Use of Public Transportation for People with Disabilities

contributed by Keith Fox,  program manager at Easterseals Crossroads; article originally seen in Special Needs Living magazine, June 2023

Public transportation makes it possible for all people to move around the city to work, attend appointments, grocery shop and participate in social activities. The bus system is timed to allow for transfers from one route to another without major interruption.

individuals stepping onto public transportation bus in IndianapolisBenefits of Using Public Transportation

Public transportation is a safe way to travel, and all public buses have safety systems in place including video cameras inside the buses and on the exterior parameters.

All public busses are equipped with a wheelchair lift and there are areas in the front of the bus for wheelchairs with secured fastening systems. Each bus has an area in the front for individuals with disabilities as well as older people to sit without having to maneuver down the small bus walkway. This designated area provides the rider with the opportunity to seek out assistance from other riders and the driver while in route or when entering / exiting the bus.

Public bus schedules are consistent and reliable and run routes frequently providing riders additional flexibility in planning routes. The use of technology increases riders’ real time experiences through the ability to track specific buses to learn of routes, locations and changes.

When traveling on a public bus a rider may find time to relax and even work if traveling with a phone or tablet since many busses are equipped with USB ports to charge devices. This provides riders the opportunity to continue to be productive during travel time.

Riding public transportation can give riders a sense of belonging. Riders may also learn about other areas of the city, landmarks, people, places and things. Riding public transportation when traveling in a new city provides an opportunity to see new sights.

The use of public transportation is an effective cost saving strategy that is not available through use of many rideshare programs, door to door paratransit systems and personal transportation. Using public transportation can result in some savings for people when considering costs of driving a car (gasoline, insurance, parking, etc.).

Challenges of Using Public Transportation

While the benefits can outweigh the obstacles and challenges of public transportation, there are some worth mentioning.

  • When utilizing public transportation, an individual must be at a bus stop at the appropriate time.
  • If the marquee inside the bus is not working properly and not luminating the routes and stops and/or the voice activation is not working, a rider will need to resort to landmarks to pull the cord to signal the bus to stop when appropriate.
  • The time spent on a public bus may mean it takes longer to get to a destination because of the route traveled and the transfer involved.

Overcoming Challenges of Public Transportation

To overcome some of the obstacles and challenges involved in public transportation, a rider must become aware of routes, landmarks and travel time.

Training is key, and perseverance can dictate results. Travel training is an important and necessary step in eliminating fears and anxiety. The unknown can create anxiety, but training, knowledge and experience can contribute to knowledge and empowerment.

Technology is a great way to overcome many challenges of public transportation. The use of GPS, transit apps, pictures and time cues are a part of everyday life for many individuals and these factors can be used to master public transportation.

Public transportation companies post information in real time on websites with information pertaining to schedules and detours that can affect rides. There are some free apps that can be downloaded to track the bus in real time. A couple of examples are My Transit App or My Stop App.

The Wayfinder App is a cost to users, but it has a programmed route that offers the capability of voice and use of landmarks during travel. This app is a great option for individuals whose travel training is limited or if the individual may need constant prompting.

Many social service agencies for individuals with disabilities have mobility training specialists or other professional staff who can provide training. This training consists of real time coaching, picture cues, technology and landmark identification. The goal is for the individual to be able to travel to and from work.

Paying for Public Transportation

There are several options available to pay to access the public transportation system. Exact change on the bus can be used by inserting coins or dollars in the on-board bus pay and pass system. This option only allows for exact change and a ticket that is purchased will print out to be used for the remainder of the tickets valid time and date. Tickets can also be purchased at the transit store located at the main hub or at the Indianapolis airport. Online accounts can be created to obtain a public bus ID, called MY KEY. Funds can be added to MY KEY; when used to enter a bus, costs are deducted from the card.

“Learning the public transportation system was the best thing for our son it allowed him to be independent, his self-confidence increased, and he had the opportunity to participate in activities with his friends.”- Project SEARCH intern parent.

About the Author

Keith Fox, program manager at Easterseals Crossroads, has been training individuals with disabilities on public transportation for 24 years. Many individuals with whom he works have never used public transportation, which can create uncertainty for the individual and with his/her family. “Creating individualized plans help alleviate anxiety. When families see their loved ones reach new independence with transportation, there can be an overall sense of pride and comfort in having a reliable way of getting around the city independently. This directly increases the individual’s self-esteem, self-confidence and self-determination. This can greatly contribute to empowerment and advocacy for people with disabilities,” said Keith.

