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Gov. John Kasich signed two bills at St. Joseph Home in Sharonville to strengthen Ohio’s developmental disabilities system. This is his speech in its entirety.
Liz Dufour

It started with four words. 

“Mom. Up. Yum. Eat.”

After just two hours with a therapist, Holly Young’s son, Roman, spoke those words.

And it all added up to a major breakthrough for Roman, who is autistic.  

Roman was just two in 2012, the year she and her husband sued the Ohio Department of Health to have access to more of those breakthroughs.

The Williamsburg, Ohio,couple said that the department denied Roman the intensive therapy he needed fulfill his potential. 

The court agreed. A U.S. District judge ordered the department’s board of developmental disabilities to provide or pay for the service. 

Six years later, Young is again working to make this therapy more available to families in Cincinnati. 

Now, that dedication looks like Puzzle Pieces, a store that features therapy items gifts and toys for individuals of varying abilities and age. 

It’s slated to open on Montgomery Road March 24. 

It will include what she’s calling a sensory room with bubble walls and tubes to “promote relaxation and a feeling of self-awareness,” as well as fiber optics, a projector and a swing stand.

The idea is that customers will be able to touch and try items before purchasing. 

“When my son was diagnosed with autism six years ago, I had a hard time finding items that he would be interested in and that could increase his learning through play,” Young said. “You could go online, but I wanted a place to go and see items grouped together in a way that was helpful for a parent of a newly diagnosed child.” 

Puzzle Pieces will host a monthly event for parents to listen to guest speakers while their kids explore that sensory room.

Want more? 

Visit the grand opening event page.

The Enquirer archives contributed.

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