COLUMBIA, SC (WSPA) — The South Carolina Department of Social Services (DSS) says it is now a certified sensory inclusive agency.

They received training provided by KultureCity, a national non-profit that works to draw attention to invisible conditions.

“Through their Sensory Inclusion Training Program, DSS staff statewide are now able to better assist these South Carolinians through training and hands on aids to reduce anxiety while working with DSS,” KultureCity Executive Director Uma Srivastava said.

“This training really entails and helps these individuals to better understand what sensory needs are.”

According to KultureCity, one in six individuals nationwide has a sensory need or an
invisible disability. Some of these undetectable conditions can include individuals with
Alzheimer’s, autism, dementia, PTSD, strokes and sensitivity to light and sound.

Over the past several months, more than 3,800 DSS professionals have completed sensory inclusive training administered by KultureCity. DSS is now the first state social services program
anywhere to be certified as sensory inclusive. The agency is also the first state mass care
sheltering program to be able to say every shelter DSS assists with will have someone trained
while in operation.

“DSS is proud to be the first state agency in South Carolina to be certified in this program,” said
Michael Leach, DSS State Director. “Thanks to our partnership with KultureCity and their
Sensory Inclusion Training Program, we can now assist South Carolinians with unique needs
better than ever. Whether individuals come to one of our over 60 county, regional or state
offices for assistance or need help in a county emergency shelter during a disaster, DSS will be
there ready to do whatever it takes to serve our clients.”

“I am thrilled to join DSS and KultureCity in making today’s announcement as DSS continues to
raise the bar on serving children, families and vulnerable adults in our state,” said South
Carolina Lieutenant Governor Pamela S. Evette. “This training program helps increase
inclusiveness and highlights strategies to help DSS professionals meet the needs of others.”

In September, Sensory Inclusion bags were sent to DSS offices around the state. The bags
include items such as noise-cancelling headphones, fidget tools, and a feeling thermometer to
help clients identify their needs These items can be used while people are on-site. Signs have
also been sent to all DSS offices to display letting people know that they are a sensory-inclusive

According to DSS, about 250 of those bags were distributed with more to come.