2023-05-31T11:24:14-04:00May 31, 2023|Our Blog|

Accessibility Stations at The Indianapolis Public Library Locations

original content created by Coles Marketing for Easterseals Crossroads INDATA Program

The Library introduces accessible workstations.
Courtesy of WISH-TV

The Indianapolis Public Library and Easterseals Crossroads have partnered to facilitate equal access to technology by installing accessible workstations at all 24 Library locations throughout Indianapolis, Lawrence and Beech Grove.

This project is part of The Library’s Strategic Plan for 2021-2023. As it states: “An informed community, where a child’s first library card opens the door to a world without limits, will help to ensure that Indianapolis will rise from the challenges of 2020’s uncertainty and embrace the opportunities ahead with great confidence.”

Opportunities for All Abilities

The accessible workstations are part of The Library’s Digital Inclusion Roadmap, which it drew out based on interviews with community partners and brainstorming sessions with a staff advisory panel.

“The outcome was a clear roadmap goal: Ensure the technology we offer and digital materials we lend can be used successfully by people with a wide range of abilities,” said Marianne McKenzie, Supervisor, Digital Inclusion. “The expansion of accessible technology workstations arose from staff feedback around equitable access. They observed the need for this resource in their branch, noting only two workstations in the library system.”

An accessible workstation at the East 38th Street Branch.

While the Central and Glendale Branches have rooms dedicated to accessible workstations, this new initiative improves inclusion by placing these workstations out in the open, among all Library patrons. This is beneficial in reinforcing the idea that not all disabilities are obvious or visible and in welcoming people with disabilities to work among the public.

“We hope to increase the confidence of all of our patrons in using technology independently and to enhance their quality of life,” said Shanika Heyward, director of innovation and technology at The Indianapolis Public Library.

The workstations were developed through a comprehensive review process.

“The framework for the accessible workstations took shape through site visits, conversations and online surveys with Library staff,” said Brian Norton, director of assistive technology at Easterseals Crossroads. “The strategy was to use a small amount of technology to meet the majority of patron needs. This includes needs for vision, mobility, intellectual/cognitive and hearing impairments as well as language barriers. Built-in durable tools, devices and apps make the workstations user-friendly, intuitive and sustainable.”

What to Expect at the Workstations

The design of the workstations aims to make people with various disabilities instantly feel comfortable when they approach them.

With a hydraulic, height-adjustable desk, the workstation immediately accommodates people using wheelchairs or other mobility devices.

Adjustable, articulating arm supports assist people with fine motor control or fatigue issues due to multiple sclerosis, stroke, or repetitive stress injuries, such as carpal tunnel.

During a demo of a workstation at the East 38th Street branch, Norton said, “We’ve already seen people who’ve had strokes use the station and benefit greatly from it.”

A trackball mouse with programmable buttons helps users with limited dexterity or range of motion move the cursor across the screen and click on or drag items.

For people with low vision, the BigBlu Vision Keyboard has keys that are 250 percent larger than standard keyboards. The high contrast of black letters on white keys reduces eye strain. Of course, the computer has high-contrast screen settings as well.

In addition to Windows’ built-in screen magnifier, the desktop computer is equipped with speech recognition software, which enables hands-free voice control of the computer. The desktop also has Non-Visual Display Access, an open-source screen reader.

The workstation comes with a stand for an Android Galaxy tablet, which can serve as a magnifying device for reading and viewing items around the library.

In addition to the Sound Amplifier app, the tablet comes with Live Transcribe, which captures speech and sound and allows users to see both captioned on the screen.

What Lies Ahead

These are just a few of the workstations’ many features. To avoid overwhelming users and give them a starting point, each desktop has a guide pointing Library patrons to helpful tools and apps for reading, writing, math, note-taking, hearing and vision.

These tools can “read” information to patrons and respond to voice commands; and help people with learning disabilities or mobility limitations complete tasks such as writing a document or accessing the internet.

Accessible workstations are currently available at the Eagle, East 38th Street, East Washington, Garfield Park and West Perry locations — with shorter use periods than other stations to decrease wait times. More will be rolled out and installed at all 24 Library locations over the next several months.
“The Library and Easterseals Crossroads are kindred spirits in the sense that both organizations are all about connecting people with resources and creating a level playing field for the community,” Norton said. “Being able to see accessible workstations in libraries among all the other tools for people from all walks of life is the ultimate vision of inclusion.”
2023-05-15T12:12:54-04:00May 15, 2023|Our Blog|

Reporting Cyber Crime

Orange bar with colorful circles and words Cyber Chat with Jane Harper Information and Security Risk Expert along with her photo

hosted by Jane Harper, an information security and risk expert

About Jane
Jane is a Senior Director of Information, Security Risk Management and Business Engagement, Eli Lilly and Company, as well as a member of our Easterseals Crossroads Board of Directors and a published author. Additionally, Jane serves on the board of the National Cyber Security Alliance, and she works actively with them to help everyone stay safe online.

