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J U N E / J U LY 2 0 2 1




JUNE /J ULY 2021

on the cover As shown below: Kate (17), Caroline (8), John (6), Margaret (5) and Ryan (2) Dial. Photo by Randy Pace

w w w.a u g ust afa m i l y. co m


Ashlee Griggs Duren


Aimee Serafin


Michael Rushbrook


ADVERTISING SALES Doressa Hawes Mary Porter Vann




CONTRIBUTORS Dr. Naesha Parks Dustin Turner Cammie Jones Meredith Flory Kimblery Blaker

A Publication of MCC Magazines, LLC A division of Morris Communications Company, LLC | 725 Broad St., Augusta, GA 30901 Morris Communications Company, LLC William S. Morris III, Chairman Craig S. Mitchell, CEO MCC Magazines Tina Battock, President, Morris Media Network Scott Ferguson, Vice President Finance and Operations Sherry Brown, Director of Manufacturing & Production Cher Wheeler, Publication Services Manager Veronica Brooks, Accounting Manager Michelle Rowe, Circulation Business Manager

Augusta Family Magazine is published 8 times per year and distributed throughout the Augusta and Aiken area. Send press releases, story ideas or comments to the editor at aimee.serafin@ augustafamily.com or mail to 725 Broad Street, Augusta, Ga., 30901. For advertising information, call (706) 823-3702. For circulation/ distribution, call (706) 828-4391.

Is your child ready for their “close up?” If you think you’ve got a “cover kid,” submit their photo and information on our website or to t.aimee. serafin@morris.com and they may grace the cover of Augusta Family Magazine. 4 � AUGUSTA FAMILY | JUNE/JULY 2021

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We look forward to hearing from you; visit our website www.augustafamily.com and on facebook and twitter.

Learners Today, Leaders Tomorrow. Elementary School Private K4-4th Grade For Greater Academic Success We Offer Positive learning Environment Our limited enrollment and “Micro School” environment allow for greater physical distancing and decreased chance of exposure.

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contents www.augustafamily.com

The Class of 2021 Graduate Section —Augusta Family Staff

Default to Love




* FINN HINTS Indicates additional information and family resources In this issue, you can find Finn in a cap and gown.


—Dustin Turner

Special Kids

Special Needs Directory —Elana Koehler



Family Matters Dive into Summer Reading —Meredith Flory



Editor’s Page


Rooted and Growing





Morning Affirmations —Dr. Naesha Parks

The 523 Gallery —Aimee Serafin

—Elana Koehler

The Hurried [and happy] Home Maker Best Vacations for Families

The Modern Perspective

with Special Needs —Cammie Jones

—Aimee Serafin



Rosie Williams


editor’s notes


ooking through the photos Augusta Family magazine’s photographer, Randy Pace, took during this month’s cover shoot made me realize a few things. First, bubbles scream fun. For our cover subject, Ryan Dial, age 2, and his siblings they signified a change from the tedious work of posing and smiling for the camera. It was a welcomed time to relax and usher in the amusement of chasing translucent spheres through the air. The beneficial break garnered some candid shots of the afternoon in the park and we used several in the following pages of this issue. The bubbles in the photos signify something else important to the day: the absence of masks. Yes, face coverings are on a downward trend thanks to three US biotech/pharmaceutical manufacturing companies, healthcare administrators and vaccination sites across the city. I’ve wondered over the past 18 months when this reality would come into view. Now, I have a lasting memory of the moment. It looks like any regular day glancing at members of the Dial family in the background and it is so good to see kids being kids, blowing bubbles, no facemasks required. We hope the June/July issue of Augusta Family magazine captures a few of the same sentiments in familiar routines and summer fun. The graduation section, our special needs guide and thematic articles in between provide content that links us back to a sense of normalcy. The special needs issue is consistently published midsummer and remains the best publication resource for families with special needs. Our 2021 graduation section reflects the anticipation that students will have as they head out to a typical college experience in the fall. Students from across the region shared their plans with us and they include everything from business aspirations to studies in medicine and continuing education in musical performance. We share information on summer reading programs around town and Dustin Turner’s feature, Default to Love, is moving and authentic.


This issue mirrors other midsummer issues of Augusta Family magazine that have contained insightful content, rich resources and regular happenings around town. But this year’s copy has one difference: the evidence of familiar experiences is 100 times more appreciated. Hats off to the growing list of things getting back to normal!

Aimee Serafin aimee.serafin@augustafamily.com

rooted and growing Dr. Naesha Parks

Morning Affirmations


very family of more than one child understands the challenge that comes with supporting each child individually. Many times, making this a priority can be both taxing and rewarding. For parents, the reward is far greater than the sacrifice. Each child is unique, extraordinary and special. However, helping children recognize this can be quite a mission for parents. Parents may struggle with concerns like: Do I need to give them an equal amount of my time? Do they understand that one child requires more help than the other, but I love them both the same? At some point, we’ve all asked these questions. There is an innate desire in every parent to be everything, everywhere, all the time for their children. These questions develop even broader observations in families of special needs. Let’s explore life through the lens of a sibling with a sister who has a disability. As the day begins in Susan’s house, she goes to her children’s bedrooms to wake them up for the day. Waking the oldest child requires a simple knock on the door. However, waking her youngest daughter, who has a physical disability, requires one-on-one assistance as well as an entire morning routine. Once out of bed, there’s a brief moment to say good morning, followed by an assisted hygiene and dressing routine. Then, into the wheelchair and the dining room for breakfast. The highlight of the morning comes when their eyes meet for the second time with an exchange of a smile, kiss, and quick “I love you.” The start of the morning prepares them to conquer whatever comes for the day. In the breakfast room, the sibling who heard the knock on her door is dressed, at the breakfast table and going through her book bag. “Good morning!” she says. Mother and daughter make eye contact and say, “I love you.” Immediately, mom’s heart makes room for a quick, but sweet time with her. She reminds her daughter of how proud she is of her for getting up right away and managing her day. She compliments her outfit and discusses an upcoming class celebration while making breakfast for both girls. Sitting at the table, the girls chat and connect in their way. As mom scrambles eggs, she glances to see the sisters trade light laughs and endearing kisses. Mom’s heart is whole. You might say this sounds like a typical morning, and you are probably right. Typically-abled children and children with disabilities are each special and unique to their family, as well as the world. Although the rest of the world may see a girl with a disability, her sister sees her best friend.

A native of Thomson, Dr. Naesha Parks received her bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education and her Specialist and Doctoral degrees in Educational Leadership. Dr. Parks is the author of the book, “The Heart Feels First”, which chronicles the near-death experience that left her with a deep faith in a big God. Currently, she is principal of Evans Elementary School and serves as an administrator in the Columbia County School System. She is married to Keenan and mother to Chandler, Sydney, Chance and Reese.


INSPIRING PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES Steven Hawking. Theoretical Physicist that is considered the greatest scientist of the 20th century. Awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2009. Disability: Motor Neuron Disease He was almost completely paralyzed. Tanni Grey Thompson. Sports Star and Disability Campaigner. Paralympic and World Championship Gold Medalist and the holder of 30 world records. Disability: Spina Bifida Richard Branson. Entrepreneur and CEO. A self-made billionaire and founder of the Virgin Group. Disability: Dyslexia. He left school at 16 partially due to his learning disability. Sudha Chandran. Dancer and Actress. World famous dancer in Indian classical dance. Bollywood Film and TV actress. Disability: Amputee. Her right leg was removed after an accident.

Stevie Wonder. Musician, Singer and Song Writer. Over 30 United States Top 10 Hits and the winner of 24 Grammys. The youngest solo artist to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Disability: He was born blind.

GLOBAL DISABILITY STATISTICS Over a billion people live with a form of disability. 200 million of these experience extreme difficulty in functioning.

2/3 of all those living with a disability in low and middle-income countries are due to chronic diseases. The mortality rate for people with disabilities is 2 to 4 times higher when a disaster occurs. Source: www.visual.ly

DISABILITIES IN CHILDREN 94 million children (0-14 years old) have a disability. The top 10 most prevalent disabilities in children are: Down Syndrome, Autism Spectrum Disorders, Cerebral Palsy, Dyslexia, Emotional and Behavioral Disorders, Attention Deficit Disorder, Aphasia, Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, Central Auditory Processing Disorder and Epilepsy.

tidbits J U N E / J U LY 2 0 2 1



ONE PIECE OF ART AT A TIME By Aimee Serafin Most Augustans might not be aware of the impact the Georgia Rehabilitation Institute (GRI) has had on our city’s art community. Their most recent contribution to downtown Augusta is a gallery located near Davidson Fine Arts Magnet School at 523 13th Street. I recently toured the site with Dr. Dennis Skelley, President and CEO of GRI and former CEO of Walton Rehabilitation Hospital and longtime supporter of the arts. Inside the 523 Gallery, Skelley and I view a cluster of his personal metal works in the shapes of playful deer heads on arched stands, entitled Ghosts. “Instead of paying a taxidermist to mount all of these antlers, I attached them on the tops of these [angular metal faceplates on thin bases] to make the collection.” The herd seems representative of a group with intentional differences yet pulled together by the desire to be in community. Looking around the gallery space there is another community with works on display. Paintings of terra cotta pots holding geraniums, translucent goldfish, worshipers on the steps of a steepled church and a neon moon backlighting a midnight Cypress are some of the images of a curated tableau. The collection has a common identifier: every piece is created by artists with disabilities. The art is exceptionally crafted. The skill is solid. There is nothing recognizable as atypical in the images hanging on the walls. Yet, the stories behind the works evince the special profile of the people represented. Valton Murray was diagnosed with polio as a child. A Mesena native, Murray is a self-taught folk artist. His painting Lost Child was the first piece purchased by the Georgia Rehabilitation Institute for the gallery space. Murray has long-term effects of a disease that left him with a clubfoot, seizures and uncontrollable shaking. The artist’s affinity for painting developed after an aunt gave him a watercolor set in his youth. Later in life, Murray was recognized by the Georgia Artists with Disabilities, a statewide program that gives artists with disabilities opportunities to display original artwork and compete for awards. Through the program Murray’s art has been on tours around the nation since 1989. I find his art playfully contemplative due to his vibrant scenes of everyday life. His most poignant subject

