Delta Gamma Center for Children with Visual Impairments

Richmond Heights, MO   |  www.dgckids.org

Mission

The mission of the Delta Gamma Center for Children with Visual Impairments is to help children who are blind or visually impaired reach their full potential through family-centered and specialized services and support.

Ruling year info

1961

Executive Director

Ms. Deborah Naucke

Main address

1750 S. Big Bend Blvd.

Richmond Heights, MO 63117 USA

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EIN

43-0725282

NTEE code info

Eye Diseases, Blindness and Vision Impairments (G41)

Specialized Education Institutions/Schools for Visually or Hearing Impaired, Learning Disabled (B28)

Counseling Support Groups (F60)

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Communication

Programs and results

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Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Early Intervention

It doesn’t occur to most of us that it is with our eyes that we take in most information.  Therefore, it is unimaginable to navigate through life with a loss of sight, even in a familiar place, with familiar objects, people and experiences.   For infants and toddlers with blindness or visual impairment, learning is a “hands on” experience, where touch is crucial to understanding concepts, places and experiences for the first time.   Their families are just like other families confronted with challenges and burdens; with reactions and adaptations that vary from one family to another.  However, the stress associated with having a child with a disability is clearly a major factor setting them apart from other families.  

 

 

 

Children don’t grow up in isolation; but within a family network that will serve as their first and most important teachers.  The Delta Gamma Center starts the journey with each parent shortly after the diagnosis of visual impairment is made – at a time when the family is grieving and adjusting to the realities of their child’s diagnosis.   It would seem an even grimmer picture if we did not stay focused on the strengths of families and their resilience when given information, supports and hope for the future.

Population(s) Served

Visual impairment impacts all areas of development in children; their understanding of the world and motivation to move out into it and explore, and their interactions with family, friends and caregivers.  Paired with developmental disabilities, there can potentially be an even more deleterious effect on development.  Disabilities such as seizure disorders, cerebral palsy, and autism spectrum disorders can challenge their ability to develop meaningful relationships, participate in family and community activities and become independent.  As they reach school age, relative to their sighted peers, they have difficulty making friends, finding leisure activities, independence, academic success and positive self esteem.   Therefore, family support services responds to the individual concerns of all family members for community resources, coping with the many challenges of raising a child with a disability, advocacy skills, and parenting skills as well as the support needs of the child with a visual impairment.    Helping families to connect with each other is critical for information and support as well.

Population(s) Served

The GRADS (Group Recreation and Developmental Support) programs provide fun, community based opportunities for school age children. The groups meet on a monthly basis; primarily on Saturdays. At each meeting participants enjoy a wide variety of activities that develop skills in independence, friendship and social skills, and community participation.

Population(s) Served

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Accreditations

Better Business Bureau Wise Giving Alliance 2013

Affiliations & memberships

Better Business Bureau Wise Giving Alliance - Organization 2013

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

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Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

Delta Gamma Center strives for excellence in service to children and their families because we know that positive early experiences are the foundation for later successes in school, work and the community. DGC's stand of excellence is that 85% of the children's goals will be rated as "making progress" or "accomplishing their goals". This past year, we found that 94% of our client outcomes achieved this indicator. The importance of this is underscored by research that has determined that intervention is likely to be more effective and less costly when it is provided earlier in life rather than later (citation: nectac: The National Early Childhood Technical Assistance Center, July 2011).