She is passionate about information security for all and she is excited to share some tips to help keep us safe online, compliments of NCSA. Every other month, Jane will share some key facts, stories and tips regarding online security.

Do Your Part and Stay Cyber Smart

You can help take a bite out of cybercrime! The first step toward bringing cybercriminals to justice is reporting cybercrime when it happens.

We can’t let criminals own the internet.  Through responsible digital citizens like you, there is more focus on reducing cybercrimes.  Authorities have seriously upped their game since the first viruses, malware, and phishing attacks. There continues to be significant increases in spending to focused on preventing, stopping, and investigating cyber threats. There has also been an increase in legislative attention at all levels of government.

Even with this, you are the key to reducing cybercrime. If you are a target of cybercrime, you must notify the appropriate authorities. Compliments of the National Cyber Security Alliance, I want to share a few insights to help you Stay Cyber Smart!


Local Law Enforcement

Even if you have been the target of a multinational cybercrime, your local law enforcement agency (such as your local police department or sheriff’s office) has an obligation to assist you by taking a formal report. They are also required to make referrals to other agencies, when appropriate. Report your situation as soon as you find out about it.

Your Workplace’s IT Department

If the cybercrime happened in a work context, like if you received a suspected phishing email in your work email inbox, you should contact a supervisor or your company’s IT department.

Your Workplace’s IT Department

If the cybercrime happened in a work context, like if you received a suspected phishing email in your work email inbox, you should contact a supervisor or your company’s IT department.

Your Email Provider

Deleting spam, malicious messages or any other suspicious emails keeps you safe, but you can bolster your cybersecurity by reporting any serious cybercrime attempt to your email client. Many of the major email services (like Gmail and Outlook) make this very easy to do. You can also block senders, so you can ensure a bad actor email account never contacts you again.

The Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3)

You can get the federal government’s help with your issue by contacting IC3. IC3 will thoroughly review and evaluate your complaint and refer it to the appropriate federal, state, local or international law enforcement or regulatory agency that has jurisdiction over the matter.

Federal Trade Commission (FTC)

While the FTC does not resolve individual consumer complaints, it does run the Consumer Sentinel, a secure online database used by civil and criminal law enforcement authorities worldwide to detect patterns of wrong doing. If you are the victim of identity theft, you can receive additional help through the FTC hotline at 1-877-IDTHEFT (1-877-438-4338). Find more resources aimed at individuals, businesses, and law enforcement at

Remember, you aren’t alone online! You have the power to stop cybercriminals!

2023-05-01T15:36:40-04:00May 1, 2023|Our Blog|

Meet Edmund

content contributed by Edmund’s mom Gina

When Edmund was born on a cold, snowy day in December 2005, nobody could have predicted the amazing and often overwhelming changes that our family would go through. After an uneventful, textbook-normal pregnancy and delivery, everyone including the doctor was shocked to see that Edmund had a severe bilateral cleft lip and palate. As the nurses rushed him to the NICU, I lay in shock, desperately trying to understand this life-changing moment.

Soon the shock wore off as I switched into “business mode.” With four other young children to care for at home, I had to get a handle on this, and fast. I researched, I talked to people, I cried, I prayed. Edmund’s first surgery at 4 months old was to repair his lip, and suddenly we had a glimpse of what we were aiming for – not only to give him a chance to have normal oral functionality, but also to support him in having the best life possible, whatever that looked like.

For the first few years of his life, Edmund received speech, occupational and physical therapy services through First Steps, which he loved. He learned to stand, walk and speak with the weekly support of providers who came to our home once a week.

When he was 3 years old, he transitioned out of First Steps. Not long after, at the suggestion of our providers at Riley Hospital for Children and recommendations from friends, he started receiving speech therapy services at Easterseals Crossroads at the south location. We specifically requested Theresa Armstrong at the recommendation of a friend who is also a speech-language pathologist. Edmund quickly formed a bond with her, not just because she gave him snacks (which was one of her therapy techniques), but mostly because she was genuinely happy to see him each week. She connected with him in a way that built trust; she was truly invested in him. Once when she had arrived for our weekly session, there was a wasp nest near the entrance to the building and they had closed the building abruptly until pest control could take care of it. This didn’t stop Theresa; she opened up the back of her SUV and right there in the parking lot she and Edmund had their therapy session.

Over the years, we stayed involved with Easterseals Crossroads attending fun family events and continuing weekly therapy sessions. When Edmund was 8 years old, he got his picture in the 2014 Easterseals Annual Report! Every summer for several years, Edmund attended CampAbility, a summer day camp for school-aged kids.

