Following Ryder

young boy with therapist
young boy climbing stairs with therapist
young boy on slide with therapist
support photo of young child holding hands

In 2019, ten-year-old Ryder was featured in our annual report. We featured him for his progress with physical, occupational and speech therapy sessions as they helped him make strides toward independence.

View Ryder’s 2019 video here.

Ryder was born at 38 weeks. Doctors suspected that there would be some difficulties, but did not diagnose Fraser syndrome until several years later. Everyday life for Ryder and his family has always included ventilators, oxygen tanks and breathing machines; a nurse helps care for Ryder during the day. Ryder was intubated at birth and in 2019, he was just beginning to experience the freedom of being off his vent. “We were told that he would never come off the vent during his life, but he has done that,” said dad Dustin.

In 2019, some of Ryder’s therapy goals included learning to use his left hand to grab things; standing independently; taking supported steps using his gait trainer; communicating his needs with devices; and pulling himself up. “I would love to see Ryder walking independently within the next five years. I would love to be able to see him crawl into the car and car seat without us having to physically lift him. Those would be amazing milestones if we could hit those,” said mom Katy in 2019.

Ryder has made some significant progress in the past two years – he is using his left hand for grasping with a much stronger grip; he is able to stand for longer periods of time by himself; he received his own gait trainer in 2020 and has quickly adapted to taking steps and walking for measurable distances; he is benefiting from the consistency of therapy in learning to communicate his needs; and he is mastering the ability to pull himself up to stand and climb stairs.

This past year was a tough one for Ryder and his family. In January 2020, Ryder became very sick and was in the hospital for six weeks. It was a very scary time for the family as Ryder had pneumonia and a fungal infection in his lungs (aspergillus). A chest tube was used to drain fluid out of his plural cavity in his left lung, but soon after that was healed, he developed a very large abscess in the left lung that was about half the size of his lung. Another chest tube was used to drain that fluid.

There were talks about having surgery to remove part of his lung, but luckily Ryder came home from the hospital with the second chest tube around the time COVID outbreaks peaked. Ryder had to take a six- month break from therapy sessions to heal and he did lose some strength during that time. Much of that strength has now been regained through hard work during therapy sessions.

“Therapists at Easterseals Crossroads know Ryder really well; they know how stubborn he can get and they don’t necessarily take it easy on him during those times. Seeing how much he has progressed in the last two years has made us really excited for the next two years. We would really love to see him stand independently for long periods of time and we would love to see him take some steps without the need of his gait trainer,” said Katy.

“We just keep going. We put Ryder out there and live each day to the fullest. We’re not held back by disability,” said Katy.

2021-09-01T13:15:48-04:00September 1, 2021|Our Blog|

Visit us at the Indiana State Fair

Easterseals Crossroads is at the Indiana State Fair this year now through August 22. We are hosting Remembering Our Fallen, which is a touring memorial display that honors Indiana military who died in a war zone since September 11, 2001.

The display can be viewed at the Hoosier Lottery Expo Hall for the entire run of the fair this year. Easterseals Crossroads veteran staff members and volunteers will be available to answer questions about the display.

The display can be viewed at the Hoosier Lottery Expo Hall for the entire run of the fair this year. Easterseals Crossroads veteran staff members and volunteers will be available to answer questions about the display.

Military & First Responders’ Day

Additionally, Easterseals Crossroads and Redux are proud to cosponsor Military and First Responders’ Day on Friday, August 20. We will host booths and activities for the entire day.

Join us for a special ceremony Honoring Hoosier Heroes — A Tribute to our Military and First Responders beginning at 6 p.m. on Friday, August 20, in the Pioneer Village Opry House at the Indiana State Fair. The ceremony will feature speakers from Gold Star Families, Indiana Department of Veterans Affairs and IFD. View the program here.

Thank you to our partners, sponsors and friends who have joined us to make this program possible.

Community Transformation Partners

Easterseals Crossroads Veteran Services

Griffin Bike Park

Indiana Department of Veterans Affairs

Indiana Gold Star Families Memorial Monument

Indianapolis Fire Department

Indy Metropolitan Military Honor Guard


Our partner Redux will be available on Military and First Responders’ Day for those who wear hearing aids or AirPods giving complimentary treatments that will make those devices perform better. You will definitely hear the difference after you visit the Redux booth.

Interested in volunteering with us on Friday, August 20? We need a few volunteers; each volunteer will receive a t-shirt, two tickets to the fair and a parking pass for the day.

Sign up to volunteer here.

