November 25, 2015
by Sara Croft   |   0 Comments

Do you shop on Amazon.com? Whether you are buying books for your Kindle, ordering back to school supplies or doing your holiday shopping a little early, your purchase can benefit Easter Seals Crossroads. Here's how:

Go to http://smile.amazon.com/ and type in "Easter Seals Crossroads" under "pick your charitable organization" and click SEARCH.

Crossroads Rehabilitation Center" will then be displayed. Click the yellow "SELECT" button.

That's it! Each time you make a purchase through Amazon Smile, 0.5% of your total purchase will be donated to Easter Seals Crossroads. If you purchase $100.00 worth of items through Amazon Smiles, $5.00 will be the donation we receive. Can you imagine how quickly that can add up?

Make sure you are shopping through Amazon Smiles and not the regular Amazon homepage. Amazon Smiles offers all of the same products as Amazon. It is just the way for Amazon to know you want a percentage of your purchase to be donated to your favorite charity.

Amazon Smiles Logo

November 13, 2015
by Sara Croft   |   0 Comments

Jennifer Alka HeadshotJennifer Alka, Community Support Specialist with Deaf Community Services, recently provided an in-service to our staff on Deaf culture, communication and etiquette. She addressed her personal story and shared helpful tips that allow all of our staff to provide the best customer service possible to Deaf individuals.

1. The Deaf community consists of people who use American Sign Language, children of Deaf parents, interpreters, Deaf teachers, and anyone else who wants to be included. Jennifer is second generation Deaf, and her children are Deaf. Her husband is the elementary school principal at the Indiana School for the Deaf. “I wouldn’t wish life to be any other way,” she says.

2. Communication options include:

  • American Sign Language is the predominate sign language of Deaf communities in the US and Canada.

  • Signed English is a sign language dialect that matches each spoken word of English.

  • Cued speech is a type of sign language that uses hand movements combined with mouth shapes to communicate to the hearing impaired.

  • Auditory/Oral uses whatever hearing ability a person has in combination with speech reading and contextual clues.

  • Total communication uses both signed English and spoken English to communicate.

  • Speech reading is often used synonymously with the term lip reading, where you look at the speaker’s lips along with facial expressions and body language.

  • Fingerspelling is the representation of the letters of a writing and numerical system using only the hands.

Many people ask Jennifer if she can read lips. Only 20% of verbal speaking can be visual, which makes speech reading very difficult and not the preferred method of communication.

3. Technology has changed the way Deaf people communicate. Everything from the Internet to video phones, closed-captioning for television, TTY, visual ring signalers, and message relay services allow hearing people to communicate with Deaf people. Social media has also played an important role in helping Deaf people communicate quickly and easily with each other.

4. To get a Deaf person’s attention, use one light tap on their shoulder for non-urgent communication. Repeating the tap 2 or 3 times with harder pressure expresses that you urgently need to communicate to them.

5. Hearing people have different cues for in-person communication, where it may be okay to end a conversation by simply walking away or looking in another direction. Breaking eye contact to end a conversation is not acceptable in Deaf culture. You must say why it is time to end the conversation, so that the person you are speaking with knows the conversation is over.

6. Interpreters will sit or stand to the side of a Deaf person and a hearing person should look directly at the Deaf person, not at the interpreter. There is no need to pause or talk slowly, as the interpreter is trained and can follow the conversation easily. Do not hold personal conversations with the interpreter as if the Deaf person is not there.

7. It is not appropriate to ask or expect a child to interpret for their parents or authority figures.

8. At Easter Seals Crossroads, we follow people first language, where the person is always mentioned before the disability. For example, we would say “child with autism” instead of “autistic child.” However, in the Deaf community, the preferred communication is to say “Deaf person” instead of “person who is Deaf.”

“My view as a Deaf interpreter is that I’m helping more hearing people than Deaf people,” Jennifer says. We are proud to have Jennifer as an employee at Easter Seals Crossroads. To contact her, please send her an email at jalka@eastersealscrossroads.org.


About Jennifer Alka
Jennifer’s education started at the Rochester School for the Deaf in New York, which is well known for the finger spelling method, but they stopped practicing that method when she was enrolled in their pre-school program. She later enrolled at Gallaudet University in Washington, D.C. for one year and then transferred to the State University of New York at Brockport where she graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology. Jennifer is the Community Support Specialist with Deaf Community Services at Easter Seals Crossroads. For more information, visit http://www.eastersealscrossroads.org/deaf-community-services.