Meet Edmund words with colorful circles and 2 photos of Edmund - one at CampAbility and one at Camp ROCKS

In 2017 I turned to Easterseals for a different reason. I’d always known there was something “different” about Edmund – in the way he learned and the way he saw the world. After two inconclusive behavioral evaluations at other institutions, we went to the Easterseals Crossroads autism diagnostic clinic. I wanted to know how to support him and help him succeed, but I knew I didn’t have the knowledge I needed. After a thorough evaluation, we received the diagnosis of autism. This opened a whole new world for us, and Easterseals Crossroads provided suggestions and supports which helped me make choices about this new trajectory for Edmund’s educational and personal path.

Theresa continued to advocate for Edmund when we learned a couple years ago that he was having trouble hearing the teachers at school. She wrote a grant to obtain a personal audio system from Anna’s Celebration of Life. While we were waiting for the grant to go through, she arranged for us to borrow a personal audio device from INDATA, the “lending library” of assistive technology at Easterseals Crossroads.

Edmund is now a sophomore at Purdue Polytechnic High School. He’s so excited to attend his fourth year at Easterseals Crossroads Camp ROCKS, a week-long summer camp for teens with autism at Bradford Woods. He still talks about climbing the fire tower all the way to the top last year! We are so thankful, because without Easterseals (and the financial assistance they offer to those who qualify), Edmund might not have been able to have a traditional camp experience like this.

Edmund recently had, as he put it, “a once in a lifetime experience.” For the past few years, we’ve listened to B105.7 on the radio every morning on the way to school. Edmund has grown to love radio personality Sean Copeland and his weekly features, including the “Old Man Rant” on Mondays, “Tuesday Tidbits,” and the “Friday Song.” He won’t listen to any other station, and if Sean is on vacation, Edmund is disappointed and counts the days until Sean returns.

images of Edmund's visit to B105.7 with Sean Copeland

One day in January 2023, after I’d dropped everyone off at school, I heard Sean’s “Friday Song.” He invited listeners to call or text the station and share something they were celebrating. Something “nudged” me to call. Of course, I didn’t get through. So I texted and told them how Edmund was a devoted listener every morning. About an hour later, to my surprise, I received a text back from Sean himself, who invited us to come for a tour of the station. On February 24, we met Sean in the lobby of the Emmis Communications building, and he took us upstairs to the studio where he had pre-recorded the last 30 minutes of his show so that he could spend time with us. When Edmund saw the three large computer screens and the huge control panel, he said, “It looks like you’re flying a plane!” The view from the studio over Monument Circle was stunning, and Edmund and Sean took a moment to enjoy it together. I was so impressed, not only with how incredibly kind Sean is, but also with how responsive the station is to people of different abilities. At one point Sean showed us a clear plastic panel that is placed over the computer screen in the studio. It has braille on it which lines up with the icons on the screen; this allows radio personality Bernie Eagan, who is blind, to run the studio when he’s on the air on the weekends.

Easterseals has been such a big part of our lives for so long, I can’t remember what it was like without them. With each new discovery of what makes Edmund the amazing person he is, Easterseals Crossroads has been a partner, there to answer our questions, offer support and celebrate his successes.

2023-04-03T12:12:27-04:00April 3, 2023|Our Blog|

Meet Joe

Joe is an administrative assistant in the employment division at Easterseals Crossroads and has been since 2020. Joe is a terrific addition to the team and the position has been a perfect fit for him.

image of Joe with colorful circles and words meet Joe

Joe obtained his college degree in telecommunications from Ball State University. After graduation, he struggled in finding a position that was fulfilling and challenging for him; he wanted a position that would provide him the opportunity to use his skills and education.

He qualified for vocational rehabilitation services and was referred to the employment division at Easterseals Crossroads to help him discover a good career match. Bottom line was that Joe wanted a position in an office with traditional working hours and paid time off for holidays and vacation; he also wanted to feel valued and appreciated for his contributions.

Prior to connecting with services from Easterseals Crossroads, Joe had been looking for employment on his own, but he was not getting the job offers he wanted. He was becoming discouraged. Although he held a position stocking merchandise in a store, he was concerned about the physical demands of that job as he aged.

When employment staff members began working with Joe, they were impressed with his motivation and willingness to work. An administrative position opened and Joe applied; he has excelled from day one and has proven himself as an asset to the entire organization.

I like my job at Easterseals Crossroads because it is challenging. I receive a lot of praise and compliments for my work, which makes me feel very appreciated. I take pride in my work and have been given additional responsibilities over time, which keeps it interesting and provides continued professional growth,  said Joe.

Employment programs at Easterseals Crossroads assist individuals with disabilities of all ages in finding careers that are aligned to each person’s interests, stills, education and ability. We work with young adults as they transition to employment and adults at any point when career plans have altered because of a change in ability.

