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April 15, 2014
by Sara Croft   |   0 Comments

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

Today there are few options when it comes to games for people who are blind and visually impaired. A few of the big game retailers such as Uno, Monopoly, and Scrabble have games that are accessible but unfortunately they cost about two to three times the normal retail prices. That is where 64 Ounce Games comes into play.

Creators of 64 Ounce Games, Richard and Emily Gibbs, got tired of not being able to play board games with their blind and visually impaired friends and decided to make a change. Richard, who currently works in special education, has a real interest in developing and designing tabletop board games. His wife, Emily Gibbs, is a graduate of Louisiana Tech University with a masters degree in teaching blind students. She also has her National Certification in Literary Braille and has lead Braille programs across the country. She is now currently working as a teacher of the visually impaired and coordinates the Texas BELL Program. 64 Ounce Games is the merging of both of their individual interests.

Here's their Kickstarter pitch which includes testimonials from people who are blind and visually impaired that share why they advocate for accessible games:

 

 

Currently on Kickstarter until Thursday, April 24, 64 Ounce Games’ campaign so far will allow them to start producing a new line of products that would add accessibility to already existing card and board games. The first kit that they would like to begin producing are transparent sleeves which have Braille on them for many different card games. Their base funding goal of $7,500, which they have already reached and exceeded, will allow them to make the sleeves but there are different levels of stretch goals will allow them to create these sleeves for many more complex card games and eventually board games too. Now that they have reached their base goal, they are also looking into making dice. There are already different forms of dice out there that are accessible but there are not any accessible rpg dice or dice specific to certain board games.

Since creator Richard Gibbs’ real passion is inventing board games, 64 Ounce Games already has a game out called Yoink! This is a tactile micro game that is fun for both the blind and visually impaired and their sighted friends. 

Rahdo Run Throughs, a YouTube game reviewer, commented on Yoink! and said "What I didn't expect was the impact it had on me and Jen to actually try to function and exert a skill and accomplish something completely with touch. It was absolutely amazing for us to [...] walk among another persons shoes and really get the sense for what it feels like to to be sightless." He discusses the impact that 64 Ounce Games could have on the gaming industry in this short video:


 

64 Ounce Games' goal is to simply produce high quality, engaging, strategy games that are also accessible to people whom are blind and visually impaired. Richard and Emily Gibbs, the creators of 64 Ounce Games, were tired of not being able to play games with their blind and visually impaired games and simply came up with a solution. There is so much room for this new innovation to grow and change people’s lives so let’s get together and make gaming for everyone possible!

April 14, 2014
by Sara Croft   |   0 Comments

Today's post was written by Tessa Barnard, Volunteer and Community Outreach Coordinator at Easter Seals Crossroads.

It has been forty years since President Richard Nixon established National Volunteer Appreciation Week with an executive order in 1974. Since then, every sitting US president has made a proclamation to recognize the efforts of our nation’s volunteers and encourage others to give time in their communities. President Barack Obama had this to say about service in this year’s National Volunteer Appreciation Week proclamation:

By performing acts of service, we can shape a Nation big enough and bold enough to accommodate the hopes of all our people. Across our country, volunteers open doors of opportunity, pave avenues of success, fortify their communities, and lay the foundation for tomorrow's growth and prosperity. They are often equipped with few resources and gain little recognition, yet because of their service, our country is a better and a stronger force for good.

This year National Volunteer Appreciation Week was April 6 through April 12.

Volunteers Have FUN at Easter Seals Crossroads

Easter Seals Crossroads held an Appreciation Event last Wednesday to thank our volunteers for giving over 9,334 hours of their time in 2013 to children and adults with disabilities and special needs. Volunteers were treated to an appetizer buffet, exciting video and redemption games, bowling, and raffle drawings throughout the evening. Take a look at some of the pictures from the event:

Anne Bowling

Cindy and Sam

JerriAnn

Tessa, Sara and Ryan

If you’re interested in volunteering with Easter Seals Crossroads, please visit our volunteer page or contact Tessa Barnard, Volunteer and Community Outreach Coordinator at tbarnard@eastersealscrossroads.org.

April 11, 2014
by Sara Croft   |   0 Comments

April is Autism Awareness month, but at Easter Seals Crossroads we understand how autism impacts families much more than just one month out of the year. We have compiled a list of blog posts that show how our staff, consumers and their families strive for autism awareness year-round.

