Let’s Get Moving

Let’s Get Moving

Being first time parents can be scary. There is so much uncertainty; so many “What ifs?”. With all the new experiences that come with pregnancy and preparing for a baby to arrive, new parents have a lot to navigate and prepare for. For Matthew and Emily, Eleanor was to be their first child. There were no issues or complications throughout the entire pregnancy process; no warning signs that something might be wrong with this precious gift. Preparing for their baby to need significant early intervention services was the furthest thing from their minds.

The family was so excited when Eleanor was born. Their beautiful child had finally arrived and they loved every minute they spent together. However, by the time Eleanor was six months old, Matthew and Emily began having concerns that she did not seem to be meeting her developmental milestones. Her pediatrician told them not to worry about it, and to simply wait and give her time to catch up.

Unfortunately, waiting did not work. By the time Eleanor was a year old, she was significantly behind in virtually every developmental milestone. Doctors determined that Eleanor had generalized hypotonia (abnormally low muscle tone). Hypotonia can be a condition on its own or it can be indicative of some other condition where there is progressive loss of muscle tone. In Eleanor’s case, despite countless evaluations and genetic testing, an officially diagnosis was not given, although doctors hinted at her condition being a combination of Ataxia and Paraplegia. Whatever Eleanor’s underlying condition may ultimately be, it has led to significant developmental delays in her fine motor, gross motor and communication skills.

Eleanor began seeing a physical therapist, occupational therapist and speech therapist. Over the course of the next year and a half, Eleanor did make some progress through these therapies, but nothing monumental. She still had not yet learned to crawl, sit up from a lying position or walk. She had very little independence in moving herself around the home. Matthew and Emily were still searching for answers.

Thankfully, Eleanor’s grandmother, Lori, works at Sara’s Garden in the hyperbaric center as its Clinic Director. She began encouraging Emily to consider bringing Eleanor to Sara’s Garden for Conductive Education (CE) services. Conductive Education believes that neurological disorders are not seen as limiting factors and that everyone has the ability to learn and thrive. Conductive Education is built on the assumption that damage to the central nervous system, which causes motor dysfunction, can be overcome by using specialized learning strategies and that the nervous system can generate new neural connections.

Conductive Education allows kids to see themselves as self-reliant, regardless of how many limitations the world tells them they have. It also helps children develop an “ortho- functioning personality,” meaning it helps them achieve educational and daily living goals via nurturance and developing a teaching plan that centers around the child and their likes and dislikes.

Matt and Emily started noticing benefits of Conductive Education after Eleanor’s very first month (4 sessions). She was beginning to make connections between the strengthening exercises she had been doing and actual, usable motions. She was using the strength in her arms, legs and core to crawl using motions and spoken commands. Her family noticed very quickly how much more Eleanor was able to do each time they saw her. Eleanor’s visiting nurse through her county’s early intervention program was also very impressed, noting that she hadn’t seen so much rapid progress before Eleanor began CE.

Emily noted that “The staff at Sara’s Garden have been great and I really appreciate their willingness to not only teach Eleanor, but also me. They are patient and explain the exercises and activities so that we can practice them at home. I’m excited to see how much more progress Eleanor can make working with these amazing conductors!”

Eleanor is now nearly 3 years old. After about 5 months of CE, it’s clear that she feels more independent. She can now walk with support from her parents and is extremely motivated and excited to move around her house on her own and go everywhere her parents go.

Thanks to Conductive Education at Sara’s Garden, Eleanor has a much brighter future. She is ready to get moving and experience far more independence than her family believed was possible. No matter what you’ve been told, there is hope… and Conductive Education can help you find it.

Thank You for Your Service Bill!

Thank You for Your Service Bill!

For the past 19 years, Bill Frank has faithfully served as the president of Sara’s Garden. We could not be more grateful for his steadfast commitment and dedication to this organization. Bill’s vision, guidance, expertise and patience have been a huge blessing to everyone here at Sara’s Garden, New Horizons Academy and Special Grounds Coffee Co. 