Easterseals Crossroads and Redux logos with text that we are at the Indiana State Fair

Thank you to our sponsors

2021-08-19T14:39:46-04:00August 11, 2021|Our Blog|

Camp ROCKS for Fun and Socialization

boy at camp and then grown up

In 2014, Camp ROCKS was a new experience for 11-year-old Nathan who was nervous about going to an overnight camp for the first time. Camp ROCKS is offered each summer by Easterseals Crossroads for children and adolescents who have autism. It takes place at Bradford Woods where campers can enjoy activities in a beautiful outdoor setting packed with options from swimming to boating to rock climbing and more. “I felt nervous about going away to an overnight camp, but once I heard that Camp ROCKS was a camp specifically for adolescents and children on the autism spectrum, I felt more confident in my social skills,” said Nathan.

Nathan’s family was very familiar with services at Easterseals Crossroads. Initially, Nathan was connected through First Steps for an augmentative communication device and was involved with various programs since he was 2 years old. Nathan’s grandmother Linda has been involved with Easterseals Crossroads Guild volunteer group and was a founder of the grandparents’ support group for those with grandchildren with autism.

“At Camp Rocks, my favorite activities were swimming, horseback riding, canoeing, riding the zipline and performing in the talent show. I learned that you should always respect the capabilities of your friends and peers, and that you shouldn’t be shy or anxious about having new experiences,” said Nathan. Many of the life skills that Nathan learned at Camp ROCKS helped him in school activities such as forming new friendships, communicating, trying new things and staying focused on academics. Nathan graduated from Lawrence North High School this year with a strong academic and extracurricular performance. Not only was Nathan a National Honor Society member, he also played tennis and was manager for both the girls’ basketball team and the baseball team.

“Camp ROCKS provides campers with a week of fun, outdoor activities. More importantly, Camp ROCKS provides individuals with opportunities to form connections with peers, practice life skills and develop independence. It is unlike any other experience available to adolescents with ASD in Indiana,” said Tracy Gale, PsyD, and director of autism services at Easterseals Crossroads. Easterseals Crossroads has always responded to community needs with program options that fill a void or gap for those with disabilities and hopes to offer Camp ROCKS again in 2022.

“Camp ROCKS was the absolute best. Nathan loved the entire experience and it helped raise his self-awareness. After his first year at camp, Nathan mentioned, ‘Did you know that I have autism?’ This was huge because he had never verbalized that to us. We were able to discuss autism on his own terms,” said Nathan’s dad Troy.

This fall, Nathan is off to college at University of Indianapolis. He feels as well prepared for the new experiences ahead of him. “The advice that I would give other young people with autism is to always be prepared and ready for a challenge every day and work hard in order to be successful and achieve your goals. I would also tell them to not procrastinate and not wait until the last minute to get assignments done. I’ve also learned that the more involved you are outside of academics, the more successful you’ll be not only in the classroom, but in the community as well,” said Nathan.

Camp ROCKS has been a camp favorite for more than 80 children and adolescents each season throughout the years.

2021-07-29T11:18:38-04:00July 29, 2021|Our Blog|

Join the Teams of Walking for Dreams

Easterseals Crossroads will once again participate in the annual Walking for Dreams Family and Pet Walk.

This fundraising event is a great community opportunity for everyone including our own staff, board members, families, friends and community partners. We participate in this event with other nonprofits in our area; once again, due to COVID, there will be an in-person walk on Sunday, May 23, and a virtual (on your own) walk.


Sunday, May 23 | Check-in Opens: 1 p.m. | Walk Starts: 2 p.m.

Meet outside Buggs Temple, now named Canal 337 Events | 337 W. 11th Street, Indianapolis, IN 46202

This year we have created teams in recognition of our service areas so that our community can learn more about what we do.

Learn more, make a donation, join a team or support a team!

2021-06-29T12:51:34-04:00April 29, 2021|Our Blog|

JP Morgan Chase Webinar

Easterseals Crossroads is pleased to partner with JPMorgan Chase to offer a financial webinar on Thursday, April 15, that will focus on tools and resources for people with disabilities. The webinar will benefit people with disabilities, parents/caregivers of those with disabilities and professionals in the field. The webinar is FREE, but participants must register.

If you or your organization would like to be an exhibitor at the Virtual Exhibit Hall, please contact AnneMarie Chambers at

Register Today!


10:30 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. Virtual Expo Hall
10:45 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. Opening Remarks, David Dreith, Easterseals Crossroads; Denise Steele, JPMorgan Chase; Jim Sinocchi, JPMorgan Chase
11:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. ABLE Account Workshop, Amy Corbin, Indiana ABLE Authority
11:30 a.m. – 12:10 p.m. “A Drive to Thrive” Workshop, Anthony Pacilio, JPMorgan Chase; Bryan Gill, JPMorgan Chase
12:15 p.m. – 1:00 p.m. Keynote Address, Aaron Likens
1:00 p.m. – 1:05 p.m. Closing Remarks, Easterseals Crossroads
1:05 p.m. – 1:30 p.m. Virtual Expo Hall


Aaron Likens is an award-winning public speaker and author of Finding Kansas: Living and Decoding Asperger’s Syndrome.

