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Extending Disability Resources to Maryland’s Eastern Shore Families

By Jaclyn Machometa
Shale Stiller Fellow
Project HEAL Summer Law Trainee
University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law

In July, MCDD staff attended a family resource fair at the Salvation Army’s Richard Hazel Youth Center in Salisbury to inform Maryland’s Eastern Shore families about resources for residents, particularly families raising children with disabilities. The goal of the fair was to increase knowledge and awareness of Maryland resources, so families can access much-needed services for their children.

The fair attracted more than 700 attendees and 60 exhibitors from around the state. Associate Director Maureen van Stone hosted a table for MCDD. Van Stone commented on the challenges Eastern Shore families face accessing services, noting, “Because of the rural nature of the Shore, it has historically been difficult for families and children with disabilities to find and access resources. Kennedy Krieger and the MCDD want to make sure that we are helping to close that gap.”

Sarah Edwards, a parent of a child with a disability who helped plan the event, explained that while the initial idea for the fair was to focus on children with disabilities, the organizers recognized that the Eastern Shore community as a whole could benefit from increased knowledge of all resources available to them.

Extending Disability Resources to Maryland’s Eastern Shore Families

Maureen van Stone, associate director of the Maryland Center for Developmental Disabilities, hosts an exhibitor table at the Eastern Shore Family Resource Fair

The Family Resource Fair was sponsored by Wicomico Early Childhood Council (WECC), Wicomico County Board of Education (WCBOE), and the Eastern Shore Parents Resource Alliance (ESPRA). Kennedy Krieger Institute’s Department of Neurogenetics hosted an exhibitor booth. The MCDD disseminated hundreds of brochures, and factsheets, and information about Kennedy Krieger’s community-based services and resources.