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Volunteer Training on 4-H
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Volunteer Training on 4-H


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  • If you have a 4-H member, leader, or parent or know of someone else with one of the disabilities, consider having him/her assist you with this training. For example, a visually impaired person could teach the participants what it is like to have the disability through a variety of experiential activities. Opening Activity: Valuable Objects Purpose: to get participants thinking about how valuable young people are in our communities. Suggested Group Size: at least 4; Estimated Time: about 5 minutes; Materials Needed: a variety of simple items such as notepads, pencils, business cards, folders, envelopes, chairs, etc. Each team should have one to two pages of writing paper and a pen or pencil. Directions: 1. Divide your group into teams of about four. Ask each team to select a personal item that someone has brought to the presentation or one of the items you’ve provided. Each group will use one item. 2. Ask each team to list the characteristics of its object – its positive features and how it might be useful, as well as its traits that limit its value. Encourage team members to think creatively of uses that may not typically be associated with the item. Urge them to “think outside the box”. For example – a business card can be cut into the shape of a boomerang that could be used around the office as a stress reliever. 3. Ask each team to report their conclusions back to the larger setting. Teaching Points: Now that we’ve decided the value of these objects think about the value of our young people. What would happen if we only considered the limitations of each of these objects. Would some of the ways we described the limitations of our items be similar to the way in which we talk about what limits our youth? What about the positive descriptions? As asset builders we need to be working toward finding ways to reinforce the positive characteristics of all of our young people. (A variation to this activity might be to have each of the objects passed to a different group and go through the same exercise. Then have the groups compare their conclusions. This activity can help set the tone for this presentation.)
  • Sources of information for this presentation come from: 4-H: An Exclusively Inclusive Program, #96001, UW Cooperative Extension Service A Perfect Fit: 4-H Involvement for Youth with Disabilities, 4-H 788, Purdue Cooperative Extension A Perfect Fit: A Volunteer Training on 4-H Involvement for Youth with Disabilities, University of Florida Cooperative Extension Youth with Special Needs: Leaders Handbook “Making 4-H More Accessible”, California 4-H Youth Development Program Originally developed by: Nicole A. Bertke Extension Agent: 4-H Youth Development University of Florida CES (adapted with permission) (This PPT presentation was developed by Randolph R. Weigel, professor and human development specialist, University of Wyoming Cooperative Extension Service and Inclusive 4-H coordinator)
  • The University of Wyoming Cooperative Extension Service has identified these life skills: Fostering positive self-concept, Developing an inquiring mind, Learning decision making and responsibility for choices, Relating to self and others, Acquiring a concern for community, both locally and globally.
  • The following slides outline types of youth with disabilities that volunteers might encounter in 4-H programs and activities. More detailed descriptions of each disability and the role of educators and leaders can be found in the Inclusive 4-H web page. That URL will be posted at the end of this presentation.
  • What are the symptoms of AD/HD? Inattentive Symptoms may include: trouble concentrating, not knowing where to start on task, getting lost in the directions, and being easily distracted. Hyperactivity Symptoms may include: fidgeting with hands and feet, squirming in seat, running and climbing excessively, and talking continuously. Impulsive Symptoms may include: acting without thinking, blurting out answers, interrupting, and can’t wait for his or her turn.
  • Some symptoms of an Asthma attack include: Coughing, Wheezing, Shortness of breath, Tightness in chest.
  • Symptoms of autism are usually apparent by the age of 3. Not all symptoms of autism are evident in every child. Some symptoms include: little or no eye contact; limited or no vocabulary, a preference not to be touched, held, or cuddled, using gestures or pointing instead of speaking, self-harming behavior such as head banging and more.
  • What causes Cerebral Palsy? Before or during birth, it can be caused by Rhesus (Rh) incompatibility, drug or alcohol abuse by mother, kidney and urinary tract infections in the mother, infections in the mother such as rubella, stroke of the fetus or newborn. After birth cerebral palsy can develop due to encephalitis, meningitis, or head injuries from accidents or abuse.
  • Because of many different gene mutations, cystic fibrosis is characterized by a variety of symptoms. These include: wheezing, shortness of breath, salty-tasting skin, excessive appetite but poor weight gain, cystic fibrosis-related diabetes, and cystic fibrosis-related osteoporosis.
