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July 23, 2014
by Sara Croft   |   0 Comments

Early Intervention Physical TherapyIt’s that time of year again when kids head back to school and every parent’s first priority is to make sure they have everything their kids need. Do you know what’s missing from that supply list that could be the most critical tool your child needs?

Every year, millions of young children with undiagnosed disabilities enter school with issues that can put them behind their peers. This is frustrating for the children and the family and it can create a lasting, negative impact on the child’s educational process.

Make the first five years of life count for your child. Through the generous support of the CVS Caremark Charitable Trust, Easter Seals is providing access to the Ages & Stages Questionnaires to parents. The questionnaires serve as a simple screening tool to help parents monitor their child’s development. If the results indicate a need for developmental services, the children’s programs at Easter Seals Crossroads can help you at every age and stage.

 

Here are some examples of warning signs to watch for before your child begins school:

At age 4, is your child…

  • Unable to separate from parents without major protest

  • Easily distracted and unable to concentrate on any single activity for more than five minutes

  • Showing little interest in playing with other children

  • Refusing to respond to people in general, or respond only superficially

At age 5, is your child…

  • Not using plurals or past tense properly when speaking

  • Unable to build a tower of six or eight blocks

  • Having difficulty feeling comfortable holding a crayon

Early identification and treatment are keys to a bright future for your child. Trust you instincts – you know your child best. If something does not feel quite right, share your concerns with you health care provider. Your child is unique and develops at his or her own pace but understanding the basics about child development will make you more aware of the skills your child should achieve.

If you are considering Easter Seals Crossroads children’s services or are unsure if your child is in need of services, contact us today to ask your questions. Regardless, be sure to take the Ages & Stages Questionnaires periodically to continue to make sure that your child is readily prepared to succeed in school.

Today's blog post was written by Sam Sanders, Special Events Intern at Easter Seals Crossroads.

July 22, 2014
by Sara Croft   |   0 Comments

The INDATA Project at Easter Seals Crossroads is hosting two free full-day assistive technology trainings geared towards vocational rehabilitation counselors, parents, caregivers, educators, students, health care providers and other professionals. Attendees can catch up on the latest changes in technology that can assist children and adults with disabilities and special needs.

Creating Technology Solutions in Minutes - Monday, August 18

There will always be a need for low-tech solutions in a high-tech world. Did you know that 80% of assistive technology solutions used by individuals with disabilities cost less than $100? We live in a fast food fast information world. We want solutions to everyday challenges and we want it now. Kids and adults with disabilities can't wait days, weeks, or months for solutions. They need these solutions right now. This amazing hands-on interactive workshop will demonstrate hundreds of five-minute solutions that can be made "on-the-fly" using everyday materials.

Read the full agenda and RSVP here: http://www.eventbrite.com/e/creating-technology-solutions-in-minutes-tickets-12331402557

iPad Accessibility: The Next Level - Tuesday, August 19

This free assistive technology training program will educate participants about advanced iPad accessibility features and apps, such as switches and environmental control units and several discussions on new apps and advanced apps for blindness and low vision.

Read the full agenda and RSVP here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/ipad-accessiblity-the-next-level-tickets-12353675175

If you are unable to attend in person, register as an online attendee and view the training from a personal computer wherever you are!

The INDATA Project has been providing assistive technology solutions across the state of Indiana to ensure that people with disabilities can achieve their workplace, education or independent living goals. Their trainings are available throughout the entire state of Indiana and are provided at no charge. For questions, more information, or to schedule a training, contact Nikol Prieto at 888-466-1314 or nprieto@eastersealscrossroads.org.

July 17, 2014
by Sara Croft   |   0 Comments

iCan Bike is a popular camp offered through Easter Seals Crossroads, Rainbow's End Optimist Club and Indy Parks for young adults with disabilities or special needs who want to learn to ride a conventional bike. Held from June 16th through June 20th at Perry Ice Rink, iCan Bike had a very successful week this year but could not have been made possible without our fantastic volunteers. We cannot thank them enough for what they do.

Listed below are 7 popular comments that our volunteers left us with on their final day when we asked "What did you like about volunteering at iCan Bike?"

Volunteers at ICan Bike1) "The experience and the great feeling it gave you to help someone learn something that comes a little easier to you."

2) "Seeing the kids smile and have a good time and finally being able to ride their bike."

3) "I love when you can tell you really made an impact on one of the riders. The smile the riders give you when they make an accomplishment is priceless."

4) "The end result and getting the chance to meet some great people, other spotters, the riders and their families."

5) "I loved seeing the smiles on everyone’s face – additionally seeing how the kids gained in confidence and ability was a great thing! Loah knew when to push/challenge some of the kids – she is superb!"