We are so fortunate to have Joe as a member of our employment and Easterseals Crossroads team. His strong work ethic, positive attitude and high level of efficiency have made all our lives easier, said Marjorie Duryea, director of employment programs at Easterseals Crossroads.

With a wide variety of job candidates available for employment in a diverse range of industries, Easterseals Crossroads can be a go-to source for vetted and qualified individuals who will contribute greatly to the workforce. Not only will companies be expanding their diversity, equity and inclusion goals, their immediate employment needs will be met with highly-skilled workers.

Looking for qualified job candidates for your organization? Contact us to learn more.


2023-03-20T10:17:09-04:00March 20, 2023|Our Blog|

Chair One Fitness

What is Chair One Fitness
Chair One Fitness is a seated, interactive, total body workout. The mission of Chair One Fitness is to go beyond boundaries created by perceived limitations enabling everyone to stay active mentally and physically no matter age and ability.

People working out in a seated position from chairs.

Who Can Benefit from the Program
Anyone can benefit from Chair One Fitness, but it is specially designed for individuals who have complications with standing during a fitness regimen. On average, a person can burn 225-255 calories during a 45-minute class (with target heart zones at fat burn and cardio levels).

What are the Goals of the Program
The program is designed to keep individuals active to ensure that they remain progressive in daily function and/or recovery. Participants benefit physically, mentally and socially.

What is a Typical Class Like
Class can be low intensity or high intensity and last anywhere from 30 – 60 minutes. This includes a warm-up, workout and cool down while enjoying a fun, energetic playlist. The entire workout is completed from a seated position. Each song on the playlist offers a unique routine that benefits the entire body. We can customize the playlist to fit your group making the workout personalized and meaningful.

“Gina is fantastic! She brings out the best in everyone; we get a great workout while having fun!” – Herschel, Chair One Fitness participant




How Does Chair One Fitness Differ from Other Programs

Chair One Fitness is different because it eliminates the barrier of standing during exercise. It offers a full body workout from a seated position and each person can participate at their own ability level.

How Do We Get Started
Easterseals Crossroads can bring Chair One Fitness to your group or organization. We can customize your class for your group.

Contact Gina Schulz at 317.466.1000 x3083 or email her at

Watch a clip from one of Gina’s most recent sessions here

2023-02-17T10:28:36-05:00February 17, 2023|Our Blog|

Services for People with Brain Injuries

Easterseals Crossroads recently transitioned the Brain Injury Rehabilitation Services program from Rehabilitation Hospital of Indiana (RHI). This statewide service is no longer available through RHI, but Hoosiers can count on the same level of service delivery in helping individuals with brain injuries navigate the resources they need to live, learn and work in our community from Easterseals Crossroads.

The new Resource Facilitation program at Easterseals Crossroads employs staff to identify specific resources such as therapy, support groups, education options, transportation assistance, social services and more so that adults with brain injuries can live as independently as possible. A resource facilitation team is assigned to individuals with brain injuries so that they can benefit fully from available resources.

Adult services at Easterseals Crossroads have long been positioned to serve individuals with brain injuries through day service options, employment services and assistive technology solutions. Brain injury services perfectly align with our existing array of service delivery within the agency. This new to Easterseals Crossroads service will create opportunities to more fully meet the needs of individuals living with disabilities in our community and our state.

Our experienced team is ready to identify specific resources such as therapy, support groups, education options, transportation assistance, social services and more so that adults with brain injuries can live as independently as possible. A resource facilitation team is assigned to individuals with brain injuries so that they can benefit fully from available resources.

A person living with a brain injury is capable and valuable to the community. Sometimes a person just needs supports and accommodations. More often than not, a person with a brain injury is able to live independently and contribute positively to their community.

Amy E. Miller is the director of Brain Injury Resource Facilitation Services at Easterseals Crossroads; she has answered some questions below to more fully explain the program.

What are resource facilitation services ?

Resource facilitation is a robust community-based public health model that has been proven to improve outcomes in both acute and chronic brain injury. The services are funded through Vocational Rehabilitation and offered free to qualified participants, giving them the opportunity to work with a team of brain injury professionals to achieve return to work or return to school goals.

In addition to returning to work or school, the services are also focused on one’s quality of life. Benefits include revised or acquired self-management and independent living skills, along with the ability to identify personal needs to improve relationships and advocate for needs. Additionally, it is common to see improvement with self-efficacy and life satisfaction in general. The things that make a person successful in returning to work or school can also contribute to happiness and success in other key areas of life.

Functions of resource facilitation include:

  • Providing brain injury specific education to individuals with brain injury and their families/caregivers
  • Proactively helping individuals identify, obtain and navigate needed services and supports
  • Promoting brain injury informed care with other providers
  • Ensuring collaboration, integration and coordination between providers and community-based resources.