  • There are three types of diabetes: Type 1 Diabetes : results from the body’s inability to produce insulin. It is the most common form of childhood diabetes. Type 2 Diabetes : occurs when the body has resistance to insulin. It is most prevalent in adults who are inactive or overweight. Gestational Diabetes : This type occurs during pregnancy.
  • What are the characteristics of Down’s Syndrome? Besides the delay in developmental tasks, other characteristics include: upward slanting eyes, flat face, small ears, large tongue, small hands with short fingers, speech and language delays, mild to moderate retardation (though some individuals have IQ’s in the average range) and a normal life span of 55 years.
  • There are many symptoms of dyslexia that occur at different stages in the life cycle. Children with dyslexia will demonstrate the following symptoms much of the time: early childhood – trouble learning to speak, difficulty rhyming, difficulty telling a story in the correct order, trouble learning connection between letters and sounds. middle childhood and on – reads and writes letters in wrong order or backwards, confuses small words like “at” and “to” difficulty organizing and managing time and tasks, often misreads information, reads slowly and inaccurately.
  • The actual cause of a seizure often is a mystery. However, there are some things that seem to trigger seizures. These include stress, medications, infection, sleep deprivation, flashing lights including strobe, fevers, and dehydration.
  • Hearing loss can range from very mild to complete loss. The ranges of hearing loss are: Mild Hearing Loss— some sound loss but does not dramatically affect daily life. Moderate Hearing Loss— the ability to hear the surrounding environment is affected. 3. Significant Bilateral Loss— there is hearing loss in both ears and the better of the two ears has trouble hearing and understanding speech. 4. Severe Hearing Loss— many sounds, including most speech, cannot be heard. 5. Profound Hearing Loss— basically no sound can be heard.
  • Treatment for Muscular Dystrophy may include exercises that stretch muscles and promote a range of motion. Aquatic workouts can be especially beneficial since there is less stress to the joints. However, too much exercise can be harmful to those with muscular dystrophy. Some people will need breathing tubes, wheelchairs, or leg braces to help with daily living.
  • What Causes Speech and Language Disorders? There are many causes of speech and language disorders; however, many times the cause of the speech and language disorder is unknown. Some of the known causes include: Hearing loss, Neurological disorders, Brain injury such as head trauma or stroke, Mental retardation, Drug abuse, Physical impairments such as cleft palate, Vocal abuse or misuse, Autism.
  • What Are the Symptoms Caused by Spina Bifida? Hydrocephalus—fluid on the brain, Problems with bladder and bowel control, Learning disabilities, Possible paralysis, Latex allergy, Memory problems, Impulsivity, Problems with organizing and reasoning, Average IQ but low math skills, Poor hand-eye coordination.
  • What Causes a Spinal Cord Injury? Spinal cord injuries are typically caused by some sort of trauma such as gunshot wounds, automobile crashes, and falls. Diseases such as polio and spina bifida can also cause spinal cord injuries. Accidents while participating in sports can likewise lead to such injuries. However, paralysis caused by strokes or trauma to the brain is not the same as paralysis caused by spinal cord injury.
  • What are the Symptoms of Tourette Syndrome? Some sort of tic is usually the presenting symptom of Tourette Syndrome. If tics are postponed or held in by the individual, they will be more severe when they do occur. Tics can escalate during puberty and during times of stress. Tics usually decrease in amount and severity when an individual is absorbed in a task or is relaxing. Motor tics include: Shoulder shrugging, Eye blinking, Head jerking, Hand movements, Lip-licking, Facial grimacing, Jumping Kicking. Verbal tics include: Sniffing, Throat clearing, Grunting, Saying words.
  • Some types of visual impairments that leaders and educators may encounter include: Rubella Accidents Detached Retina Retinopathy of Prematurity Trachoma Retinitis Pigmentosa
  • You can also gain a lot of information through the Internet. All of the disabilities highlighted in this presentation have national organizations. These organizations also have web sites that can provide excellent and accurate information. The INCLUSIVE 4-H web site: has a list of Disability Resource web sites.
  • Activity: As a follow-up to the opening activity. Get into the same groups as at the beginning of the presentation. Assign each group one or more of the disabilities. Ask each group to list as many ways as they can think of in involving youth with their assigned disorders in their 4-H club or at 4-H events. Then have each group share their conclusions. (If you know of adults with any of these disabilities who could speak at 4-H meetings, prepare this list as a handout.)
  • Any questions?