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Disabilities awareness event at Westmoreland Mall to focus on wellness

Jeff Himler
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Westmoreland County Developmental Services
Visitors to a past Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Awareness event at Westmoreland Mall sign a banner pledging not to use language that stigmatizes those with a disability.

Health and wellness will be the focus of Westmoreland County’s annual Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Awareness event March 2 at Westmoreland Mall.

Part of IDD Awareness Month, the free event will bring together more than 20 organizations from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the mall’s center court — to celebrate diversity and to showcase resources for those with disabilities.

“The whole idea is we’re trying to promote more community inclusion” for those with disabilities, said Bryan Schroder, program specialist with Westmoreland County Developmental Services.

“We want to offer resources to people with disabilities,” he said. “These are mostly from unpaid providers, things they can readily access in the community.”

At the mall event, “every provider will have some sort of interactive activity, all centered around wellness,” Schroder said. “One of our providers is going to do a demonstration on how much sugar content is in various drinks.

“One of our consumers in our system has participated in weight-lifting competitions. He’ll talk about fitness and his personal goals.”

Another demonstration will present fitness exercises that are applicable for all ability levels.

A local Lions club will offer vision screenings, Team Friends of Westmoreland County will coordinate art activities, and the Stage Right! performing arts group will appear. Service dogs also will be on hand.

Other presenters will be God’s Choice , which offers adaptive church services for people with special needs at the Greensburg Free Methodist Church, and a disc jockey affiliated with a program that arranges bookings for DJs who are on the autism spectrum.

As in past years, visitors to the event will have the opportunity to sign a banner pledging not to use language that perpetuates a negative stigma concerning those with disabilities.

Visit westmorelandiddawareness.weebly.com for more information about the county’s IDD initiatives.

Jeff Himler is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Jeff at 724-836-6622, [email protected] or via Twitter @jhimler_news.