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May 24, 2016
by Katie   |   0 Comments

Recently our own Tracy Gale, PsyD, and Laura Tease, BCBA, wrote an article for Indy's Child Parenting Magazine - our partners and friends. Specifically for parents and caregivers, the article addressed the always timely topic of summer camp readiness.

Read the article here (page 40).


Summer camp is a great opportunity to learn and have fun. Preparing your child with special needs for camp may take a little extra work, but it is worth the preparation. Here are some tips for making camp a positive experience for everyone:

Create a social story to practice new routines and introduce new people.
Overnight or day camps have a different structure than school or home, and your child may benefit from learning about these changes. Consider including pictures of the actual location and staff so that your child knows exactly where to go for common needs like the bathroom or play areas.

Do a trial run.
Ask your camp coordinator if you can visit camp before the start date to allow your child to feel comfortable with the location. For overnight camps, do a trial run with grandma or a family friend for a weekend. This can help identify additional needs, such as comfort items, and help determine if your child is ready for overnight camp.

Let your child help pack.
Packing can be a great opportunity to discuss the activities during camp and expectations for behavior. Packing deodorant can start a discussion on hygiene at camp just like packing a swimsuit allows your child to talk about swimming. Remember, label everything!

Provide information about reinforcers and preferred activities.

Send your child with small reinforcers or preferred activities. Camp staff will be able to utilize these items to motivate your child to participate and try new activities.

Enjoy your respite!
Being a parent is a hard job, and you deserve a break! Use this time to indulge in self-care. Unsure what to do with your time? Ask to meet with other parents from camp for support and networking; camp is a great way to build relationships for both your child and you.

May 17, 2016
by Katie   |   0 Comments

three images of volunteers with children at CampAbility

CampAbility is just a few weeks away and we’re still looking for volunteers to help throughout the summer!

CampAbility is a traditional summer day camp for children with special needs ages 4 to 10 that provides indoor and outdoor activities that explore sensorimotor experiences, expand communication skills and enhance social skills in a fun and nurturing environment. Volunteers are needed to assist camp staff throughout each of the three camp sessions and especially on field trip days. Individuals with any interest and/or experience working with children with disabilities and special needs are needed.

Students studying or interested in physical therapy, occupation therapy, speech-language pathology or special education are especially encouraged to volunteer for CampAbility because of the heavy focus on activities designed around those principles. Below are more details about this exciting volunteer opportunity:

Location
Hilltop Developmental Preschool located at 1915 East 86th Street, Indianapolis, IN 46240

Length of Assignment
Camp consists of three, two-week camp sessions. Volunteer shifts are flexible, however consistency is preferred. Volunteers are not required to commit to all six weeks of camp.

Time Commitment
Volunteer shifts are from 8:45 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. or during the duration of a specific field trip. Camp runs Monday through Thursday with the exception of the week of July 4 where it will run Tuesday through Friday

Requirements
Must be at least 16 years of age, must complete volunteer application and interview, volunteers age 18+ must agree to undergo a limited criminal history background check, volunteers must have an up-to-date (within the last 12 months) TB test, volunteers must attend camp orientation/training on Monday, June 6, 2016 and arrive on time to all assigned shifts.

Contact us Today
Anyone interested in volunteering may contact Tessa Barnard, Volunteer and Community Outreach Coordinator, at tbarnard@eastersealscrossroads.org or 317.466.1000 x2414.

May 11, 2016
by Katie   |   0 Comments

2 photos of Project SEARCH interns on the job


Both locations of Project SEARCH have set their dates for their end-of-year celebrations. 

EAST Project SEARCH End-of-Year Celebration | Wednesday, May 25 | 2 p.m.
Community Hospital East (1500 North Ritter Avenue, Theatre - Lower Level, Bldg 3, follow signs)
Contact Keith at RFox@ecommunity.com for more information

North Project SEARCH End-of-Year Celebration | Thursday, May 26 | 2 p.m.
Community Hospital North (7250 Clearvista Pkway - Multiservice Room, 3rd Floor)
Contact Angie at ALeGrand@ecommunity.com for more information

Staff members work hard to create a fun and memorable celebration for their interns who have worked diligently throughout the year to get to this point. Keith Fox, Angie Hoskins and Kelly Pattison are our own Easter Seals Crossroads staff members who work at Community Hospital locations - Keith is at the East location and Angie and Kelly are at the North location. Ann Meuleman is the teacher assigned from My IPS to work at East; Jill Rusk is the teacher assigned from Lawrence Township to work at North; Mark Gifford assists as a job coach at East.

The program works in collaboration with the Center on Community Living and Careers ñ Indiana University, Community Health Network, Indiana Family and Social Services Administration. Lawrence Township (North), My IPS (East), Warren Township (East) and Easter Seals Crossroads.

What is Project SEARCH?

