October 16, 2014
by Sara Croft   |   0 Comments

On Thursday, October 2 a group of nineteen Eli Lilly & Company employees came to Easter Seals Crossroads and spent the afternoon cleaning, sanding and staining around twenty pieces of furniture that is used in our children’s respite program, Parents’ Night Out. The group was a part of the Lilly Global Day of Service, where nearly 24,000 Lilly employees spent a day outsides of the office, volunteering in communities around the world.

The group revitalized some pieces of solid wood children’s furniture that was over twenty years old. Now the pieces look brand new and the extra coats of polyurethane will add another layer of protection from tiny hands. We are very grateful for their hard work!

Lilly Day of Service

Lilly Day of Service

Lilly Day of Service

Lilly Day of Service

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.


October 13, 2014
by Sara Croft   |   0 Comments

Improve Yours: A Call for Healthy Communities is the theme for the 2014 Indiana Governor's Council for People with Disabilities Conference. Held December 8 and 9 at the Westin Hotel in downtown Indianapolis, 2014 marks 20 years of the annual conference and this year emphasizes the critical need to ensure Indiana's communities promote health - physical, mental, cultural, and social - for all citizens.

The two day conference hosts a wide variety of speakers from across the US who each have a connection to disability and health and wellness. This year's keynote speakers include:

Oklahoma City Mayor Mick Cornett - Best know for putting the city "on a diet," Cornett focused $800 million on parks, urban transit, wellness centers and infrastructure to enhance the quality of life for residents. 

Mary Paterson, Ph.D - Associate Dean, School of Nursing at The Catholic University of American - Dr. Paterson has provided consultation and testimony on health care policy issues for the US Senate, the California and Nevada legislatures, and the Maryland State Nurses' Association, among others. She has provided technical guidance and consultation to international health projects in more than 20 countries. 

Julie Willems Van Dijk, R.N., Ph.D. - Associate Scientist and Deputy Director, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute - Dr. Van Dijk's research focuses in the area of quality of community health improvement planning processes. She has worked with numerous partners across the nation to improve the health of communities nationwide and has worked in local public health for 21 years holding roles as a public health nurse, director of nursing and health officer. 

In addition to the keynote speakers is an impressive roster of speaker sessions with topics such as:

  • Violence as a Health Issue

  • Crosswalks to Health: Complete Streets

  • Enriching Life through Social Interaction: Vistability

  • Affordable Housing: Opening Your Community To All

  • And several more 

During scheduled breaks, visit the Assistive Technology Lab hosted by our own INDATA Project. Attendees will have the chance to get up close and personal with the latest assistive technology devices for low vision, hearing, mobility, independent living and more. You'll see demonstrations of equipment and software, as well as learn about loans and funding assistance.

To register for Improve Yours: A Call for Healthy Communities, visit http://gcpdconference.org before November 21. A limited number of scholarships are available for Indiana SSI, SSDI or TANF recipients. For more information, contact Sandy Kite Hunt, Healthy Communities Conference Coordinator, at (317) 786-7272, (866) 786-7272 or skh4hog@comcast.net. 

October 7, 2014
by Sara Croft   |   0 Comments

Easter Seals Crossroads wants you take you underground to the creepiest, darkest, spookiest place Indianapolis has to offer - the City Market catacombs.

Catacombs Photo

On Saturday, October 25 from 7:00 - 11:00 p.m., we are making it happen at our inaugural Hallow’s Eve: A Night for Ability event. Located in Indianapolis City Market, Hallow’s Eve will feature historic catacomb tours, delicious treats from a variety of food vendors, beer from Sun King Brewing, wine and entertainment from fire spinners, magicians, tarot card readers, palm readers, and a costume contest.

During Hallow’s Eve, we want to you to experience the scary 20,000 feet of musty, dusty, spooky, and scary space that is full of history and mystery. But for now, here are ten facts to uncover some of the unknown:

1. The Indianapolis City Market catacombs are over one hundred years old.

2. The catacombs are one of only a dozen catacomb sites in the United States today.

3. The catacombs are what are left of Tomlinson Hall, which was built in 1886. The hall used to hold 3,500 people.

4. In 1886, the City Market vendors served food in the catacombs.

5. The first basketball game ever viewed in Indianapolis was played at Tomlinson Hall.

6. One hundred years ago, the catacombs also served as a nightly homeless shelter to men and women to seek warmth during a bad Indianapolis winter.