November 4, 2015
by Sara Croft   |   0 Comments

Easter Seals wants to know about the experience of individuals who purchased health insurance through the Affordable Care Act in six states: Connecticut, Florida, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan and Texas. Based on the real experience of real people, we can evaluate if people are able to access the health care they need. We will use this information to see if changes to the program are required to meet the law’s goals.

Easter Seals would be grateful if you could take this brief survey online. This survey should take no longer than 10 minutes. The deadline to complete the survey is December 1, 2015.

To take the survey, click this link: 


November 3, 2015
by Sara Croft   |   0 Comments

Exercising the right to vote is an essential element of our civil rights. Every person who has registered to vote and has proper identification should be able to cast their vote privately and independently at their polling place or through absentee voting.

On Election Day, Tuesday, November 3rd, Indiana Protection and Advocacy Services (IPAS) advocates and attorneys will be available to answer questions and take complaints from persons with disabilities who have any issue casting their vote. IPAS staff will be available to take calls during the time the polls are open, 6:00AM EST – 7:00PM EST (6:00PM CST).

Unfortunately, some people with disabilities may experience issues when they try to vote.If you experience any of the following issues, call IPAS:

  • Lack of an accessible path from the parking spot/drop off point to the voting booth;

  • Stairs or non-paved surfaces such as gravel or grass as the only path to the polling location;

  • Lack of at least one doorway wide enough for a wheelchair to get through to access the polling location;

  • Lack of at least one set of automatic doors or someone available to open doors.

  • Lack of a functioning, accessible voting machine.

  • Lack of poll workers available who know how to assist with operating the accessible voting machine.

Know your rights. If you require assistance in order to cast your vote, a poll worker may assist you or you may bring someone with you to assist you. The person who assists you cannot be your employer or your union representative. You must request assistance before you enter the voting booth.

If you are a person with a disability, and you are unable to cast your vote privately and independently during this election, contact IPAS at 800-622-4845. You will be prompted to enter an extension number. Between the hours of 6:00AM-12:30PM EST, enter extension #451. After 12:30PM, enter extension #470. Leave a message with your phone number and issue. Your call will be returned promptly.

This information was shared from the Indiana Governor's Council for People with Disabilities. Click here to visit their website.

October 28, 2015
by Sara Croft   |   0 Comments

Jill Johnson, President of the Century 21 Scheetz Charitable Foundation, stopped by our office this week to present a $2,425.00 donation to support our mission. In addition to our annual Bingo Bonanza event, Century 21 Scheetz continues to raise money for children and adults with disabilities and special needs throughout the year.

This donation was the result of a campaign with IndyCar driver Josef Newgarden who surprised Josiah and his family during this year's Indy500. Josiah received a room makeover from Century 21 Scheetz, complete with signed gear from Josef Newgarden and tickets to attend the race with the Century 21 team. Josef Newgarden signed one of his helmets, and Century 21 Scheetz used the helmet to raise money for Easter Seals Crossroads.

Pictured below is Patrick Sandy, President and CEO of Easter Seals Crossroads, with Jill Johnson of Century 21 Scheetz.

Century 21 Scheetz Fall 2015 Donation

Easter Seals Crossroads thanks Century 21 Scheetz for their generous contribution. This donation will go towards supporting our mission - to improve the lives of children and adults with disabilities, special needs or challenges by promoting inclusion, independence and dignity.


October 26, 2015
by Sara Croft   |   0 Comments

Image of woman in wheelchair using bus liftJoin Health by Design and local community partners to discuss public transportation policy and its role in creating ‘livable communities’ throughout Indiana. Participants will also engage in activities to ensure there are accessible pathways of travel – the critical links between the sidewalk, bus stop, and bus ride—where they live.

What: First-Mile, Last-Mile Connections to Transit Workshop
When: Friday, November 13, 9 AM – 3 PM
Where: IndyGo board room, 1501 West Washington Street, Indianapolis, IN 46222

This particular workshop will focus on ensuring “first mile-last mile” connections to fixed-route transit service – the vital link between the curb, sidewalk, and bus stop. The goal of the workshop is to train volunteers how to examine the safety and accessibility features of fixed-route bus stops and the pedestrian infrastructure that connects to them. Information that is collected can then be used for future improvements.

