Things sure look different around the offices at the Shelby County Board of Developmental Disabilities (DD). With the exception of Wilma Valentine Childcare staff and a few staff and administrators, our parking lot is often bare. Don’t let the empty parking spaces fool you though, the dedicated employees at the Shelby County Board of DD are still working to ensure that every person served by our board is still getting what they need to thrive throughout this pandemic. We may not be in the office, but you can bet if you call or email the office, one of our committed staff will be available to assist you.
Almost all of our services are typically delivered in-person and the early stages of the eligibility process is no different. Eligibility and evaluation is usually done face to face with a child or an adult who we suspect may have a delay or disability. Our creative employees have adapted that process in order to evaluate skills virtually using Zoom.
Our Early Intervention team is conducting virtual sessions with families that can often involve speech and language pathologists, occupational therapists and physical therapists. Early Intervention has been proven to be critical and we didn’t want our families to have to wait for this crisis to be over before they could learn techniques to help their child develop the skills they need to succeed.
Preschool is over for the year, but we adapted there as well. We provided many opportunities for our students to learn virtually through weekly check-ins, zoom meetings and activities we posted via our Facebook group. Graduation was done with visits from teachers to each student, as well as a video commemorating the occasion. We will also continue to conduct assessments throughout the summer to prepare for next school year.
For older children and adults, we have worked side by side with our provider partners to ensure that services were offered and adapted to meet the needs of individuals we serve in Shelby County. Our Service and Support Administrators have worked diligently to coordinate services and ensure the well-being of everyone on their caseload, all while juggling the multiple rule changes we have had to navigate throughout the pandemic. Our Community Education and Outreach Department have also worked with provider partners as they adjust to the way services look. They also worked to make sure our individuals had fun activities to do during the day, even though many day programs were closed. A great example of that was our drive-thru parade that we held to remind everyone we serve in Shelby County that we miss them and are still here for them.
All in all, I thought it was important for the community to know that we have been right here, working hard through this pandemic because our services are always essential. If you need assistance from the Shelby County Board of DD, please feel free to call 937-497-8155. Also, don’t forget to follow us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/shelbydd for updates and for fun photos of all of our activities.
The writer is the superintendent of the Shelby County Board of Developmental Disabilities.