Submitted by Keith Fox and Angie Hoskins
The Project SEARCH high school transition program is a unique, business-led, one-year, school-to-work program that takes place entirely at the workplace. Total workplace immersion facilitates a seamless combination of classroom instruction, career exploration and relevant job-skills training through strategically designed internships. Students are referred to the program through their schools, family members, or Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor and apply in the winter and spring in the year prior to entering the program.

The goal for each student participant is competitive employment. The program provides real-life work experience combined with training in employability and independent living skills to help youths with significant disabilities make successful transitions from school to productive adult life.

Project SEARCH serves students with significant intellectual and developmental disabilities. Typically, these are students who are on an Individual Education Program (IEP) and in their last year of high school eligibility.

Internships/Worksite Rotations

Through internships, the students acquire competitive, marketable and transferable skills to enable them to apply for a related position. Students also build communication, teamwork and problem-solving skills which are important to their overall development as young workers.

Internship rotations begin a few weeks after the start of the program. Students are required to interact with their supervisors via telephone and written communications to arrange a job interview to secure each rotation. A department mentor is identified at each site and job coaches and department staff collaborate to provide support for students. The Project SEARCH staff delivers the training and develops job accommodations and standard work procedures.

Job Placement and Community Connections

During the last few months of the program the emphasis is on refining skills, achieving the career goal and carrying out individualized job placement. The Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor is a critical part of the team as the job search process begins. Upon satisfactory completion of the program (95% or better attendance, good attitude, successful skill acquisition at each job site) students receive a Career Portfolio, which typically contains a resume, letters of recommendation, a competency profile and any awards / special recognitions received while in the program.

Statistics

  • Project SEARCH East was the first Indiana program; it has had 71 individuals complete the program since 2008. They have received 3 international awards for job placement.
  • Project SEARCH North is in its fifth year of operation and has had 51 individuals complete the program. Thirty-seven of these individuals are currently employed, which represents a 73 percent placement rate.


Success

According to Angie
"I could tell you about 37 great stories! But one that stands out most is Susan*. She came to us three years ago a shy, young girl afraid of speaking up. Six months into the program she asked me to go with her to the Director of Maternity. I agreed but had no idea why she wanted to go see her. So we reached the Director's office and Susan marched in and said 'I think you should hire me.' The director asked Susan why she thought this and her answer was 'Because I have been here for three months and I do a good job; I like you and you like me.'

That must have been an acceptable answer because that director hired Susan! Now two years later Susan lives independently, works full time and recently had me over for a glass of wine in her new apartment! That to me shows success.

Or maybe it's when Sean* said to me 'Thank you for doing what you do, Miss Angie.' or when a director said to me 'This really works; you really make sure these individuals can be successful!' or when Pete* handed me an autism awareness pin and said 'You should wear this because you support me and my autism.' or when a parent said 'Without this program, my son would still be sitting at home.' And the list goes on . . ."

According to Keith
"Success to me is when I see individuals grow, gain maturity and increase self-esteem when they find that they can do complex jobs that are routine and structured. I know I am doing the right thing when I have the ability to change an individual's life by helping him or her succeed. It not only benefits the intern, it enriches the lives of the families, the patients, peers, colleagues, communities and me."

*Names Changed


May 5, 2016
by Katie   |   0 Comments

Easter Seals Crossroads is proud to celebrate ability with the accomplishments of Chris and Kayla - two individuals who have used our services during the year.

Nine-year-old Kayla is a busy, happy girl - she enjoys school, church and playing with her sisters. Her mom LaShaunna brings her to Easter Seals Crossroads where she works on physical, occupational and speech-language therapy.

When Kayla was 1 1/2 years old, she sustained a traumatic brain injury after an accident - a dresser fell on her while she was playing with her twin sister. While she was in the hospital, she contracted meningitis. Doctors told her family that Kayla would not be able to walk or speak, but after many therapy appointments and hours of hard work, Kayla is walking and learning to communicate.

Kayla's Story
 

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Chris developed a tumor on his spinal cord. Once removed, Chris was paralyzed from the waist down. Very soon after his surgery, Chris knew he wanted to get his life back on track as soon as he could.

"Driving was my number one goal because I knew if I wasn't driving again, there were a lot of things I wouldn't be able to do. I did not want to be a burden on my family or friends and driving seemed like it would be the way to relieve some of that burden," said Chris.

"Easter Seals Crossroads made that process possible for me. My whole life has definitely changed. When my 8-year-old son asked me if these changes were going to be forever, I told him that being different isn't a bad thing." said Chris. 

Chris' Story
 

 

Chris and Kayla represent 2 of the 6,500 individuals in our community whom we have served; individuals who never thought about needing us - until they did.