7. Tomlinson Hall burnt down in 1958.

8. All that remains is limestone, brick archways, dirt floors, and deep, dark rooms.

9. According to Stevi Stoesz, City Market Executive Director, “There is a haunted chair in one of the rooms leading off of the catacombs. It don't think it has been moved for years.”

10. To date, 700 people have toured the City Market catacombs through Indiana Landmarks.

Will you be one of them? Indiana Landmarks docents will provide information about the catacombs as you browse the space and visit the four psychic readers who will be waiting to tell your future.

Join us at Hallow’s Eve: A Night for Ability to uncover more of the creepy, dark, spooky, space the Indianapolis City Market has to offer. Purchase your tickets today at http://hallowseveability.eventbrite.com! Proceeds from the event support Easter Seals Crossroads' programs and services for children and adults with special needs, disabilities and challenges in central Indiana. 

Check out this Historic Indianapolis video interview with Stevi Stoesz for more information about the catacombs:

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

September 10, 2014
by Sara Croft   |   0 Comments

According to the National Adult Day Services Association (NADSA), the week of September 15-19 is National Adult Day Services Week, and Easter Seals Crossroads is celebrating with our Annual Fall Festival on Friday, September 19.

 Fall Festival 2013

George Hill from the Indiana Pacers joined us last year at our Fall Festival to shoot hoops

Our medically-based adult day services program uses individual plans of care to provide a variety of health, social, recreational and therapeutic activities, supervision, support services, and personal care.

Did you know our Adult Day Services program...

  • Was opened in the Fall of 2001

  • Was the first Adult Day Services program in Indianapolis to serve younger adults with disabilities only

  • Currently has 51 clients enrolled in services 

  • Employs 3 Licensed Practical Nurses, an RN consultant, a Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist, 5 Certified Nurses Aids, and a Medical Social Worker

  • Is CARF accredited 

Our clients...

  • Have individually anywhere from 4 to 18 goals they are actively working on each day

  • 36% of the clients live in their own home with supports

  • Are 100% satisfied with services according to the most recent survey

  • 93% of the clients made functional gains and progress toward all goals in the past 6 months

Join us for Beat the Challenge at our Annual Fall Festival from 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM on Friday, September 19 in our Therapy and Wellness Garden for food and game challenges, special guests and celebrities, KG Slider Station food for purchase, entertainment, live music, face painting and more. While you're here, you can speak with the Adult Day Services staff and learn about program options at Easter Seals Crossroads for children, adults and adolescents with disabilities, special needs and challenges. Contact Tracy Wright at 317.466.2008 for more information.

September 3, 2014
by Sara Croft   |   0 Comments

Whether you are a parent of a child with special needs, a teacher, a therapist, or anyone who works with children on a daily basis, the INDATA Project has a free training you may benefit from.

WHAT: Facilitating Play for Children of All Abilities

WHEN: Thursday, September 11, 2014 from 9:00 AM to 3:00 PM

WHERE: Easter Seals Crossroads 5th Floor Conference Rooms

Hayley Anderson, CTRS/Manager of Family Services & Partnerships from National Lekotek Center will provide training on facilitating play for children and the use of adaptable toys. Lekotek Centers is a not-for-profit organization that provides services to children with special needs through utilization of toys and play. The goal of the organization is to use these play techniques "to help children learn, develop and thrive in a world that presents them with many unique and complex challenges."

Attendees may register to attend in-person or online at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/facilitating-play-for-children-of-all-abilities-adaptive-toys-tickets-12602852471.

In 2007, Easter Seals Crossroads partnered with the State of Indiana, Bureau of Rehabilitative Services to establish the Indiana Assistive Technology Act (INDATA) Project. The INDATA Project is one of 56 similar federally-funded projects designed to increase access and awareness of assistive technology. To find a similar project in another US state or territory, visit www.RESNAProjects.org.

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!