matter is the depiction of African American sharecroppers hunched over cotton fields with shoulder bags. On my recent phone call with the artist, he explained he is no longer able to paint his well-known dotted fields due to the shaking. Artist Neal Pickett is extensively impaired from a severe brain injury. I look closely at his drawing. Comprised of thinly scribed lines on widely white paper, Pronghorn Antelope presents itself as more minimalist than the other works in the gallery. But the limited linework on the page brings into focus the reason behind the gallery and its purpose. The drawing made a personal connection for Skelley. When asked by the artist if he recognized the western deer-like creature, Skelley immediately affirmed the name of the antelope from his memories of living in Colorado prior to moving to Augusta. This affirmation produced a mile-wide smile from Pickett, who took great pleasure in knowing his representation had been validated. As I continue to walk the gallery, Skelley explains some of the challenges of running the gallery like finding an intern or part-time gallery assistant to locate more artists from the region. There’s a need for someone to travel to Atlanta for purchases, schedule openings and eventually house artwork for sale on site. Skelley believes there is deep value in moving the needle in all these areas over the next few years, along with increasing accessible housing, transportation, recreation and leisure, and employment for persons with disabilities in Augusta. His vision is ambitious. Outside I notice the bright Love Where You Live mural, a colorful landmark on an otherwise colorless street. The site has become a favorite selfie spot for visitors and locals. The mural, by Brian Stewart, faces what Skelley likes to call a “pocket park”, or a small grass area filled with three of Skelley’s and Thomas Lyles metalworking kinetic sculptures and one in progress. “I’ve sat on these picnic benches and helped middle school students from those apartments with their math homework,” he said. Surveying the surrounding neighborhood, I remember his earlier statement to make Augusta “the best place for people with disabilities to live, work and play.” I can see from our morning spent together his desire to create a thriving community for all.

Lost Child, Valton Murray

Pronghorn Antelope, Neal Pickett

Fish, Lisa Baggs

Grandma’s Window Box, Don Kaye



Fun Riddle!

I have a spine, but I do not have a face


What am I? Source: www.riddles-for-kids.org


Riddle Answer: A book

OPEN ALL WEEKEND DID YOU KNOW? R iver otters can hold their breath underwater for up to 8 minutes! See how long you can hold your breath. Get a friend to time you. You can find river otters in the water near the Augusta Canal. Source: www.Naturemappingfoundation.org

Summer 2021 hours June and July open Wed., Thur., and Fridays noon to 5 only $5 house skares included.

2451 Windsor Spring Road Augusta, GA 30906 706-796-4048 | Skatelandofaugusta.com


family matters

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Me re di t h Fl o r y

Dive into Summer Reading


he last two academic years have been tough for kids. Learning in new ways outside of the classroom, or with new social distancing rules inside the classroom, may have dampened curiosity or heightened the risk for the “summer slide”. One great way to instill a renewed love of learning and show how academic success can propel dreams is through public libraries. Libraries help develop a child’s curiosity and wonder! As someone who has now taught and written professionally, I remember summer reading programs with fondness and still participate in them with my children. I found the programs were great for learning how to search the library shelves efficiently, volunteer as a teen or get lost in a book. Families can participate in summer reading programs together—our local libraries offer programs to adults so we can lead by example—and reward children for reading while allowing them to have more autonomy in their choices than they might in the classroom.


The Augusta-Richmond County Library System’s program works on the time recorded, not the number or type of books. The program is for all ages except toddlers. Older siblings can work with younger ones to practice read-aloud skills, and toddlers can enjoy picture or storybooks. Local library systems in Richmond County, Columbia County, North Augusta and Aiken use the online program Beanstack for families to record reading and participate at a safe and distanced level of comfort. Check with libraries for book and browsing availability, pick-up and in-person activities. You can find more information at the following websites: • • •

Greater Clarks Hill Regional Library System: www.gchrl.org/srp ABBE Regional Library System: www.abbelibsc. readsquared.com/ComingSoon.aspx Augusta Richmond County Library System: www.arcpls.org/summer-reading-program

The Summer Reading Program is not the only program available to get families reading and excited about learning. The 1000 books before Kindergarten Program in Augusta specifically encourages families with infants and toddlers to read together, an activity that is a predictor of vocabulary development and an aid for pre-literacy skills. Fabulous Fridays is a new STEM program for homeschool families. Registration is recommended to save your spot for select Fridays. For more information call one of the select locations: Headquarters branch at 706-821-2623 or Diamond Lakes at 706-772-2432. Several local libraries are offering virtual story times to keep our little ones safe and learning! Be sure to follow the library system on social media to get notifications of programs and events. Reading builds knowledge, yes, but it can also build empathy and understanding. As your family selects books to read over the summer. Several awards and organizations are hoping to increase the disabled perspective available in the literature for all ages and improve the quality of portrayals of disability found in books. Whether your family is looking for books that reflect your experiences and allow you to relate to a character, or you are looking for new perspectives, here are some helpful resources: The American Library Association gives out many awards each year, and the Schneider Family Book Award specifically honors an author or illustrator in children’s literature for a quality expression of the disability experience. The 2021 winners are I Talk Like a River, Show Me a Sign, and This is My Brain on Love. On the ALA website, www.ala.org, you can find honorable mentions, previous years’ winners and other helpful awards for building a reading list. Disability in Kid Lit, www.disabilityinkidlit.com, offers a multitude of resources regarding middle grade and young adult literature, including an “honor roll” list of books with sensitive, authentic portrayals of disability, as well as reviews, articles and interviews on disability in literature. All contributors and editors identify as disabled and bring a multitude of experiences and viewpoints. While summer reading programs track the number of books read or time spent reading, you can add extra challenges as a family, and find an easy way to use summer free time by creating a scavenger hunt of books to read. Challenge older children and teens to read outside their perspective by finding authors or characters with a disability, of different ethnicities, different religious or cultural groups, different genders or LGBTQIA+, or who live in different regions

or countries, building empathy and knowledge as a family. This could be as easy as using the ALA awards list to read a wide range of newer, more diverse books—and your librarian can help you find these titles! Or, write a list of books you loved as a child, can you and your child find a suggestion online for a newer, similar book with a different perspective? Read and grow together with summer reading programs!

FH Wonder by RJ Palacio, 2012. A #1 bestseller that inspired the Choose Kind movement, a major motion picture and the graphic novel White Bird. Special People, Special Ways by Arlene Maguire, 2000. Delightful rhymes and deep watercolors take readers on a beautiful journey of understanding children with disabilities. Leah’s Voice by Lori Demonia, 2012. Themes include teaching acceptance and including everyone. All My Stripes by Shaina Rudolph, 2016. Gold Medal, Mom’s Choice Awards explains the world of autism through Zane the zebra and his “autism stripe.” The Asperkid’s (Secret) Book of Social Rules by Jennifer Cook O’Toole, 2012. The book focuses on providing respectful and funny insights on Asperkids (aged 10-17). Dyslexia is My Superpower (Most of the Time) by Margaret Rooke, 2017. More than 100 interviews of children and young adults with dyslexia and tips for developing confidence and self-advocacy. All Dogs Have ADHD by Kathy Hoopman, 2008. Delightful humor and compassionate understanding reflect the joys and challenges of raising a child with ADHD. When Charlie Met Emma (Charley and Emma Stories) by Amy Webb, 2019. Winner of a 2019 Forward INDIES Award Bronze Medal. The Black Book of Colors by Menena Cottin, 2008. Readers get an idea of what it might be like to live without sight through a book with raised lines and braille letters. We’ll Paint the Octopus Red by Stephanie StuveBodeen, 1998. For ages 3-7, the book discusses the birth of Emma’s younger brother who is born with Down Syndrome.

Meredith Flory is a freelance writer, military spouse and mother of two. She has a master’s degree in Children’s Literature from Kansas State University and has taught high school and college English.



the hurried

[and happy] homemaker Cammie Jon es

Best Vacations

for Families with Special Needs


oday’s families with special needs face obstacles that the average family may not ever consider. Planning a vacation that works best for every member of the family can be joyful and challenging. Fortunately, the travel industry has gone to thoughtful lengths in providing families with special needs some great options where family members can have fun and enjoy the vacation. So, where are some places the family can go that will be enjoyable for the parents, typically developing siblings and special needs children? Let’s take a look! Dollywood—Pigeon Forge, Tennessee Pigeon Forge is within driving distance for many of our readers. Not as overwhelming as a larger resort, the park is in the Smoky Mountains where there is natural foliage, open spaces and surrounding trees. Dollywood also provides a few areas that are geared toward children with autism: a sensory room at the resort and a calming corner at the water park, to name two. A few of its attractions have been adapted such as The Brainstormer, Lightning Rod and Firechaser Express. Adult Changing and Companion Care restrooms are available to families.

to expect when they arrive and during their stay. Tradewinds offers a camp called KONK (Kids Only, No Kidding) that is equipped to deal with specific children’s needs as well.

Wyndham Hotels The Wyndham Westshore in Tampa, Florida was awarded Tampa’s first Autism-Friendly hotel. Trained at the University of South Florida by the Center for Autism and Related Disabilities, the staff is well-equipped to handle families with special needs. Most of North Carolina Aquarium at Pine Knolls the hotels have comfort items to help with Shores had its first Autism Friendly Day sensory issues such as shortened blind in February 2018. cords, corner cushions and covers for the www.ncaquariums.com/pine-knoll-shores. electrical outlets. The Wyndham in Austin, Fort Macon State Park has two-handicapped Texas has several rooms available with an accessible beachside areas and numerous extra double bed offered at a discount to exhibits and Civil War remnants. On-site cannon and musket demonstrations may be families with autistic children.


active. www.ncparks.gov/fort-macon-statepark/home.

Great Wolf Lodge features a self-contained lodge for families who have special needs and makes it easier for families to visit during lower peak times. www.greatwolf.com. Autism on the Seas operates friendly cruise options for adults and children of special needs like autism, Down syndrome and cerebral palsy. www.autismontheseas.com.

