DARTMOUTH — At the Dartmouth Health Department resource table, one woman got a free medication lockbox which she said would be put to use for her husband that has diabetes and a lot of medications.
She was one of an estimated 90 people who got free lockboxes, which also promoted medication disposal, along with reusable bags. Health officials were also giving away containers for disposing of used needles and syringes. When they’re full, residents can bring them back to the Health Department at the Town Hall to dispose of them for free, and receive another container in return.
SouthCoast residents had access to about 140 artists, crafters and resources spanning across education, social and emotional needs, mental health and elder care, at the 6th annual Southeastern Community Resource and Vendor Craft Fair, hosted by the Dartmouth Special Education Parent Advisory Council at the high school Sunday 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
“We always try to get resources that span a wide variety of needs for the community,” said Kathleen Amaral, SEPAC co-chair and member of the Dartmouth School Committee.
Any child could have any medical or social and emotional need at any given time, she said, noting that the resource fair is not only for parents with children that have disabilities.
The Dartmouth Police Department was also represented at the fair, with two patrolmen, Scott Affonce and Justin Fonseca, sitting next to a blue ATV.
Sunday afternoon they told The Standard-Times that people had asked about programs, and how to secure their homes, for people that wander, such as those with autism and Alzheimer's.
Affonce showed a bracelet that people can wear as a tracker, which has its own unique frequency that police can use to find them via a special receiver and antenna in the event that they go missing.
He also showed off a thermal imager, and a GPS which tracks ground officers covered during a search or investigation, he said.
A blood drive run by the American Red Cross was new to the resource fair. By about 1:15 p.m., about 25 people had participated, a volunteer confirmed.
People, Incorporated, a human services agency that serves the SouthCoast was in part making people aware of its adult foster care program for those on MassHealth with chronic health care needs.
Claudia Alves, a case manager and community health worker said about 116 SouthCoast families participate in the program, for those insured by MassHealth, are 18 or older and have chronic health care needs and require assistance with daily activities.
The program provides nurse care management and case management and members can receive care while staying at home. Caregivers, whether they're family members or non-family members matched with an adult, can receive a tax-free monthly stipend in addition to room and board.
Christine Aguiar of Swansea who founded Sophie's Promise in 2011 with her husband Joseph said since 2012 the nonprofit organization has gifted over 55 iPads to nonverbal children with autism. Their daughter Sophie, 13, is very limited verbally, Christine said, and uses an iPad to communicate her wants and needs. Christine said the nonprofit is providing advocacy to parents, helping them navigate IEPs in public school systems.
She said the nonprofit has also done sensory drives at Carney Academy in New Bedford and Middleboro schools to provide necessary sensory tools to help children excel. Christine encouraged public schools with autism classrooms to reach out if they need help.
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