Autism Awareness from Our Staff:

Claire Werner, Occupational Therapist at Easter Seals Crossroads, presented at The American Occupational Therapy Association 2013 conference along with her research team to share findings from the project “The Transition Experience from High School to Adult Life for Individuals with an Autism Spectrum Disorder:”
http://www.eastersealscrossroads.org/blog/2013/may/claire-werner-presents-at-the-american-occupational-therapy-association-2013-conference

Kat Muir, a speech language pathologist at Easter Seals Crossroads, submitted a video titled "Be Aumazing" about her experience with Asperger's to CNN and was featured on their iReport page: http://www.eastersealscrossroads.org/blog/2012/april/be-aumazing

Maren Oslund, Licensed Clinical Therapist, realized that a hygiene need was not being met for some of the teens she was seeing at Easter Seals Crossroads, so she established a Hair Care Day for teens with Autism Spectrum Disorder:
http://www.eastersealscrossroads.org/blog/2013/november/hair-care-day-for-teens-with-autism-spectrum-disorder

Hair Care Day

 

Autism Services:

Former intern Kelly Pattison gets personal about her sister with autism and the importance of early intervention: http://www.eastersealscrossroads.org/blog/2013/june/the-importance-of-early-intervention

Children with autism will become adults with autism. From transition services from high school to the workplace to assistive technology and more, Easter Seals Crossroads is here to make it a smooth transition: http://www.eastersealscrossroads.org/blog/2013/october/growing-up-with-autism

Do you know the basic principles of communication and behavior when speaking or interacting with someone who has autism? Everyone is an individual, but there are a few general concepts and statistics about autism that many relate to: 
http://www.eastersealscrossroads.org/blog/2013/august/understanding-autism-basic-principles-of-communication-and-behavior

Our Autism Family Resource Center staff discuss how to prepare your child with autism for a doctor's office visit:
http://www.eastersealscrossroads.org/blog/2011/november/preparing-child-with-autism-for-doctors-office-visit

Dana and her brother 

Autism Awareness in the Community:

We discussed 3 celebrities who shout for autism awareness with foundations and activism and featured them in this post:
http://www.eastersealscrossroads.org/blog/2012/july/3-celebrities-who-shout-for-autism-awareness

Dana Cullom, former Autism Family Resource Center intern, introduces her new project College Students Act for Autism: http://www.eastersealscrossroads.org/blog/2011/december/dana-cullom-introduces-college-students-act-for-autism

PeerXChange participants share why they joined the program to mentor college students with autism:
http://www.eastersealscrossroads.org/blog/2013/august/going-back-to-school-with-peerxchange
 

Autism Awareness from our Consumers:

Natalie Miller went through our drivers training program and wrote about how the experience helped her regain her independence as a young adult:
http://www.eastersealscrossroads.org/blog/2012/may/driving-the-crossroads

Summer camps are a great way for kids to enhance their social skills and have fun in the sun. We featured Camp ROCKS and CampAbility, along with a testimonial from a parent who's child has participated in CampAbility for several years: http://www.eastersealscrossroads.org/blog/2013/may/accessible-summer-camps

April 9, 2014
by Sara Croft   |   0 Comments

High school, college and technical school graduations are quickly approaching; do you need a sign language interpreter? If so, Deaf Community Services can help you!

We are currently scheduling interpreting services for graduations in May and June. Sign language interpreters can be arranged by calling us at 317.479.3240, emailing us or completing a request form on our website. If you arrange interpreting services by April 18, 2014, you will receive a 20% discount on the standard graduation ceremony fee of $200. This includes two interpreters. Any time over two hours will incur additional interpreting fees.

Our services are available all year long — we provide sign language interpreting, as well as case management assistance. Contact us for more information! 

Schedule Interpreters for Graduation

April 8, 2014
by Sara Croft   |   0 Comments

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

The Accessible Icon Project is a group committed to transforming the old International Symbol of Access into an active, engaged image. Created by Sara Hendren, whom is also one of many co-founders, the new icon’s purpose is to put more emphasis on the individual and less on the chair. The Accessible Icon project has made an impressive impact by providing supplies and services to help transform the old symbol. “We think visual representation matters. People with disabilities have a long history of being spoken for, of being rendered passive in decisions about their lives…the old icon displays that passivity.” The old icon shows more emphasis on the chair instead of the user by displaying an individual with motorized looking arms and legs sitting in an unnatural position whereas the new icon shows the individual in a more active position. “We think that cities should evolve their images of accessibility too”.

Accessible Icon

What's different about the Accessible Icon? 

1. Head - Forward to indicate moving through space; the person is the "driver" or decision maker about mobility.

2. Arm - Pointing backward to suggest mobility regardless of whether he/she uses their arms, shows active status of navigating the world

3. Wheel Cutouts - Represents the wheel in motion, also allows the for the image to be used as a stencil

4. Limb Rendition - Consistent with other body representations found in the ISO 7001 - DOT Pictograms

5. Leg Position - Leg has been moved forward to allow more space for better readability and stencil application

As you can see, there are many differences between the old and new icon. It is also ADA Compliant. The Federal and State officials have decided that the variations on the historical International Symbol of Accessibility are acceptable providing the symbol visibly displays the wheelchair and indicates accessibility.