Sadly for us, Bill has accepted an exciting new faculty appointment as an Associate Professor within the Department of Neurobiology and Anatomy at Drexel University College of Medicine (DUCOM) as of May 1, 2023. Bill will be one of three anatomist teaching at the West Reading, PA campus. His duties will be mainly teaching anatomy (including gross anatomy) to medical students, graduate students, residents and/or fellows. Approximately 10% of his time will be devoted to scholarly activity, including establishing a plastination laboratory, at the West Reading campus.

Bill has been a guiding force for the organization for nearly two decades and his leadership and presence will be greatly missed.

Thankfully, Bill will be staying on as a board member and participate in board meetings via videoconference. We are excited to announce that Phil Rupp has been elected as the new President of Sara’s Garden and we look forward to working under his leadership. 

Please join us in thanking Bill for his service and wish him and Miriam all the best as they embark on this new adventure and turn the page on a new chapter in their lives.

Thank you Bill!

Hey Springfield… Let’s Play OUTSIDE!

Hey Springfield… Let’s Play OUTSIDE!

“Let’s play OUTSIDE!” are words that we hope to hear very soon at New Horizons Academy’s Springfield Campus. After over two years of grant writing and fundraising, we hope to break ground mid-April on our long awaited playground project. Our hope is to unveil this fully accessible, multi-sensory playground in August to kick off the new school year.

After years of playing in the school hall and sensory room, NHA’s kiddos are ready to break free, soak in the green therapy, and PLAY!

Educators know that play is about more than just recreational activities, recess, or break time for our students. Play helps children, of all ability levels, increase their physical fitness, reduce obesity, gain emotional and mental mastery, lay the groundwork for creative thinking, promote cognitive development and reasoning, develop their fine and gross motor skills, improve their problem solving abilities, and offer them opportunities to try out new social patterns and behaviors.

This fully inclusive, multi-sensory playground will offer children and youth of all ability levels and their families a place to explore, discover, and grow together. The play area will address the needs of typically developing children, as well as, children with neurological, intellectual, and physical disabilities. It will be rich in sensory experiences, music and movement, physical fitness, social interactions, and physical challenges. The playground will also naturally expand and enhance NHA’s physical education, rehabilitation, conductive education, wellness, therapeutic and recreational programs.

The playground will feature many different elements that our special needs kids will love including—swinging, spinning, climbing, sliding, balancing, rocking, dancing, strengthening their bodies, integrating their senses, and listening to music from adaptive outdoor switches. The playground equipment will include inclusive, adaptable swings, slides, rockers, climbers, obstacle courses, parallel bars, balance beams and musical instruments. 

We are super excited that the playground will also now feature three sensory rings. Children can engage with visual, tactile, and auditory sensors, including sound panels that feature interaction with adaptive switch inputs. 

For green therapy, there will also be a large grassy area for students to explore, discover, and sit on for outdoor classes, activities, and reading. There truly is something for everyone!

Among the organizations and groups, which have helped make this dream a reality, are—the LPGA Dana Open, the Ohio Elks Cerebral Palsy (CP) Fund, Lockrey Manufacturing, Everence, Giving Tuesday 419, the NHA Fun Run/Walk, and many, many caring individuals and families. Donations are still being accepted, so please consider giving today or walking in the NHA Fun Run/Walk in September.

Playground Timelines:

  • Mid-April—Begin cutting out the blacktop and pavement for the foundation.
  • May—Installation of fence posts and the temporary construction fence.
  • June—Prepping the foundation and drainage.
  • July—Playground equipment arrives, and installation begins.
  • Mid-July—Installation of the artificial grass playground surface.
  • Late-July—Installation of the 6’ high vinyl privacy fence around the playground and fob entry for safety and security.
  • Mid-August—Finalize playground equipment installation.
  • August 21—First Day of School & Unveiling of the Playground

What’s My Name?

What’s My Name?

NHA has such an awesome mascot. The kids absolutely love it when the eagle makes an appearance in their classrooms. There is so much joy and wonder as they jump around and give it hugs. However, we just realized that our eagle was missing something very important… a name.

We needed to fix that!

During Right to Read Week, we held a contest with the Wauseon and Springfield campuses to come up with a  name for our amazing eagle mascot.

