numerous projects in local municipalities to improve access to facilities and other community resources. Projects have included construction of Julie’s Jungle, a 4,000- square- foot, handicapped accessible playground with specialized equipment such as ramps, a rubberized surface, short stair height, Braille play panels and sensory garden amplifiers, enabling children with physical, visual, hearing and cognitive disabilities, and Wappinger Challenger Field, a handicapped accessible baseball field where disabled youth ages 5 to 18 can participate thanks to a smaller, synthetic infield, as well as handicapped accessible dugouts, parking and restrooms. Dutchess County also has hosted a series ofmovie days for special- need families and service providers, lowering the sound and raising the house lights in the theater to accommodate children with sensory issues. In August, the county will hold its annual picnic for children with special needs, offering children and their families an afternoon of music, food and fun. These events are free of charge and open to all families living with special needs.
The local forum was developed with assistance from the ARC of Rensselaer County and funding from Callanan Industries. For more information or to reserve a seat for the forum, call Sandra VanEck of the ARC of Rensselaer County at ( 518) 273- 6600, Ext. 2036.