The ORP Library Community is the result of heartfelt collaboration between numerous people: the staff of ORP, including the CEO, executive director, psychologists, clinical coordinators, teachers, and more; the families of children with disabilities served by ORP, including some of the children themselves; and the Round Table Companies (RTC) storytelling team. To create these books, articles, podcasts, videos, and educational resources, RTC conducted hundreds of intensive, intimate interviews over a period of years and performed independent research in order to truthfully and accurately share the lives of these families and create the resources available through this website.
We are grateful to all those who donated their time in support of this site, generously sharing their experience, wisdom, and—most importantly—their stories so that these resources ring true. We could not have envisioned the world through their eyes without the access we were so lovingly given. It is our hope that in reading these uniquely personal pieces, you feel the spirit of everyone who contributed to their creation.
Here’s how the CEO of ORP, Jim Balestrieri, describes the ORP Library and Community Project:
"I have led Oconomowoc Residential Programs (ORP) for almost thirty years. Too often, when parents of children with disabilities try to find funding for programs like ours, they are bombarded by red tape, conflicting information, or no information at all, so they struggle blindly for years to secure an appropriate education.
Meanwhile, home life, and the child’s wellbeing, suffers. In cases when parents and caretakers have exhausted their options—and their hope—ORP is here to help. We felt it was time to offer parents a new, unexpected tool to help them navigate these challenges: stories that educate, empower, and inspire.
The original idea was to create a library of comic books that could empower families with information to reclaim their rights. We wanted to give parents and caretakers the information they need to advocate for themselves, as well as provide educators and therapists with a therapeutic tool. And of course, we wanted to reach the children—to offer them a visual representation of their journey that would show that they aren’t alone, nor are they wrong or “bad” for their differences.
What started out as comics for children with disabilities, showing the world through their eyes, soon expanded to include a collection of traditional books geared toward the adults who raise and support these special children. And now the ORP Library has expanded into an online community supporting thousands of parents, educators, administrators, advocates, pediatricians, and mental health care professionals around the world. The contents of the books and the online community are the cumulation of years of advocating for these children and their families. We hope see yourself in these stories and take advantage of the many resources we have created to support your journey."
On the right side of this page are links where you can learn more about our family of companies which provide specialized services and dignified care for children, adolescents and adults with disabilities. In operation since 1984, ORP oversees eight companies that each year serve more than 1,700 individuals from around the country, in facilities and community-based settings throughout Wisconsin and Indiana.
Please also visit the ORP Library Store and take advantage of our books. They have been expertly written and loved has been poured into them by numerous people. You can purchase individual titles, as well as bundles centered around each disability, or even a larger set that includes the full library. Please share the link with someone who also might benefit from the information there.
Thank you for being a part of our community!