Turtle Comes Out of His Shell

Education and friendship can play a huge role in the life of any child, but they may be even more vital for a child with Autism.

Autistic children differ in the way they perceive things and respond to the world around them. They often have great difficulty making sense of the world as other children see it. Too often, children with Autism are not the preferred partners of typical children. In the worst of cases, they may be bullied because they look, act or sound different than their typical peers. Children with Autism require caring, individualized attention from teachers and intervention specialists. They may also need extra help interpreting friendships, non-verbal communication, using school equipment, paying attention in class or controlling their behaviors.

For Glen (Turtle as his mother affectionately calls him), the first two weeks of school at New Horizons Academy at Sara’s Garden were extremely rough. It represented yet another change in his life. He had struggled in his previous school placements, often acting out and exhibiting behaviors that made it nearly impossible for teachers to control and teach him or peers to get to know and befriend him.

For weeks, Glen’s mother would literally pry him from the car each morning and carry him into the school. Glen would be hitting, screaming, kicking and biting her the entire way into the building. Each morning, the NHA staff would immediately take Glen into the multi-sensory room when he arrived and spend time with him, helping to calm him down and get him ready for the school day ahead. Many times, he would need to be restrained so he would not hurt himself. His sole focus was on his mother. He desperately wanted to stay with her, fearing that she was leaving him at school forever. However, after spending time in the multi-sensory room Glen would calm down and eventually go to his classroom with his peers.

When Glen started school at NHA, we were told that he had Selective Mutism (SM), an anxiety disorder in which a person who is normally capable of speech does not speak in specific situations or to specific people. We learned that Glen had been teased because of his speech impediment at previous schools and had therefore stopped speaking in public. He lacked self-confidence and was terrified to try new things. Glen had no friends. In fact, according to Glen’s mom, he had never had friends before in his life because other children were afraid of him due to his negative behaviors.

While each morning was difficult for Glen those first weeks, the staff began to notice significant changes.

Every morning, Glen’s outbursts became less severe and shorter in duration. Then, during the third week of school an amazing event took place. Glen came rushing into school, not waiting for his mother to bring him! He appeared to be very excited. Our school administrator, Mr. Burkholder, asked his mother what brought about the change. She stated that she had taken him to Wal-Mart to purchase a special toy… not for himself, but for the new friend that he had made at New Horizons Academy. He could not wait to come to school to give his new friend this toy. This began a new pattern. Glen loves coming to school each day and no longer has negative behaviors.

What has developed from this one friendship is a young boy who quickly began developing self-confidence and trust. He began to excel in his academics and the teachers watched him blossom into a special leader. He continually wants more academic challenges. The teachers realized that despite what was written in all of the reports they had received on Glen, he had so much ability and potential. It was not long into the first grading period that Glen had already mastered the goals that had been written on his IEP.

Now, six months later, he has become his classroom’s “Chatty Cathy”. He loves interacting with his classmates and completing his classwork. Learning how to do simple addition has just clicked in Glen’s brain. It was like watching a light bulb come on. He picked up the concept and is exceeding his yearly goal. Now he wants to do his math work first. Reading continues to be difficult for Glen due to his speech impediment, but that doesn’t stop him from trying. He reads with his classmates at his ability level and is always willing to attempt reading new words, which includes weekly spelling words. He has also shown significant improvement when writing letters with the proper formation and always turns in his homework. Once Glen is assigned a task or classroom chore he doesn’t stop. He is the one student that can be given a task and you know it will get done with no supervision. He takes on the responsibility of teaching his classmates how to complete a task or chore with pride.

Glen is now able to receive individualized and differentiated educational instruction. Combined with NHA’s diversity of intervention tools such as Conductive Education, Autism Intervention and Sensory Integration, delivered by a specialized staff that is able to give Glen the necessary focused attention, he continues to excel. He now has many friends. He loves to come to school and you can see him walking around NHA with a smile on his face. When you look at Glen now, as compared to September 2013, you will find a boy full of self-confidence, pride, and happiness.

New Horizons Academy provided Glen with a safe, nurturing environment where he could feel accepted and loved. Once the behaviors were overcome, the teachers no longer have to address bad behaviors, and can focus on his education. Thanks to New Horizons Academy at Sara’s Garden, Turtle has come out of his shell. Glen’s mom gets to see her son’s emerging potential and has renewed dreams for his future.

No matter what you have been told, there is hope. Hope for a child to emerge into the responsible adults we as parents pray for. There is hope for those who were told they would not learn, or walk, or talk. That hope, is rekindled through the work that is happening at New Horizons Academy. The loving, caring and true compassion that is shown to each and every student, no matter how difficult their condition, disability, or behavior might be, is where the success story starts. Come join us and you’ll see what is possible for a child who has been labeled as “different”. New Horizons Academy at Sara’s Garden… Where kids come first!

