As the children arrive at Roundup Fellowship, they are greeted with brightly painted walls that proudly display the children’s work. Each face has a smile on it and everyone gives an enthusiastic hello. One key phrase at Roundup is peace (with the hand gesture) and everyone gives lots of high-fives for encouragement for one another. The children are ready for class. When making the best choices for a child with a disability there are times that families are faced with very difficult decisions. Where does a child with a severe disability receive their Free and Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) if their behaviors are too extreme for the public schools to appropriately handle?
An Alternative to Public School
Roundup Fellowship is a beautiful and friendly alternative placement school that a child with a dual diagnosis from 8 to 21 may attend to have their needs met while assuring that the child is receiving a FAPE in accordance with IDEA. In Roundup’s Day Treatment Program children with disabilities receive instructional and therapeutic learning and an IEP is followed the same as with general education schools. The children are provided with therapies such as speech as well as receiving a wide variety of accommodations, modifications or assistive technologies as the IEP calls for. Additionally, the child with a disability will receive behavior management, life-skills, and many other areas to nurture healthy development throughout the child with a disabilities’ life.
Roundup is much more than simply a school for children with disabilities. Starting in 1973 as a small group home, it quickly grew when children with developmental disabilities were de-institutionalized in 1976. Today, Roundup still provides residential homes for adults and children with severe needs in Denver and Colorado Springs, as well as support in-home when they live independently. Its mission is to “serve children and adults who have developmental disabilities – recognizing their worth, affirming their contributions and promoting dignity in all relationships”.
Special Attention to Details
The teachers at Roundup Fellowship are a high needs staff. They have seen it all and are extremely trained to handle it all. There are many required certificates to become a staff member at Roundup, such as CPR or behavior management. Roundup also insists its staff have ongoing education on top of the hefty requirements at hire. Many of the staff are para educators and all have an enormous heart for children with special needs. The staff strives to cater to the individual needs of each child. For example one teacher uses sign language to bond with students. This is not a one-size fits all program.
The impact of these simple gestures for children with disabilities is immeasurable. Through Roundup’s different programs the person with a disability is fostered to grow their self-esteem and function more meaningfully within our community. Family support is paramount for the success of the children through the programs, but Roundup is also here for the families and stresses that things get immediately better for the parents once Roundup is involved.
Support into Adulthood
Roundup provides programs to help children with disabilities develop into adulthood by providing life skills. One small group of children have started (with supervision) the Roundup Culinary Experience and they serve meals to the staff and families. Sometimes they will even prepare meals for groups that just hope to foster these children’s love for cooking. This year the children are even doing a big Thanksgiving Dinner and making the stuffing from scratch. Roundup follows people with disabilities into adulthood and offers a Vocational Follow Along Program or Community Outreach Group to continue support. Both are to encourage the individual with a disability to be involved in the community and to acquire life skills and job training. Roundup sees the value in whole-life support for an individual with a disability as they can and some want to be a valuable member of our society.
Roundup Fellowship recognizes the struggles that families face daily and are one option to support your child with a disability by providing an alternative placement to the public school. Roundup can further support families by providing residential homes for our most vulnerable adults and children. Roundup wants every child to simply have a chance to grow, learn and let the light from their souls shine. Peace.