The primary audiences for these workshops are individuals with disabilities, family members, older adults, disability organization staff and advocates, nonprofit partners, local government staff, active transportation advocates, and elected officials. Anyone and everyone who’s interested in bettering community mobility options can attend!

The workshop is FREE and but registration is required. Please register by Monday, November 2 by clicking this link

Please contact Addison Pollock with any additional questions or comments at apollock@acsm.org or 317-352-3817. This event is made possible by the Indiana Governor’s Council for People with Disabilities.

October 16, 2015
by Sara Croft   |   0 Comments

Have you chosen your costume for Hallow's Eve: A Night for Ability? Kara Hofer of Fancy That Vintage created three unique vintage-inspired costume ideas that may inspire you to get out there and create a costume for this year's event.

Attendees with the best costumes at the event will be entered into the costume contest, judged by our local celebrities:

Kristin Kane, Fox59 Morning News Anchor

Scott Jones, Fox59 Morning News Anchor

Leslie Bailey, IndyStar Adventuress

Prizes include Indianapolis Colts home game tickets, a suite hotel stay at the JW Marriott, and more!

Both men and women could create this warm and cozy Sherlock Holmes costume: 

Sherlock Holmes Costume Idea

Early 19th century Mexican painter Frida Kahlo was known for her self-portraits. This costume is bright and colorful, just like her paintings.

Frieda Khalo Costume Design Ideas

These round glasses and black and gold colors offer a creative and low-maintenance steampunk look:

Steampunk Princess

Find these items on Etsy at Fancy That Vintage and Anatomy Vintage.

WIN TWO VIP TICKETS to Hallow's eve: A Night for Ability

Share a photo of a past Halloween costume that you created on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram using the hashtag #ESCHALLOWSEVE to enter for a chance to win two VIP tickets to the event. A winner will be selected on Thursday, October 22 and will be notified via the method you enter to win. Must be 21 or older to attend. 

Can't wait to create your costume? Snag your tickets at http://hallowseveability.eventbrite.com.

October 12, 2015
by Sara Croft   |   0 Comments

Hear Indiana is hosting a Parent INcouragement Night to give parents with children who have a hearing loss a safe and encouraging place to learn valuable topics while networking with other parents. INcouragement Nights take place on the third Friday of every month from 6:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Free pizza and free childcare is offered.

This month's Parent INcouragement Night features William G. Kronenberger, Ph.D., Professor and Director, Section of Psychology; Executive Vice Chair, Department of Psychiatry, Indiana University School of Medicine.

Hear Indiana Incouragement Logo

When: Friday, October 16th 6:00 – 8:30 p.m.

What: Hear Indiana’s Parent INcouragement Night! This event promises to inspire, to teach, and to help equip parents for success. Dinner and child care provided at no charge.

Topic: Executive Functioning and Hearing Loss

In this presentation, guests will learn what executive functions are and how they can be affected by hearing loss. Parents will also learn how to identify executive functions in their children’s behavior and things that they can do to promote better executive functioning in their children.

"In cognitive terms, executive functions include the ability to initiate work, plan and organize, set goals, generate problem-solving strategies, and demonstrate cognitive flexibility, emotional self-regulation, and self-monitoring." - Marcia Eckerd, PhD. For more information about executive functioning, click here.

6:00 - 6:45: Meet & Greet plus pizza dinner. Come meet other parents on the journey!
6:45 - 8:30: Children will watch a movie while parents learn from Dr. Kronenberger. Have the kiddos bring their pillows and blankets for the movie!

RSVP IS REQUIRED. Please let Hear Indiana know if you are coming by Monday, October 12th, so we have enough pizza and child-care providers available. Children six-months and younger are welcome to stay with parents. Please email info@shrcindiana.org or call 317-828-0211 to RSVP.

Where? Easter Seals Crossroads building at 4740 Kingsway Drive, Indianapolis, IN 46205. 

