We are incredibly blessed to live in a community that is rich in resources for young adults with disabilities. There are honestly too many educational, interesting, or just plain cool things for M and R to participate in... I've found I have to pick and choose activities and classes so we have a good balance of down time mixed in with busy times. (A good balance keeps us all feeling good!)
This past month was a little busier than usual though, M's having a busy basketball season (his team is doing to the State Games this weekend!) and the kids had the opportunity to take an indoor kayaking class at the rec center (and we couldn't pass that up!), and they've been going to the "Access and Functional Needs Citizen's Police Academy" down in town. The name of the class is a mouthful, but basically it's a citizen's police academy designed for young adults with disabilities. They went last year too and it was such a great class they decided to do it again!
It was a five week class and here's what they learned each week:
Week One they toured the Police Department, seeing everything from the dispatch center to the holding cells, got their police academy ID's, lanyards, and T-shirts, and played some ice breaking games to get to know each other better.
Week Two they learned about about Disaster Preparedness, 72 hour kits and "shelter in place". They filled out emergency information sheets to keep at home, and, for homework, we had to make an emergency plan for our family.
Week Three was Basic First Aid and Fire Prevention and Safety and they really practiced the first aid skills they were learning.. splinting "broken" arms, applying pressure to "wounds" and even using a blanket carry technique to pull their instructor to "safety" (down the hall). An instructor from the Fire Department taught the second half of the class and they learned what to do in case of fire, how to put out certain types of fires, and even practiced putting out a grease fire by smothering it.
Week Four was Crime Scene Investigation and they learned a lot about the tools and techniques that are used to investigate crime, then they learned to take fingerprints (their own and someone else's!).
Week Five was 911 Dispatch, where they learned more about what dispatchers do, and how and when to make a 911 call. They got to practice with the 911 simulator phone, making 911 calls on the simulator and answering the questions the electronic dispatcher asked them.
Week Five was also graduation... The kids worked hard during the police academy and they were rewarded with a really nice graduation ceremony. The mayor was there, as well as several police department supervisors. (Unfortunately the police chief couldn't make it, although he was at graduation when M and R took the class last year.)
I was running late that evening and forgot my camera at home.... but M did remember his. :) His camera doesn't take great photos but they are ok, and I'm glad we have a record of the graduation.
Here's M receiving his diploma from his instructor, with the Mayor, police department supervisor waiting to shake his hand, and his RCC adviser taking a picture
R receiving her diploma...
After graduation... from the group shot of all the students together.
R and M with their instructor, she was their instructor for the police academy last year too and she's just awesome... She so good with the kids, and isn't afraid to have fun with them.
They are both crazy about her...
Both kids are happy and proud of the work they did at the Police Academy, and even though it was a repeat for them I know they learned... having the skills reinforced is always good. I'm so grateful that our police department spends the time and money to do this for our community...