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Disability expo highlights area services

Mar. 30, 2014 @ 12:00 AM

HUNTINGTON -- Misty Simms spent years struggling to find services and information that would help her properly take care of her disabled son Caelan, and five years ago she finally found it.

But she attended the 7th annual One 4 All Disability Expo on Saturday at Huntington High School to stay abreast of what services are available.

"My son was a year old when he went to day care and almost died," Simms said. "We were told we couldn't get in-home nursing or any help. It was coming to the resource expo here that we found out about in-home nursing that takes our insurance, and so we've now had that for five years."

Simms said she and Caelan keep coming back because there's usually at least one or two new vendors that provide information she did not know about before, or was not able to use in the past.

About 50 vendors were set up in HHS's gymnasium, sharing information and services on everything from legal assistance to insurance-covered wheelchairs. One service that received more than a few "awesomes" from those passing by was Recreation Unlimited, a camp near Columbus, Ohio, that offers a wide-variety of year-round outdoor programs for children and adults with a vast array of disabilities.

"We came down here because we don't have a large presence in West Virginia, and so we're trying to get the word out of the programs we offer and who all we serve," said David Hudler, business development manager for Recreation Unlimited. "We have a 195-acre campus that we run all of our programs out of. The best thing about us is we offer all the traditional summer camp and outdoor activities, but we can tailor them to fit the specific needs of every individual."

Hudler said anyone seeking more information on Recreation Unlimited, including a schedule of activities, can visit their website at www.recreationunlimited.org.

One 4 All continues to grow each year, said Shellie Mellert, event coordinator. She said she is thankful for all the vendors who set up to share their information and services, and the sponsors that generously provide the support to keep the event going.

The event is vital, not only for the information, but for the opportunity to meet up with fellow parents of disabled children, Simms said. She said a lot of area parents constantly communicate over the phone, sharing knowledge and experiences, and the expo is a great place for them to see each other in person while learning new things.

Follow Shane Arrington on Twitter @ArringtonHD.

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