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By CJ Stevenson | March 17, 2020
The Rees-Jones Foundation is continuing to support organizations that serve youth who suffer from a broad range of conditions that impair daily functioning and quality of life. Services that are funded through the Foundation include therapeutic interventions, youth and family supports, and enrichment opportunities that serve youth with disability conditions that they will live with all their lives or chronic health conditions that may or may not be curable. The Foundation also supports organizations that assist with the transition to adulthood for these individuals.
Developmental disabilities are a group of conditions due to impairment in physical, learning, language, or behavior areas. These conditions begin during the developmental period, may impact day-to-day functioning, and usually last throughout a person’s lifetime.
Examples of developmental disabilities include Autism Spectrum Disorder, Cerebral Palsy, hearing loss, fetal alcohol spectrum disorders, intellectual disabilities, learning disorders, Tourette syndrome, vision impairment, and language and speech disorders.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention states, “Children develop at their own pace, so it’s impossible to tell exactly when a child will learn a given skill. However, the developmental milestones give a general idea of the changes to expect as a child gets older.”
If you’re concerned about your child’s development, be sure to speak with your child’s doctor. There are also organizations in North Texas that can aid in identifying and preventing development disorders.
Early detection and intervention can make a huge difference for your child and you. Early intervention helps children improve their abilities to learn new skills.
According to the CDC, “The connections in a baby’s brain are most adaptable in the first three years of life. These connections, also called neural circuits, are the foundation for learning, behavior, and health. Over time, these connections become harder to change.”
The Warren Center is a nonprofit agency that advocates, serves and empowers the children and families impacted by developmental delays and disabilities.
They have a plethora of information on their website by developmental delay (such as behavioral challenges, communication, feeding, etc.) and developmental diagnosis (like Autism, Cerebral Palsy, Down syndrome, sensory processing, etc.), as well as community resources, which provides info on basic needs (housing/rent, food, utilities, insurance, transportation, etc.), medical specialists (developmental pediatricians, low cost clinics, behavioral specialists), respite, parenting classes/family counseling, legal assistance and more.
The Warren Center offers developmental assessments for children ages 0-3. They stress that early detection is key to improvement potential.
For those with diagnosis, The Warren Center provides Early Childhood Intervention (ECI) through personalized therapy sessions for children (ages 0-3) either at home or at daycare, and Clinical Therapy Services for children three to five years of age.
The Warren Center also offers programming for families and caregivers such as their Family Education and Support Program that equips families and caregivers through education, workshops, support meeting, and “recess” which provides parents with the opportunity to take a break. Through their “recess” program, parents are able to drop their child off and go out to dinner, run errands or just go take a nap– whatever it is that will help them recharge.
The University of Texas Foundation has an initiative called The Grow With Me (Crece Conmigo) Program that serves as a resource for the identification and prevention of developmental disorders for children ages 0-5. The Program offers comprehensive developmental screenings in both English and Spanish at various sites in greater Dallas.
The screenings, conducted by trained developmental specialists, serve both to identify developmental problems and connect families with needed services and to prevent developmental problems by providing developmental guidance in the course of the screening. The screenings help parents learn more about their child’s development and how they can promote their child’s healthy development, as well connect them with further assessment and early intervention services when the screening indicates such needs.
Grow With Me offers Screening Fairs in high-need communities in partnership with community agencies. At the Fairs, children ages 0-5 (with an appointment) receive developmental, speech, and hearing screenings.
To schedule a screening or for more information, contact Maria A. Maese, M.S., IMH-E (I) at (972) 883-3877 or firstname.lastname@example.org
There are tons of resources for families with a child or children who have been diagnosed with a developmental disability. Below is a list of North Texas organizations that The Rees-Jones Foundation has supported recently.
The goal of the Association for Independent Living is to develop life skills in young adults so that they can live independently and become contributing citizens.
AFIL is a unique and innovative residential program located in Dallas. AFIL is unique in that they are a transitional, residential program tailored to meet the needs of each individual. Each person stays in the program as long as it takes him or her to grow, mature and learn to the maximum level of his or her abilities. The curriculum is based upon the resident’s abilities rather than his or her disabilities. AFIL believes that people with intellectual and developmental disabilities are an underserved population who deserve the opportunity to live a full and independent life within their communities.
AFIL residents are young adults with a medical diagnosis of an intellectual and developmental disability. The average resident is between the ages of 20 and 35 years old and entered the program between 18 and 30. Each person must be capable of at least part-time competitive employment and/or volunteering in the community.
At ManeGait Therapeutic Horsemanship, children and adults with disabilities move beyond their boundaries through the healing power of the horse and the dedication of a professional and caring community.
ManeGait provides equine therapies such as Therapeutic Horseback Riding, which provides many physical, cognitive and emotional benefits like greater core strength, balance and coordination. Other services include Therapeutic Carriage Driving and ManeGait to Freedom veterans program.
As a result of ManeGait programs, their riders are reaching milestones once thought impossible. Their riders are learning to move, walk, and connect with others and their environment in new and exciting ways. The great strides that ManeGait celebrates in the arena translates to a better quality of life for their clients and families.
Camp Summit is a one-of-a-kind camp for individuals with disabilities where the emphasis is on each camper’s abilities rather than his or her disabilities. Traditional camp activities are adapted to each individual, provided in their barrier-free facilities, and implemented by trained, caring staff. The campers are grouped by age, providing the opportunity to make friends within peer groups while having fun and experiencing new adventures.
Camp Summit is located in Paradise, Texas, just north of the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex on 460 acres of land. They are accredited by the American Camp Association and licensed as a Youth Camp in the State of Texas.
Camp Summit has vowed to never turn away a camper due to the severity of a disability, or an inability to pay. Their campers may be: Physically challenged (Cerebral Palsy, Spina Bifida, paralysis, etc.), developmentally delayed (Down syndrome, autism, intellectual disabilities, etc.), dual-sensory impaired (deaf or blind), and ages 6-99 (no upper age limit).
Orgs that help with finding employment or living independently:
Orgs that provide day programs:
Orgs that offer traditional and nontraditional therapies and services:
Orgs that offer medical treatment:
Orgs that offer summer camps or after-school programs:
Alternative School Programs:
Learn more about the nonprofit organizations that the Rees-Jones Foundation supports by visiting www.rees-jonesfoundation.org/our-grants
 Developmental Disabilities: Delivery of Medical Care for Children and Adults. I. Leslie Rubin and Allen C. Crocker. Philadelphia, Pa, Lea & Febiger, 1989.