August 25, 2014
by Sara Croft   |   0 Comments

2014 marks the second year of a charitable partnership between the Indianapolis Monumental Marathon and Easter Seals Crossroads. This year, the 5K, half marathon and full marathon races take place on Saturday, November 1 in downtown Indianapolis. Over 13,600 participants from eight foreign countries and 46 states helped set registration and finisher record numbers in 2013, and we hope our participation helps boost those numbers for 2014. 

Over 2,000 volunteers are needed to make the event a success. Easter Seals Crossroads is looking for volunteers who can assist with packet pick-up at the Expo. Duties include creating the racer packets with t-shirts, posters, bibs and event info along with handing them out to each runner.

Volunteer shifts available:

Thursday, October 30 - 12:00 PM to 4:00 PM or 3:30 PM to 7:00 PM

Friday, October 31 - 10:30 AM to 2:30 PM, 2:00 PM to 6:00 PM or 5:30 PM to 9:30 PM 

To sign up, visit the Indianapolis Monumental Marathon's volunteer page and click "register as volunteer." Select an expo time and in the comments section, write that you are volunteering on behalf of Easter Seals Crossroads. 

Your participation as a volunteer supports children and adults with disabilities and special needs in central Indiana. Thank you for your continued support! For more information about expo volunteer opportunities or to register as a group, contact Tessa Barnard, Volunteer and Community Outreach Coordinator, at tbarnard@eastersealscrossroads.org.

August 22, 2014
by Sara Croft   |   0 Comments

Liam at BatAt Easter Seals Crossroads, we understand the importance of providing early intervention services for children aged birth to three years with a diagnosed disability, developmental delay or those biologically at risk of a developmental delay. As a parent, do you know what signs to look for in your child's development to identify a potential delay?

Parents are usually the first to notice unusual behaviors in their child or their child's failure to reach appropriate developmental milestones. Not all milestones are as easy to identify as walking and talking, which is why the free online Ages & Stages Questionnaire is here to help.

When kids get the right treatment and therapy they need before the age of five, they are ready to learn alongside their peers, build lifelong skills, and achieve their dreams. We know kids who do well in school, do well in life.

  • For children who are identified before age three and enrolled in early intervention services, more than 11 percent do not need special education.

  • Research demonstrates that children who attend high quality pre-kindergarten programs are less likely to be held back a grade, less likely to need special education and more likely to graduate high school. They are less involved in crime and delinquency. They also earn more as adults and are less likely to become dependent on welfare.

  • The U.S. Census Bureau reports that in 2010 there were 75,217,000 children under age 18, and 21,000,000 children aged 5 or younger with a disability or were at risk of a disability. Among children under 18, nearly 14% had a special health care need and could benefit from screening and services. 1 in 5 households with children has a child with a special health care need.

To determine if your child could benefit from early intervention services, take the free online Ages & Stages Questionnaire. Each survey is geared towards your child's age (0 - 5) and asks questions about their development in five different sensory areas: cognitive, sensory, language, social/emotional and movement.

Easter Seals Crossroads provides physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech-language therapy, augmentative communication services and behavioral therapy either in your home or at our facility. Contact us today to learn more about our evaluation process and how early intervention services may help your child.

August 13, 2014
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

August 7, 2014
by Sara Croft   |   0 Comments

August in Indianapolis means trips to the Indiana State Fair, one more month of lounging at the pool before Labor Day, and the inevitable moment where kids start the next school year. Going back to school does not have to be stressful, thanks to these tips from therapists in our Autism Family Resource Center.

Before school:

1. Prepare for an earlier bedtime – This is an opportunity to create a consistent schedule and set expectations. Begin by going to bed a little earlier each and every day working up to that first day of school. The more sleep your child has, the more prepared they will be for learning.

2. Involve your child in school supply shopping – Allow them to go to the store and help pick out clothes, markers and notepads as a way to build excitement about school.

3. Create social stories – Is your child asking “Am I going to have the same teacher / school / therapist / classroom?” Help them answer those questions by creating social stories with tools from the Autism Family Resource Center.

4. Visit the school with your child – Take photos of the school and your child’s classroom and add them to your social stories. Walk the hallways, sit down in the classroom, find the restroom and cafeteria and other important areas your child should become familiar with.

Image of Boy with Pencil5. Read/watch “back to school” stories – Your local library offers several children’s books with stories of back to school themes including potential scenarios your child may encounter during school. PBS's educational television show Arthur often deals with important issues children face with going back to school.

At School:

6. Identify a school buddy – Allow one of your child’s classmates to come over for playtime and get to know your child. ESC Autism and Behavioral Services’ Licensed Clinical Therapist, Maren Oslund, LCSW, suggests “contacting your child’s teacher and ask them if there is a neuro-typical peer in their class that interacts well with your child and would serve as a good model for him or her. Building that friendship outside of school will help that neuro-typical peer advocate for and support your child in the classroom.”

7. Provide a visual schedule – Create a daily schedule that includes the morning, school day and afternoon so your child can anticipate the routine of getting out the door in the morning and back home after school.