Classrooms submitted some very creative name ideas. Ballots were then collected in a beautiful eagle submission box created by our very own Ms. Nicole. The finalists were (in alphabetical order):

  • Apollo (Ms. Caryn)
  • Everest (Ms. Kara)
  • Joy (Ms. Janelle)
  • Ozzy (Ms. Anna)
  • Thunder (Ms. Renate)

All students and staff will receive a special gift this week to commemorate our mascot finally getting a name.

The winner is… (cue AC/DC music)… THUNDER! 

Ms. Renate’s vocational studies class will get an additional treat for winning the contest and coming up with Thunder the Eagle’s name.

Upcoming Events Reminders

Upcoming Events Reminders

We have some exciting events just around the corner. Be sure to sign up today to secure your spot!

The 2023 “Drive Fore Hope” Charity Golf Scramble is scheduled for Friday, May 26. Do you have your team signed up yet? We have put together a fun-filled day at Ironwood Golf Course in Wauseon, Ohio and hope to see you there!

Event Date: Friday, May 26, 2023
Event Location: Ironwood Golf Course, Wauseon, Ohio
Event Cost: $75 per Player | $300 per Team

Event Registration & Sponsorship: CLICK HERE

The 2023 Wheel of Purses is scheduled for Thursday, July 13. Ladies, you’re not going to want to miss this fun-filled night out! Enjoy and evening with your friends while playing for fabulous purses from the designers you love. Win designer handbags by Coach, Michael Kors, Kate Spade, Ralph Lauren and Dooney & Bourke. Over 30 handbags are available to win!

Event Date:Thursday, July 13, 2023
Event Location:Founder’s Hall at Sauder Village, Archbold, Ohio
Event Cost:$50 Single Ticket | $400 Reserved Table of 8

Event Registration & Sponsorship: CLICK HERE

Our 2023 NHA Family Fun Run/Walk is scheduled for Sunday, September 17. We had such a fun time at last year’s inaugural event and are very excited for year two. Participants will be able to run, walk, push and pull strollers, wagons and wheelchairs in both a 1K walk and 5K run.

Event Date:Sunday, September 17, 2023
Event Location:New Horizons Academy, Wauseon, Ohio
Event Cost:$30

Event Registration & Sponsorship: COMING SOON

For more information or questions on event participation or sponsorship, please contact Tara Dumas at 419-335-7272 or via email at tarad@sarasgarden.org.

NHA Field Days Announced

NHA Field Days Announced

Mark Your Calendar!

With the end of the school year fast approaching, New Horizons Academy (NHA) has announced its 2023 Field Days. We wanted to make sure that all parents were aware of the dates, put them in their calendars, and made sure that their students were appropriately dressed for the weather (including sunscreen).

  • May 12 (Rain Date—May 15)
    Wauseon Campus & Career Center
  • May 17 (Rain Date—May 18)
    Springfield Campus

If you have any questions or concerns about your students’ participation in the Field Days or would like additional information about them, please call the NHA School Offices at 419-335-7272 or 567-703-1322.

NHA Year-End Awards Assemblies

NHA Year-End Awards Assemblies

New Horizons Academy (NHA) parents, caregivers & family members are warmly invited to celebrate our students’ accomplishments at the 2023 Year-End Awards Day assemblies on:

  • May 15 at 1:00 p.m.
    Springfield Campus’ Sensory Room
  • May 16 at 1:00 p.m.
    NHA Career Center’s Gym
  • May 17 at 1:00 p.m.
    Wauseon Campus’ Hope Center Hall

These are always very special (and emotional) events. We look forward to seeing you there! For questions or more information, please call the NHA School Offices at 419-335-7272 or 567-703-1322.

Support Sara’s Garden through GoodShop

Support Sara’s Garden through GoodShop

Amazon recently ended their AmazonSmile charity program. While this is very disappointing, we are so thankful and appreciative to everyone who has supported us through this program over the years.

If you would like to continue to support Sara’s Garden through your ongoing online purchases you can still do so through GoodShop.

