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News Jul 23, 2013 - 9:28:10 AM

Grant to serve children with developmental disabilities

By STAR, Inc., Lighting the Way

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The Taylor children working on an iPad with Laurie Allan, social worker of STAR Rubino Family Center.
STAR, Inc., Lighting the Way… was the recent recipient of a $5,000 grant from First County Bank to be used by the STAR Rubino Family Center serving infants and children with developmental disabilities and their families from New Canaan, Norwalk, Darien, Westport, Weston and Wilton. The center, located at 120 East Avenue, offers early intervention services for 200 infants and toddlers with special needs from birth to three years of age.

Katie Banzhaf, Executive Director of STAR, said, "We are thankful for years of continuous support from First County Bank. Their investment in our early intervention programs for children with developmental disabilities has helped us to sustain and enhance a state recognized program of success and to provide our local Fairfield County families with the confidence and proven methods to meet the challenges of their children’s developmental needs."

The STAR Rubino Family Center program utilizes an interdisciplinary approach that includes: evaluation and assessment, speech therapy, occupational therapy, physical therapy, individualized educational and behavioral services, social work services, individual and family counseling, parent support groups, parent-to-parent networking, home program coordination and provision, coordination of transition to public school services, in-home respite services, referral, translation services, liaison with medical community, school advocacy, toy lending library, video and book lending library, online family resource directory, toy and assistive technology assessment. The goal of the services offered by the STAR Rubino Family Center is for children to enter school developmentally on track in terms of literacy and social, emotional and intellectual skills. Historically, children who enrolled in the program would need special education services throughout their lives. In recent years, the STAR Rubino Family Center’s ability to deliver services early and with intensity has changed outcomes dramatically. Current data indicates that 33% of the children served by the program leave at or before the age of three having met their developmental milestones and have no need for further special education services.

David and Sarah Taylor of Norwalk say the support and services of STAR Rubino Family Center have been helpful to them. Shortly after they celebrated the birth of their son Jonathan in 2009, they learned he might be on the autism spectrum. They needed advice and answers. The Taylors received all that and more from the professionals at STAR. Coming into their home multiple times each week for therapy and training, their new friends at STAR not only helped their son grow into the thriving toddler he is today, but provided valuable tools and skills to help Sarah and David become confident, happy and informed parents.

David Taylor explains, “It takes a village to raise a child and STAR has been our village. There are no words to express our appreciation and respect for STAR Rubino Family Center and all they do.”

For more information about STAR’s Rubino Family Center and its birth to three early intervention programs, please call Barbara Fitzpatrick at 203-855-0634 or visit the website

STAR is a not-for-profit organization serving individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities, as well as providing support services to their families. They create opportunities for individuals to live full lives with independence, freedom of choice and personal growth by providing support, services and advocacy. STAR is located at 182 Wolfpit Avenue in Norwalk, and serves lower Fairfield County with its other offices at TEC in South Norwalk, the Rubino Family Center in Norwalk, and over 25 residential and community-based employment programs throughout Norwalk, Westport, Darien, New Canaan, Wilton, and Weston serving clients from throughout lower Fairfield County.

First County Bank is an independent, mutual community bank, conducting business in lower Fairfield County, Connecticut, which is dedicated to serving individuals, businesses and non-profit organizations.

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