Since 1957, Sherwood Community Services has been a place where people with disabilities have the opportunity to live full, independent lives as part of their community.

Since 1957, Sherwood Community Services has been a place where people with disabilities have the opportunity to live full, independent lives as part of their community.

Helping local youth with disabilities gain full, independent lives

Each year, more than 1500 babies are born in Snohomish, Island and Skagit County with some type of disability or delay, and only 60 per cent of those children receive early diagnosis and treatment.

Furthermore, as they move into adulthood, people with disabilities are too often unemployed or underemployed – today, nearly 27,000 individuals with disabilities are unemployed in Washington State.

In 1957, led by public health nurse Hazel Venables, eight families pooled their money to start Sherwood Community Services, a place where people with disabilities have the opportunity to live full, independent lives as part of their community.

“In the 1950s, if you had a child with a developmental disability, schools could determine that children were uneducable and be excluded from a public education,” says Sherwood CEO Lance Morehouse. “Doctors would also encourage parents to have their sons or daughters placed in state institutions, separating them from their families right from birth.”

Sherwood’s Vocational Services help individuals find meaningful employment, giving them a higher quality of life as a contributing member of the community.

Sherwood’s Vocational Services help individuals find meaningful employment, giving them a higher quality of life as a contributing member of the community.

With their extensive background in advocacy, Sherwood takes a lead role in advocating on behalf of children, adults and families across Washington State. They take pride in serving all people with disabilities and their families, including those in rural areas and non-English speaking communities, as well as families facing financial barriers – thanks to investments from partners.

“With our 65 years of experience, we know about the needs of families with children who have disabilities or developmental delays,” Morehouse says. “We go the extra mile to advocate for policies and funding, as well as our Early Intervention and Vocational Services, making early diagnosis and meaningful employment accessible.”

Early Intervention

Early Intervention provides therapy and education for children from birth to age three, who have developmental disabilities or are diagnosed with a medical condition known to place them at risk for delays.

Therapists and educators provide virtual telehealth or in-person services in the child’s home, daycare or other community setting, utilizing a parent coaching model to encourage family involvement.

“This early window of opportunity when the brain is developing is critical,” Morehouse says. “The parent coaching is vital because it incorporates therapies into everyday life.”

After completing the program, 38 percent of participants do not go into special education because they’ve met their developmental milestones!

Sherwood Community Services goes out into the community their clients live in, helping them do what they want to do.

Sherwood Community Services goes out into the community their clients live in, helping them do what they want to do.

Vocational Services

Vocational Services is supported employment that connects individuals with disabilities who are 16 or older with job opportunities. Employment specialists assess the individual’s abilities, career goals and interests, and then work with employers to find a successful fit for their unique abilities and skill-set.

“We don’t have a center, we’re out in the community our clients live in, helping them to do what they really want to do,” Morehouse says. “We find out what they like, update their resume, and after they get a job we can help them stay successfully employed.

“There’s no cost to the employer, it creates a more diverse workforce, and gives them a higher quality of life as a contributing member of the community!”

Follow Sherwood Community Services on Facebook and Instagram, and call 425-334-4071 or email sherwood@sherwoodcs.org for more information.

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