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AWARE celebrates 45 years of helping special needs children

AWARE 45.jpg
Posted at 11:25 AM, Jun 13, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-13 13:25:24-04

ANACONDA — The AWARE program in Anaconda is celebrating a birthday – 45 years of helping children with behavioral problems and learning disabilities across Montana.

“They have a lot of needs and so we pride ourselves on providing the best services we can for those that are the most vulnerable,” said Geri Wyant of AWARE.

The non-profit takes children on a refusal basis that have issues that make traditional learning environments impossible for them.

“The folks that we’re helping have special needs that are kind of difficult and so a lot of times they don’t get the best care that they need based on whatever circumstance they might have,” said Wyant.

Aware has offices in seven cities around Montana. The Center for Excellence in Montana has classrooms for special needs children. The center also just opened a sensory room at the school that helps kids settle down when overwhelmed.

“It allows us to work with children who have issues with their own senses, whether it’s they can’t manage sound appropriately, they need help to regulate themselves to manage their frustration or their challenges during the day,” said Dr. Lyn Ankelman of AWARE.

I’m in the bean bag in the sensor room, I could really use one of these in my office, but the folks at AWARE say that it’s really important to keep this program going because it’s helped a lot of kids over the decades.

“It such a reward, it can make you emotional a lot, because when you do touch lives every single day and it’s so meaningful to them and it’s just priceless,” said Wyant.

AWARE celebrates 45 years of helping special needs children