The DGC provides early intervention and family support services for children with blindness or visual impairment and their families within a 50 mile radius, and outreach services for the entire community. Early intervention includes home based education and therapy services for infants and toddlers from birth to 36 months of age, and their families. In addition, group services include a parent-child classes twice monthly and periodic workshops for parents on a variety of parenting topics. The core service offered consists of home-based educational services for infants and toddlers, birth to three years, who are blind or visually impaired and their parents/caregivers. The scope of services has expanded to include occupational, physical and speech therapy services, as well as a wide range of individual and group support services for families with children of all ages, through high school graduation. The Delta Gamma Center serves over 300 children and families annually. Outreach services support families' participation within their communities through varied activities such as "ability awareness" presentations in public schools and local fairs to create increased awareness of this rare disability, hopefully leading to increased inclusion in the community. Early Intervention: DGC offers a comprehensive array of highly specialized educational and therapy services for eligible children and their families from diagnosis until 36 months of age. Parents receive guidance on how to meet the child’s needs throughout their daily routines. All services are offered at home and other community sites, such as day care centers. Family Support Services: DGC starts the journey with each parent shortly after the diagnosis of visual impairment is made. Services stay focused on the individual needs and concerns of each family, building strength, skills and hope for the future. The Center supports children by providing support to them and to their families. Our staff work to strengthen families by providing individualized family supports, parent support groups and family activities, a family parent conference, the parent-to-parent program, sibling support groups and grandparent support meetings. GRADS (Group Recreation and Developmental Support): This program provides fun, community based opportunities for school age children. Six groups offer monthly meetings, including summer challenge trips, are offered through different groups for preschool and school-age children through high school graduation. Outreach and Volunteer Services: Prevention of blindness through DGC's vision screening program has been an ongoing program for 30 years. Increased visibility and referrals are facilitated through training for medical and ophthalmology residents, pediatric professionals and other student groups. Five specialized publications provide learning opportunities for families and others locally and nationally.

The Center is licensed by the Missouri Department of Mental Health. Each staff member is certified or licensed and an approved, credentialed early intervention provider in Missouri, Illinois or both. The Delta Gamma Center offers both early intervention services and family support services to children who are visually impaired and their families.
In 2006, the center received the “Spirit of Children” award from the American Society of Pediatrics. Presented “for outstanding efforts to improve the welfare of all children in the St. Louis metropolitan area,” the award reflects the organization’s commitment to excellence. The Center also has published five publications since 2003 to education parents, family members and the community on visual impairments in children; and has a nationally recognized Parent-to-Parent DVD.

The Center has multiple partners in the provision of early intervention services. We are a credentialed provider of the statewide early intervention system in Missouri known as First Steps. As a new model of service was implemented statewide, The St. Louis regional First Steps office has worked with the Center to create a "vision team" -- a team of teachers and therapists who are qualified to address the unique needs of children who are visually impaired and blind. Highlights of other community partnerships focused include:

• Washington University medical school -- Pediatricians in the Community Project: Delta Gamma Center is one of the community partners in a medical rotation for pediatric residents to visit.

• Washington University medical school - Ophthalmology rotation: a partnership similar to that above.

• NICU Outreach: Partnership at St. Louis Children's Hospital and Cardinal Glennon Children's Hospital; this involves connecting families in the NICU with the Center for services and supports prior to discharge if appropriate.

• Maryville University, Department of Music Therapy: Faculty and students provide music therapy for children enrolled in early intervention.

DGC continues to meet our long-term goal of serving children with vision loss and their families. It has been a year of big change for our programs, yet we continue to meet our long-term goals. We faced full implementation of a new model of service for Missouri’s First Steps Program, the early intervention system of which we are a part. Changes in parent workshops mirrored the trends and advantages of internet technology as we offered webinars designed to create access to national experts and cutting-edge research, as well as bring parents together at the local level for connections and support. Among other exciting changes, we witnessed the start of a new Masters in Education with emphasis in Early Intervention at Lindenwood University, and our GRADS program adopted a yearlong health and fitness initiative with the U.S. Association of Blind Athletes.

Financials

Delta Gamma Center for Children with Visual Impairments
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Operations

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Delta Gamma Center for Children with Visual Impairments

Board of directors
as of 07/24/2013
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Ms. Cara Brouder

Catholic Health Association

Term: 2008 -

Danielle Uy

St. Louis University

Debbie Naucke

Delta Gamma Center

Lisa Marquard

Jannelle Vickers

Boeing

Scott LaPresta

Commerce Trust Company

Cassandra Cooke

Delta Gamma Center for Children with Visual Impairments

Cara Brouder

Catholic Health Association

Lissa Johnson

Washington University

Beth Bell

Ernst and Young's Consulting Services

Jay Epstein

Pediatrician

Jenna Lolli

Symantec Corporation

Markus Cicka

State of Missouri, Department of Social Services

Lisa Sullivan

Monsanto

Martha Leader McGeehon

Progress Monitoring Coach

Jeremy Kingma

Boeing

Tim Rogan

Washington University

Tracy Polansky

The Polansky Group

Jay Byrne

V-Fluence

Heather Backes

Edward Jones

Blair Rudert

Washington University