Caring Strategies meets needs of children with community events

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, October 19, 2022

DESTREHAN — Local nonprofit Caring Strategies is offering a lineup of holiday-themed events to meet the needs of children in the community with and without disabilities.

With the understanding that something as simple as a trip to the library can be a hassle for families of children with special needs, Caring Strategies Director Sandra O’Brien aims to offer an accepting, inclusive environment that makes learning fun.

Community events geared toward children up to age 7 promote sensory play, language development and gross motor skills.

O’Brien, a former special education preschool teacher of 32 years, has experience and certifications autism assessment, art therapy, health coaching and developmental milestones.

“I find that kids now have a lot of sensory needs. We are tending to do a lot of sensory activities just to expose them to that early,” O’Brien said. “Some events we have are for kids with and without disabilities. We want all kids from 2 to 7 to participate and to promote inclusion.”

This Saturday, Caring Strategies will host a Monster Mash event at the St. Charles Parish Destrehan Library, engaging children ages 0 to 6 and their families in language and sensory-based learning.

While registration for the Monster Mash event is full, families still have an opportunity to sign up for the Caring Strategies Young Athlete event scheduled for 10 to 11 a.m. Saturday, October 29 at the Edward Dufresne Community Center in Luling. This gross motor “trick or training” introduces and develops motor skills that are appropriate for children ages 2 to 7. Therapists will be on hand to answer questions and offer sign up to bring motor skills kits to local schools and daycares. Registration is available online at caringstrategies.net for children with and without disabilities.

On November 10, Caring Strategies will be at the German Coast Farmers Market from 8 a.m. to noon to share information, resources and awareness for needs for our children in St. Charles Parish. The early intervention team will also be selling “FUN”raiser learning kits during this event.

Registration opens by November 1 for a special Sensitive Sensory Santa event for local children with Autism, Sensory Processing Challenges, and other special needs. This event is for children of all ages with disabilities and will include additional stations for cookie decorating, arts and crafts and other activities.

“We hope that anything we do brings in not only learning, but enjoyment and an opportunity to have fun,” O’Brien said. “I think it’s good just to belong to a community and knowing that other people are going through the same things you are going on. It’s not so much therapy, but an event that is community-based.”

Caring Strategies is a 501 (c) (3) organization with a mission to provide learning opportunities that support all members of our community. Strategies for creation of educational programs and environments facilitate children’s active engagement and learning at home, in schools and throughout their community.

“Our events, trainings and other resources are in and around the community- we are always open to events and activities to help you, your family, or your business with including children in activities in our parish,” O’Brien said.

While the organization is supported by United Way of St. Charles, donations and volunteers are always needed.

O’Brien hopes to extend events beyond St. Charles Parish to St. John and the rest of the River Region. In the past, Caring Strategies has hosted play groups at First Baptist Church in LaPlace.

More information, including registration details and time slots can be found on the Caring Strategies Facebook page, caringstrategies.net, or by emailing caringstrategies@aol.com. `