When he was diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome at age 20, Aaron Likens began collecting his thoughts and experiences on paper–the highs, the lows, the challenges, and the unexpected joys. What he found was hope – not only for himself, but also for others with Asperger’s.

Now a sought-after speaker and blogger, he is passionate about sharing his insights into this often-misunderstood condition. He was the 2012 recipient of the Missouri Champions of Mental Health Award, and in 2013 he received the Youth Leadership Award for the state of Missouri. Since 2010, Aaron has given more than 600 presentations to more than 54,000 students, teachers, parents, police officers and professionals nationwide.

Aaron works as an ongoing autism ambassador with Easterseals Crossroads and other Easterseals affiliates across the United States.

portrait of Aaron Likens

Amy Corbin is the Executive Director of the Indiana ABLE Authority which oversees INvestABLE Indiana, the state’s 529A ABLE savings plan. Amy has worked for the State of Indiana for over 13 years and has an established background in social work and case management. In her years of service and in her current role she has worked on program development and implementation as well as state and federal advocacy efforts. As Executive Director she oversees program management and operations for the Indiana ABLE Authority and is the agency and board representative to elected officials, the public and the national ABLE industry.

Portrait of Amy Corbin

Anthony Pacilio is a Vice President and Global Head of Autism at Work for JPMorgan Chase. In this role, he manages recruiting efforts, as well as developing candidate pipelines and ensuring best practices for ongoing support. Anthony has been with JPMorgan Chase for eight years, serving in a variety of technology roles in Consumer and Community Banking.  Prior to joining JPMorgan Chase, he held various positions in the finance and healthcare industry at MBNA America, Bank of America and CIGNA.

Portrait of Anthony Pacilio

Bryan Gill is the Operations Director for the Business Solutions Team (BeST) at JPMorgan Chase. BeST is committed to expanding the firm’s workforce talent pool by hiring differently abled employees with a focus on the intellectually and developmentally disabled (IDD) community. Prior to leading BeST, Bryan was a National Operations Manager for J.P. Morgan’s Commercial Bank. He has 30 years of experience in financial services, management and bank operations at the firm, including 18 years with the Commercial Bank and 12 years in Bank Card operations.

portrait Bryan Gill

Denise Steele is a Community Engagement Manager, part of JPMorgan Chase’s Corporate Responsibility team and focuses on building enduring, authentic relationships with key stakeholders to support the firm’s long-term success and drive positive, lasting community-centered impact. She is also responsible for guiding the firm compliance requirements of the Community Reinvestment Act. Denise’s professional background includes over 30 years of banking experience including 15 years of community lending experience.

Portrait of Denise Steele

2021-06-29T12:51:34-04:00March 26, 2021|Our Blog|

$10 Grand in your Hand Raffle

Century 21 Scheetz and HSA Home Warranty present $10 Grand in your Hand raffle to benefit services and programs for people with disabilities at Easterseals Crossroads.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is c21-scheetz.jpgThis image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is HSA-Logo-1024x509.jpg
Learn more about Century 21 ScheetzLearn more about HSA

Tickets are on sale now for the chance to win the $10,000 prize, which will be drawn via Easterseals Crossroads Facebook Live on April 14, 2021, at 12 p.m. EST. (license 000834)

Where to Buy Raffle Tickets

Tickets are $50. According to charity gaming laws, tickets can only be purchased via cash or check. Only 600 tickets will be sold; purchase early.

View and download a raffle ticket order form.

View the raffle rules.

Purchase by Mail (Checks Only)
Complete the form below and send to:
Easterseals Crossroads, Raffle. 4740 Kingsway Drive, Indianapolis, IN 46205
Once we process your payment, we will enter your name in our raffle
and mail you the ticket stub.

Purchase in Person
Purchase tickets via cash or check (payable to Easterseals Crossroads) at the following locations. Please call the location to confirm ticket availability.

Easterseals Crossroads (Mondays – Fridays from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.)

