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Leadership Lexington “Beginning in the Bluegrass” Project Provides Important Information on Development Delay Diagnosis and Available Resources to Parents through Local Health Care Community Outreach
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I am a member of the Leadership Lexington Class of 2015-16, a leadership development program based in Lexington, Kentucky. Each year, participants are asked to design and submit ideas for community service or charitable projects. The class members then vote on the projects they feel are most worthy, and the top four selected projects move forward for implementation during the course of the year. For each of the four chosen, the project’s original designer serves as head of their venture and is given a team made up of other members of the class to assist.

Leadership Lexington “Beginning in the Bluegrass” Project Provides Important Information on Development Delay Diagnosis and Available Resources to Parents through Local Healthcare Community Outreach

I proposed a project very near and dear to my heart to this year’s class. My oldest son has been diagnosed as autistic. When we received the initial diagnosis that my son had a developmental delay, it was an overwhelming and life changing experience for my wife and me. We didn’t know what this would entail for our family, or how to go about helping our son. There was no medication or device that would put our son back on track for a “normal” life.

We spent dozens of hours researching resources that are available for children with developmental delays, and over time amassed a great deal of knowledge about who we could turn to for help and expertise. After doing all this work, we realized that other parents might not have the same resources – a stay at home parent who could devote so much time to research, the skills to parse through confusing results to find what was truly beneficial, or even a reliable internet connection. Even parents who did possess such resources could be overwhelmed by the diagnosis, and would benefit from having an easily accessible summary of where to go to find resources or further information. “Beginning in the Bluegrass,” my Leadership Lexington project, seeks to provide that information.

Our project group has developed a printed brochure to be provided to every pediatrician in the state of Kentucky that can be handed out to parents when they receive a diagnosis that their child has a developmental delay. The brochure provides summary information about state and federal resources that offer assistance either in providing services or financial help, as well as tips for contacting and discussing coverage options with their health insurance company. We have also created a website providing the same information in further detail and with more voluminous links to informational contacts.

Through the efforts of our group we’ve raised over $2,500 to help fund the project, and have received overwhelmingly positive support and feedback from health care communities. We have already printed over 5,000 brochures, and distributed more than 3,000, to the University of Kentucky health care system, Lexington Clinic, KentuckyOne Health, and the Baptist Health Kentucky health care system. We’re currently working on distributing the brochures to the Norton Healthcare system, as well as other smaller health care providers in the state. We’ve also had positive feedback from the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services and hope to distribute brochures through the First Steps point of entry offices located throughout the state. Our next step is to create a Spanish language version of the brochure for distribution, at the request of multiple health care organizations.

I’ve personally been touched and overwhelmed with the positive response we’ve received, and the clear need for a physical document to hand out to parents. In this digital age, sometimes we forget that poorer members of our community may not have internet access, making a physical handout more useful than simply posting information online.

“Beginning in the Bluegrass” has been very meaningful for me; my hope would be to live in a world where no one ever has need of this brochure. Until that happens, I hope that on a day when parents receive life changing news, this resource will be of assistance to them, and give them guidance for where to go for their next steps, and not just feel they’ve received a diagnosis that the child has a developmental delay with no plan of where to go from there.

If anyone is interested in supporting this venture, we are happy to take charitable donations as checks made out to “The Bluegrass Community Foundation” with “Beginning in the Bluegrass” listed in the memo line. Checks can delivered to Commerce Lexington at 330 East Main Street, Lexington, KY 40507, attention: Amy Stallard – Leadership Lexington. Gifts can also be made online at https://bluegrass.kimbia.com/leadershiplex. Again, I am happy to say that we don’t need funds to reach our initial goals, but any amount given will ensure that “Beginning in the Bluegrass” outreach continues for more years down the road.


To learn more about Brian W. Chellgren and his practice, please visit his profile.

Visit the "Beginning in the Bluegrass" website here.

Support the "Beginning in the Bluegrass" project here.

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