SIDNEY — 2019 was a year of many “firsts” for the Shelby County Board of Developmental Disabilities (SCBDD).
“Last year was the first time Shelby Hills Preschool had a reduction in enrollment on record in the past two decades,” said Superintendent Leah Anne Wenning. “2019 was the first year that we had a different superintendent at the helm since Laura Zureich began her career in 2005. The SCBDD also had their highest number of referrals on record last year as 186 people were referred for eligibility compared to around 90 people in each of the last several years.”
Wenning’s report continues:
Though each of these things provided unique challenges, the community support we receive continues to turn these challenges into opportunities for those receiving services. Shelby Hills Preschool is a great example of thriving through change. Though there are fewer classrooms “on the hill” than in years past, the same level of education and fun events have been maintained.
Shelby Hills students and their families had a blast at Fall Family Fun Day, the Holiday Open House in December and all are excited for Literacy Week at the end of January. Shelby Hills Preschool also received their 5-Star Rating (the highest award attainable) through the Ohio Department of Education’s Step Up to Quality system at their main campus as well as the satellite classes at Anna, Fort Loramie, Hardin/Houston, and Jackson Center.
Early Intervention (EI) through SCBDD will continue its outstanding support of children from birth to age three in 2020. SCBDD Developmental Specialists and therapists stay updated on the most current evidence-based strategies to help these infants and toddlers in their home environment. EI is such a big part of what the SCBDD does as the impact on development at this age is more crucial than at any other point in life. Service and Support Administrator’s (SSA’s) will also continue to be instrumental in supporting people eligible for services while helping our Shelby County community to thrive.
SSA’s are the main point of contact for people we support. They may find the right piece of equipment to better help a 2nd grader in her home, will help a Junior in high school prepare for his career after high school or assist an adult to find affordable housing. Still, SSA roles will continue to get more complex in 2020. Ever-changing state and federal rules require SSA’s to be flexible with how they do their jobs, mindful about funding, knowledgeable about community resources, all while ensuring the health, safety, rights and values of each person individually.
In accordance with federal changes mandating that our mostly facility-based system for adults become more community-based by 2023, the SCBDD is working closely with our wonderful providers and awesome community partners to make it a successful transition. Ohio’s Department of Developmental Disabilities is again making changes to some of the services for people we support in 2020 and our agency will continue to be innovative with finding options that work for everyone in Shelby County. When speaking of top priorities in 2020, finding more Direct Support Professionals (DSP’s) will likely be our greatest challenge. The role of a DSP’s is to provide the services we plan and has never been more important. DSP’s can be job coaches, personal care attendants, financial assistants, teachers of all life skills, and much more. The work is challenging and rewarding, but entry level positions as a DSP rarely pays as much as manufacturing jobs—the backbone of our local economy.
We look forward to a great 2020 with all our partners and neighbors.