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O.P.E.N. Court lets youth with exceptional needs learn about court proceedings (+videos)

A teen with exceptional needs is the subject of a video series introduced to Ohio juvenile court judges and organizations that help youth with developmental disabilities.

O.P.E.N. Court, Orienting Young People with Exceptional Needs about Court, is designed to explain to teens and young children with needs such as autism about juvenile court through a series of three short videos that are available for public viewing. The videos are centered on Henry, a teen who is stopped by police after he stole from an electronics store.

The first video educates young people and their parents about the juvenile court system and what to do when one becomes in trouble with the law. The second video shares the basics of a delinquency matter, from summons or arrest to disposition. It explains who is in the courtroom and what might happen during court proceedings. The third video seeks to instill confidence and calm by showing how Henry should act in the courtroom.

The Ohio State Bar Foundation Fellows Class of 2011 put together the three videos as a final class project to serve as a resource for juveniles involved in the justice system for years to come. Ohio State Bar Association member and OSBF Class of 2011 Fellow Mindi Wells said the videos are designed for use by school counselors, parents, youth advocates, case workers and mental health professionals.

“This experience gave those of us in the legal profession the opportunity to interact with those involved in outreach to children with autism, their families and support networks,” said Wells. “I am certain that I speak for all of my classmates when I say we were deeply touched by the stories we heard and the individuals we met. This was a tremendous learning opportunity for all involved.”

Content courtesy of Court News Ohio.

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