Beaches Resorts If you are thinking of splurging on a vacation, check out the Beaches Resorts. Two locations—Jamaica and Turks & Caicos—offer an autism-friendly camp for children. Julia, a Sesame Street character who has autism, leads Amazing Art with Amy. This creative program caters to children with special needs and adds a cute twist to a regular camp-counselor-led activity. Beaches Resorts also take dietary restrictions seriously at their restaurants on site.

Disney Resorts Disney is extremely guest-focused so LEGOLAND Florida Resort has it’s no surprise that the company takes staff trained in autism awareness and seriously those families who may have sensitivity. Blue Hero Passes available. www.legoland.com/florida. children with special needs. Although a large and busy resort, Disney does There are many destinations in the a fabulous job by personally catering United States that recognize families who to families with special needs, helping desire a vacation the entire family can with cognitive, visual, hearing and mobility disabilities. They enjoy—both for kids with special needs and their siblings. The best also assist children who have light sensitivity tendencies. part is that these resorts do this seamlessly with specially trained Wheelchair accessibility is easy to find and in various locations. staff who will include children without putting a label on them or making them feel different. If you want more details, call the hotel Tradewinds Island Resort—St. Pete Beach, Florida or resort and check that they have the amenities This specific resort is designated as CARD certified. CARD and services that you need to make your family’s stands for Center for Autism and Related Disorders. vacation a success! Safe travels! Accommodations for these children include door alarms, corner cushions and outlet protection covers. Families can Cammie Jones is an Augusta freelance download a Social Book to share with their child about what writer and mother of three.



COURSES AND PERFORMANCES 89% of students completed Algebra 2 or a higher-level course and 19% completed calculus or higher.


Nearly all students took Biology, at 98%.

The U.S. has 26,727 high schools.

2,611,172 students took one or more AP exams in 2016. Entirely online courses were offered at 5% of high schools.

Between 2019 and 2020, 15.1 million students attended high school. The dropout rate was very low at 6% compared to a college dropout rate of 15%.

HIGH SCHOOL DENSITY Of the 26,727 schools, 2,845 are private schools. Of the states, California has the greatest number of high schools at 3,892, and Delaware has the least at 83.

GRADUATION RATES In 2020, an estimated 3,650,000 students graduated high school. The national graduation rate is at a new high at 85.3%. The graduation rate for students with disabilities is 67.1%. Source: www.thinkimpact.com


ENROLLMENT Around 16,892 students will be enrolled in 2021. It is predicted that 2023 will have an enrollment of around 17,288 students.


JOSHUA CODY, 18, ACADEMY OF RICHMOND COUNTY HIGH SCHOOL Joshua will be attending Kennesaw State University where he plans to major in entrepreneurship. He aspires to be a multi-business owner.

LEONARD WALTON, 18, JOHN S. DAVIDSON FINE ARTS MAGNET SCHOOL Leonard is attending Georgia Southern University and majoring in marketing and professional business management. His long-term goal is to own a Chik-fil-A franchise and start a program for team members who want to be Chik-fil-A operators when they grow up.

JASONNA ROGERS, 18, AIKEN COUNTY CAREER & TECHNOLOGY CENTER AND NORTH AUGUSTA HIGH SCHOOL Named the Aiken County Career &Technology Center Student of the Year, Jasonna will attend Aiken Technical College to complete paramedic training and become a licensed paramedic.

JASMINE SAMPSON, 18, AIKEN HIGH SCHOOL Jasmine graduated valedictorian of her class and will attend Clemson University in the fall. Her goal is a career in medicine where she can dismantle healthrelated barriers and restore health in her hometown.

TAYLOR POWERS, 18, SOUTH AIKEN HIGH SCHOOL Taylor is going to Georgia Southern University and is majoring in exercise science. She hopes to become a physical therapist to help athletes like herself.

TAN CHARINTRANONT, 18, LAKESIDE HIGH SCHOOL Tan is headed to the University of Georgia to study music education and clarinet performance. He hopes to be a positive influence on audience members and students alike with his passion for music.

STEPHANIE ZARAGOZA, 18, MIDLAND VALLEY SCHOOL Through the Early College Program at Midland Valley, Stephanie was able to earn an Associate in Arts Degree from Aiken Technical College. She is attending Harvard University next fall where she will study psychology.

MARY BETH LOWE, 18, GREENBRIER HIGH SCHOOL Mary Beth is going to the University of Georgia where she will major in genetics in the fall.

NATHAN KOEHLER, 18, AUGUSTA PREPARATORY DAY SCHOOL Nathan is headed across the Atlantic Ocean to study psychology in England at Liverpool John Moores University. He is also signed to play soccer at the Steven Gerrard Academy.

KAYLA KUCELA, 17, WESTMINSTER SCHOOLS OF AUGUSTA Kayla is entering the University of Tennessee Honors College where she will major in microbiology. She plans to pursue a career in the medical field.

MAECY MEADOWS, 18, THOMSON HIGH SCHOOL Maecy will be attending Kennesaw State University in the fall where she will major in exercise science. She plans to work in the healthcare field.

JOHN HANSEN, 18, WESTMINSTER SCHOOLS OF AUGUSTA John is going to the Georgia Institute of Technology and pursue a mechanical engineering degree. He hopes to land a job at Gulfstream or SpaceX out of college.

TARRAH MAKOWSKI, 18, A. R. JOHNSON HEALTH SCIENCE AND ENGINEERING MAGNET SCHOOL Tarrah plans to attend the University of Georgia and study pharmaceutical science.

BRENDON TIGERT, 18, NORTH AUGUSTA HIGH SCHOOL Brendon plans to attend Greenville University where he will play golf for the school on a golf scholarship.

Infographic vector created by macrovector - www.freepik.com

CHRISTIAN N. GIBBS, 17, HEPHZIBAH HIGH SCHOOL Christian is headed to Ft. Benning for basic training on June 28th. His plan is to become an Airborne Ranger.


KIDS HEADED OFF TO COLLEGE? How to Survive and Embrace It BY KIMBERLY BLAKER As you prepare to see your adolescent off to college, you flashback to all your child’s milestones, special moments and fun times you’ve shared together. It feels like only yesterday, your toddler said his or her first word. Soon after, you dropped your child off for the first day of kindergarten, prepared your preteen for puberty and took your teen shopping for the high school prom. But now, in an instant, your adolescent is headed out into the world, more or less on their own. This is a turning point at which you no longer have much oversight or say in your child’s life. It can be both scary and exhilarating for parents and kids alike. Of course, you’ll worry about your teen’s safety and well-being. But you’ll also revel in your young adult’s enthusiasm,


excitement and dreams for the future. Parents’ feelings about their own life without their child’s daily presence and parenting responsibilities are often met with a mix of emotions as well. Many parents look forward to this point in their lives and the freedom they haven’t enjoyed in nearly two decades. Some parents may even feel conflicted or guilty for looking forward to ‘me’ time. At the same time, many parents (even those same parents) feel a sense of loss. After all, they’ve devoted 18 years to caregiving and raising their child. Many parents lose their sense of self while raising a family. In fact, being a parent can become one’s identity. As a result, parents may feel an even more significant loss when their kid heads away to college.


SURVIVAL TIPS So how do you survive this transition? Learn to embrace it. A HEART-TO-HEART. Write a letter or talk to your adolescent when you see him or her off to college. A letter is best because your kid can save it and reread it to absorb and ponder what you have to say. You’ve already taught your child the importance of manners and doing their schoolwork. So skip that stuff. Instead, offer wisdom about life and your appreciation for your adolescent’s admirable characteristics. Also, avoid dumping on your teen. It’s okay to say you’re going to miss your kid. But don’t overdo it and leave your child feeling guilty or responsible for your pain or loss. CONNECTION AND SPACE. Decide how to maintain communication with your college student. Phone calls, texting, email, video chat and getting together in person offer ample opportunities to preserve your relationship. But don’t overdo it. Your young adult needs time and space to experience their newfound independence and blossom.

Hannah Boykin Lakeside High School

Andrae M. Brown North Augusta High School

Congratulations Hannah on graduating with honors from Lakeside High School. We are proud of your dedication to school and work. Wishing you lots of success as you begin your new journey at Augusta University. Cheers to a bright and prosperous future.

Son, I wish you nothing but the best in your future! You are a young man of many talents and that will take you far in life. This next chapter is what you make of it. I know you will be GREAT!

Love, Mom and Dad

Love, Mom

Joshua Cody

Rhys DeLoach

EXPLORE. You now have a lot more free time. Don’t let that downtime become an avenue to needlessly worry or mope. Instead, be proactive and set out on a mission of self-discovery. Have you thought about going back to school, work or changing your career? Now’s a good time to explore your options. How about a new hobby, volunteer work, or focusing on your fitness and health? You can also broaden your horizons. Try out different music genres, visit art and history museums, go to plays and sporting events, or explore cultural restaurants or cooking. TRAVEL. Plan something exciting. Consider a trip to someplace you’ve always dreamed of going. Or perhaps plan a long road trip or multiple weekend road trips throughout the year. Whatever you choose will help busy your time with the planning, give you something to look forward to and remind you of the upside of an empty nest or one less child to raise. IT GETS EASIER. Remember, whatever grief, loneliness, worries or self-doubts you experience, they’re a natural part of this transition. With each week and month that passes, it’ll get easier. One day, you’ll wake up and discover you’ve fully embraced your new life – and feel real joy for your child’s newfound independence.

Academy of Richmond County

Academy of Richmond County

Joshua, we are forever grateful to God for blessing us with you, the cream of our crop. We are so proud of the young man you are and the man you are becoming. Keep your drive and determination and allow God to take you places beyond your dreams. “For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11 NLT

We wish you strength to face challenges with confidence, wisdom to choose your battles carefully, and adventure on your journey. May you always stop to help someone, listen to your heart, and take risks carefully. Remember how much you are loved.