Resource facilitation services at Easterseals Crossroads are available to individuals who qualify for vocational rehabilitation services for adults in central Indiana and throughout the entire state.

How are these services important for individuals with brain injuries?

Resource facilitation offers hope, a collaborative pathway to reach goals and the opportunity to find resources to take control of life for people with brain injuries.

The majority of people with whom we work are 5-10 years post injury and many never knew they had a history of brain injury.

What makes our ability to provide these services unique in our state?

There are so many reasons why Easterseals Crossroads is a great fit for this program. The organization has been a critical community resource for over 85 years providing community-based services. Many existing programs dovetail with the need for resource facilitation, and the brain injury services team is particularly excited about learning from the other Easterseals Crossroads program areas. The existing relationship with Vocational Rehabilitation will ease service delivery for individuals who will benefit from brain injury services.

What is our goal in proving these services?

We strive to serve each individual in the most effective, comprehensive way possible, guided by individual strengths, potential for change and perceived needs.

How can services help people with brain injuries reach their maximum potential?

A care plan is carefully crafted for each individual seeking service, which breaks down long term goals into achievable steps that are monitored carefully and adjusted to allow the person to stay on course to achieve desired goals.

In addition to acquiring and maintaining employment, resource facilitators help secure other supports including financial resources to prepare them to navigate systems independently once they have completed services.

No two brain injuries are the same. To understand the consequences of a brain injury you have to know the person, how their brain functions and how they have reacted to the injury. Severity of injury is often not correlated with level of disability. A “mild TBI” does not automatically mean a mild injury or mild consequences.

What are some challenges/obstacles for people with brain injuries?

Invisibility of a brain injury is often a barrier. A person with a brain injury can seemingly be functioning effectively in certain areas of their life, which can hinder overall ability. When someone is experiencing issues with initiation, a specific action may not occur to them; once prompted, the person can be fully motivated to act.

One person with whom we worked had impaired initiation that was very debilitating for him. For example, he could feel the physical sensation that indicated a need to use the restroom, but he could not automatically think of how to relieve the sensation; nothing was triggered by the sensation. When asked if he needed to use the restroom he could answer yes and obligingly proceed with this process.

Another very dramatic situation occurred when a husband experienced a brain injury and was unable to work or leave the house on his own. His wife was his sole caregiver and was managing everything. The stress of it all was starting to affect their marriage in very negative ways. She would leave for work in the morning and he would agree to do dishes, clean and perform other household chores. When she arrived home from work, nothing was done and they would fight it out with him not having a good explanation for why he hadn’t done what she asked and vowing to better the next day.

The cycle just continued. After learning that he had considerable deficits in the area of initiation, she left written notes with lists of what he should get done during the day and they set up alarms on his phone reminding him to look at his list. After implementing these very simple strategies, he got everything done and without exaggeration, their marriage was literally saved.

Impairment in executive functioning such as organization, time management and decision making; difficultly with abstract reasoning; difficulty concentrating and problem solving; lack of self-awareness (which often translates into poor understanding of what their limitations are and what they need); meta-cognition or thinking about thinking; slowed processing speed are all areas that are frequently affected by a brain injury.

Other obstacles or challenges include:

  • Slowed or delayed processing speed often times to the point of not being able to effectively keep up with a conversation, which can make group treatments and classroom lectures very difficult
  • Physical disabilities often as a result of the same incident that caused the brain injury can be visible, but can also include debilitating headaches and neurological issues
  • Lack of available community resources
  • Limits on insurance or therapies
  • Loss of independence often causing transportation difficulties

Appropriate intervention depends on eliminating any other issues that can resemble consequences of brain injury, like incompatible medication, sleep disturbance and mental health concerns. For example, if someone is not getting enough sleep they can have trouble with concentration and memory. Sleep disturbance is a very common concern after brain injury.

What can success look like for someone who has used this service?

Effective resource facilitation services can include success in work, community engagement and family relationships. People can benefit from the security in knowing there is a team of professionals, advocates and partners to help move them forward in life.

One person with whom we worked was living out of his car and did not have a job when he started resource facilitation services. During those services he obtained an apartment, got a job in a medical field (where he is still employed), completed cognitive therapy and participated in a community program with university students in social work studies, medical studies and speech studies.

He was so pleased with having a team after feeling he’d been alone for so long. When he first started the program, he revealed that he was suicidal; our professionals were able to get him into an inpatient mental health program. By the time services ended, he reported being equipped and confident and ready to manage knowing that he had resources if he found he needed more help.

What should a potential employer know about an employee with a brain injury?

