Excentia is an organization that supports people with intellectual disabilities to live, participate, and work in the community.


The Residential department provides supports and services to individuals in order to assist them in living in their community as completely and cohesively as they desire.


Excentia Human Services assists individuals with autism to live in their own homes by providing additional supports as outlined in the Adult Autism Waiver.  The services fall under the Systematic Skill Building (SSB) section of the Waiver which includes: community inclusion, skill development, and behavioral support.  All the individuals living in their own homes receive support to: ensure cooked meals are healthy and enjoyable; promote integration into the community and build their social bank; arrange and attend medical appointments; and learn money management skills, etc.

Excentia Human Services strives to assist people in achieving an “everyday life” focused on independence in their skill areas.  An individual’s support does not exceed 30 hours per week.

Community Homes

Staff on the Residential team work together to create places that individuals can call their home, in every sense of the word.


In partnership with Lancaster Behavioral Health and Developmental Services (BHDS), Excentia Human Services has been able to transition individuals from large state centers back to their own communities with great success. With support of caring staff and compassionate professionals, individuals have found meaningful, valuable places in society.  We believe that all people, regardless of differences, have the same basic needs, desires, and dreams. It is our task to identify commonalities and strengths and build upon them for each and every individual we support.


Generally, the community homes we staff are with three individuals living together; however we also provide supports in two-person homes and when necessary in one-person homes. Supervision in these homes is based on the individual’s needs.

Family Living

Usually one to two people live together with an established family. Individuals are “matched” with a family in a specialized long-term living situation. They have the consistency and stability of one main caregiver and companion. Using a person-centered approach, supports are identified and planning focuses on delivering the necessary supports to enable that person to lead a rich, full, and meaningful life.


Supports are provided by trained staff to individuals who require only intermittent or occasional assistance to live in their community. Our goal is to develop a strong, natural support system for each individual which includes the community-at-large, family, friends, coworkers, and a few paid staff. To ensure overall safety and well-being, Excentia Human Services staff provides needed assistance weekly to individuals in this program.

Independent Living

This is an unlicensed setting for individuals who need little support from skilled staff to live in the community. Assistance is given on an intermittent basis in areas such as money management, arranging medical appointments, socialization, etc. Support cannot exceed 30 hours per week.

TRAIL Academy

This program began in July 2016 to provide support/services to two individuals seeking to learn the skills to live on their own in the community. Now a full-fledged Excentia Human Services program, TRAIL Academy runs on an 18 month time frame. During this time the individuals will work on areas identified as needs through a standardized assessment. Supervision and support will be faded out as the individuals show progress. Upon “graduation” from the program, the staff will have assisted the individuals to seek sustainable employment, necessary transportation, future living arrangements, etc…

Have Questions?

If you have a question and would like to speak with someone at Excentia, please direct your inquiry to one of our Program Champions. Our Program Champions can be reached by phone during their office hours or you can send them an email.

We know that life is complicated. We can figure it out - together.

  • Name: June Johnston
  • Phone: 717-519-6740. Ext 210
  • Email:
  • Hours: 8:30a-4:30p