Looking at past symbols, anyone can see the differences that have been made throughout the last 50 year but the newest symbol created by The Accessible Icon Project is definitely innovative. Often described as active, capable, engaged, determined, and ready-for-action, this icon has created a lot of conversation on how we view disabilities and people with disabilities in our society. “Our active accessibility symbol helps re-imagine how society and individuals view people with disabilities”.

Past Accessible Icons

Interested in taking action and helping spread the word? The Accessible Icon Project encourages groups of youth and adults of all abilities to re-imagine accessibility in their workplaces, schools, and nonprofits. Spread the word any way you would like! Print off stickers, create parking lot symbols, or simply tweet about the project and hash tag #MovingForward. Interested in learning more? Check out their page at http://www.accessibleicon.org/take-action.html.

April 3, 2014
by Sara Croft   |   1 Comment

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

When we think of superheros, we often think of the crime fighting men and women in vibrant and colorful costumes who protect us from the villains who always have some evil plan up their sleeves. Each character has a back story about how they acquired their powers and transformed from being "normal" humans to super humans. Did you know that several superheros also have disabilities? Here are back stories for 7 superheros who went from disability to ability:

Barbara Gordon Turned Oracle

Image Courtesy of DC Comics 

Professor X – Otherwise known as Charles Xavier, Professor X is the leader of the X-Men. Being an incredibly strong telepath himself and expert on genetics and mutations, he is the founder of Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters, a refuge for mutant teens. According to the comic books, as a young man, he was injured by an alien named Lucifer. This accident left him paraplegic, which led to the use of his iconic wheelchair. Never letting his disability keep him from his work, he is often seen as an advocate for mutant rights and sought after for his thought on various mutant issues.

Barbara Gordon – The first modern age Batgirl, Barbara Gordon is the intelligent, redhead sidekick to Batman and daughter of Jim Gordon. Determined to become a crime fighter, she donned the suit without asking for permission and fought alongside Batman for many years. After a brutal shot by the Joker, rendering her paralyzed from the waist down, Barbara reinvented herself as the Oracle, providing intelligence to the DCU heroes. In the comic series, Barbara can be seen using her wheelchair and transforming into Oracle.

Wendy Harris – After an attack by a giant dog, Wendy’s brother Marvin was killed and she was left brutally injured. She, much like Barbara Gordon, was left unable to walk and took on the role of junior Oracle within the DCU. She worked with Barbara and helped out Stephanie Brown, the current Batgirl.

Cyclops – When Scott Summers (Cyclops) was just 12 years old, his family was flying home from vacation when their private plane was attacked by a Shi’ar spacecraft. Killing both of his parents, Scott and his brother were left orphans. During the aftermath of the attack, Scott sustained a head injury, causing a slight amount of brain damage, affecting the portion of his brain which controlled his latent optic blasts. Later split up from his brother, Scott ran away from the orphanage when he was 15 after his power emerged in public. Becoming the first X-Men, Cyclops succeeds his mentor Professor X to command the X-Men.

Daredevil – As a child, Matt Murdock was blinded by radioactive waste while trying to save an old man whom was about to get hit by a truck. Sequentially, his other senses were heightened to superhuman sharpness, and he gained a form of “radar sense”. He is now, by day, a successful trial lawyer but by night, a hero.

Hornet – Eddie McDonough was a college science prodigy with a palsied arm. When he was chosen by Black Marvel, he was given the Hornet Costume and joined the Slingers, a group of individuals whom Black Marvel had brought together. Hornet only became further confident because of his superhero status. Because he had enhanced strength, no one noticed his disability.

Nick Fury – Nicholas Joseph Fury served in World War II as the leader of the Howling Commandos. Nick always managed to get most of his team members back alive after each mission; however, Nick himself was injured by a grenade at the end of the war. This grenade caused his eye injury that eventually cost him his vision in his left eye. Fury began covering his eye with a black eye-path which became one of his trademarks after the war. Nick later became an agent, and eventually director of S.H.I.E.L.D. Fury is one of the greatest strategic minds in the world. He is a born leader and master of espionage.

Do you have a favorite superhero that you look up to? Leave a comment and let us know!

March 31, 2014
by Sara Croft   |   0 Comments

What is assistive technology? The INDATA Project at Easter Seals Crossroads has been tackling that question by providing free seminars and workshops with assistive technology professionals who specialize in technology accomodations for people with disabilities.

