Polk County DAC is a strong advocate for people with intellectual challenges.

Act of Caring
Submitted by Jo Bittner
The Polk County DAC has served Marie in our day program for twenty-seven years. Marie had many daily challenges to face. Not only was she physically and cognitively challenged, but she had grand mal seizures, which interrupted her day and left her exhausted. DAC staff had to be extremely vigilant in observing her and keeping her safe. Marie was non-verbal, but she expressed herself and shared her sense of humor by laughing at others and smiling at something that tickled her.

Many individuals would not connect with Marie, but our staff sure did! Two in particular: Stacey Ellingson and Kim Hassel. Marie moved away from our program a few weeks ago and suffered a life ending seizure. After that grand mal seizure, there was limited brain activity. Fortunately she was able to donate several organs; she was able to help others and her spirit lives on!

Stacey and Kim were amazing with Marie and so incredibly caring. When they heard Marie was expected to pass one evening, they did not want her to be alone. On their own time into the wee hours of the morning, they stayed with Marie, held her hand and assured her she was loved. They both showed up for work the next morning and were able to share this story with others. I was so touched by the continued caring our staff display day in and day out.

Transition plan
Submitted by Doria Knaack
Staff at the Polk County DAC wants parents to be aware that their son or daughter with intellectual challenges knows that they have options after graduation. Have you helped your son/daughter prepare for their future? Transition planning should be done approximately three years in advance of their graduation. During this transition period you want to:

• Contact your son/daughter's case manager or have one assigned and examine all options available as to where your child will be or go after graduation,

• Invite people from these options to come to a meeting at the school or arrange one at the facility,

• Tour the different facilities,

• Have an assessment period at each of the facilities to see what would be the best match for your son/daughter,

• Then after the assessments, meet with the provider of choice to plan for your son/daughter's future.

The Polk County DAC wants you to be informed and is a strong advocate for people with intellectual challenges. If you have questions, you can call the Polk County DAC 218-281-4181 for ideas or further discussion. We are also located on the web at: www.polkcountydac.com.