Love, Dad, Mom, and Juanita

Love, Dad, Mom, and Peyton


QUOTES FROM LOCAL PARENTS: “Two of the most shocking things about a first child are when the nurse tells you to go home the day after she is born (without an owner’s manual) and when you drive away after dropping her off at college (again, without instructions on what to do next).”

Marcus C. Jenkins Curtis Baptist School

We are so proud of the young man you have become. You are truly an example to others. Congratulations! “And when they had found him, they said unto him, All men seek for thee.” Mark 1:37

TatumElise Minter Lucy C. Laney High School

We are so proud of you! We know that you will make a huge impact on the world. Congratulations! “Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen” Matthew 28:20

—Wayne Grovenstein, father of Isabelle (’20) and Charlotte (’22) Grovenstein.

“The last one to leave hits the hardest but focusing on their excitement helps you to be happy too.” —Nikki Conzett, mother of Joshua (’18) and Nicholas (’21) Conzett.

“We are glad she waited a year. Now we are getting excited about everything she gets to experience this year away from home. Of course, we also get to fret about all the usuals—Will she have enough money for pizza? Will she wake up on time for her classes?”

Hyatt Thorp

Augusta Preparatory Day School “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:13 Hyatt, we are so proud of your hard work, character, and achievements. Georgia College and State University is lucky to have you for the next four years. We love you!

Eric DawanYoung Jr.

—Carol Cross, mother of Lucy (’19) Johnson.

Augusta Christian Schools “You are a one of kind guy and we are so proud of all of your accomplishments. You are going to do great things at Liberty University this Fall. Remember, all things are possible through Christ.” Love, Your Family

Kimberly Blaker is a freelance parenting writer. She’s also founder and director of KB Creative Digital Services, an internet marketing agency, at kbcreativedigital.com



ACCEPTING APPLICATIONS FOR THE 2021-2022 SCHOOL YEAR Serving Grades K3-12 | AUGUSTA CHRISTIAN SCHOOLS Augusta Christian Schools offers:

• Christian worldview curriculum and excellent academic program • Advanced Placement and honors courses for upper grades

• Chapels every week, spiritual emphasis week • Fine Arts classes in band, chorus, drama and visual art

• Medical Health Sciences Academy

• Community service and mission projects and trips

• Classes for students with learning differences

• And more……

313 Baston Road Martinez, GA 30907 | Call 706-863-2905, ext.206 or visit www.augustachristian.org

Congratulations to all the 2021 graduates from all of us at

Default to Love BY DUSTIN TURNER






“They held him up and I knew right away he had Down syndrome,” Maura said. “Everybody in [the] room looked a little nervous, but we were both fine. We were just surprised. He has been a gift since that moment.” Now 2 years old, Ryan is the energetic youngest of five children. He has a brother, John, 6, and sisters Margaret, 5, Caroline, 7, and Kate, 17. “The older kids knew as soon as they saw him that he has Down syndrome. But they never stopped and thought about it for another minute,” Maura recalls. “They are so proud of him. They wear Down syndrome awareness bracelets and have crazy sock day at school for World Down Syndrome Awareness Day. They love every opportunity to celebrate their brother.” Children with Down syndrome face learning and mental developmental challenges, which means Ryan


won’t learn at the same speed as his peers. That was one of the first challenges his siblings faced. “They’ve all said they can’t wait for Ryan to get to school with them,” Maura said. “I’ve explained that he might not go to the same school, at least not at the same time. That’s been a little hard for them to understand because they just don’t see him as any different.” According to the National Down Syndrome Society, children with Down syndrome often exhibit stubborn, oppositional behavior and attention problems. They also can wander off without fear. In other words, parents Brandon and Maura right now face many of the challenges of raising any energetic 2-year-old. “Most 2-year-olds don’t know fear anyway,” Brandon explains. “But he has fewer inhibitions and really just does not have any fear. That also means he doesn’t know strangers at all. His

“HE’S SO FULL OF ENERGY. HE’S ALWAYS RUNNING AROUND AND WRESTLING WITH JOHN. RYAN IS FULL OF LOVE, AND I SEE GOD’S LOVE THROUGH HIM.” default emotion is simply love. Someone once told us that children with Down syndrome are closest to God because their default emotion at all times is love.” On a recent warm afternoon, the children gathered for a photoshoot in Boeckh Park in North Augusta. Between photos, the siblings ran around with Ryan to help burn off some of his energy. “He is such a joy. He just makes us laugh no matter what mood we’re in,” says Kate, 17, laughing as her brother stops mid-run to dance. “I’ll turn on music, and he just dances all by himself. He loves to dance. Sometimes I’ll play the guitar for him, and he’ll dance the whole time.” Because Ryan isn’t on the same developmental timeline as other children, his siblings have had to adjust and show some patience. “They are all so patient with Ryan,” Maura said. “In a way, it has been good for them to see that not everybody is the same. They see that we are all deserving of love.” Oldest sister Kate, a graduate of the class of 2021 at Aquinas High School, agrees that her immediate concern was that Ryan wouldn’t be able to do the same thing the other kids do. But Ryan’s joy and eagerness to keep up with his siblings has helped quell that. Her biggest challenge right now is education–for herself and others. “When he was born, none of us knew anything about Down syndrome,” she said. “And two years later, we’re still learning. And other people are learning with us, even if I have to teach them.” As an example, Kate uses the words people choose, often because they don’t know how to handle the situation or what is appropriate. Someone might say “Ryan is Down,” a common phrase she is quick to correct. “He is not Down. He is Ryan. He just happens to have Down syndrome. It doesn’t define who he is,” she said. As a father who wants what’s best for his children, Brandon understands all too well the value of educating his family. He wants to know the best ways to meet the special needs of his son, but he also wants to help other families who have children with Down syndrome. That all began with a chance meeting with PGA caddy Paul Tesori, who has caddied for Vijay Singh, Sean O’Hair and Webb Simpson. “We just happened to meet the Tesori family while at Tybee beach, and he has a son who was diagnosed at birth with Down syndrome,” Brandon recalls. Tesori and his wife, Michelle, started the Tesori Foundation in 2010 to help homeless shelters and food banks. When his son, Isaiah, was born with Down syndrome, the focus changed to providing golf clinics for children with special

needs. The Dial family was at the Augusta clinic in 2019 and is looking forward to the next one in Augusta this year. “Paul has opened our eyes to the importance of giving back and to the importance of community,” Brandon said. The Dial family knows what it’s like to face the unknown, so they want to help other families do the same. As an attorney, Brandon encounters many people daily. He recently had a client with a friend who had a birth diagnosis. Brandon got in touch and was able to provide support and lead that family to resources. “We are open to any challenge God gives us but at the same time, we’re like, ‘All right, what do we do? What’s the next step? What are the resources?’” Brandon said. “We have to educate ourselves to help other families.” To help others, Ryan’s parents formed the Brandon and Maura Dial Family Foundation to “bring information, resources, events and love to those in the Augusta area that have Down syndrome and their families. Our mission is to encourage hope and inclusion through love and joy,” they explain on the Foundation’s Facebook page. “We’ve been blessed,” Brandon says, “so it may be easier for us than a lot of other people. We just want to help others.” Maura agrees that Ryan’s condition has turned out to be a blessing. Through him, she explains, her children have learned patience and acceptance. They have learned to love everyone and to advocate for people with special needs. Another blessing is Ryan’s physical condition. “A lot of children with Down syndrome have heart defects, vision issues and even leukemia. Thankfully, he doesn’t have any of that,” she said. She knew from Day One that Ryan would have a bright future. “We talked about in the hospital when he was born that he is never going to know any limitations,” she said. “He will be able to do most things his siblings can. It will just take a little longer.” Kate is happy to be a little more patient and do whatever she can to ensure Ryan is happy, safe and loved. “He really is a joy. Some people might see him as a kid with Down syndrome, but I see him as my peer,” she says. “He’s so full of energy. He’s always running around and wrestling with John. Ryan is full of love, and I see God’s love through him.” Dustin Turner is the Communications and Content Manager for Alison South Marketing Group. He lives in Aiken with his amazing, beautiful and very patient wife of 22 years, Jamie, and their artistic, sassy and fierce daughter, Abigail, 12. Dustin enjoys writing, shooting and editing video and acting and directing in community theatre.




AGENCIES Able Kids Services 3726 Executive Center Dr., Augusta 706-842-5330 www.ablekidsservices.com Founded in January 2016, Able Tree is the children’s division of Soto ALG. Services include Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, professional development, educational support/advocacy, social skills groups and certified music therapy. Apparo Academy (known as Augusta Therapy Academy until March 2019) 3104 Skinner Mill Rd., Augusta 706-522-4222 www.apparoacademy.org Provides families of children with special needs the necessary skills to achieve success through educational and therapeutic services. Bobby Dodd Institute 2120 Marietta Blvd. NW, Atlanta (main campus) 678-365-0071 www.bobbydodd.org Offers family support services, advocacy and education. Center for Disability Resources University of South Carolina School of Medicine Department of Pediatrics Columbia, SC 803-935-5231


NOTE: If you are trying to reach the Autism/CARE (Autism Regional Office) please call (803)935-5090 or (803)935-5390. www.uscm.med.sc.edu/cdrhome/ Programs support families and their children with developmental delays, traumatic brain injury, spinal cord injury, autism and other diagnoses through assistive technology programs, education, supported community living programs, supported employment and more. ChanceLight Autism Services 3830 Washington Rd. Ste. 2, Martinez 762-222-7629 Katy Hudson BCBA kathrynhudson@chancelight.com ChanceLight autism services provides applied behavior analysis (ABA) therapy for children and young adults who have autism. Easter Seals East Georgia 1500 Wrightsboro Rd., Augusta 706-667-9695 www.easterseals.com/eastgeorgia Work programs help disabled teenagers transition from school into the workplace. There are also work-related programs for disabled adults. The Champions for Children program provides financial assistance to families of special needs and medically fragile children who do not meet the eligibility requirements for the TEFRA/Katie Beckett Medicaid program. Family Connection of South Carolina 1800 St. Julian Place, Suite 104, Columbia, SC 803-252-0914

www.familyconnectionsc.org A statewide non-profit organization that connects families of children with special healthcare needs or disabilities with helpful resources, support and education. Georgia Chapter of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation 57 Executive Park S., Suite 380, Atlanta 404-325-6973 www.cff.org Raises money to fund research for a cure. Provides information and resources for parents of children with cystic fibrosis. The Georgia Chapter of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation 3525 Piedmont Rd., N.E., Building 6, Suite 300, Atlanta 404-420-5990 www.jdrf.org/georgiasouthcarolina This organization has the Family Network, which provides support, encouragement and programming for families of children with diabetes. Georgia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities 2 Peachtree St., N.W., 24th floor, Atlanta 404-657-2252 www.dbhdd.georgia.gov To access mental health, substance abuse and crisis and emergency services 24 hours a day, seven days a week, call 1-800-715-4225. To locate treatment or support services for individuals with mental illness, substance abuse disorders or developmental disabilities, visit www. mygcal.com.



