Did you know that March is Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month? According to the CDC, developmental disabilities affect approx. 1 in 6 children aged 3–17 years. This includes:
- Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
- Learning or intellectual disabilities
- Autism spectrum disorders (ASD)
- Hearing loss or vision impairment
- Cerebral palsy
- Genetic disorders
- Other developmental delays
Here’s another statistic that is all too familiar in the aftermath of the pandemic – mental health issues top the list of worries for parents. According to a recent survey by the Pew Research Center, 4 in 10 U.S. parents are extremely or very worried that their child might deal with depression or anxiety at some point.
To help Northeast Ohio families find support for a child struggling with these concerns, Connecting for Kids will offer three Resource Fairs during the month of March. Each fair is free to the public and filled with mental health, disability and other providers. Families who pre-register and attend an in-person fair will be entered to win a $100 VISA gift card. In addition, the first 100 families through the door of each fair will receive a free stuffed animal with a disability awareness pin courtesy of Wild Republic and the Rotary Club of Cleveland.
Eastern Cuyahoga County Resource Fair**NEW
Wednesday, March 1, 6:00 – 8:00 p.m.
Tri-C Eastern Campus, 4250 Richmond Rd., Highland Hills
Resources for ages birth – 22
Lorain County Resource Fair
Tuesday, March 14, 6:00 – 8:00 p.m.
Lorain County Community College: Spitzer Conference Center, 1005 N. Abbe Rd., Elyria
Resources for ages birth – 22
Western Cuyahoga County Resource Fair
Saturday, March 25, 11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
Don Umerley Civic Center, 21016 Hilliard Blvd, Rocky River
Resources for ages birth – 12
Each of these Resource Fairs will feature more than 60 local providers including:
- Adapted camps
- Adapted recreation programs
- Alternative schools
- Disability services
- Early intervention services
- Educational advocates
- Funding sources
- Mental health providers
- Music therapy programs
- Occupational therapists
- Physical therapists
- Respite providers
- Social skills programs
- Speech-language pathologists
- Support groups
- Tutors & academic programs
Rather than scouring the internet or making lots of phone calls, you will be able to visit one-on-one with representatives from a variety of organizations to discuss services and explore program options for your child and your specific situation. In addition, you’ll go home with a free bag filled with fliers and resources as well as a folder that can be used to organize the materials.
If you are not comfortable attending an in-person fair, you can take advantage of the drive-up tent offered in front of each location during fair hours to receive a grab & go bag in a safe, socially distanced way.
If you are a first-time Resource Fair attendee, you may be a little nervous about the types of questions to ask providers, but we have that covered for you. Just print out the lists below, bring your notepad and get all your questions answered.
Top 5 Questions to Ask a Summer Camp Provider
1. What is the typical camp composition?
- Are campers a mix of typical peers and children with disabilities?
- Is the camp solely for children with disabilities?
- Are campers from primarily one type of diagnosis (ADHD, autism spectrum disorder, Down Syndrome, etc.)?
- What is the ratio of campers to staff/counselors?
2. What is the camp schedule like?
- A couple hours per day?
- Full day?
- One or two days per week?
- Full week?
- Multiple weeks?
3. Who are the typical camp counselors?
- Mostly high school students?
- Mostly college students?
- A mix of one or more?
4. What kind of experience do the counselors have?
- Have they received specific training? If so, what kind?
- Have they worked with children who have challenges similar to my child’s?
5. How do you handle behavior problems?
- How do you handle children who refuse to participate or are non-compliant?
- What happens if my child is aggressive toward staff or other campers?
- What is the procedure to keep campers from eloping or running away?
Top 5 Questions to Ask a Mental Health Provider
1. What is your background?
Note that there are many different types of mental health providers:
- Behavior Intervention Specialist
- Early Intervention Specialist
- Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT or LIMFT)
- Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC, LPCC, LPCC-S)
- Licensed Social Worker (LSW or LISW)
- Psychiatrist (including Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist)
2. What is your treatment philosophy?
Some providers use a single treatment type while others may employ a variety of treatment approaches; these may include:
- Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA)
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
- Play Therapy
3. When we meet for a session, will you meet with..
- Me only?
- Me and my child?
- Just my child?
4. Will you provide a diagnosis?
- Some providers evaluate, diagnose and treat patients.
- Some only evaluate and diagnose.
- Others refer out for diagnosis and only provide treatment.
5. What types of payment do you accept?
- Do you accept my health insurance?
- Can you help me submit paperwork for my healthcare reimbursement account?
- Are there other funding sources I can access to help cover the cost of treatment?
Connecting for Kids will have a table at each fair staffed by Family Resource Specialists who can answer your questions, direct you to resources and help you get started.
For more information, call/text: 440-570-5908 or [email protected]