Message from the Owner and Principal of IDEA House
located in Canal Fulton, Ohio
IDEA House Educational Services, LLC was created for several reasons. First, it represents my personal passion as an advocate for individuals with disabilities. I had worked for many years as a teacher for students with various disabilities and knew from these experiences that, in the public schools, these children were not a priority. I taught in closets, rooms with no heat, in the back of libraries and with teachers and administrators who often considered these students unworthy of their time or resources. I watched these children being passed from grade to grade without thoughtful consideration of their needs or true potential to achieve great things. I saw parents struggle through the system, feeling alone and unsupported. I knew these children and their families deserved something more.
Another frustration that led to the creation of IDEA House was the lack of meaningful instruction directed at kids on the Autism Spectrum. In my experience, there is no other disability that is so complex or so effectively masks the potential of an individual. I felt that a whole population of individuals with brilliant minds was being overlooked and underserved. I wanted to change that by creating an environment that would allow these children to bloom and grow. IDEA House was created to offer the supports needed to allow students to progress through meaningful curriculum, while addressing the complex social, emotional, communicative, and behavioral needs of students with Autism Spectrum Disorder.
IDEA House was also created for families. A disability of one family member impacts the entire family. Parents live in fear of the phone call that will come from the school, asking them to pick up their child for not following school rules. Family routines often revolve around therapy and doctor’s appointments. Siblings may experience resentment at the support their brothers or sisters need and often suffer disappointment from plans needing to be changed or cancelled to accommodate their sibling’s needs. IDEA House focuses on the needs of the entire family. We have programs and activities designed to create a support system for parents and siblings of our students. Our families often speak of the peace they find in IDEA House, knowing their children are being educated in a safe, loving environment and that the needs of the entire family are being addressed.
The greatest goal in establishing IDEA House was to create an environment of acceptance and celebration of individual differences. Our students come to us with sadly similar stories of bullying, exclusion, and overwhelming disappointment in their previous school placements. These students are so accustomed to feeling unimportant, unworthy, and misunderstood. They are used to being judged by their weaknesses, rather than by their strengths. The IDEA House program is successfully turning this around for our students! They are becoming confident individuals who realize their value and believe in their successful futures.
Here are a few quotes from parents and a student at IDEA House:
Autism is no laughing matter. If you are going to a normal school,
they treat you like an idiot, like an outcast.
No one wanted to play with me at my old school. They didn't want anything to do with me.
I like it here because I'm not treated different.
James Gaul--student at IDEA house
My child did not want to go to school, but now he can't wait for school.
He is upset when there is no school.
Samantha Stein--IDEA house parent
I am amazed at how far he has come in the last two years there. I give lots of credit to IDEA House for helping him with the social skills he needs, not to survive in the real world but to thrive and be amazing at whatever he decides to do. Their goal is not for a child to be "good" at something, but to be amazing in whatever they decide to do in their future.
Sue Hewitt--IDEA House parent
Our services at IDEA House include parent representation at district meetings, student advocacy, summer intervention camps, and a day homeschooling program for students with Autism Spectrum Disorder.
Our students are achieving amazing success in reading, writing, math, social studies, science, and even in the arts and music areas. Even our youngest students are learning to use technology as a part of their daily instruction. They participate in an online learning program, use computers to compose written essays and even email assignments and correspondence with their teachers. For the past few Decembers, students and families have donated to the IDEA House Giving tree, providing food and gifts for needy families at Christmas time. In April, they are completing a unit on Autism Awareness, where they learn all about their disability and research famous individuals with ASD. In May, they are presenting a showcase of their talents in our Spring Celebration Program. In June, they will prepare and serve food to their families at the IDEA House Family Picnic. As a group, we walk to support Autism Speaks each September. This September, IDEA House will sponsor a fundraiser to raise money for Camp Quality Ohio; an organization for children with cancer.
We are dedicated to educating the whole child. We see the potential and unique gifts of each and want to share these with the world. We will not give up on our quest to spread Disability Awareness is the way it is most relevant, by demonstration of all that can be achieved through hard work, commitment, and love.
Angela Shumate; Owner IDEA House Educational Servies