If you are in need of assistive technology for yourself, a family member or a friend, consider attending INDATA's training so you may ask questions and learn about how assistive technology impacts our employment, education or independent living goals.

WHAT: Assistive Technology 101

WHERE: Easter Seals Crossroads 5th Floor Conference Room

WHEN: Friday, May 15, 2014 from 9:00 AM to 3:00 PM

Who should attend: Anyone interested in learning the basics of Assistive Technology. Vocational Rehabilitation counselors who are new to the field or need a refresher on Assistive Technology, social workers, parents, educators, students,professionals and health care providers can benefit from training content.

Visit the Eventbrite page to register and view the agenda at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/assistive-technology-101-tickets-11004666253.

Assistive Technology Computer 

March 27, 2014
by Sara Croft   |   0 Comments

Are you a veteran in need of employment assistance? Easter Seals Crossroads recognizes the urgent needs facing military families and veterans with disabilities as they reintegrate into their communities after serving our country - as do the Indiana Pacers.

The Indiana Pacers have partnered with the Golden Star USA Foundation to host the 1st annual Veterans Career Fair. This FREE event held at Bankers Life Fieldhouse allows veterans the opportunity to meet and interact with the participating businesses, such as: MS Inspection and Logistics, Roadmaster Drivers School, Design-Aire Engineering, Phoenix Fabricators and Erectors, Guitar Center, Lowe's Home Improvement, and many more.

WHAT: Indiana Pacers Veterans Career Fair

WHEN: Wednesday, April 2, 2014 from 1:00 PM - 4:00 PM

WHERE: Bankers Life Fieldhouse

Vendors have a limited supply of tickets available for veterans to attend the Indiana Pacers game that evening against the Detroit Pistons. Tickets are available while supplies last and are subject to availability.

To learn more about how Easter Seals Crossroads provides services to military families and veterans, visit http://www.eastersealscrossroads.org/military-and-veterans-initiative.

March 26, 2014
by Sara Croft   |   1 Comment

Have you noticed the art on the walls in our building? Recently, our Adult Day Services partnered with Herron School of Art and Design's art therapy program so that Herron students may learn and work alongside our consumers. An entire room on the 1st floor has been dedicated for art therapy projects and to hold canvases, paints, materials and more. 

Cayla, a student at Herron High School, is also interested in art. She volunteered last week to work with the adults in the program to create a canvas piece. Cayla says "It was my first time volunteering and I was nervous but I had a great time and I will volunteer with the Adult Day Program again!”

Art with Cayla

Art with Cayla

Interested in volunteering with the art program in our Adult Day Services? Individuals or small groups may join in on the fun by contacting Tessa Barnard, Volunteer and Community Outreach Coordinator, at 317-466-1000 or tbarnard@eastersealscrossroads.org

March 25, 2014
by Sara Croft   |   0 Comments

April is Autism Awareness Month and our Autism Family Resource Center has a variety of seminars for parents and caregivers to participate in at no cost. 

April 2 Topic: Behavior Basics and Autism
Speaker: Dr. Tracy Gale, PsyD, HSPP and Karrie Veteto, MOT-OTR, BCBA
Time: 5:30 - 7:00 p.m.
Location: Easter Seals Crossroads — Autism Family Resource Center

April 9 Topic: Social Skills Groups Panel
Speakers: Panel of various professionals who provide this service locally
Time: 5:30 - 7:00 p.m.
Location: Easter Seals Crossroads — Autism Family Resource Center

April 16 Topic: Puberty and Autism
Speaker: Maren Oslund, LCSW, Behavioral Clinician
Time: 5:30 - 7:00 p.m.
Location: Easter Seals Crossroads — Autism Family Resource Center

April 23 Topic: Medications and Autism
Speaker: Chad Knoderer, PharmD, Associate Professor of Pharmacy Practice
Director for Clinical and Health Outcomes Research of Pharmacy Practice
Time: 5:30 - 7:00 p.m.
Location: Easter Seals Crossroads — Autism Family Resource Center

April 30 Topic: Autism Related Movie Night
Time: 5:30 - 7:00 p.m.
Location: Easter Seals Crossroads — Autism Family Resource Center

Childcare will be provided for children (6 months to 12 years old) who are registered.
Childcare availability is limited. Parents need to register by calling Amy at 317.466.1000 x2488. You only need to register for childcare; if you do not need childcare, you do not need to register. 

The Autism Family Resource Center at Easter Seals Crossroads provides parents and grandparents support groups, a lending library with resource materials, and information and referral resources. For more information about the Autism Awareness series or the Autism Family Resource Center, please contact Amy Miller, Autism Resource Specialist,
at 317.466.1000 x2488 or amiller@eastersealscrossroads.org.

Autism Logo