6) "What I liked most was not only the look on child’s face, but the look on the family’s face was they all watched the rider do something they’ve never done before."

7) "I love seeing the excitement in the kids when they finally get up on two wheels. Their progression throughout the week is amazing and it is so neat to be a part of that."
 

Thanks again to our wonderful volunteers! iCan Bike would not be what it is today without you. If you are interested in becoming a part of iCan Bike 2015 or any other volunteer opportunity at Easter Seals Crossroads, contact Tessa Barnard, Volunteer and Community Outreach Coordinator, at 317-466-1000 x2414 or tbarnard@eastersealscrossroads.org.

Today's blog post was written by Sam Sanders, Special Events Intern at Easter Seals Crossroads.

July 16, 2014
by Sara Croft   |   0 Comments

Do you know what developmental milestones you should look for in your child? Doctors refer to "developmental milestones" as how you can expect to see a child's skills develop each month and are important indicators of possible language, motor skill, social/emotional, or cognitive delays, autism or other learning disabilities. 

Speech therapy

Make the five five years of your child's life count by paying close attention to the five areas of developmental milestones your child should be achieving:

Area 1 - Cognitive:

Thinking skills including learning, understanding, problem-solving, reasoning and remembering. Example: Your child should respond to his name when called by age 1.

Area 2 - Sensory:

Interaction with the environment; reaction to and recognition of sights, sounds, textures and smells. Example: Your child should explore surroundings by age 2.

Area 3 - Language:

Speaking; using body language and gestures, communicating, and understanding what others say. Example: Your child should talk in short sentences by age 3.

Area 4 - Social/Emotional: 

Interacting with others; having relationships with family, friends, and teachers, cooperating, and responding to the feelings of others. Example: Your child should play group games such as hide-and-seek or tag with other children by age 4.

Area 5 - Movement:

Using large groups of muscles to sit, stand, walk, run, etc., keeping balance, changing positions (gross motor skills); or, using hands to be able to eat, draw, dress, play, write, and do many other things (fine motor skills). Example: Your child should throw and catch a large ball bounced to him by age 5.

If a child misses a milestone, or if something doesn't feel quite right, notify your doctor - it might indicate a problem. The most important thing for parents is to follow their instincts and share their concerns with their pediatrician. Read our blog about Developmental Milestones for Infants and Babies here.

Take the FREE Ages & Stages Questionnaire to learn the specific developmental milestones your child should be reaching for various age groups between 0 and 5. You will receive results that explain if your child is on track or if there is a potential delay. If there is a delay, your doctor may refer your child to see a physical therapist, occupational therapist or speech language pathologist. Easter Seals Crossroads has several early intervention therapists that will tailor the therapy to your child's needs. Contact us today for more information. 

July 9, 2014
by Sara Croft   |   0 Comments

CampAbility is all about having fun while giving children the opportunity to explore sensorimotor experiences, expand communication skills and develop social skills. Last week, CampAbility had a special visit with Flight1, a children's charity that builds confidence in children by placing them somewhere unexpected. 

Flight1 brought a hot air balloon to Easter Seals Crossroads so that the kids could watch the balloon be unravelled from the basket and blown up to its full size. Several kids watched the balloon rise while wearing protective headphones since the sound of the fans was quite loud, but once the balloon was up, children were allowed to run inside and see the balloon from a brand new perspective.

Photos courtesy of Flight1

Flight1 CampAbility 

Flight1 CampAbility

Flight1 CampAbility

Flight1 CampAbility

View more photos from this unique experience on Flight1's Facebook page!

July 8, 2014
by Sara Croft   |   0 Comments

Easter Seals Crossroads is excited to announce that The Glo Run is back in Indy! For the past 2 years, we have been proudly selected as the charity partner for this event and we are very excited to have the opportunity again in 2014.

The Glo Run 2013

The Glo Run is a 5K party run/walk that takes place the evening of Saturday, September 6th in downtown Indianapolis. Everyone can dress up in their favorite neon and glow in the dark clothing with thousands of other participants all while knowing that it’s for a great cause.

Interested in participating? Runners/walkers will receive a neon t-shirt, 3 piece GloGear, a bib ticket to the 5K Dreamworld, and a post DJ party! Register before August 1st to get 30% off your ticket with the online code “30GloINDY”.

Perhaps not a runner and just want to help a great cause and log some volunteer hours? Volunteers will get a neon GLO Run Volunteer t-shirt, fun time meeting new friends, and you’ll leave knowing you’re make a difference for Easter Seals Crossroads. To sign up as a volunteer, contact Tessa Barnard, Volunteer and Community Outreach Coordinator, at 317-466-1000 x2414 or tbarnard@eastersealscrossroads.org.