Georgia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities—Region 2 3405 Mike Padgett Highway, Building 3, Augusta 706-792-7733; 866-380-4835 Behavioral Health Regional Services Administrator: Dawn Peel, 706-792-7671, dawn. peel@dbhdd.ga.gov. Developmental Disabilities Regional Services Administrator: Karla Brown, 706-792-7695, karla. brown@dbhdd.ga.gov. www.dbhdd.georgia.gov/region-2-field-office Operates a community-based system of care, which allows clients to receive care in the least restrictive setting possible while helping them to obtain a life of independence and recovery. Provides planning for and coordination of provider network, offers technical assistance and serves as the point of contact for consumers who have questions about accessing services. Georgia Department of Community Health 2 Peachtree St., N.W., Atlanta 404-656-4507 www.gcdd.org/faqs/developmental-disabilitiesservices-and-resources.html The New Options Waiver (NOW) and the Comprehensive Supports Waiver Program (COMP) offer home and community-based services for people with intellectual disabilities (ID) or developmental disabilities (DD) through the Georgia Department of Community Health (DCH) Division of Medical Assistance Plans. To read information on Medicaid waivers: www.dch. georgia.gov/sites/dch.georgia.gov/files/imported/ vgn/images/portal/cit_1210/49/43/92560099NOW_ COMP_FY12.pdf. Georgia Department of Human Services, Division of Child Support Services and Division of Family and Children Services 2 Peachtree St., Suite 29-250, Atlanta 404-651-6316; 844-694-2347 CustomerService@dhr.state.ga.us www.dhs.georgia.gov www.dfcs.georgia.gov/services/adoption The agency provides a variety of services, including administrating the Wednesday’s Child Program that finds adoptive families for special needs children. HealthSouth Walton Rehabilitation Hospital 1355 Independence Dr., Augusta 706-724-7746 www.healthsouthwalton.com An excellent resource for information and assistance with neurological and orthopedic disorders. Learning Disabilities Association of Georgia 1366 North Druid Hills Road, Brookhaven ldaofgeorgia@gmail.com www.ldag.org One of 50 volunteer state organizations that comprise the Learning Disabilities Association of America (LDA). For more than 30 years, its mission has been to enhance the quality of life for individuals of all ages with learning disabilities and/or Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorders (ADHD).

Lynndale, Inc. 1490 Eisenhower Dr., Augusta 706-738-3395 www.lynndaleinc.org Lynndale is a community support service that helps adults with disabilities access employment and community resources, develop life skills and participate in-group and individual activities. National Down Syndrome Society 800-221-4602 info@ndss.org www.ndss.org Provides information and resources for parents and expectant parents of infants and children diagnosed with Down Syndrome. Reaching Milestones 624 Ponder Place Dr., Evans 706-863-9699 www.reachingmilestones.com Clinic services include Applied Behavior Analysis, language assessments, center and home-based behavioral therapy, social skills, treatment of problem behavior and more. Serenity Behavioral Health System 3421 Mike Padgett Hwy., Augusta 706-432-4800 www.serenitybhs.com Provides a range of services for people with mental retardation, developmental disabilities and mental health issues. Soto ALG 3736 Executive Center Dr., Augusta 706-426-4200 www.sotoalg.com Soto ALG provides residential and day services for individuals with developmental disabilities. Services include community residential alternative services, community access (group and individual), supported employment services, prevocational services and ABA therapy. Additional services include community living support and specialized medical supplies. They accept NOW/COMP Medicaid waivers and private pay. South Carolina Association for the Deaf 437 Center St., West Columbia, SC 803-794-3175 803-794-7059 (TTY) 803-403-9255 (video phone) www.sc-deaf.org Promotes equal treatment toward deaf and hardof-hearing individuals in education, employment, legislation, healthcare and other fields pertaining to the deaf and hard-of-hearing residents of South Carolina. Compiles and updates contact information to help you connect with agencies and groups offering assistance and services for the deaf and hard-of-hearing. Spina Bifida Association of Georgia-Tennessee 202-618-4752 or 202-618-4739 Libby Riordan or lriordan@sbaa.org www.spinabifidaassociation.org/chapter/sbagatn Provides information and education for parents, plus raises awareness of this birth defect and promotes prevention.

Tri-Development of Aiken County 1016 Vaucluse Rd., Aiken, SC 803-642-8800 director@aikentdc.org www.aikentdc.org A United Way-funded agency providing services for children and adults with autism, brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, mental retardation and related disorders.

ASSISTIVE TECHNOLOGY & MEDICAL EQUIPMENT/SUPPLIES Augusta/Aiken Ear, Nose and Throat 720 Saint Sebastian Way, Suite 201, Augusta 340 North Belair Rd., Evans 170 University Parkway, Aiken SC 706-868-5676: Augusta, Evans 803-649-0003: Aiken www.augustaent.com Highly trained audiologists evaluate hearing and fit patients with appropriate hearing aids. Augusta Orthotics and Prosthetics 2068 Wrightsboro Rd., Augusta 706-733-8878 www.augustaprosthetics.com Customizes orthotic and prosthetic solutions to meet individual needs, from braces to artificial limbs. Georgia Regents ALS Clinic Department of Neurology, EMG Lab 1120 15th St., Augusta 706-721-4581 or 706-721-2681 info@alsaga.org www.alsa.org Offers one-on-one patient consultations, medical equipment and assistive technology. Patients and their caregivers are trained in the proper use of the assistive technology. Other services include support groups, educational programs and respite care. Hanger Prosthetics and Orthotics 630 13th St., Suite 200, Augusta 706-724-2481 www.hanger.com Creates prosthetic and orthotic devices to suit the needs of each client. Midlands Prosthetics and Orthotics 1018 Druid Park Ave., Augusta, 706-737-7371 690 Medical Park Drive, Aiken, 866-641-6007 www.midlandsprosthetics.com Produces upper and lower extremity prosthetics and orthotics using the state-or-the-art components and orthotics. Walton Options STAR Durable Medical Equipment Reuse Program 948 Walton Way, Augusta, 706-724-6262 514 West Avenue, North Augusta, 803-279-9611 www.waltonoptions.org/services Collects, cleans and repairs used assistive technology and matches it to recipients with special needs. Additional assistive technology services are available.




BABIES AND TODDLERS Aiken County First Steps 105 Gator Lane, Aiken, SC 803-306-1343 www.scfirststeps.org/about-us/local-partnerships/ aiken-county-first-steps First Steps is a results-oriented, statewide, early childhood education initiative designed to ensure that South Carolina children arrive at first grade healthy and ready to succeed. A+ Kids 181 Town Creek Rd, Aiken 803-642-0700 or info@apluspta.com www.apluspta.com Early intervention services for infants and toddlers evidencing delays in growth, development and learning. Babies Can’t Wait (Statewide Interagency Service Delivery Systems) Georgia Department of Public Health 2 Peachtree St., NW, Atlanta 404-657-2850 www.dph.georgia.gov/babies-cant-wait For infants and toddlers with developmental delays or disabilities, from birth to age 3. The Genetics Department at Children’s Hospital of Georgia Medical Office Building 1446 Harper St., 3rd floor, Augusta 706-721-5437, 888-721-5437 www.augustahealth.org/childrens-hospital-ofgeorgia/our-care/genetics/pediatric-geneticsabout-our-practice The pediatric genetics specialists evaluate and test for genetic disease in children or birth defects, such as chromosomal disorders (for example, Down Syndrome), neurofibromatosis, cystic fibrosis or other disorders. Georgia Chapter of March of Dimes 1776 Peachtree St., Suite 200S, Atlanta 404-350-9800 www.marchofdimes.com/georgia The March of Dimes works to prevent premature births, prevent birth defects, improve the health of babies and support families if something does go wrong.