Head over to GoodShop and choose Sara’s Garden as your charity of choice:

2023 NHA Graduation Planned

2023 NHA Graduation Planned

New Horizons Academy (NHA) is so pleased and proud to announce its LARGEST graduating class yet with 11 students, graduating on Sunday, May 21, 2023 at 1:00 p.m. at the NHA Career Center, located at 854 S. Shoop Ave., Wauseon, OH 43567. The community is welcome to attend! All graduates are asked to arrive by noon.

NHA’s 11 graduates from the Class of 2023 include—Luke Chambers, Tony Conti, Tyler Davidoff, Hannah Engler, Gabe Hobby, Arek Jadwisiak, Noah Nagel, Logan Parker, Josh Parran, Cadince Ramirez, and Jackson Snider.

  • Luke Daniel Chambers—Is the son of Kirk and Carol Chambers. He has attended NHA for the last 10 years. Luke lives in the Liberty Center School District, plays on the Henry County Special Olympics Basketball Team, and works hard in the Special Grounds Kitchen. He has earned his Science and Community Service Graduation Seals, and he plans on exploring community work opportunities after graduation.
  • Anthony (Tony) Charles Conti, II—Is the son of Anthony and Priscilla Conti. He has attended NHA for the last nine years. Tony lives in the Wauseon School District, works in the Special Grounds Kitchen and Home Restaurant, is a gifted artist and space enthusiast (Check out his mural at the Fulton County Humane Society.), and enjoys playing with his dogs—Mordecai and Lacey in his spare time. He has earned his Science and Community Service Graduation Seals, and he plans on exploring work opportunities after graduation.
  • Tyler Robert Davidoff—Is the son of Patricia Hogan and is currently living with his Aunt Theresa Wehrle in the North Central School District. He has attended NHA for the last three years. Tyler works in the Special Grounds Kitchen, appreciates his work study placement at Pizza Hut, and enjoys reading and gaming in his spare time. He has earned his Citizenship, Science, and Community Service Graduation Seals; and he plans on exploring community work opportunities after graduation.
  • Hannah Lakota Engler—Is the daughter of Brian and Kristin Engler. She has attended NHA for the last six years. Hannah lives in the Archbold School District, has worked in her family’s Home Restaurant and The Barn’s kitchen, and enjoys playing with her dog-Hallie in her spare time. She has earned her Citizenship and Community Service Graduation Seals, and she hopes to work at McDonald’s after graduation.
  • Gabe (Gabriel) Alexander Hobby—Is the son of Shannon Hobby. He has attended NHA for his four years of high school. Gabe lives in the Pike-Delta-York School District, works in the Special Grounds Coffee Shop behind the counter and at the drive-thru window, and enjoys gaming in his spare time. He has earned his Science and Community Service Graduation Seals; and since he is good at finding flaws in computer programming, he hopes to enroll in a tech school in computer science in the future.
  • Arek Jason Jadwisiak—Is the son of Jeffrey and Christina Jadwisiak. He lives in the Springfield Local School District, has attended NHA’s Springfield Campus for the last four years, and is the third Springfield Campus graduate. In his free time, Arek enjoys reading, role playing games (RPG), and video gaming. He has earned his Citizenship and Science Graduation Seals, and he hopes to enroll in a tech school for coding in the future.
  • Noah Alan Nagel—Is the son of Lory and Greg Nagel. He lives in the Pike-Delta-York School District, has attended NHA for the last five years, is active in scouting, constructed benches for his community service project, and is currently finishing his Eagle Scout Award. Noah worked part-time at Chief Supermarkets, over the summer as a camp counselor at Camp Lakota, and at Special Grounds Coffee both behind the counter and in the Flavoring and Bagging Room. Noah has earned his Citizenship, Science, Community Service, and Student Engagement Graduation Seals; and he is considering attending a trade school in either electrical or welding in the short-term while still considering a career as a youth pastor.
  • Logan Kayle Parker—Is the son of Kristine and Paul Dick. He attended NHA for six non-consecutive years. Logan lives in the Patrick Henry School District, participates on the Henry County Special Olympics Bowling and Basketball Teams, and practiced his work skills at the NHA Career Center and Chief Supermarkets. He earned his Fine Arts and Community Service Graduation Seals, enjoys visiting Kaitlyn’s Cottage, and plans on exploring community work opportunities after graduation.
  • Joshua (Josh) William Parran—Is the son of Rick and Brenda Parran. He has attended NHA for the last 10 years. Josh lives in the Wauseon School District, has participated on the Fulton County Special Olympics Basketball and Track Teams, and practiced his work skills at the NHA Career Center and Ace Hardware. He earned his Fine Arts and Community Service Graduation Seals and plans on returning to NHA’s Career Center in the fall to continue honing his daily living and vocational skills (Students may stay at NHA through their 21st birthday.).
  • Cadince Amara Ramirez—Is the daughter of Tamina and Anthony Wright. She has attended NHA for the last eight years. Cadince lives in the Napoleon School District, has participated in the Soaring Arts Program, practiced her work skills at the NHA Career Center and Season’s Eating, and enjoys dancing and listening to music in her spare time. She earned her Fine Arts and Community Service Graduation Seals and hopes to work at Soaring Arts after graduation.
  • Jackson Timothy Snider—Is the son of Timothy and Jackie Snider. He has attended NHA for the last three years. Jackson lives in the Millcreek-West Unity School district, is active in his Wednesday Night Church Youth Group, and practiced his work skills at the NHA Career Center, Special Grounds Kitchen, Home Restaurant, and Chief Supermarkets. He earned his Fine Arts and Community Service Graduation Seals, plans on returning to NHA’s Career Center and Special Grounds Coffee in the fall to continue honing his vocational skills, and hopes to work at Marcos in the future making pizzas.

