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Children’s program supports Maddox, his mom gives back through Parents Support Group

“They are the best we’ve worked with,” Shaina McGinity said while discussing what the Olean Center and its staff mean to her and her son Maddox. 


Maddox just turned 10 and attends elementary school in Westerly. His participation in music and art programs at the Olean Center has made a big difference in his social skills. The family has participated in the PASS program since Maddox was in second grade. PASS is an acronym for Personal Assistance Support Services and allows parents and guardians to direct the care received. The focus is on daily living skills, personal safety, and social skills.  


Shaina is so impressed with the Olean Center’s services that she decided to get involved by helping to coordinate the recently established parent support group in collaboration with the Children’s Department. 


“The support group is a place where we can celebrate wins and get advice for challenges. We always start with a win, whether it’s for the parent or the child, and then we talk about challenges and try to solve them together and offer suggestions to help.” 


Shaina is a big fan of the music program since it has helped Maddox with his social skills. “He loves the music program, and it’s really helped him become more social and talk to his peers – he usually likes to talk to adults, but during the music program he talks to the other kids without being prompted,” Shaina said. “He tells them his favorite songs and he really opens up, so it’s nice they offer that.” Maddox, who is autistic, is also a big fan of Pizza and Paint Night, though it’s more the pizza than the paint that gets him through the door! 


Shaina also has high marks for the staff. 


“Claire (Letizio, a Clinician in the Children’s Department) is an amazing person. She’s empathetic and has such great insights,” Shaina said. “She’s an incredible asset as they all are. I get advice from Claire and Shannon, and Maddox loves seeing Emma at Pizza and Paint Night.” Shannon and Emma are both Family Support Coordinators in the Children’s Department who work to ensure that the children and their families are supported. 


The Olean Center is clearly a community within a community for the McGinity family. 


“It’s an amazing place, it really is something special,” Shaina said. “It would be really hard without the Olean Center.”   


Meetings are scheduled for the 2nd Wednesday of the month at the Olean Center from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. and all parents of intellectually developmentally disabled children are welcome regardless of their participation with the Olean Service.

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