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Carl Spangler - Red RoseRun



Carl Spangler flashes a shy smile as he sits in the press room at the Lancaster Barnstormer’s Stadium. Wearing a blue t-shirt and ball cap, which he frequently lowers to cover his face, he still can’t master the skill of trying to hide his beautifully straight teeth.   Spangler, a humble 56-year-old man, is preparing to run his 21st Red Rose Run in Lancaster on June 6th. He has been running for 36 years and has logged more than 5,080 miles in races alone. He has all of the stats memorized – where he has run, how many miles, what his time was … he is able to spit off his best times for different races straight from memory.   He runs simply because it’s “good exercise” and because it makes him feel “good.”   Spangler, who lives in a Keystone group home in East Petersburg, has run 11 marathons – his best time being 3 hours and 13 minutes in Chambersburg, Pa. He follows a strict running schedule – 2 miles Monday thru Thursday around 3 o’clock in the afternoon, making sure to always take Fridays off.   Today, he sits calmly while tapping his white-sneakered feet as he staples Barnstormers baseball tickets to flyers as part of the work he does for Excentia.   Brock Minnich, volunteer coordinator for Excentia, said Spangler is a dedicated, hard-working man who is pleasant to be around.   “He’s outgoing,” Minnich said. “He likes to talk and make conversation.”   Spangler appeared uncomfortable talking about himself, simply stating that his running ability must be due to “good genes.” He has a routine of eating a big plate of spaghetti before each race. At home, he has a shelf full of trophies and plaques, proudly displayed in his second-floor bedroom. He goes through each one, remembering where the race was held and the year, even though some of the trophies don’t have that information listed. Karen Krueger, Spangler’s house supervisor, said his running is a good social outlet for him. “He has a lot of racing friends who he’s run with for years,” Krueger said. While Spangler is more than just a runner – he also enjoys bowling – it is his running that attracts attention from others. “He’s the star,” Krueger said, adding that he has about 5 friends who will be watching him race in the Red Rose Run this year. The 39th annual Red Rose Run starts at 8 a.m. on June 6th, for those interested in cheering Spangler on throughout the course.

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Inclusive Preschool Program Benefits



The S. June Smith Center has an inclusive preschool program. Our classroom provides an inviting, welcoming and nurturing environment that includes all children from the neighborhood community, regardless of their abilities.   Inclusive environments are also supported by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC). NAEYC (ideal I.1.8-ethical responsibility to children) supports the right of each child to play and learn in an inclusive environment that meets the needs of children with and without disabilities.   Our preschool classrooms provide the type of environment supported by the NAEYC every day. We try to help people to see the “possibility” in individuals instead of the “disability”.   Meeting a Child’s Learning Needs through Diverse Teaching Strategies All children in our inclusive preschool classrooms reach their developmental potential with the guidance of teaching and support staff who use diverse teaching strategies which target the strengths and learning styles of each child. This type of instruction provides a framework for teaching, learning, and assessment that not only helps us meet the developmental and academic needs of our students but also inspires feelings of safety, comfort, excitement, motivation and satisfaction in our diverse classrooms.   We often hear from parents that Kindergarten teachers are impressed with how well the children from our program are able to draw their names and print their letters!  We use the “First Strokes Handwriting Program” in our preschool classrooms. This is a sensory-based approach to learning to make the letter shapes. All our students benefit from this easy and fun approach to learning to draw their letters. What’s even more exciting is watching the children work together to create large letter-of-the-week designs using blocks or other theme-related objects as we learn our alphabet.   Creating Attitudes of Mutual Respect in Children An inclusive preschool classroom provides an early awareness of diversity and the needs of others. These shared preschool experiences enable children without disabilities to accept others by appreciating likenesses and helping to understand differences.   Throughout our school year, we provide activities as part of a unit called: “We Are All Alike... We Are All Different” Children work together in pairs to discover how they are alike and how they are different. This activity and simply participating in an inclusive environment helps to create mutual respect among all children.   As a classroom teacher, I know that inclusion has been successful when the children without a disability bring toys, games or even adapted learning materials over to their classmates who cannot walk or move independently throughout the classroom without being asked to do this by an adult. It demonstrates that they understand this particular friend likes to play with toys or games just as much as they do, but simply need assistance in order to get the toy or game.  I also like when the families in our classrooms get together for pre-arranged play dates or birthday celebrations and include everyone…even those children with more involved needs.Throughout our school year, we provide activities as part of a unit called: “We Are All Alike... We Are All Different” Children work together in pairs to discover how they are alike and how they are different. This activity and simply participating in an inclusive environment helps to create mutual respect among all children.   Inclusion Encourages Development of Social Skills in Children Children without special learning or developmental needs develop compassion for their friends and learn to advocate for these friends as they go through shared life and community experiences together. The benefits of inclusion for children with special learning and developmental needs include: nurtures self-esteem social interaction with peers facilitates communication and the development of social skills children acquire genuine friendships and life experiences within their community children develop self-advocacy skills needed throughout their lives   At S. June Smith Center we have been practicing inclusion at the preschool level since 1996. I have observed the development of true friendships in those years which have lasted through the child’s formal education years. I have observed classmates defending others whom are targeted for bullying once they move on to school age programs, and know that mutual respect and advocacy skills –learned at an early age—have been of great benefit to these children who have participated in an inclusive preschool classroom. It also creates a feeling of success when I hear children without disabilities explaining to others (usually an adult) why one of their classmates /friends uses a Big Mack switch or an iPad to “talk” with others in the classroom or in the community. Inclusion works!  