2014 Sara’s Garden / NOVFA Fireman’s Raffle

2014 Sara’s Garden / NOVFA Fireman’s Raffle

On June 21, 2014 Sara’s Garden and the Northwest Ohio Volunteer Firemen’s Association (NOVFA) will be conducting a raffle drawing. Tickets are only $10.00 for a chance to win $1,000 cash. Proceeds from the raffle will go to support both Sara’s Garden and the participating fire stations of the NOVFA.

Event Date: Saturday, June 21, 2014
Location: NOVFA Annual Convention, Northwood, Ohio
Ticket Cost: $10.00
Prize List:
Winning Ticket Holder: $1,000.00 Cash The individual or business who’s ticket is drawn will receive a cash prize.
Winning Fire Station:  $8,000.00 Cash The fire station listed on the winning ticket will receive a cash prize.
Fire Station Bonus:  $1,000.00 Cash A bonus cash prize will be given to the fire station that sells the most tickets.
Rules & Notes: Must be 18 years of age to win Need not be present to win Winner is responsible for taxes and fees associated with cash prize

Tickets may be purchased at the Sara’s Garden main office or at the following participating NOVFA fire stations:

  • Archbold: (419) 445-9506
  • Brady Township: (419) 924-2345
  • Bryan City: (419) 633-6080
  • Central Joint Township: (419) 686-4545
  • Delta: (419) 822-4626
  • Fayette: (419) 237-2716
  • Hoytville: (419) 278-2222
  • Lyons: (419) 923-2841
  • Marseilles Township: (614) 499-2848
  • Metamora: (419) 644-3121
  • Ridgeville Corners: (419) 267-3344
  • Swanton: (419) 826-7206
  • Wauseon: (419) 335-7831
  • Whitehouse: (419) 877-0363

For additional information regarding the 2014 Sara’s Garden Fireman’s Raffle please call Matt Rychener at 419.335.7272.

Sara’s Garden appreciates the unwavering dedication and often perilous service rendered by the fire fighters who daily place their lives in harms way to protect their communities. It is an honor for Sara’s Garden to serve these heroes in return. As part of our partnership with the NOVFA, Sara’s Garden is offering free Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy treatments to any fire fighter from these participating stations who is injured in the line of duty.

Did you know?:

  • The exertion levels of fire fighters may be so great and, hence the requirements for oxygen to the heart so great, that during fire fighting incidences, even moderate or low levels of CO may allow Carboxyhemoglobin (COHb) to rise to dangerous levels within minutes.
  • Even though fire fighters are trained to understand the dangers of CO poisoning and recognize the signs and symptoms of this killer, it can go unrecognized and untreated when signs and symptoms are nonspecific or vague, leading to short and long term health complications.
  • Cyanide is a fast acting and deadly chemical. It has a smell of bitter almonds or may be completely odorless. On a daily basis cyanide poisoning most often affects on-duty fire fighters responding to fire situations.
  • As combustion of plastics, textiles and other synthetic materials produces smoke, a highly toxic and/or fatal mixture of cyanide and carbon monoxide is formed. Inhaling even a small amount of fire smoke could prove fatal.
  • When ignited, synthetic materials burn hotter and faster than natural products, causing fires to flashover more quickly. The fire fighter is not only at risk during the fire but also in its aftermath.
  • The potential traumas recognized as being the most common occupationally related injuries for firefighters are burns, falls, drowning, motor vehicle (and apparatus) accidents and asphyxiation.
  • In recent studies, 5.9% of all on-duty fire fighter deaths were attributed to falls. 4.5% of injuries in line of duty fire fighters resulted in fractures and broken bones. 41.8% of line of duty fire fighter injuries resulted in sprains and strains. Lacerations and contusions in line of duty fire fighters totaled 23.9%.
  • The emergency treatment of smoke inhalation via HBOT is crucial in order to save the lives of firefighters and other fire victims. Oxygen and sodium thiosulfate are the most widely accepted cyanide antidotes.
  • HBOT does not require the red blood cell to deliver oxygen. HBOT shrinks the oxygen and dissolves it in the blood stream. The blood stream now holds the oxygen carrying capacity and can deliver oxygen to all tissue for complete perfusion.
  • CO has a greater affinity for the red blood cell than does oxygen and clings to the red blood cell essentially suffocating tissue. HBOT causes the CO to loose its attraction to the red blood cell and effectively breaks the bond.
  • Oxygen is very essential to wound healing. HBOT can help burn patients heal faster with fewer complications and less scarring. HBOT has been shown to limit the progression of the burn injury, reducing swelling, and diminishing lung damage. In some cases, HBOT reduces the need for surgical intervention and shortens the time of hospitalization.

