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Support Extends Beyond Normal Hours

Each day JPII staff work with our students and adult participants to provide them with unique special education and social programming.  Beyond normal programming hours, our staff continues to offer opportunities to include our families to enrich the lives of those we serve.

Taking that mission to the next level, JPII recently reinstated our education and encouragement (E&E) group. This group’s goal is to educate children and their families about the many diagnoses that touch their lives, how to cope with the day-to-day stressors that come with that, and finally, to use each other’s strengths and experiences to work through it together as a family. 

“Each month, we will tackle topics that our participants would like to know more about,” explains Behavior Therapist Sarah Harris, who leads the sessions. “Topics may include autism, Down syndrome, other common childhood diagnoses, bedtime, chores, and how to handle challenging behaviors, etc. The goal is to discuss the facts and research, then pull from the group’s knowledge, experience, and support while brainstorming ideas collaboratively on how to thrive, not just survive.  Our hope is that not only will it help create a sense of community in the home environment, that it will create an opportunity for each individual family to branch out, knowing and understanding that they are part of a bigger family at JPII where we can all pull together and help one another. Together as a team, we are better, which only benefits those beautiful children we devote our lives to.”

The first E&E session will be held on February 20.  Sessions will be offered once a month until the end of the school year. Please contact Mrs. Harris with any questions or for information about future sessions.

Similarly, the adult program began holding Zoom group meetings with parents in January to share more information about the program.

“I heard from parents and staff alike that an annual Individual Support Planning (ISP) meeting does not provide enough time to discuss the ever-changing systemic requirements and needs, which affect the focus and operations within the program and services available to individuals.” shares Adult Program Executive Director Diane Rice. “Although we already send information home with our participants, we thought it may be helpful to discuss things as a group given the complexities of the system.”

These monthly “Let’s Talk” parent meetings are designed to cover topics that directly relate to adult program services and participants.  Topics currently planned include staffing patterns and ratios, incident and risk management, and planning for the future.  Parents can also request topics or discuss concerns/barriers they face as caretakers. There is also the possibility of having subject matter experts join the meetings to provide specialized information (for example, guardianship). Hopefully, the meetings will also provide parents with a forum to share information and to get to know one another.

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