All in for Ability with Employment Options

Since 2011, Easterseals Crossroads has partnered with Community Health Network, Lawrence Township Schools and Indiana Vocational Rehabilitation to offer Project SEARCH at Community Hospital North. The program is a work immersion program that provides employment and educational opportunities for final year high school students with developmental disabilities.

Stacy, Boubacar and Sarah are all Community Hospital North employees who started as Project SEARCH interns over ten years ago. During the nine-month program, they learned through classroom instruction and rotations within specific areas of the hospital. They also learned the softer skills that often account for longevity within a career. Each of the three deeply wanted employment right where they started.

Stacy was so excited when he found out that he had been hired after completing his internship. He felt his position would bring new opportunities and new friendships. He likes the independence that working gives him. “I knew my work and my life were going to change forever,” said Stacy.

“When I completed Project SEARCH, I knew that there were many things I could do with my life,” said Boubacar. “My goal is for my mom to come to the US; I save my PTO each year to visit her in Niger.”

According to Sarah, living on her own was high on her list of priorities after high school. “Without Project SEARCH, I wouldn’t have been able to reach my goals. I wanted to live in my own apartment where I could buy things and cook in my kitchen. My job has helped me do the things I want to do,” said Sarah.

“There are roles for people of all abilities in our community. It’s not only creating an opportunity, but then educating a person about how to fit in a role. I think Easterseals Crossroads has a fabulous reputation for doing that in a number of ways.” said Bryan Mills, President/CEO, Community Health Network.

Contact us for more information about employment programs at Easterseals Crossroads.

2023-12-19T15:15:28-05:00December 19, 2023|Our Blog|

Preparing for Holiday Surprises

words Preparing for Holiday Surprises and tips for families with autism photo of Santa


submitted by Karrie Veteto, Director of Autism & Behavior Services

As parents/caregivers, the holiday season can be a particularly crazy time of the year. With all of the planning and preparing for holiday events; keeping up with schedule changes; shopping; the ever-growing to-do list; and particularly the mental to-do list – it seems never-ending. Additional challenges are presented when you have a child on the autism spectrum. Individuals with autism often have difficulty with changes in routine. Transitioning between activities can be a challenge; new environments can be overwhelming; social events and interactions can be stressful. This sounds like the holidays in a nutshell!

Here are a few tips on how to help your child – and family – have a calm and relaxed holiday season when faced with these experiences.

Changes in Routines and Schedules

  • Try to give advance notice about changes in routine/ schedule. You could use a visual on the calendar or maybe just verbal reminders. You might even highlight an aspect of the event your child is likely to be most interested in, such as “On Friday we are going to Grandma’s and she’s making your favorite dessert!”
  • Don’t plan for too many things. You know what your child can handle well. If suggested plans are likely to be too much, then plan accordingly. It’s OK to say no.

Visiting New or less Familiar Locations

  • Consider bringing familiar items with your child and potentially preferred foods if you are concerned that he/she won’t like the options provided.
  • Identify a “calm” space for your child where he/she may be able to escape from the chaos of the event.
  • Provide your child with a visual to indicate how long you plan to be there. This may be a timer, a visual schedule or perhaps an estimated departure time. Be certain to stick to what you say. We all can often tolerate stressful or less desired activities a little more easily when we know that eventually we get to leave and go home.

Interacting Socially, Managing Gifts and Visiting Santa

  • Respect your child’s limits. If your child doesn’t like physical touch, don’t encourage giving hugs. Maybe a fist-bump or high-five works instead of sitting on Santa’s lap.
  • Don’t talk about your children in front of them. If you want to explain your child’s behavior in a situation, try to talk with them. “It’s really loud in here, isn’t it Johnny?” “Timmy doesn’t like too many hugs, right buddy?” None of us like to be talked about. Even it appears that a child isn’t listening, there is a good chance that he/she is listening.
  • Kids notoriously say it like it is. If a kid receives a gift that they don’t like or already have, they may say so. This can be super embarrassing as a parent, but it shouldn’t be. It might help to talk through this with your child ahead of time. Many times, our kids on the spectrum need a little extra time to process information. You can always say something like “I bet she will like it when we open it up at home.”

You know your child best. Make a plan that best suits your child’s needs. This may mean shortening visits or reducing the number of places that you go in a day. Be sure to give them time and encourage others to do so too. They may need that extra time to settle-in, get comfortable, respond to others – all of this is okay. Following these simple tips may help your family manage the joys and the bumps of the season!

For toy/activity ideas this holiday, watch Karrie’s recent media appearance for suggestions.

2023-12-15T13:23:38-05:00December 15, 2023|Our Blog|

Assistive Technology – All in for Ability

The Indianapolis Public Library partnered with assistive technology services at Easterseals Crossroads to install accessible workstations at all of its locations to ensure that patrons have access to library resources and information.

