The Kent County Community School STRIVE Program is a program that teaches students between the ages of 18 and 21 years old job skills. All of the students who participate in the program have disabilities that can cause them to struggle with obtaining and maintaining employment. At STRIVE, students are taught soft skills that will make them successful in the workplace.

Soft skills are those that most people do not necessarily think about when looking at what makes a person successful in everyday life. They include the ability to communicate clearly and effectively, work as a member of a team, problem solving, critical thinking, etc. When the students complete the STRIVE program, administrators will work with state level agencies, such as the Department of Vocational Rehabilitation or the Department of Developmental Disability Services to help each student obtain competitive employment within the community. Currently, STRIVE students have had the opportunity to work with popular businesses such as CDSLP, the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control, Food Lion, Capital School District, YMCA, Goodwill, and the list goes on. CDSLP is proud to welcome students within the STRIVE program to learn and obtain skills in assisting them to be successful in the workplace. Within the STRIVE program, CDSLP has worked with two students to date, who throughout the program, gained numerous skills, confidence, and displayed strong leadership skills. While CDSLP's time is short with each student who comes through the STRIVE program, there is no doubt that they will continue on as successful, hardworking young adults, doing great things and making a difference in the workplace.

Summer is fast approaching and there are plenty of sensory-friendly activities and establishments to visit this summer!

1. The Grand's Sensory Friendly Family Shows. Children and adults of all ages and abilities are welcome. The Grand is a non-profit organization partnered with Autism Delaware and Easterseals. They offer flexibility during their performances such as wheelchair seating, use of tablets/phones, low lighting and comfortable sound levels, fidget toys and noise cancelling headphones available.

2. Sensory Friendly Play at Urban Air. Urban air offers designated times for children with Autism and special needs to experience the park without loud noises or flashing lights.

3. Like Urban Air, Shell We Bounce also offers sensory friendly experiences every Monday. They also offer discounted rates for their Special Abilities Day.

4. Port Discovery Museum in Baltimore offers interactive exhibits as well as special services and programs for children with disabilities and special needs.

5. The Adventure Aquarium offers sound reducing headphones, weighted blankets, wheel chairs, and ASL interpreters at no charge during your visit. They also host sensory friendly nights.

6. The Crayola Experience offers sensory friendly nights with 25 hands on quiet attractions. Tickets include admission, a family photo, and exclusive craft.

7. The Elmwood Park Zoo is the first zoo to earn its autism certification. They offer exclusive early or late entry to the zoo for families with special abilities as well as discounted ticket pricing. They also offer quiet spaces, an accessibility map with markings for high traffic areas, potential noise areas and complimentary sensory backpacks with noise cancelling headphones, stress ball, fidget toys, a social story, and sensory map & guide.

More information on these establishments can be found directly on their website. If you are looking for more ideas for things to do this summer, they can be found at https://adayinourshoes.com/sensory-friendly-philadelphia/.

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