Hear Indiana empowers and supports children with hearing loss who listen and speak. Over the past 45 years, Hear Indiana has helped thousands of children with hearing loss achieve their full potential. In partnership with Easter Seals Crossroads, Hear Indiana operates the Speech & Hearing Resource Center, a state of the art facility to meet the needs of Hoosier children with hearing loss and their families. For more information, click here.


October 9, 2015
by Sara Croft   |   0 Comments

Darlisa DavisToday's post features Darlisa Davis, who joined the Easter Seals Crossroads Board of Directors in 2014. Through her numerous business connections, Davis has built valuable new relationships between Easter Seals Crossroads and the central Indiana business community, and extends the reach of our services far beyond our own capabilities.

Current occupation: Relationship Manager at First Merchants Bank, N.A. 
Educational background: Richland College, Dallas, TX
Hometown: Although I was originally from Vincennes, Indiana, after residing in Texas and Georgia I selected Indianapolis as my hometown 25 years ago.

How did you first become introduced to Easter Seals Crossroads?
I was first introduced to Easter Seals by Curtiss Quirin, Chief Operating Officer at Crossroads Industrial Services (CIS) at a CEO networking group. Curtiss shared with the group that CIS employs individuals with disabilities while providing companies with customized solutions. I was very moved by how this program improves an individual’s quality of life by maximizing their skills and abilities through employment while providing companies a service to lower costs without compromising quality. It spoke to me as to how communities work together for a greater good.

I wanted to learn more about the mission and services so I met with Curtiss and Patrick Sandy, President and CEO of Easter Seals Crossroads, over coffee and was amazed at the depth of services that the organization provides to consumers and their families. I was committed at that point to help educate our community about Easter Seals Crossroads.

What has been your most memorable experience as a board member?
This is a pretty interesting question, as I am constantly humbled and walk away in awe by the testimonials of the consumers and the energetic, dedicated, loyal and compassionate staff and the volunteers. The staff rejoices with their consumers and families and stands next to them during the trials. Three of my personal favorite events are the Ability Lunch, Bingo Bonanza and Hallow’s Eve.

Why do you continue to stay involved with Easter Seals Crossroads?
My passion continues to grow as Easter Seals helps children achieve their full potential at play and at school, helps veterans return to their communities, provides respite to caregivers to include all of their children and again the incredible staff. I am committed to helping in all ways to expand brand awareness for both financial support as well as to assist people in finding the assistance they need.

How has Easter Seals Crossroads impacted your ability to advocate on behalf of individuals with disabilities?
During my short tenure with Easter Seals Crossroads, I have learned about the extensive services and support for consumers and their families, I have become even more aware of their daily and life challenges and I have heard of their triumphs and joy. I am excited to be part of such a great and caring organization. I have been surprised how many people are not aware of the depth of services that Easter Seals Crossroads provides to our community. Being close to the organization has allowed me to point individuals in the right direction for education, assistance and services.

I envision myself as one of the long time supporters of Easter Seals Crossroads in whatever capacity they deem valuable.

Learn more about Easter Seals Crossroads' Board of Directors by viewing their names and biographies on our website here.

October 5, 2015
by Sara Croft   |   0 Comments

On Thursday, October 1 a group of seventeen Eli Lilly & Company employees came to Easter Seals Crossroads and spent the afternoon cleaning, sanding and staining all of the outdoor furniture used in our Therapy and Wellness Garden. The garden is used by staff and consumers alike at Easter Seals Crossroads. It is a safe place to go outside and enjoy the sunshine in the warm spring and summer months and a beautiful spot to watch the leaves change in the fall. The volunteer group was a part of the Lilly Global Day of Service, where nearly 20,000 Lilly employees spent a day outsides of the office, volunteering in communities around the world.

The group revitalized some pieces of solid wood furniture that was almost twenty years old. Now the pieces look brand new and will withstand the chilly winter months and be ready to go in the spring. We are very grateful for their hard work!

Volunteer staining a bench

Volunteer staining another bench

Group of Lilly volunteers together

If your group, school, or business is interested in volunteering at Easter Seals Crossroads, please contact Tessa Barnard, Volunteer and Community Outreach Coordinator, at tbarnard@eastersealscrossroads.org.

This blog was written by Tessa Barnard, Volunteer and Community Outreach Coordinator at Easter Seals Crossroads.