 50 years, Lawrence County DD has provided services to children and adults with developmental disabilities in Lawrence County. As part of the Ohio Association of County Boards, LCDD provides early intervention, school-based services and service and support administration to over 500 individuals and families in the county. Increasing awareness is a pivotal area of focus in the agency’s current strategic plan, and is part of the overall mission to reach an inclusive society for people who may not have other resources afforded to them.

For more information about DD Awareness Month or to register for Chili Fest or craft/vendor show in 2022 call 740-532-7401 or visit their website at www.lawrencedd.org.