Congratulations to all of our graduates! We truly wish you the best, and we hope that everyone, who is able, will come out on Sunday, May 21 at 1:00 p.m. to celebrate their accomplishments at the NHA Career Center on S. Shoop Ave. in Wauseon.

2023 Summer Programs Reminder

2023 Summer Programs Reminder

Don’t forget! Our 2023 Summer Enrichment programs are quickly approaching and we are currently taking registrations for both our Wauseon and Springfield locations.

2023 Summer Program Dates:

  • Wauseon: June 5-30 (Registration deadline is May 1)
  • Springfield: July 10 – August 4 (Registration deadline is June 1)

If you are considering either of these programs, now is the time to register and arrange funding.

Sara’s Garden offers amazing summer intervention programs for children with disabilities. These month-long programs deliver inclusive therapies that provide interventions for individuals with a variety of conditions and disabilities.

Our caring and experienced staff of licensed therapists, conductors and paraprofessionals create unique, intensive therapy-based programs that are tailored to the needs of each participant and are designed to enhance your child’s developmental skills. This approach not only helps your child to work towards greater independence, it also keeps the regression of skills and development that typically occurs over the summer months at bay.

Goals of these programs include:

Improving Interpersonal Skills:
  • Relationship building
  • Responding to his/her name
  • Learning the names of peers
  • Basic conversation skills
  • Behavioral skill development
Improving Fine and Gross Motor Skills:
  • Range of motion
  • Sitting and standing
  • Walking and transfers
  • Self feeding
  • Independent living skills
Improving Language Skills:
  • Vocabulary knowledge and understanding
  • Basic concepts
  • Following verbally presented directions
  • Improving story comprehension
  • Improve Reading/Writing Skills
Improving Social Skills:
  • Greetings
  • Turn Taking
  • Initiating communication
  • Informing and directing others
  • Requesting

Our summer intervention programs also provide support for children who use augmentative communication systems (low tech or high tech) who have language and literacy skills and need more experience with peer to peer social skills.

We serve clients with (but not limited to): ADHD, Autism Spectrum Disorder, CDKL5, Cerebral Palsy, Down Syndrome, Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, Near Drowning, Seizure Disorders, Sensory Processing Disorders, Spina Bifida, Stroke and Traumatic Brain Injury.

Additional information is being compiled on potential funding and grant options for families in need of financial support.

For more information, please contact Ronda Rupp at 833.668.7272 or via email at rondar@sarasgarden.org.