EDUCATION American Sign Language Augusta Health 1499 Walton Way, North entrance, Room 1151 706-721-6929 www.augustahealth.org/patient-family-centeredcare/advisory-councils/department-of-familyservices-development www.augustahealth.org/documents/asl-courseschedule.pdf American Sign Language courses are available for kids and adults, beginners and more advanced signers. Augusta Christian Schools Learning Support Program 313 Baston Rd., Martinez


706-863-2905, extension 206, Lauren Banks www.augustachristian.org/Learning-Support The school is designed for students with a specific learning disability and/or those with attention deficit disorder. Classes are available in grades 1-12, depending on availability, offering low teacherstudent ratios and individualized instruction. The curriculum is designed for students with special learning needs while incorporating a standard curriculum. College Board Services for Students with Disabilities 212-713-8333 www.collegeboard.com/ssd/student/index.html The College Board works to provide appropriate accommodations for students with disabilities when taking the SAT, AP tests and PSAT/NMSQT. CSRA EOA, Inc. Head Start 1261 Greene St., Augusta 706-722-0493 www.csraeoaheadstart.org Provides professional, comprehensive, quality services to preschool children, families and staff. Individuals with disabilities receive the full range of developmental services in an inclusive environment. This includes children with physical disabilities, health conditions, vision, hearing, speech or learning impairments. Special services such as screenings, evaluations, speech or physical therapy and transportation also may be provided. Georgia Academy for the Blind 2895 Vineville Ave., Macon 478-751-6083 www.gabmacon.org Campus and outreach programs are designed to meet the educational needs of students who are blind, visually impaired and have adjacent multiple sensory disabilities. Georgia PINES (Parent Infant Network for Educational Services) 890 North Indian Creek Drive, Clarkston 800-522-8652; 404-298-4882 www.gapines.info Information/assistance to families of vision/ hearing impaired, multi-handicapped, sensory impaired children, under age 4. Parent advisors make home visits to teach families how to help their child. Georgia Virtual School 404-938-7270 www.gavirtualschool.org Georgia Virtual School is a program of the Georgia Department of Education Office of Technology Services. It is SACS-accredited and offers middle school and high school level courses across the state. Parents and teachers partner in the online education of the individual child. Immaculate Conception Catholic School 811 Telfair St., Augusta 706-722-9964 www.icaugusta.org/special-education Special education for children ages 4-14. Fullinclusion program, learning lab and self-contained programs. All special-education programs offer small class sizes with low student/teacher ratio. Diagnostic testing in reading and math modules

using specialized consultation and classroom intervention. Speech therapy, OT and PT offered. Disabilities include but not limited to autism, Down syndrome, mental retardation, learning disabilities, dyslexia, attention deficits, speech and language impairments, cognitive processing deficits and physical disabilities. Kumon Math and Reading Center 500 Furys Ferry Rd., Unit 502-5, Martinez 706-993-2232 www.kumon.com The center strives to help each student perform at his/her full potential by using techniques that improve speed and accuracy to master the basics in reading and math. Students meet with a highly trained Kumon instructor during the week and continue with home assignments daily to close any learning gaps that might be hindering them. Preschool through high school. Mathnasium 1384 Whiskey Rd., Aiken 803-226-9090 205 Robert C. Daniel Jr. Pkwy., Augusta 706-737-1992 4219-1 Washington Rd., Evans 706-868-9393 www.mathnasium.com Helping elementary, middle and high school students excel in math, whether your child started out far behind or is already ahead. Mathnasium’s unique assessment process determines (with great accuracy) exactly what each child knows and what they need to learn. Oxford Learning Center 4272 Washington Rd., Suite 2A, Evans 706-650-2225 www.oxfordlearning.com Students preschool through adult receive help with study skills, homework, reading, writing, math, spelling, grammar and more. Partners in Achievement 454 Furys Ferry Rd., Suite B, Martinez 706-650-1877 augusta@partnersinachievement.com www.partnersinachievement.com PIA offers programs for children ages 6 and up with attention problems and/or learning disabilities to help them overcome the underlying barriers to academic success. SOAR Academy - School and Tutoring Center 4210 Columbia Rd 17A, Martinez, GA 30907 706-305-9141 www.soaracademy.net 1st-9th Grade School provides customized curriculum and IEP services for students who learn best in a small group setting. Autism, ADHD, Dyslexia and other support programs are available to assist students with mild learning disabilities in mastering skills in their individual learning styles. Visit our website for more information. South Carolina School for the Deaf and the Blind 355 Cedar Springs Rd., Spartanburg, SC 864-585-7711 www.scsdb.org An academic institution providing high-quality education programs, both day and residential, for



students ages 2½ to 21 who are deaf, blind or multisensory disabled. Virtual SC www.virtualsc.org The South Carolina virtual school program delivers flexible online options for the diverse educational needs of South Carolina students and their families.

FAMILY COUNSELING AND PSYCHIATRIC RESOURCES Access Get Care SC 800-868-9095 www.getcaresc.com A guide to resources and services for people with disabilities and their caregivers. Beginnings SC 437 Center Street, West Columbia, SC info@scbegin.org ncbegin.org/beginnings-sc-2 803-216-1171 (office) 803-929-7785 (video phone) Beginnings is an expanded non-profit providing professional expertise, education and guidance to anyone in South Carolina with the ability to impact deaf or hard of hearing families. They help parents or caregivers of a child who is deaf or hard of hearing (ages birth-21), parents who are deaf or hard of hearing and professionals who serve these families. Center for Care & Counseling 4434 Columbia Rd., Suite 203, Martinez 706-305-3137 centerforcare@c4sra.comcastbiz.net www.csraccc.org A faith-sensitive counseling service that helps individuals and families draw on their own strengths and values to begin their healing process. Offers a wide range of counseling services to families, couples, individuals, adolescents and children. Cystic Fibrosis Foundation www.cff.org An online source for information about diagnosis, research, treatment, clinical trials and more. disABILITY Resource Center 170 Scoggins Drive, Demorest, GA 706-778-5355 615 F Oak Street, Gainesville, GA 770-534-6656 www.disabilityresourcecenter.org Provides an array of services assisting individuals with disabilities to live independently, pursue meaningful goals, and have the same opportunities and choices as all persons in the community. We are a parent-driven, non-profit organization that supports families of children who are deaf or hard-of-hearing. The website provides resources and information. Eastern Georgia Transitional Family Services 3643 Walton Way Ext., Building 4, Augusta 706-364-1404

www.tfsga.org Offers a range of family preservation services. Approved by the state to offer Comprehensive Child and Family Assessments (CCFA), Core services (C&A and adult) and Intensive Family Intervention Services (IFI) through Medicaid. Therapy and counseling services and parent aid services through Homestead Family Preservation. Family Counseling Center of the CSRA 3351 Wrightsboro Rd #301, Augusta 706-868-5011 www.fcccsra.org Strengthens individuals and families to achieve their own goals and to network with other agencies and institutions to improve family life. Families Forward 3506 Professional Circle, Suite B, Martinez 706-210-8855 www.familiesforward.co Specializing in children ages 3 to early adulthood. Dara Delancy, Ph.D., and Amy Holsten, Ph.D. Georgia Family Crisis Solutions 4145 Columbia Rd., Martinez 706-869-7373 www.gfcscc.com Provides the most current, correct information concerning therapy in a manner that is nurturing, nonthreatening and non-judgmental. Mind-Body Health Services 3830 Washington Rd., Ste 17, Augusta 706-364-5228 www.conniestapletonphd.com The providers at Mind-Body Health Services consider the whole person in helping him or her find the solution to deal with what is causing discomfort. Connie Stapleton, Ph.D. Parent to Parent of Georgia 3070 Presidential Pkwy., Suite 130, Atlanta 770-451-5484, 800-229-2038 www.p2pga.org The organization has a comprehensive website that provides a map to securing services for special needs children. South Carolina Autism Society 806 12th St., West Columbia, SC 803-750-6988 scas@autism.org www.scautism.org A statewide agency that educates and promotes awareness. South Carolina Department of Disabilities and Special Needs 3440 Hardin Street Ext., Columbia, SC 803-898-9600 www.ddsn.sc.gov Plans, develops, funds and oversees programs for people with severe, lifelong disabilities in regard to intellect, autism, traumatic brain injury and spinal cord injury. South Carolina Developmental Disabilities Council 1205 Pendleton St., Suite 461, Columbia, SC 803-734-0465 803-734-1147 (TTY) www.scddc.state.sc.us/

Advocates for people with developmental disabilities and provides leadership in planning, funding and implementing initiatives. United Way of the CSRA 1765 Broad St., Augusta 706-724-5544 www.uwcsra.org The 211 system provides a link to information and referral on a variety of services in the community. Other resources for families are available on the website as well.

MEDICAL, THERAPY AND TREATMENT PROGRAMS Augusta Developmental Specialists 1303 D’Antignac St., Suite 2100 706-396-0600 www.augustadevelopmentalspecialists.com Specializes in helping people with healthcare and developmental needs. The group provides developmental assessment, care coordination between therapists and school staff, a wheelchair clinic and more. Led by Karen Carter, M.Ed., M.D., the group includes a licensed massage therapist and recreational therapist. Offers speech, occupational and physical therapy. Augusta University Developmental Pediatrics Medical Office Building, 3rd floor, Augusta 706-721-3791 www.augusta.edu/mcg/pediatrics/adolescentmed/developmentalpediatrics.php Specializes in developmental-behavioral pediatrics, general pediatrics and adolescent medicine. Accepts new patients by physician referral. Blue Ribbon Riders 987 Reynolds Farm Rd., Grovetown 706-854-0644 www.facebook.com/BlueRibbonRidersGrovetown Equine-assisted activity and hippotherapy program for ages 3 and up. A Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship International (PATH International) premier accredited center. Hippotherapy uses the movement of the horse as a treatment strategy to address impairments, functional limitations and disabilities in patients with neuromusculoskeletal dysfunction. Contact Claudia Morin. Children’s Hospital of Georgia Pediatric Audiology 1447 Harper St., 4th floor 706-721-5437, option 1 www.augustahealth.org/pediatric-audiology Patients receive comprehensive audiology, speech therapy, physical therapy and occupational therapy services from a team of skilled professionals in a facility designed and equipped for children. Children’s Hospital of Georgia Pediatric Diabetes and Endocrinology 1447 Harper St. 706-721-5437 www.augustahealth.org/pediatric-endocrinology Delivers care for children with growth problems,




over and under-active thyroid, advanced or delayed puberty and juvenile diabetes. The pediatric diabetes team helps children manage diabetes and live active lives. Children’s Hospital of Georgia Pediatric Psychiatry 706-721-9331 www.augustahealth.org/pediatric-psychiatry Offers outpatient and inpatient treatment for children ages 6-16 years with emotional and behavioral problems. Children’s Medical Services Georgia Department of Public Health 2 Peachtree St., N.W., 15th floor, Atlanta 404-657-2700 www.dph.georgia.gov/CMS A community-based comprehensive system of health care services available for Georgia’s children with chronic medical conditions from birth to 21 years who live in low-income households. Children’s Medical Services (CMS) provides care coordination and other needed medical/health services for eligible children and their families. CSRA Therapy Services, Inc. 2485 Hwy 88, Hephzibah 706-592-5565 www.facebook.com/CSRA-Therapy-ServicesInc-111479962238630/ Providing occupational and speech-language therapy services for children with special needs in the CSRA. Ducktails Pediatric Therapy & Wellness 568 Blue Ridge Dr., Evans 706-364-5262 www.ducktailspediatric.com Ducktails provides physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy and athletic development for children from infancy through 21 years of age. Services address, but are not limited to, neuromuscular development and abnormal tone, developmental delay, balance and posture, sensory integration, ADHD, handwriting and fine motor skills and speech language and auditory processing. Great Oak Equine Assisted Programs (formerly STAR) 1123 Edgefield Highway, Aiken 803-226-0352 Administration 803-226-0056 Office info@greatoakatrc.org www.greatoakatrc.org Great Oak is designed to promote certified therapeutic riding for children and adults with physical, cognitive and emotional challenges. Hitchcock Physical, Occupational, and Speech Therapy Center 690 Medical Park Dr., Aiken 803-293-4371 (children’s therapy) www.aikenregional.com/services/rehabilitation/ hitchcock-physical-occupational-and-speechtherapy-center A provider for adults and children, offering a full range of quality services including, physical therapy, occupational therapy and speech therapy.


