Olivia shines with her classmates at STAR 4 Center for Developmental Disabilities
Olivia came to CDD-Center for Developmental Disabilities as a young 3 year old girl enrolled in the Pre-K Counts program and Head Start. She attends our center 5 full days a week. When she first entered the program she was quiet and a bit shy. She had bright eyes and a sweet smile and slowly came out of her shell. Olivia is a beautiful child inside and out. She has a heart of gold. She has such a sweet soul and is a good friend to all her peers. Olivia is friendly and helpful to both her teachers and her peers. She is always eager to learn and to be a class helper. She looks out for the well-being of everyone in the class.
Olivia has a special sensitivity to peers with developmental disabilities. Her brother has special needs and graduated last year from CDD. Her mom is expecting her third child any day now. Olivia is very excited to become a big sister. She looks out for all her peers but especially ones with special needs. She makes sure if she can help them in any way that she is there for them. It is inspiring and heartwarming to see her interest and genuine concern.
Olivia has a special friend named Claire whom she has befriended in her afternoon class. Claire comes 3 afternoons a week. She is multiply handicapped. The two girls have had a special connection since the day they first met. Olivia asks if it is a Claire day and waits for her at the door. She lightens up when she arrives and welcomes her to the classroom. She holds her hands, talks sweetly to her, gets her toys to play with and always checks to see if she is comfortable. She has Claire join her tea parties when she is in her stander and dresses her in hats and jewelry. She includes Claire in on everything that she does. Olivia wants to always help Claire’s nurse and her therapists. It is heart-warming to see her interact with her friend.
Olivia brought in treats to share with her friends one day. She brought in a small stuffed bear for Claire because Claire can’t eat the treats. That is just one example of how she is always thinking about her special friend. She helps the aides put Claire into her special chair and her stander too. Olivia’s relationship and special attention to her friend Claire deserves some special attention of it’s own!
Our center is named The Center for Developmental Disabilities but it isn’t just for special needs children. It is designed to be an inclusionary program. We have many programs in our school which include Pre-K Counts, Head Start, CSBG, CCIS, IU, paid day care and an autism program. We are a 4 star facility. CDD is a diverse program where typical children interact on a regular basis with special needs children. Both benefit greatly from this arrangement and it is a win-win situation all around. Olivia is just one of the shining stars we are fortunate to experience on a daily basis at the Center for Developmental Disabilities. It is with great pride that we nominate her as a Keystone Stars Shining Star.
Terry Balton, teacher, Pike County