May 2, 2016
by Katie   |   0 Comments

Wednesday, May 4, 2016
Dallara IndyCar Factory, Speedway, IN
With Keynote Speaker Sam Schmidt

Presented by

Community Health Network logo


Held at the amazing Dallara IndyCar Factory during the most exciting month in Indianapolis, the Ability Lunch features keynote speaker Sam Schmidt. Sam, former IndyCar driver and current co-owner of Schmidt Peterson Motorsports, has made a huge impact in the racing community. While practicing for a race in 2000, Sam sustained a C-3/4/5 spinal cord injury — hear his inspiring story at this year's lunch!

The lunch and program begin at 12 p.m., but plan to arrive at 11 a.m. to see the Dallara IndyCar Factory and complete your race experience. You can even picture yourself alongside a race car in a one-of-a-kind photo opportunity (limited to the first 50 people).

Buy your ticket(s) today! ($100 each)


Silent Auction - Now Open
Andretti Suite tickets for the Indy 500 are up for grabs, along with race wear and race experiences. If you cannot make the Ability Lunch this year, you can still bid on these one-of-kind experiences during the online auction that is now open and will remain open until Friday, May 6, at 12 noon.

We are excited to use GiveSmart at this year's event to make the whole process of bidding easy for our guests. Donations in support of Easter Seals Crossroads can also be made through the GiveSmart site. Happy bidding!

Ready? Set? Bid (and Give)!

April 20, 2016
by Katie   |   0 Comments

Career Expo graphic with location Easter Seals Crossroadsman at booth at career expo

 

Thursday, May 12, 2016

10 a.m. - 3 p.m.

Easter Seals Crossroads Conference Center
4740 Kingsway Drive, Indianapolis, IN 46205


Easter Seals Crossroads has partnered with the State of Indiana Vocational Rehabilitation Services, Eskenazi Health Midtown Community Mental Health and Sycamore Services to bring employers and qualified candidates together for a one-day career event.

For Employers

Career Expo is the place to find employment candidates and add diversity to your workplace! Join other organizations and explore our Career Expo as an alternative recruitment strategy. Central Indiana businesses from a variety of industries will be represented to meet our qualified individuals with disabilities seeking long-term careers.


For Job Seekers

Career Expo 2016 is the place for job seekers to find employment opportunities as there will be central Indiana businesses from a variety of industries represented to meet qualified individuals with disabilities seeking long-term careers.

Registration is now closed for Career Expo 2016.

Tips for attending a career event - pdf document.


 

April 11, 2016
by Katie   |   0 Comments

two photos - one of volunteers running alongside a bike rider as spotters, one of a group of volunteers working in the garden


National Volunteer Appreciation Month is an important month at Easter Seals Crossroads because it gives us the opportunity to recognize an amazing group of people who contribute greatly to our organization. Throughout the year, we depend on our volunteers to help us accomplish many things that would literally not be accomplished without the time, talent and knowledge of so many individuals.

National Volunteer Week was established in 1974 to recognize the important role that volunteers play for many businesses and organizations. This year, National Volunteer Week is the week of April 10 through April 16.

Easter Seals Crossroads has benefited from 700 volunteers who have generously donated their heads, hearts and hands for us. These 700 volunteers have donated over 2,440 hours of their time to improve the lives of children and adults with disabilities and special needs.

Thank you to our many volunteers for being part of our mission and choosing to spend your time with us. Your presence makes a greater impact than you could ever know!

Learn more about volunteer opportunities at Easter Seals Crossroads.

April 4, 2016
by Katie   |   0 Comments

Recently our own Tracy Gale, PsyD, and Laura Tease, BCBA, wrote an article for Indy's Child Parenting Magazine - our partners and friends. Specifically for parents and caregivers, the article addressed the always timely topic of readiness for toilet training.

Read the article here (page 38).


Toilet training can be a complicated process for parents and children. Here are some tips to make it easier for everyone:

Watch for signs of readiness

Children are ready for toilet training at different times. If your child is staying dry for longer periods of time, awakening in the morning with a dry diaper, and showing interest in going to the restroom, it may be time to start toilet training.

Find your reinforcers

Teaching your child to potty train is similar to teaching other skills, and strong motivators are essential to success. Think about using small items such as M&Ms or a short video, and try to stay away from items that require you to remove them after a period of time. Be sure to verbally praise your child during the toilet training process.

Make sure you are prepared

Potty training is a labor-intensive process for both you and your child. Some children may take a longer time to train than others, and your persistence is key! Seek support from friends, partners, and therapists during toilet training.

Keep data

No one likes being forced to do things they do not need to do, so make sure that your child needs to use the toilet. Keep track of how often your child's diaper or pull-up is wet and consider using this schedule when you toilet train. This will ensure that your child actually needs to go to the bathroom.

Reward, don't bribe

Think about rewarding toileting rather than punishing when your child does not go. Your child should be motivated to use the toilet rather than scared not to! Do not shame or reprimand your child for accidents or bribe with statements like "We can't get ice cream if you don't go potty."