Lighthouse Care Center of Augusta 3100 Perimeter Pkwy., Augusta 706-651-0005 www.lighthousecarecenters.com Offers a serene residential setting for adolescent patients to recover from psychological issues and/or substance abuse. In addition to clinical care, a number of recreational opportunities and an accredited on-campus school are available. These services aid patients in recovery by keeping their minds and bodies active and providing an opportunity for social interaction. They also offer an acute care unit and partial hospitalization. Neuro-Developmental Treatment Programs, Inc. 817 Crawford Ave., Augusta 706-736-1255 ndtprograms@gmail.com www.ndtprograms.com NDT Programs is a small outpatient PT and OT clinic that specializes in serving those with developmental disabilities of all ages (birth through adult). Services are individualized to meet the family desires and are offered in a variety of settings including home-based infant intervention, clinic based, aquatic or pool-based and therapy at a community gymnastic center. The Pediatric Cystic Fibrosis Center at Children’s Hospital of Georgia 706-721-5437 www.augustahealth.org/pediatric-cystic-fibrosiscenter Offers in and out-patient care and education by pediatric pulmonologists. It is one of only two facilities in Georgia accredited by the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. Sensational Kids! Pediatric Rehabilitation 3580 River Watch Pkwy, Martinez 706-364-3470 Sensational.kids@comcast.net www.sensationalkids.net A full-service therapy practice offering a unique blend of services for children and families with special needs that specializes in evaluation and intervention for infants and children (birth to 13 years) who have various developmental challenges. Therapeutic Interventions of Georgia 2315-C Central Ave., Augusta 706-364-6172 info@tiofga.com Offers occupational therapy, feeding therapy, physical therapy and speech-language therapy to pediatric patients. Facilities feature private speech therapy rooms, an outdoor playground and OT and PT gyms. Therapy Solutions, LLC 2250 Woodside Executive Ct., Aiken 803-226-0146 uscslp@bellsouth.net www.therapysolutionsllc.net A private company offering pediatric speech therapy, occupational therapy, physical therapy and early intervention services. An early intervention team provides support and services in the home, day care or clinic setting.

Therapy Trails, LLC 5176 Wrightsboro Rd., Grovetown 536 Grand Slam Dr. Suite D, Evans 706-842-3330 therapytrailsga.com A private practice offering speech therapy, feeding therapy and occupational therapy.

MILITARY FAMILIES Fort Gordon Exceptional Family Member Program Command Support Center, Bldg. 35200, 271 Heritage Park Ln., Fort Gordon 706-791-1918 www.fortgordon.com/programs This program, designed to aid active-duty service, provides information and coordination of services in addition to respite care for any family member who has a chronic medical problem or special education need, regardless of age, that limits ability to function on a daily basis and/or requires ongoing counseling, training, education, therapy or treatment. Assistance with issues receiving Social Security disability benefits.

RECREATION AND LEISURE Camp Ivey Contact campivey@thefamilyy.org. www.thefamilyy.org/programs/22509565/camp-ivey Camp Ivey is an overnight camp held at Camp Lakeside in Lincolnton, GA. The purpose of this adaptive camp is to empower high-functioning children with developmental disabilities by promoting independence in life-skills, relationships, physical activity and leisure, communication and self-confidence through recreation and the arts. Camp Lakeside Contact Faye Hargrove at fhargrove@thefamilyy.org. www.thefamilyy.org/branch/camp-lakeside Serves children with disabilities or serious and chronic health conditions in a medically safe environment. Expanded programs for kids of all backgrounds and abilities so that every child can have access to learn, grow and thrive through the life-changing, thrilling experiences of camp. The Family Y, Wilson Branch 3570 Wheeler Road, Augusta 706-922-9623 Adapted Aquatics Special Populations Individual Classes Contact Claudia Collins, Adaptive Aquatics Coordinator, at 706-922-9664 or at ccollins@thefamilyy.org. Financial assistance is available for all Family Y programs. www.thefamilyy.org/adapted/adapted-aquatics Adapted Aquatics offers one-on-one half-hour classes for all physically and developmentally challenged individuals of all ages. Specially trained staff uses swimming and aquatic fitness skills to improve participants’ independence and quality of life. Sessions are by appointment only.



Family Y BlazeSports Team www.thefamilyy.org/adapted/adapted-aquatics For more information, please contact Claudia Collins, Adaptive Aquatics Coordinator, at 706-9229664 or at ccollins@thefamilyy.org. BlazeSports is a swim team for all ages of physically challenged swimmers that provides them an opportunity to train for competitions. (This program is part of the BlazeSports Clubs of America training for future Paralympians). The Foundation for Therapeutic Options 706-721-5437 www.therapyoptions.org A local nonprofit organization that provides therapy services to children in the CSRA. It is an opportunity for children to be recognized for their abilities instead of their disabilities. Georgia-Carolina Council Boy Scouts of America 706-733-5277 www.gacacouncil.org Scouting programs are available for special-needs children. Georgia and South Carolina State Parks www.gastateparks.org www.southcarolinaparks.com Find state parks, historic sites, campgrounds and trails across the states that are accessible to people with disabilities.

Kathryn M. York Adapted Aquatics Center (Katie’s Pool) www.thefamilyy.org/adapted/adapted-aquatics Contact Claudia Collins, Adaptive Aquatics Coordinator, at 706-922-9664 or at ccollins@thefamilyy.org. This pool is dedicated to improving the quality of life of individuals with physical and cognitive disabilities. It is a shallow and deep-water therapy pool with a wheelchair ramp at the shallow end. It also includes adapted changing rooms with a lift system to accommodate disabled individuals and a state-of-the-art sanitation system. Love & Care Exceptional Children’s Camp 911 North Belair Rd. Evans, GA 30809 706-842-8737 Love & Care Exceptional Children’s Camp is a summer camp for children with special needs and their siblings, from kindergarten to eighth grade. The camp offers music and movement, sensory skills building, arts and crafts and more. Marty Turcios’ Therapeutic Golf Foundation 3731 Wrightsboro Road, Augusta 706-495-4538 415-756-9671, Melody Lacy 706-231-0771, Marty Turcios (remember his speech impediment) www.therapeuticgolfclinic.com www.therapeuticgolfclinic.com/contact

Using the sport of golf as a therapeutic recreation for people of disabilities several days a week. Participants can use the latest high-tech equipment at some of the most beautiful ranges in the South. Miracle League Baseball www.thefamilyy.org/adapted/miracle-league For more information, please contact Rina White, Sports Director, at 706-922-9597 or rwhite@thefamilyy.org. Provides a barrier-free baseball field for children and adults with disabilities to play on. Miracle League Teams play on a rubberized surface with flat bases that for allows safe play for those in wheelchairs or other assistive devices, such as crutches or walkers. Registration is open for ages 4 and up. Fall season runs September-October and spring season runs March-May. Teams practice and play are held at the sports complex located at the Uptown Charlie Norwood VA Medical Center. The RECing Crew 516 Georgia Ave., North Augusta Pamela Stickler, 803-426-1284 info@therecingcrew.org www.therecingcrew.org Based in North Augusta, The RECing Crew is a nonprofit organization providing leisure and recreation opportunities for all ages and disabilities. Fees vary but are nominal.


Providing Speech and Occupational Therapy in Grovetown We now offer pediatric speech, feeding, occupational,

and physical therapy.

5176 Wrightsboro Road Ga 30813 WE ALSO HAVE Grovetown, TWO LOCATIONS 706-842-3330 5176 Wrightsboro Rd | Grovetown | 706-842-3330

536 Grand Slam Drive, Suite D | Evans | 706-854-8434

516 Georgia Avenue | North Augusta, SC 29841 | 803-426-1284 www.therecingcrew.com | info@therecingcrew.org Leisure and Recreational Programs for individuals 6years of age & older with Visual, Hearing, Intellectual and/or Physical Disabilities

 therapytrailsga.com  TherapyTrailsGa  TherapyTrailsGa




Steps of Grace: Ballet for Special Needs 476 Flowing Wells Rd., G-2, Martinez. 912-531-2719 stepsofgrace@aol.com www.stepsofgraceballet.com Ballet and tap classes are offered for children with special needs, ages 3 and up, at Pulse Dance Center and are taught by Mallory Lanier, a pediatric occupational therapist with more than 10 years of experience teaching ballet. Adult volunteers experienced in working with children with special needs are an integral part of the class. Students receive one-on-one assistance should they need it. Total Access Gym www.thefamilyy.org/total-access-gym Contact Claudia Collins, Adaptive Aquatics Coordinator, at 706-922-9664 or at ccollins@thefamilyy.org. This facility, located off the fitness floor at the Wilson Family YMCA Branch, provides adaptive equipment for both a non-disabled exerciser and for people with mobility limitations, including those in wheelchairs. Each exercise piece is easily adjustable to each exerciser’s height and strength level. Walton Foundation for Independence 3103 Wrightsboro Road Adaptive sports, 706-823-8584 www.waltonfoundation.net Wheelchair tennis for all ages at the Newman Tennis Center. Adaptive Golf Clinics: For ages 15 and older, MarchOctober in Augusta and Aiken. Walton Foundation Camp to be Independent 706-823-8584 haley@waltonfoundation.net www.waltonfoundation.net/camps Camp TBI is a free, safe overnight summer camp environment for children and young adults, ages 8-21, with traumatic brain injury. Camp TBI staff provides one-on-one care, which increases the campers’ level of independence in the areas of personal hygiene, following a schedule, making friends appropriately and just having fun. Campers enjoy horseback riding, a ropes course, group games, sporting activities, swimming, fishing and arts and crafts along with social activities such as dances, karaoke and talent nights. Walton Winter Weekend 706-823-8584 www.waltonfoundation.net/camps Open to children ages 6-18 with physical disabilities and their families. Walton Winter Weekend takes place in February at a fully accessible campsite where each family gets its own private cabin. Activities include fishing, ropes course, rock climbing wall, hayride, movie night and much more. This two-night camp is free for each family except for a $25 application fee.