Don’t have time to do either? Here are some ways that you could still help: 
• Spread the word on social media about the event
• Create a fundraising team to raise money for Easter Seals Crossroads or make a one-time donation on our website

Easter Seals Crossroads is very excited to be working with The Glo Run for a 3rd year and thanks everyone for their help with this event! For more information about The Glo Run, visit their website at http://theglorun.com/indianapolis/index.html

The Glo Run 2013

July 1, 2014
by Sara Croft   |   0 Comments

Today's blog post was written by Tessa Barnard, Volunteer Coordinator and veteran Tap N Run-er.

Tap N Run drank its way through downtown Indianapolis for the third year in a row on Saturday, June 21 and Easter Seals Crossroads once again served as the charity partner for the 4k race. The ridiculously fun event was attended by 642 runners, joggers, walkers, and crawlers dressed as tutu-clad superheroes, 90’s throwbacks, rock stars, and more. Race participants chugged Goose Island brews at each of the chug stations along the route before receiving a sweet Finisher’s medal (which doubles as a bottle opener) and a 12 ounce 312 Urban Wheat Ale.

Over 20 “volunbeers” from Easter Seals Crossroads helped make the event run smoothly by working at packet pick-up, registration, race course set-up, chug stations, the social media bar, and the finish line. A total of $1,032 was raised from the event to support programs for children and adults with disabilities and special needs in central Indiana.  

Volunbeer

Volunbeer

Volunbeer

Volunbeer

Volunbeer

Easter Seals Crossroads is also the charity partner for The GLO Run on Saturday, September 6 at White River State Park. Please contact Tessa Barnard at tbarnard@eastersealscrossroads.org if you’re interested in volunteering at The GLO Run. Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter at @VolunteerAtESC to keep up-to-date on all of our volunteer opportunities.

June 30, 2014
by Sara Croft   |   2 Comments

iCan Bike – a program of I Can Shine – was held at Perry Ice Rink from June 16 through June 20. This popular camp is offered to individuals with disabilities or special needs who want to learn to ride a conventional bike. We offer the program in partnership with Rainbow’s End Optimist Club and Indy Parks; Epsilon Sigma Alpha provided lunches during the week for volunteers and staff.

John Kelly – this year’s program coordinator – stated that 60 percent of the participants were riding independently by the final day of the program; 30 percent were riding with
reduced support. The program relies heavily on the many volunteers, which included the volleyball team from Roncalli High School, the football team from Perry Meridian High School and football team members from Center Grove High School.

Special thanks to Sherry Floyd, John Kelly, Tessa Barnard, Jane Dias and Katie Harris for all their hard work with this year’s program. Here are just a few photo highlights from 2014:

iCan Bike

iCan Bike

iCan Bike

iCan Bike

June 26, 2014
by Sara Croft   |   0 Comments

On Tuesday, June 24, members of 49 Easter Seals affiliates across the nation gathered in our nation's capital to march on Capitol Hill and advocate for the funding and programs that support employment for adults, seniors and veterans with disabilities. 

The Hoosier group was made up of Sara Croft (myself) and Brent Pierce to represent Easter Seals Crossroads, along with the CEO and a volunteer of Easter Seals ARC of Northeast Indiana and Ben Trockman and family of Easter Seals Southwest Indiana. Together, we met with Indiana's representatives and senators to discuss how Easter Seals is making a difference in the communities they represent and serve.

Easter Seals provided an advocacy training seminar to empower the affiliates for our appointments the next day. During this time, we were reminded of some staggering statistics regarding employment and people with disabilities and veterans:

  • 80% of people with disabilities who want to work are NOT represented in the workforce - compared to 70% of people without disabilities who ARE

  • Gulf War veterans represent 1/2 of all unemployed veterans

  • Female veterans are the fastest growing homeless population

  • The over-65 age group is the most employed demographic population

49 Easter Seals affiliates (a total of 200 representatives) were set to make 231 appointments, 91 of those being with our Senators and Representatives. This map shows where we came from and what areas we serve:

Political Parties

Our agenda was to urge our Senators and Representatives to pass the Workforce Investment Act, the Homeless Veterans' Reintegration Program and the Senior Community Service Employment Program.

Why?

  • We want individuals with disabilities, older adults and veterans to get jobs

  • Too many people struggle to find meaningful work

  • Congress MUST increase access to employment services and supports and improve employment outcomes and opportunities for these populations

WHY

During the advocacy summit, we heard from Claudia Gordon, Special Assistant to the Director of the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP). Gordon is the first Deaf African-American lawyer and she gave an inspiring presentation about the obstacles she overcame to be where she is today. Her priority in the OFCCP is to ensure that federal contractors do not discriminate against people with disabilities.

