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Local Resources Available to Plan Summer Fun Activities for Adults with Developmental Disabilities

Summer can be a fun time of the year, but for adults with developmental disabilities, finding summer programs and activities that accommodate their special needs can be challenging.

Melodee Benton, Associate Director of Independent Living at Willows Way, says there are many organizations and resources available locally that offer summer activities catered specifically for adults with developmental disabilities, which may include autism spectrum disorder, Down syndrome, pervasive developmental disorders, cerebral palsy, and intellectual disabilities.

Exploring the world around them, and socializing with others in meaningful activities can often times have a profound, positive affect on a person with a developmental disability, said Benton.

"Art and music, physical exercise and outdoor exploration are ideal activities for strengthening social relationships and improving the emotional and physical well-being of us all," said Benton.

Willows Way, a non-profit organization based in St. Charles, MO that promotes independence and personal growth for adults with intellectual and physical challenges, plans several day trips for its clients throughout the spring and summer, which include a trip to Elephant Rocks State Park and St. Joe State Park, both in Missouri. Willows Way also offers an adult day services program called RISE - Reaching Independence Through Social Engagement -  that includes daily, structured activities designed to promote social networking, community involvement, volunteerism and physical activities. For more information about Willows Way, visit www.willowsway.org.

The Recreation Council of Greater St. Louis has posted its 2017 Summer Opportunities Guide online to assist individuals with developmental disabilities, and their families, find summer activities in St. Louis City and County and the St. Charles County area. The guide includes a list of summer overnight camps, outdoor and travel programs, day camps, parks and recreation departments, sports/recreation programs, teen/young adult programs, destination playgrounds and other programs. For more information about the Summer Opportunities Guide, visit www.recreationcouncil.org.

The Missouri Governor's Council on Disability also provides a free online resource (http://disability.mo.gov/leisure.htm) with links to organizations offering social, recreational and cultural activities for individuals with disabilities. Organizations featured on the website include Disabled Sports USA, Handi-capable Karate, Ken Lanning Golf Center, Wilderness Inquiry, Tourism in Missouri, Gimp on the Go, and the Department of Natural Resources, among others. The site also provides useful information on traveling for the disabled.

About Willows Way

Willows Way promotes independence and personal growth for people with intellectual and physical challenges through a variety of social-service programs. These include: Realities, which provides up to 8 hours of individualized services per week; Individualized Supported Living, which provides up to 24-hour-a-day support to allow individuals to live independently based on their needs and goals; RISE - Reaching Independence Through Social Engagement, which offers participants daily structured activities designed to promote social networking, community involvement, volunteerism and physical activities; and Project HEART, which provides stimulating, person-centered health education classes, skills training and resource information to people with developmental disabilities. For more information about Willows Way, visit willowsway.org or call 636-947-6591.

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