• 4740 Kingsway Drive, Indianapolis, IN 46205 (317.479.3249)

Century 21 Scheetz Locations

• 4929 East 96th Street, Indianapolis, IN 46240 (317.705.2500)
• 270 East Carmel Drive, Carmel, IN 46032 (317.844.5111)
• 135 East Sycamore Street, Zionsville, IN 46077 (317.873.1700)
• 11504 Lakeridge Drive, Fishers, IN 46037 (317.595.0021)
• 1533 Olive Branch Parke Lane, Suite A, Greenwood, IN 46143 (317.881.2100)
• 643 Massachusetts Avenue, Indianapolis, IN 46204 (317.814.5500)
• 1155 South College Mall Road, Suite C, Bloomington, IN 47401 (812.336.2100)

Raffle participants must be 18 years of age or older at the time of purchase. Confirmation of your ticket number(s) will be sent to you upon receipt of your order form and payment. If sold out, your order form and payment will be returned to you. The drawing will take place on April 14, 2021, at 12 p.m. EST via Easterseals Crossroads Facebook Live. Payment of all applicable federal, state and local taxes are the responsibility of the winner. Winner must complete a W-9 form and will receive an IRS tax form W-2G stating the prize value. Winner must take possession of the prize within (60) sixty days of the drawing and must present a photo ID and completed W-9 form to claim prize. For federal income tax purposes, 24% of the $10,000 prize will be withheld as required by the IRS. Prizes are not transferable.

2021-07-01T16:04:05-04:00March 16, 2021|Our Blog|

Meet Jeff

“I lost everything including my place to stay and a lot of items that I cherished. I had problems just keeping money in my pocket. That’s when I told myself that I just didn’t need to live like this any more,” said Jeff who is a US veteran.

Jeff sought help from our veteran services department for assistance and resources to help with housing, transportation and employment. “There are plenty of resources out there to help veterans, but it is hard to take that first step. “Without Easterseals Crossroads, I would probably still be lost and trying to find my way back,” said Jeff.

The veteran services team at Easterseals Crossroads spent 11,700 hours connecting veterans to jobs and resources necessary to maintain employment.

Our team of qualified employees has experience working with employers and can offer veterans the assistance needed to gain a competitive edge in their job search. We assist veterans who want to secure employment by providing the following

  • personal career coaching
  • assistance with resume development
  • opportunities to network
  • assistance with job searches
  • weekly job club with employment-related topics

Contact us for more information about veteran services at Easterseals Crossroads.

2021-06-29T12:51:35-04:00February 2, 2021|Our Blog|

Thank YOU for your Support

With the close of 2020, we want to thank you for what you have done to strengthen our ability to provide services for people with disabilities in our community. Whether you made a donation to us, volunteered your time, partnered with us for an event or shared our message of service for those with disabilities — your contribution made a difference.

We appreciate the work and dedication of our community — the corporations, organizations, individuals and groups who support our purpose to change the way the world defines and views disability.    Your support means that we are so much closer to meeting the needs of the men, women and children with disabilities in our area — people who need us to live, learn, work and play in our community.    With the start of 2021, we know that community support is critical now more than ever to meet the continuing needs of people with disabilities. Please consider a donation to us today for a stronger tomorrow. 

2021-06-29T12:51:35-04:00January 19, 2021|Our Blog|

Stronger with Children’s Therapy Services

“We had no idea we would ever need services from Easterseals Crossroads until Theo came along,” said Theo’s dad Matt. Theo has severe hearing loss in his left ear and receives speech therapy services where he is gaining momentum. “Easterseals Crossroads works as a team with our family and Theo’s school, which has made us a stronger unit,” said Theo’s mom Allison.

“Easterseals Crossroads gives us a sense of belonging; it’s a place where Theo can go and be really comfortable as he learns and grows,” said Allison. 

Learn more about how children’s therapy services can help families grow and thrive.

We provided 17,926 pediatric physical, occupational and speech therapy appointments offered at our two facilities, in homes, in schools and via telehealth.

2021-06-29T12:51:35-04:00December 14, 2020|Our Blog|

Stronger Together with Redux

Easterseals Crossroads is stronger with community support. Our matching gift sponsor Redux has generously agreed to match all donations through 12/31 up to $25,000. This allows us to double our impact in the community as we continue to provide services that develop and maximize independence for people with disabilities. 

Your support is critical now more than ever as we continue to serve those who need us during this extremely difficult time. We need to be the resource our community can count on for disability services.

About Redux

Founded by Reuben Zielinski and Joel Trusty in Indianapolis in 2013, Redux uses a patented technique to remove moisture from personal electronic devices with a vacuum drying process that reduces moisture completely and at a safe temperature. 

Redux chose to partner with Easterseals Crossroads this year because the company realizes the importance of what we do for our community. Redux is dedicated to serving veterans and individuals with hearing loss so that they can maximize their independence. Learn more about Redux.

Because Easterseals Crossroads depends upon philanthropy for 25 percent of its operating budget, your support is critical now more than ever before. Please consider a donation today to keep us stronger for our community.

2021-06-29T12:51:35-04:00December 2, 2020|Our Blog|
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