EDITORIAL:Developmentally disabled, community businesses benefit by working together

March has been proclaimed Mental Retardation/Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month by Gov. Haley Barbour. It’s a good time to consider how much the developmentally disabled, and local businesses who work with them, benefit from working with each other. Tippah County hosts important programs which benefit citizens with mental retardation and their families through the North Mississippi Regional Center in Oxford. The Center serves 23 northern counties in the state under the authority of the State Department of Mental Health. In Tippah County, the Center operates a work activity/ prevocational center, home based services through its Project RUN Early intervention program, as well as home and community based waiver services. Tippah Industries is the work activity/prevocational center here. It is a sheltered workshop for persons with mental retardation and developmental disabilities. It offers training designed to help individuals prepare for work, and to obtain community employment if desired Tippah Industries offers vocational training and paid employment in a realistic work environment. Clients from the community aged 21 and older are paid based on production on subcontracts for local businesses and industries. Those with special needs receive additional training in work behavior, dress and other self-help skills necessary for a work setting. Project RUN provides free assessment education and therapy for preschool children with developmental delays from birth to age three, as well as parent training. The program’s primary goal is to prevent institutionalization and to promote optimal development through early intervention and training. The Home and Community Based Waiver program provides in-home services, support coordination, and assistance to citizens who would otherwise require ICF/MR care These vital services assist families in maintaining their loved ones with disabilities at home. The workshop is located at 800 CR 564 in Ripley. Tippah Industries is one of many workshops from North Mississippi Regional Center which provides individuals with the opportunity to improve pre-vocational/ vocational skills with real work experience, interact with peers and co-workers as well as people in their own communities. These programs do a lot of good for a lot of people. The workshop employees benefit by learning saleable job skills and producing useful products. Those who work at various businesses in the community benefit from interacting with the community. Employers benefit from their work. It’s your basic win-win situation. Proclaiming March as Mental Retardation/ Developmental Disabilities Month is a good way to promote public awareness of persons with disabilities and help them gain the support, acceptance and recognition they deserve.

Southern Sentinel