Everyday fire fighters in the United States place their lives in danger to protect those in the communities in which they live. Our hope is to be a valuable resource to these brave men and women in helping them heal and recover faster if they are injured while responding to a call.

Casino Night Gala 2014

Casino Night Gala 2014

On Saturday, November 8, 2014, Don’s Automotive Group will be hosting a Casino Night Gala at Founder’s Hall in Archbold, Ohio from 5:30-11:00 p.m. All proceeds from this event are being donated to Sara’s Garden’s handicap accessible playground project!

Casino Night will feature appetizers, a delicious dinner, dancing, prizes and silent auctions. The casino will be conducted with authentic “Las Vegas” style casino tables, casino chips, and slot machine tokens. Come enjoy a variety of games including Black Jack, Roulette, Craps, War, and token slot machines. Professional and friendly dealers will see that you have an exciting and entertaining experience! You need not be a serious gambler to enjoy Casino Night.

We’re betting you’ll have a great time at Casino Night! We look forward to seeing you there.

Save the Date!
Event Date:Saturday, November 8, 2014
Event Location:Founder’s Hall, Sauder Village, Archbold, Ohio
Event Time:5:30-11:00 p.m.
Event Cost:$75 per Plate ($550 for an Entire Table of 8)
 Dress Attire:Semi-Formal

Sara’s Garden is a recognized 501(c)(3) non-profit organization and is the only facility in the United States to offer Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy, Conductive Education, Autism Intervention and Sensory Integration services.

Dinner Ticket Includes:

  • Appetizers
  • Dinner
  • Dessert
  • Alcoholic Beverages (Qty. 2)*
  • Soda & Water
  • Chips for Casino Activity**
Schedule of Events
5:30 p.m.
Silent Auction Opens
6:15 p.m.
7:00 p.m.
7:30 p.m.
Casino Floor Opens
10:00 p.m.
Silent Auction Closes
10:30 p.m.
Prizes & Drawings

*A cash bar with beer, wine and liquor will also be available for purchase.
**A donation is requested for additional chips.

Corporate Partnership Opportunities:
Platinum Title Partner – $4,800
  • Includes one table, event promotion, platinum title partner signage and program recognition.
Gold Table Partner – $1,200
  • Includes gold table partner activity signage and program recognition.
Silver Prize Partner – $720
  • Includes silver prize partner signage and program recognition.
Bronze Meal Partner – $360
  • Includes bronze meal partner signage and program recognition.

For additional information regarding corporate partnership or dinner ticket reservations, please contact Becky Coopshaw at 419.337.3010 or via email at b.coopshaw@donsautogroup.com. Please join us for a fun-filled casino experience.

NHA Expansion in Progress

NHA Expansion in Progress

If you have driven by the Hope Center at New Horizons Academy, you probably have noticed the activity at the east end of the building. The students, staff, administration and board of directors are excited to announce that we’ve broken ground on a new addition.

New Horizons Academy was started during the fall of 2012 with 2 students attending. This grew to 6 students during the second semester for the 2012-13 school year. At the beginning of this school year, the attendance of New Horizons Academy had grown to 27 students. For second semester, an additional 13 students enrolled bringing the total enrollment for the 2013-14 school year to 40 students. For the 2014-15 school year, there are presently 52 students registered.

We have always felt that the Hope Center could accommodate 30 students, thus we have moved 10 of our current older students into the new addition of the hyperbaric center. As you can see, we have outgrown our present facility quickly. Thus, in January, the board of directors had extensive discussions about the future of New Horizons Academy. A decision had to be made. The choices were to add onto the Hope Center or reduce enrollment by telling some families their children could not return for the 2014-15 school year.

After much prayer and reflection it became obvious that God was directing us to meet the needs of the children. The decision of the board of directors was unanimous that we, by faith, begin the process to secure a large loan to double the size of the Hope Center. This entire process has been completed. Our expectations are that by the time the new school year begins, we will have 9 more classrooms, a second, larger sensory room, and a specially designed Conductive Education room. The facility will have special lighting along with rooms that have walls designed to absorb sound. This will help all of our students that have sensory disorders.

We would like to thank the parents of our students for giving us the opportunity to work with their children. We also would like to thank the community for their continued support of Sara’s Garden and New Horizons Academy. Most importantly, we would like to thank God for his continued blessings and provision.