The OFCCP has set a goal for federal contractors that could result in an additional 600,000 jobs for people with disabilities in the coming year. In addition, the OFCCP is requiring federal contractors to collect more data on disability and veteran employment.

Ben Trockman, a former intern with Easter Seals and an ambassador for people with disabilities, spoke about the importance of employment for young adults. Ben was excited to announce that he was just offered a position with Old National Bank in Evansville as their Community Outreach and Employment Specialist, in which Ben will work with Easter Seals and other employment providers to ensure that people with disabilities, veterans and seniors are accurately represented in the workforce.

Ben Trockman

On Tuesday, June 24, we were scheduled for six meetings on Capitol Hill:

  • Rep. Susan Brooks with Legislative Director Megan Brooks (IN-05)

  • Rep. Andre Carson with Legislative Assistant Erica Powell (IN-07)

  • Sen. Joe Donnely with Legislative Assistant Devin Benavidez (IN-S)

  • Sen. Dan Coats with Legislative Assistant Sam Blevins (IN-S)

  • Rep. Marlin Stutzman with Legislative Assistant William Young (IN-03)

  • Rep. Larry Bucshon with Legislative Assistant Sarah Killeen (IN-08)

Here are just a few photos from our meetings:

Megan Savage

With Megan Savage, representing Rep. Susan Brooks

Andre Carson

With Rep. Andre Carson

Easter Seals Team

Easter Seals Hoosier Affiliates 

Sam Blevins

With Sam Blevins, representing Sen. Dan Coats

After spending the day advocating with Easter Seals, we were joined by Senator Tom Harkin, a founding advocate for the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Assistive Technology Act, and overall advocate for people with disabilities in the United States, at our reception dinner. 

Sen. Tom Harkin

At Easter Seals Crossroads, our advocacy for employment opportunities for people with disabilities goes far beyond our time spent on Capitol Hill. From providing young adults in high school with employment skills through the NEXT Project to assisting adults with disabilities with resume, interview skills and job coaching in our employment services division and working to reintegrate veterans into the workforce, Easter Seals Crossroads is committed to empowering people with disabilities through employment.

View photos and learn more about Capitol Hill Day with Easter Seals by following #CapHill14 on Twitter!

June 23, 2014
by Sara Croft   |   0 Comments

Today's blog post was written by Sam Sanders, Special Events Intern at Easter Seals Crossroads.

According to the National Organization on Disability, approximately 30 percent of Americans with disabilities deal with inadequate transportation, compared to only 10 percent of those without disabilities. In Marion County, 47% of respondents from a DART (Disability Action Research Team) survey believe that improving transportation is the biggest need of the disability community. Access to both public and private transport is crucial to the ability of people with disability, and their families, to participate both fully and independently within their communities.

If you are one of those individuals dealing with inadequate transportation, or maybe you know someone who is, here is a list of a few local public and private transports that may tailor more to your needs.

IndyGo Open Door http://www.indygo.net/pages/open-door
Open Door, IndyGo's ADA paratransit service, is available for eligible riders who, because of a disability, may require an alternative to IndyGo’s fixed route service. Approved clients can travel anywhere inside Marion County as well as ride IndyGo’s local service fixed routes for free with an Open Door ID. 

Yellow Cab http://www.ycindy.com/special_needs.html
Indianapolis Yellow Cab is available to people who use wheelchairs and are physically capable of using curb-to-curb taxicab transportation. Yellow Cab gives the passenger the freedom and convenience of going where they need to go, anywhere in Indianapolis, with family and friends. Their taxis can accommodate up to 6 riders, including the driver and one passenger in a wheelchair. 

AAA Medivan
Located in the heart of Indianapolis, AAA Medivan provides local and long distance transportation. They provide the latest in comfortable and safe transportation as well as fast and friendly service. 

Personal Touch - http://www.ptmedicaltransportation.com/learning.html
Accessible to anyone with a transportation need within Indianapolis and other Central Indiana counties, Personal Touch has a variety of vans and mini-buses equipped with hydraulic lifts to accommodate individuals whom are unable to climb steps or have a wheelchair/scooter. 

Care Transport http://www.caretransport.us/
Serving all of Michigan, Ohio, and Indiana, Care Transport offers a variety of wheelchair vans and mini-buses equipped with hydraulic lifts. They transport their passengers anywhere from care facilities and doctor’s offices to family gatherings and airports in an efficient, timely manner. 

Rather drive yourself then depend on a transport service? Easter Seals Crossroads Driver Evaluation and Training Program is a comprehensive program that gives individuals the opportunity to drive either for the first time in a long time or for the first time ever. Our team of Occupational Therapy Practitioners understands the importance of driving as a key component to your independence. We also offer vehicle modification evaluations as well as other driver training programs. Contact us today to schedule an evaluation!

Driver Evaluation and Training Photo