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Communication Through Music



When music casts is magical spell on us, it can impact our feelings, make us have fun, trigger memories, and it can facilitate language development. The power of music is well-documented and well understood by those who have experienced it.   In my experience as a speech language pathologist, I have seen the positive impacts of music in all aspects of my career. From infancy to elderly, music is powerful.  I have further proof of this having been privileged to work in one of Excentia’s preschool classrooms. We have the great honor of working with Certified Music Therapist, Katie Eshelman, over the past few years.  And because of the obvious benefits of music, I implement it in my therapy and coaching with families daily.  Below I will share a few ideas for how music can be used to support communication development.   1. Fun: One reason why music works for learning, is because it’s fun. There are affordable resources available such as or Pandora Radio.  You can have fun with your child by watching videos on or listening to music together. This removes you from the demand of teaching your child, and enables you to create fun, silly, dancing, sound-making memories with your little one… who will most likely learn to request or remember parts of the song because they will have so much fun doing the activity with you. Pandora Stations to create for children: Raffi, Toddler, Family Road Trip. Youtube videos to watch together: Laurie Berkner Band, The Wiggles, Barney songs, movie clips from a favorite movie (I have watched the Frozen song video for “Let it Go” with many families!), or any band or song your child seems to like.   2. Repetition: Repetition facilitates learning, and repetition is much more fun in the context of song! Use song to repeat ideas and build vocabulary. Sing the same sound or word repeatedly to the tune of a familiar song. (i.e. To the Tune of B-I-N-G-O sing- “Sarah puts her jacket on, she puts her jacket on, jacket on on on, jacket on on on, jacket on on on and now her jacket’s on!”) Sing repetitive songs (Old McDonald, 5 Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed, etc). Make a song up using 1 or 2 words to whatever tune you want!   3. Gestures: Pairing movements with song/sound can often help facilitate sounds more easily, make the use of sounds more fun, and increase the child’s attention to the words/sounds. Use of gestures is also helpful for children already using or learning sign language. Singing songs that incorporate gestures is a great way to develop these skills. Songs that are easily paired with gestures include: Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, Itsy Bitsy Spider, Head Shoulders Knees Toes, Wheels on the Bus.   4. During routines: Singing about what we are doing throughout the day makes learning the narratives and vocabulary of our routines more exciting. Any routine can be made into a song. Bed time, bath time, waking up, potty, washing hands, etc. (Again, use words to the tune of a familiar song, or make a song up!)   5. Sentence Completion: You can help your child increase their independent ability to produce words and sounds by using a “sentence completion” approach with repetitive songs.  The steps for using this approach are as follows: Sing a familiar and enjoyable song with your little one enough times that you become confident that they have learned it. Continue to sing the song with them, but begin to implement an occasional pause at a familiar part that you know your child likes. (I.e. “The Itsy Bitsy Spider went up the water spout, down came the rain and washed the spider __pause___”) Look at the child with an expectant, excited face… and wait. If they do not respond, you can model the correct word “OUT” with over emphasis and exaggeration. And try again. Eventually, your child may learn to complete the sentence on their own!   Hopefully, you will find some of these ideas helpful and maybe even find that you will also have fun in the process of using music to help children with communication development!

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