8. Communicate with the teacher – Help your child’s teacher know what your child’s favorite things are (ex: dinosaurs) so he/she can incorporate them into educational lessons. Identify any sensory needs your child may have so the teacher can provide an inclusive teaching environment. Communicate with your teacher to make sure they understand your child’s IEP / 504 plan.

After School:

9. Offer a study-only area – Have a place in your home that is calm, quiet and free from television, radio and general noise distractions. Maren Oslund, LCSW, also suggests having a “Ready for Homework” visual checklist that includes things like having supplies ready.

10. Commit to the routine –Providing visual supports, sticking to early bed times and using your evening to plan ahead for the next day helps your child understand what is expected and encourages smooth routines.

Going back to school may seem just as much work for parents as it is for their children. The Autism Family Resource Center offers Boardmaker software and laminators so parents can create visual schedules and offers monthly support groups with child care. The center is open to the public Monday through Friday, 8:00 AM to 4:00 PM or by appointment. Easter Seals Crossroads Autism and Behavioral Services can also provide therapy and behavioral services if issues at or about school arise. Call us at 317.479.3231 for more information about the resource center or our behavioral therapists.

August 2, 2014
by Sara Croft   |   0 Comments

The fairgrounds are alive with the Indiana State Fair from August 1 to 17, drawing thousands of people from all over the state of Indiana. If you're traveling from a distance or you're just taking an afternoon to see what it's all about, the Indiana State Fair has many tips on their website for people with disabilities and special needs.

Wheelchair and scooter rental - There's a lot of ground to cover at the fairgrounds, and they make every effort for you to get to every barn and tent you want to visit. A limited number of wheelchairs and scooters are available to rent for the day. Visit this website to make your reservation in advance and find details on pricing.

Shuttle tractors - Almost every where you look you'll see a tractor pulling three carts of people from one stop to the next. The ADA-accessible shuttle rides are $1 each.

Accessible parking - The Indiana State Fair's website states "accessible parking can be found just inside Gate 6, Gate 1, both north and west of the Expo Hall, the southwest corner of the infield adjacent to the ADA accessible walk tunnel and the south lot of the Indiana School for the Deaf."

Maps / Information booths - When you enter the fairgrounds you'll be able to pick up a program, which has a list of events for each day of the fair along with information on where to find restrooms and assistance if needed. Information booths are a great place to stop even if your question is about where to find the bacon glazed doughnuts! 

Service animals are allowed at the Indiana State Fair. Please make sure you have documentation present or that your animal is wearing something that designates they are a service animal. 

Accessible TractorInside the fair you'll find the Indiana Agrability Project from Breaking New Ground, a program out of Purdue University that cultivates independence for farmers and other rural residents with disabilities. The USDA-sponsored program addresses disabilities such as spinal cord injuries and amputations but also arthritis, back impairments and behavioral health issues. The project has a booth at the FFA Pavilion, and you can also see this accessible tractor up close!

 Do you have tips to share about accessibility at the Indiana State Fair? Leave a comment below!

July 25, 2014
by Sara Croft   |   0 Comments

24 years ago, on July 26, 1990, George H. W. Bush signed the Americans with Disabilities Act into law. This was a huge step forward for all disability activists and changed the lives of millions.

Obama ADA 20th Anniversary

Image of President Barack Obama Signing New ADA Rules and Celebrating the 20th Anniversary in 2010 (Courtesy WhiteHouse.Gov)

What does this act do? It is fairly simple, exciting and important. The Americans with Disabilities Act, or ADA, gives civil rights protection to individuals with disabilities that are like those provided to individuals on the basis of race, sex, national origin, and religion. It also guarantees equal opportunity for individuals with disabilities in employment, transportation, public accommodations, telecommunications, and State and local government services.

Here are 7 fun facts about the impact the ADA has made:

  1. The number of federal employees with disabilities has increased to nearly 12% of all federal employees in 2013, up from 7% in 2010.

  2. States like Oregon and Illinois are creating more supply-side opportunities for people with disabilities. This is called becoming a State as a Model Employer.

  3. Newly designed or newly constructed amusement rides must be accessible and located on an accessible route to the ride

  4. At least 50% of all holes on a miniature golf course must be accessible. These accessible holes must be consecutive, and they must be on an accessible route.

  5. Newly designed, newly constructed, or altered fishing piers must provide accessible routes, subject to the same expectations permitted for gangways.

  6. Accessible means of entry/exit are required for swimming pools.

  7. Students with documented disabilities may request academic adjustments, including auxiliary aids which enable them to participate in and benefit from all post-secondary educational programs and activities.

As you can see, the ADA has made a huge impact on millions of lives. Not only are long over due implications finally being made, but society is truly working to make sure that everyone is treated equally. Easter Seals Project Action is focused on increasing access to transportation for people with disabilities and has a lot of information for individuals, businesses and government entities on their website here: http://www.projectaction.org/.

If you have any questions or inputs about the Americans with Disabilities Act or if you would like to know more about what Easter Seals Crossroads is able to do thanks to the implementation of the ADA, feel free to comment below!

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


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.