March 20, 2016
by Katie   |   0 Comments

image of John Nick, Sales Manager, Document Services, Crossroads Industrial Services

John Nick recently joined Crossroads Industrial Services as the Sales Manager for Document Services. Crossroads Industrial Services is a division of Easter Seals Crossroads. John is excited to be part of an organization where his background and interests are well-suited to the mission. He has experience working with document imaging and he brings this background of working with all types of organizations (everything from county offices to Fortune 500 companies) to his current role. He looks forward to helping grow the division to make an even bigger impact within the overall organization financially.

John’s typical day involves him meeting potential customers and spreading the word about how our Document Services division can offer them comprehensive document management solutions. Many customers are not familiar with alternative paper record solutions that result in affordable, easy-to-access, secure archiving of their information.

Within just a few weeks, John has learned and seen that Crossroads Industrial Services is a quality organization with exceptional service and commitment to our customers. He was impressed with the employees from the very beginning:

“The people are terrific. I have been a part of several different work environments, yet I have never been in a place where everyone seems to be so committed to the greater good of the organization. This is an opportunity where I think I can really contribute and make a difference,” said John.

John was born in Philadelphia, but he moved around quite a bit growing up. He attended Brebeuf Preparatory School during his high school years and later went to the University of Dayton and IUPUI for college. Outside of work, John enjoys anything that has to do with watching or playing sports.

John brings his knowledge and his strong sales background to the position of Sales Manager for Document Services. A great match for his role in the agency, he is eager to meet new customers and show them how we can archive their information safely and easily accessible for their day-to-day needs.

Contact us to learn more about Document Services at Crossroads Industrial Services.

March 14, 2016
by Katie   |   0 Comments

two photos of riders at iCan Bike - both with volunteers running alongside them

iCan Bike is a bicycle camp for people with disabilities to learn how to ride a conventional bicycle. The program is offered in partnership with Rainbow’s End Optimist Club, Indy Parks and Easter SealsCrossroads and is brought to our area through iCan Shine.

Israel is an 11-year old boy who participated in iCan Bike in 2015. Israel wanted to learn to ride a two-wheel bicycle, but he was having some difficulty making that happen. His family turned to iCan Bike and found that the team approach to learning from professionals was a really good option. “We wanted Israel to learn how to ride for a number of reasons. It builds confidence, independence, inclusion – all those things,” said Israel’s father.

iCan Shine operates its iCan Bike program with partners all over the country. Since its inception in 2007, the program has successfully taught 20,000 people with disabilities how to ride a conventional two-wheel bicycle. The program further states that it operates with an 80 percent success rate.

How it Works

Riders participate in the same 75-minute session each day for five days during the iCan Bike program. Riders use adapted bicycles at the beginning of the week and gradually move toward more independent riding on traditional bicycles as they progress. In Indianapolis, the program offered in partnership with Easter Seals Crossroads and Rainbow’s End Optimist Club uses an IndyParks facility – Perry Park Ice Skating Rink. This enclosed, circular arena works very well for beginning riders.

The day-to-day progress of the participants is fun to watch. There is a huge difference in many of the riders as the week moves from day one to the final day. On that final day, typically 80 percent of the participants or more are successfully riding on their own and the remaining group has made tremendous progress.

Volunteers Truly Make it Happen

Riders are assigned to a team of volunteers who literally run/walk alongside the riders throughout the entire learning process. This method assures the riders that someone is right there at all times, which has a tremendous effect on building confidence and trust. The same rider is paired with the same team of volunteers each day furthering that element of trust for the riders.

Easter Seals Crossroads works diligently with Rainbow’s End Optimist Club to provide 80 volunteers during the week of iCan Bike. We specifically look for running clubs, track teams, cross country teams and other sports teams to fill the volunteer needs for iCan Bike. We have been lucky to engage high schools and middle schools who take this volunteer role very seriously and do a great job for us. Perry Meridian, Roncalli, Center Grove and Southport have provided us with terrific volunteers for the past several years.

It is difficult to judge who is most proud at the end of the week; the riders surely, but the effect on the volunteer spotters is worth noting. Everyone feels the impact of the week, from the parents and caregivers to the entire program staff (iCan Shine, Easter Seals Crossroads, Rainbow’s End Optimist Club).

After volunteering for a week at iCan Bike, volunteers have been eager to let us know their thoughts about what they have liked best:

  • “I loved being able to see my rider progress each day.”
  • “I really enjoyed helping someone learn to ride a bike.”
  • “It was so fun to see my rider smile after she learned that she could do it.”
  • “I liked knowing that my rider trusted me to help him achieve his goal.”


Individual success is the goal, but with that accomplishment comes the realization that a group can often accomplish so much when the goal is so rich.