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      Kaitlyn's Cottage nurtures adults with special needs

      Cris Shock's daughter just graduated from Defiance High School, but unlike many of her peers eager to gain their independence away from home, Kaitlyn will need care for the rest of her life--She has Rett Syndrome, a disorder that impairs intellectual development.

      Cue Kaitlyn's Cottage, a project conceptualized by Shock's family in 2011 as a way to secure Kaitlyn's future. One year later, the facility is built on the grounds of ProMedica Defiance Regional Hospital and described as a "safe haven for young adults with special needs."

      "We've been able to meet so many different families and it's been really great to be able to see her grow and graduate from high school," Shock said about her daughter's diagnosis. "With the Cottage, we feel like we can really see into the future a little bit and see where she'll be going from here."

      On Saturday, June 12, Kaitlyn's Cottage will celebrate its grand opening and provide respite services for teenagers and young adults, ages 16 to 40, with special needs.

      Join: Kaitlyn's Cottage

      "It's an opportunity for folks like Kaitlyn and other individuals with physical disabilities to meet new friendships and to create their own memories while their family members are off taking care of themselves," said Frances Diehl, director of respite services at Kaitlyn's Cottage. "The thing about caring for someone with special needs is that it's very tiring and many times there isn't an opportunity to take a break. So the parents or the caregiver, whoever that may be, has time to go off and do what they need to do to renew themselves and regenerate."

      According to ProMedica, the 4,000 square foot facility will provide short-term and overnight options for individuals and will provide educational and support opportunities for their parents and caregivers.

      The grand opening ceremony starts at 1 p.m. and will include a tour of the new facility.

      For more information, check out