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BY MARY GARRISON
The ARC of Clay County has been providing services to children and adults with intellectual and developmental delays locally since 1972. Now, the organization is partnering with the T.K. Martin Center in Starkville to provide a new service to local children through the centerâ€™s Project IMPACT initiative.
Beginning this fall, T.K. Martin Center will begin hosting at class at East Side Pre-K (formerly the Catherine Bryan School), focusing on children with speech difficulties. The ARC program presently works with 14 students in a 3-year-old class at the school, according to ARC Director Dawn Wilbourne.
â€śWeâ€™re very excited,â€ť Wilbourne said. â€śThese classes are so beneficial. â€¦ I have a grandson who is autistic. When he started (the program), he had no speech ability at all. He wonâ€™t stop talking now.â€ť
The classroom is part of an initiative to expand on T.K. Martin Centerâ€™s existing services, which encompass all ages and include finding technology suited to assist the disabled, as well as various forms of occupational and developmental therapy.
Formally established in 1997 through a contract between Mississippi State University and the Mississippi Department of Rehabilitation Services, the center serves clients and students as young as 4 weeks old to those in their late 90s, according to Director Janie Cirlot-New.
â€śInitially, we were only going to serve those 18 and older,â€ť Cirlot-New said. â€śBut before we even opened, we knew we were going to have to diversify.â€ť
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