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Open Door School students perform carols throughout Lawrence County

Dec. 18, 2012 @ 12:00 AM

IRONTON -- Students from Open Door School in Ironton have been traveling around Lawrence County, spreading holiday cheer by sharing music on hand bells.

Open Door, which is the school-age program of the Lawrence County Board of Developmental Disabilities, serves students with multiple handicaps age 6-21. Along with following a specific curriculum for students with developmental disabilities, Open Door also strives to help its 64 students become involved in their community through outreaches like the handbell choir.

"We are proud of our school and our objective, which is to give our students the best education possible in surroundings that are safe, educationally motivating and accessible to community involvement," said Kendra Heim, who is the principal at Open Door School. "Community involvement is very important in our educational process. We are able to provide our students with work experience, social activities and educational integration."

Open Door is certified by the Ohio Department of Education with eight classrooms with teachers licensed in special education. Along with education, Open Door offers programs that encourage habilitation, daily-living training and physical education and development as well as speech, physical and operational therapy.

Open Door not only provides the development of students with disabilities in the classroom, but also provides activities that encourage community involvement and inclusion. These are viewed as learning activities not only for the students who get the experience of getting involved in their community, but also for the community to become aware of the abilities of children with disabilities. Such activities include a science and social studies fair, swimming, bowling, archery, basketball, bell choir, job skills, money management and transportation skills.

The LCBDD serves more than 500 children and adults with developmental disabilities from throughout the county. Services include service and support administration, early intervention for infants and toddlers (ages birth to 3) preschool services (ages 3-5,) the Open Door School (for students with multiple handicaps ages 6-21,) and employment, habilitation and other services for adults with developmental disabilities through a collaborative arrangement with Tri-State Industries, Inc., a private, non-profit corporation.