When individuals are motivated to work – with the right approach incorporating the right tools – success happens. An employee with a brain injury can be a great asset. Through resource facilitation services, they work with a team that helps to ensure the position is a good fit and everyone involved knows what accommodations the employee needs to succeed. We have found that many employees with a brain injury stay in their position long-term when their employer understands their needs and makes sure they have what they need to succeed.

Who does our resource facilitation team include?

Medically speaking, we do not yet have imaging sophisticated enough to show changes within cells, so many brain injuries can only be diagnosed with neuropsychological assessment.

We employee six resource facilitators, one psychotherapist and one BICS sppecialist who are available around the state. In addition to our team, we also offer:

  • Brain Injury Coping Skills (BICS), which is a 15-week psychoeducational group intervention that helps clients and family members better understand their injury, gain self-management tools for alleviating the consequences of brain injury and learn the best ways to advocate for themselves and the accommodations they need.
  • Brain injury informed psychotherapy, which is individualized to meet individual needs as they arise and change over time. This can be offered as a short- or long-term intervention – whatever is therapeutically prescribed to meet a person’s goals. Often used as a bridge to appropriate community services, this therapy engages therapists to consult with local providers to ensure continuum of care.

Contact us to learn more about referrals for brain injury services.

2023-02-13T10:43:47-05:00February 13, 2023|Our Blog|

Tax Season Cyber Safety Tips

hosted by Jane Harper, an information security and risk expert

About Jane
Jane is a Senior Director of Information, Security Risk Management and Business Engagement, Eli Lilly and Company, as well as a member of our Easterseals Crossroads Board of Directors and a published author. Additionally, Jane serves on the board of the National Cyber Security Alliance, and she works actively with them to help everyone stay safe online.

She is passionate about information security for all and she is excited to share some tips to help keep us safe online, compliments of NCSA. Every other month, Jane will share some key facts, stories and tips regarding online security.

Orange bar with colorful circles and words Cyber Chat with Jane Harper Information and Security Risk Expert along with her photo

As tax season is coming up, we want to help you be prepared to work with your tax preparers. The volume and types of scams increase during this season, so stay alert, ask good questions and make it clear that protecting your information is key. Lastly compliments of the National Cybersecurity Alliance, here are some tips you can use.

Working with Tax Preparers

Do your Research
Vet your tax preparer before handing over sensitive information and ask what steps they take to protect your information. Businesses of all sizes are susceptible to cyberthieves, so it is critical to choose a preparer who takes security seriously.

Choose the Right Tax Preparer
Be selective about who you choose to file your taxes. Consider asking them the following questions:
• How will we exchange files and sensitive information?
• Who at your firm has access to my data?
• Are our communications end-to-end encrypted?
• What types of network security have you implemented?
• How do you back up client data?

Securely Send Documents
The most secure way of transferring documents is physically, either handing them to your tax preparer in person or sending them through the mail. However, if you must transfer them electronically, be sure to do it as securely as possible: Encrypt your files before sending them via email. Encryption protect the content from being read by entities other than the intended recipients. Encryption features are available on most major email platforms. Use a secure portal to upload documents. Portals encrypt documents during transfer and storage and limit access to only approved individuals.

Back it Up
Protect your valuable documents by making an electronic copy and storing it safely. If you have a copy of your data and your device falls victim to ransomware, you will be able to restore the data from a backup.

Use the 3-2-1 rule as a guide to backing up your data:
Keep at least three (3) copies of your data: Store two (2) backup copies on different storage media, With one (1) of them located offsite.

Additional Resources

2023-02-02T09:56:20-05:00February 2, 2023|Our Blog|

Bingo Bonanza is Back on February 3, 2023

image of children, bright color circles and message that bingo bonanza is back on February 3, 2023, festival license 000834

Have you bought your Bingo Bonanza tickets yet? They are selling quickly!

Bingo Bonanza is back with all the fun that has made this a signature event for over 20 years. Prizes are bigger and better than ever; with seven games of bingo to play, the odds are great that YOU could win one of the terrific prize packages!

This event – presented by Century 21 Scheetz with grand sponsor HSA Home Warranty to benefit Easterseals Crossroads – takes place at Northside Events & Social Club. Along with seven games of bingo, dinner and two drink tickets are included with your ticket purchase. We will play one bonus game for the chance to win $1,000; bonus game cards will be available for purchase at Bingo Bonanza. In addition to the bingo games, there will be many other fun contests and opportunities for prizes.

Thank you to our Bingo Bonanza sponsors:

Century 21 Scheetz
HSA Home Warranty

Century 21 Scheetz Charitable Foundation

Milestone Home Lending

Indiana Property Management Group

360 Tour Designs
Arbor Homes
D.R. Horton Homes
Indianapolis General Contractors
Nova Home Inspection
PJP Construction
Security Home Inspection

Tish Flooring

In-Kind Donors
Centerpoint Brewing
Northside Events and Social Club

Tickets are $55 per person and available as advance sale only. Due to charity gaming laws, tickets cannot be sold online and must be paid via cash or check. Order your tickets today; you do NOT want to miss all the fun at Bingo Bonanza 2023! (Festival License 000834)

You must be 21+ to attend Bingo Bonanza.