SPEECH PATHOLOGY AND AUDIOLOGY Augusta Ear Nose Throat 340 N. Belair Rd., Evans 706-868-5676 720 Saint Sebastian Way, Augusta 706-868-5676 170 University Pky., Aiken 803-649-0003


www.augustaent.com A trained audiologist evaluates and treats hearing problems and related disorders. Augusta Hearing and Balance 1215 George C. Wilson Dr., Suite 3A, Augusta 706-993-2378 augustahearingandbalance@gmail.com www.augustahearing.com Dr. Rebecca B. Hopkins and Dr. E. Robin Bohannan perform hearing diagnostics for children. Bright Start 720 Gracern Rd., Suite 450, Columbia, SC 803-929-1112 (24 hours a day) brightstart@sc.rr.com www.brightstartsc.com With a location in Aiken, Bright Start is a private provider of speech therapy and autism services to children, teenagers and adults with special needs and developmental delays. Families of special needs children from infancy to age 6 benefit from the early intervention services offered. Children’s Hospital of Georgia Speech Pathology 1447 Harper St., 2nd floor, Augusta 706-721-5437 www.augustahealth.org/rehabilitation-and-therapy/speech-language-pathology Children’s Hospital of Georgia’s speech pathologists provide individualized evaluation and treatments to help children with language problems or delays, hearing loss, stuttering, resonance issues, swallowing problems and other speech issues. Communication Station, LLC 601 N. Belair Square, Suite 19, Evans 706-364-1486 speechyleigh@yahoo.com Speech therapy for patients from infancy to 21 years. Specializing in autism spectrum disorders. Southern Medical Hearing Center 2816 Washington Rd., Suite 106, Augusta 706-993-3269 www.southernmedicalhearing.com Provides hearing aids, free hearing screenings, financing options and the gift of hearing to needy and qualified patients. Southern Otologic Clinic 818 St. Sebastian Way, Suite 204, Augusta 706-724-0668 www.moretzmd.com Provides evaluation and treatment of hearing issues. Hearing aid guidance and fitting for children and adults. University Hospital Speech and Hearing Center 1430 Harper St., Suite C3, Augusta 706-774-8666 or 706-774-3594 4321 University Pkwy., Suite 102, Evans 706-854-2630 www.universityhealth.org/specialty-units-centers/ speech-and-hearing University Hospital’s Speech and Hearing Center provides evaluation and treatment services for children with speech, language, feeding, swallowing and hearing disorders. The speech pathologists and audiologists strive to improve their patients’ ability to communicate and function as independently as possible.

SUPPORT GROUPS The 523 Gallery 523 13th Street, Augusta 706-823-8505 www.the523gallery.com The 523 Gallery is dedicated to art and artists with disabilities recovering from catastrophic illnesses or injuries and individuals with special needs. The gallery provides encouragement, inspiration and healing through works of art. Anchored Souls 706-394-0073 www.anchoredsouls.org info@anchoredsouls.org Anchored Souls is a ministry for moms who have children with disabilities and for all moms in need of hope and encouragement. You can request a conference, retreat or anchor gathering in your area by emailing. Augusta Autism and Disability 825 North Belair Road, Evans AugustaAutismandDisability@gmail.com www.facebook.com/ateam.chog Wesley United Methodist Church Our group offers support to parents and caregivers of special needs children and meets twice each month, generally on Tuesday evenings from 6:00-8:00 at Wesley United Methodist Church on N. Belair Rd. in Evans. Details can be found on our Facebook page, “Augusta Autism and Disability Support Group”, and any questions can be directed to augustaautismanddisability@gmail.com. Blood Cancer/BMT Support Group 1411 Laney Walker Blvd. 1st floor, Community Room 706-721-1634, Susan W. Doughtie www.augustahealth.org/cancer-care/support-services/counseling-and-support-groups This group provides educational and emotional support to patients, families, friends and caregivers. Meets third Wednesdays, 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m. JDRF Type One Nation www.typeonenation.org Provides an online support group and information for parents of children with juvenile diabetes.

TRANSITION SERVICES Accent on Independence 2606 Commons Blvd., Augusta 706-550-0527 www.facebook.com/AccentInc/ Promotes and enhances independence of adults with mental retardation and developmental disabilities. Augusta Training Shop 1704 Jenkins St., Augusta 706-738-1358 www.augustatrainingshop.com A nonprofit work center that employs mentally and physically challenged adults. They learn to repair, strip and refinish furniture, re-cane chairs and polish metals with the goal of performing purposeful work independently.



Center for Financial Independence and Innovation 794 Marietta St., Suite 93862, Atlanta 404-385-7029 www.cfiiga.org The agency’s goal is to make independence affordable by improving the financial selfsufficiency of Georgians with disabilities. Georgia Vocational Rehabilitation Agency 1220-D West Wheeler Pkwy., Augusta 706-650-5600 844-367-4872 www.gvra.georgia.gov Promotes independence of people with disabilities by aiding with employment, accessibility and living accommodations. Serenity Behavioral Health System 3421 Mike Padgett Hwy, Augusta 706-432-4800 www.serenitybhs.com Provides supported vocational opportunities for people with disabilities. South Carolina Statewide Independent Living Council 720 Gracern Rd Ste 106, Columbia, SC 803-217-3209 scsilc@scsilc.com www.scsilc.com Promotes independent living for adults with severe disabilities and their inclusion in mainstream society.

South Carolina Vocational Rehabilitation Department 855 York St. NE, Aiken, SC 803-641-7630 www.scvrd.net Provides an array of services to help people with disabilities find employment. Statewide Independent Living Council of Georgia 770-270-6860 www.silcga.org An advocacy organization that provides resources and answers to questions regarding independent living. Walton Options 948 Walton Way, Augusta 706-724-6262 www.waltonoptions.org Empowers people of all ages and all types of disabilities to reach their highest level of independence. The caring, trained staff work with clients to develop individualized plans and goals. Services include, but are not limited to, peer support groups, assistance with money management, assistance with nutrition and assistance with home modification and accessibility issues.

706-821-1816, 706-821-1819 www.augustaga.gov Curb-to-curb van service available to qualifying individuals with permanent or temporary disabilities. Adaptive Driving Solutions 3585 Riverwatch Pkwy., Augusta 706-364-2688 www.accessiblevans.com www.augustamobility.com Specializes in wheelchair van rentals and sales. They also modify vehicles to make them accessible and install vehicle lifts. Georgia Department of Driver Services www.dor.georgia.gov/disabled-persons-licenseplates-and-parking-permits Application for a disabled parking permit is on the website. South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles Disabled Parking Permit www.scdmvonline.com/Vehicle-Owners/DisabledParking-Placards Click on the forms and manuals links.

TRANSPORTATION ADA Paratransit Van Service 1535 Fenwick St., Augusta

Information is provided by the organizations listed or from their website and is subject to change.

SERVICES OFFERED: Developmental Medicine • Occupational Therapy • Speech and Language • Augmentative Communication SPECIALIZING IN: Autism & Asperger’s Syndrome • Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) • School Problems Behavior Issues • Equipment Clinic • Severe Disabilities • Delayed Milestones • Children dependent on medical equipment

Karen Carter, MEd, MD University Professional Center 4, Suite 2100 | 1303 D’Antignac Street Augusta, GA 30901 Phone: 706.396.0600 | Fax: 706.396.0606 AUGUSTA FAMILY | JUNE/JULY 2021 � 35

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Photo by ViTalko from Pexels





Rosie Williams is 11 years old and a student at Lake Forest Hills Elementary. When asked to describe her interests she explained, “I love ballet, of course! I like music. I have taken ukulele lessons and I like the guitar. I like Spanish—I learned my Spanish on Duolingo during quarantine. Swimming is my favorite hobby. My pets are Jolene (a dog) and Lucky (a cat). I have 6 older siblings, 2 sisters-in-law, and 5 nieces and 1 nephew. I have a lot of love in my family.” When did your interest in ballet start? I started in 2014. [In the summer of 2014, Rosie and her mom found out about Steps of Grace ballet school whose goal is “to provide quality dance classes to children with special needs and foster a love for the art of dance”. Rosie started taking classes in the fall of the same year. She loved it and has continued there every year. She also took 2 years, 2015-16 and 2016-17, with Colton Ballet in Columbia County.]

What do you enjoy most about dancing? What is most challenging? I like the feeling of learning the dances. You practice and practice and then you get better. Class started this year at 6pm and sometimes I was tired, and it was hard to participate.

Describe how dancing makes you feel. Dancing makes me filled with joy.

If you could dance with any person, who would it be? Why? It would be my sister Caroline because she is really good at coming up with dances.

What are some preconceptions about special needs kids/dancers that you hope to correct? Some people like to sing. Some people like to swim. Some people like to read books. I like to dance! Kids with special needs can do whatever they want.


Profile for Augusta Family Magazine

Augusta Family Magazine June/July 2021  

Default to Love Special Needs Guide and Graduation Section

Augusta Family Magazine June/July 2021  

Default to Love Special Needs Guide and Graduation Section


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