As moms, we likely all share the common goal of ensuring that our children have the very best life we can possibly provide for them. It’s a challenge at times, sure, but we are up for the task (most days, anyway). For those mamas who have children with special needs, I imagine they share this same goal – but their job is probably infinitely harder at times. Luckily for the Dayton special needs community, we have United Rehabilitation Services (URS) to help provide some amazing opportunities and services for both children and adults with disabilities across the Miami Valley.
URS was founded in 1956, in large part by Marge and Jim Bristow. Like most parents, the Bristows wanted the best for their daughter, Mary Carol, who was born with Cerebral Palsy. The Bristows created a strong network of parents facing similar challenges to their own – and URS was born (although at that time, it was as the Dayton Chapter of United Cerebral Palsy). More than six decades later, Mary Carol still attends the Adult Services Program at URS.
URS provides a comprehensive array of services to meet the needs of children, adults, and seniors with developmental and acquired disabilities through the area.
They annually serve nearly 1,300 infants, children, adults, and seniors with a variety of disabilities, including Cerebral Palsy, Down syndrome, Muscular Dystrophy, Autism and Alzheimer’s.
Just a few of the many services that URS has to offer include:
- Childcare services with 5-star rated early childhood education and school-age programs for children with and without special needs, ages 6 weeks through 17 years.
- Employment services with career exploration, worksite assessment and training, as well as job coaching and placement services to help each individual achieve their personal employment goals
- Adult and senior daycare program, which includes many adult clients who have been attending the center for more than 40 years. Day services include vocational training programs, employment services to adults of all abilities, recovery counseling, and case management services.
- On-site nursing services as well as on-site physical, occupational and speech therapy clinics.
- Full-kitchen providing hot nutritious meals with both breakfast and lunch available.
Particularly noteworthy during the current COVID-19 epidemic is the URS Early Childhood Education Program, which is currently enrolling for the infants and preschool programs. URS reopened all of their childcare programs on June 1 and after 15 weeks of operating following stringent safety and health protocols, they have had no cases of COVID-19 to date.
For families that include a child with a disability, one of the major perks of URS childcare is the on-site therapy and nursing services. When a child attends daycare at URS, mom and dad no longer have to spend their evenings (or precious paid time off) sitting at therapy appointments because the child receives the necessary therapy during the day!
URS relies on the support of special events to help bridge a funding gap and support important programs for children and adults with disabilities in our community. Their largest fundraiser is the Rubber Duck Regatta, presented by Synchrony. This year’s event pivoted to a virtual duck drop scheduled for Friday, Sept. 18 at the Dixie Twin Drive-In.
The Regatta will feature size great prizes:
• Floating Home Vacation Package on Norris Lake, provided by Aquaknox Marine
• $1,000 Buffalo Wild Wings Gift Card
• $1,000 Goldfish Swim School Gift Card
• $1,000 Watson’s Gift Card
• $500 Target Gift Card
• Raising Cane’s Chicken for a Year
Ducks can be adopted for only $5 or 6 for $25 by texting the word DUCK to 24365 or visiting www.daytonducks.com
Noah, age 4, is this year’s Rubber Duck Regatta Ambassador! He attends URS’ preschool program, along with his sister Mikayla. Noah was born with hypoplastic left heart syndrome, which causes the left side of his heart to be critically under-developed and it cannot effectively pump blood through his body. He was also born with coloboma in both eyes, which is a hole in one of the structures of the eye, resulting in blurry vision and blind spots. While in our preschool program, Noah receives physical, occupational and speech therapy services. Noah’s sister, Mikayla, is 3 years old and doesn’t have special needs. She also attends our preschool program, which integrates children with and without disabilities.
For families like Noah’s across the Dayton region, URS is providing invaluable services. If you’re interested in learning more about URS, you can take a virtual tour by clicking here. If you’re looking for ways to give back, consider supporting the Rubber Duck Regatta and helping to ensure that URS is able to provide these essential services for many years to come.