2023-02-06T10:27:27-05:00January 18, 2023|Our Blog|

Following Audrey

In 2014, 4-year-old Audrey was featured on the cover of the annual engagement report for Easterseals Crossroads. When Audrey’s parents realized that she was not meeting certain age-related milestones, such as sitting up and crawling during her first year, they engaged early intervention services through First Steps and Easterseals Crossroads at 9 months. In 2014, Audrey used a communication board along with signs to express herself and was learning to eat with adapted utensils and dress herself. As a happy 4-year-old, she was always excited to visit Easterseals Crossroads, greet staff members and point out her favorite wall art.

images of Audrey at the age of 4 swinging, walking, smiling and communicating

Speech-Language Goals

According to Audrey’s mom Julie, Audrey’s speech has changed tremendously since 2014. Audrey is now fully verbal with no need for sign language or a communication board. Julie notes that Audrey can still be somewhat hard to understand, but the family has found that people who know Audrey can understand her. Those who do not know her can understand the majority of what is said.

I can’t imagine what life would be like if I couldn’t have a conversation with my daughter; I’m so thankful that I can! It’s not easy (for her or us) coming to multiple therapy sessions each week for virtually her entire life, but the payoff has already been huge, and I believe it will continue, said Julie.

Occupational Therapy Goals

During her time with occupational therapists, Audrey has worked to learn to eat independently with utensils, drink from an open cup, dress herself, type on her chrome book, turn faucets on/off, brush her teeth, buckle/unbuckle her own seat belt, open various packages on her own for meals and so many other fine motor skills. “All of these things make our lives as parents so much easier and are great for Audrey’s feelings of independence,” said Julie.

“I remember one night a few years ago, when I heard Audrey turn the bathroom faucet on and off. This was a huge moment for us – this seemingly simple moment that so many parents take for granted. For us, it was a moment of independence – Audrey no longer needed to ask for help getting a drink of water,” said Julie.

Audrey is working very hard with handwriting. It appears as though handwriting may never be Audrey’s best form of communication, but her family feels that being able to write her name is incredibly important. Audrey is progressing with this, yet it is still very difficult for her. Aside from writing her name, other current goals include expressing her emotions properly, alternating arm movement, building strength in her hands/arms, coloring, cutting and performing fine motor tasks such as stringing beads. Therapy is hard work and Audrey attends multiple appointments weekly. Her therapists plan activities that are engaging because the hard work can affect Audrey’s focus on tasks.

Audrey Today

Audrey is now in 7th grade where she enjoys singing in the choir, music and dancing. She enjoys swimming lessons, watching shows, supporting the Indianapolis Indians team and especially mascot Rowdie. As a huge baseball fan, she has memorized how to sing the national anthem at baseball games; she loves joining in with Take me out to the Ballgame after the 7th inning stretch; and she knows the announcements at the end of the game.

images of Audrey at Camp FUEL smiling with counselor and walking with pony

In addition to therapy appointments twice each week, Audrey has attended camps offered by Easterseals Crossroads. She began with CampAbility when she was 4 years old. According to her parents, Audrey would have not benefited from traditional day camp. “Audrey absolutely loves attending camps every summer and enjoys the photo book that the camp counselors have made for her after camp. This past year, Audrey attended Camp FUEL, which we called the big kids camp. We were worried that she would be among the youngest, but the counselors were great and Audrey loved it. It’s wonderful to know that we can always count on Easterseals camps to provide a fun summer experience for her,” said Julie.

“Easterseals has been a resource for Audrey and services have grown with her adjusting therapies to her specific needs and to our desires for her. The therapists care about what is important to our family, and these are the skills they will work on,” said Julie.

“Easterseals has been a huge blessing in our lives. Her therapists over the years have done things to show their care for Audrey as a person, not just a client. Things like taking photos of their pets to show Audrey when she asked; showing her their pets via zoom when we did therapy virtually during Covid; gifting her a weighted stuffed animal because she liked one at therapy. We love how everyone here knows her and us. It isn’t uncommon for the maintenance staff to greet us and comment on how far Audrey has progressed over the years,” said Julie.

And you know – as a mom, I love seeing the different abilities of the staff at Easterseals Crossroads. Seeing adults at work who may have ability levels similar to Audrey gives me hope and confidence for her future as a working adult, said Julie.

2023-01-05T11:36:07-05:00January 5, 2023|Our Blog|
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