Each of the accessible workstations offer a height-adjustable desk, large-key keyboard, large-print keyboard, trackball mouse with programmable buttons and arm supports. Available software includes a text reading app, live transcription app, math app, magnification app and a screen reading app for people who are blind or visually impaired.

The combination of software and adaptive equipment provides patrons of all abilities equal access to information. Individuals with learning disabilities and mobility limitations can complete tasks such as creating documents or accessing the internet.

“At Easterseals Crossroads, we know the importance of inclusion – not just within our facilities, but out in the community as well. To see the way The Indianapolis Public Library has taken that all in for ability approach to address the needs and challenges of their patrons is fantastic,” said Brian Norton, vice president of adult services at Easterseals Crossroads.

Our assistive technology clinical team provided 7,664 hours of service for people with disabilities to assess, recommend, install and instruct them on assistive technology tools and supports.

Learn more about assistive technology options at Easterseals Crossroads.

2023-12-11T12:17:49-05:00December 11, 2023|Our Blog|

Navigating the Skies: Tips for Flying with a Wheelchair

luggage with words traveling for the holidays this year? Tips for travel when using a wheelchair

blog submitted by Brandon Scott, Content Creation Manager, Easterseals Crossroads

Here we are, the busiest travel time of the year. We all know that traveling during the holidays can be stressful and air travel (especially for wheelchair users) can be even more stressful. As a power wheelchair user, who has done a lot of traveling, I have experienced those stressful moments of having to repair my chair in the airport terminal because it was returned to me in pieces. I have also had great experiences with airlines that utilize special equipment to handle my power wheelchair with care. To avoid many of the travel hassles, it’s essential to plan ahead to ensure as smooth and stress-free journey as possible. Here are a few valuable tips that have helped me confidently navigate the skies.

Research and Book Wheelchair-Accessible Flights

Start by researching airlines that are known for their accessibility services. Many airlines have specific policies and procedures for passengers with disabilities. Consider reaching out to the airline’s customer service team to discuss your specific needs and request assistance if required.

Notify the Airline in Advance

When booking your flight, inform the airline of your wheelchair and any additional mobility aids you’ll be bringing. This allows them to make necessary arrangements, such as reserving a spot for your wheelchair in the cargo hold.

Prepare Your Wheelchair for Travel

  • Label Your Wheelchair: Clearly label your wheelchair with your contact information in case it needs to be identified or located.
  • Secure Loose Parts: Secure any removable parts to prevent them from getting lost during transport. I always make sure to at least carry on my chair’s seat cushion, because I know that it will likely become separated from my chair.

Arrive Early and Communicate Your Needs

Arrive at the airport well in advance to allow time for check-in and security procedures. Communicate your needs to airline staff and be specific about the level of assistance you require.

Utilize Airport Assistance Services

Many airports offer specialized assistance services for passengers with disabilities. These services may include wheelchair assistance, escort through security and priority boarding. Take advantage of these services to make your journey more comfortable.

Consider an Aisle Chair for Boarding

If your wheelchair cannot be accommodated in the aircraft cabin, request an aisle chair for boarding. This narrow chair is designed to help passengers with mobility challenges navigate the narrow aisles of the plane.

Know Your Rights and Regulations

Familiarize yourself with the Air Carrier Access Act (ACAA) in the United States or similar regulations in other countries. These laws protect the rights of passengers with disabilities and outline the responsibilities of airlines.

Bring Essential Supplies

Pack essential items such as extra batteries, chargers and any necessary medical supplies. It’s also a good idea to carry a basic toolkit in case minor adjustments are needed.

Stay Informed and Stay Patient

Flight schedules and accessibility procedures can change, so stay informed about any updates or changes. Additionally, be patient and understanding with airline staff and fellow passengers. A positive attitude goes a long way in ensuring a pleasant travel experience.

Flying with a wheelchair can be less difficult with proper planning and communication. By following these tips and being proactive in your preparations, you can embark on your journey more confidently and enjoy the freedom of travel. Safe travels!

2023-12-07T08:47:35-05:00December 6, 2023|Our Blog|


Easterseals Crossroads is excited to partner with eKeeper as our matching gift partner for GivingTuesday. This year, GivingTuesday will be on November 28. Any donations made on this day, to Easterseals Crossroads, will be matched by eKeeper up to $10,000. “eKeeper is a tremendous partner and advocate for Easterseals Crossroads. They truly went all in for ability with us this year as our GivingTuesday matching gift partner. Our agency is stronger when we work together with community partners like eKeeper to envision a more inclusive and accessible central Indiana community,” said David Dreith, President/CEO, Easterseals Crossroads.

GivingTuesday emerged as a response to the consumerism surrounding Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Established in 2012, GivingTuesday leveraged the power of social media and collaboration among diverse organizations to promote charitable giving. Over the years, GivingTuesday gained momentum worldwide, transcending borders and cultures. It has become a pivotal day for nonprofits, individuals, businesses and communities to come together, fostering a spirit of generosity and making a tangible impact on various causes and initiatives across the globe.

Who is eKeeper?

eKeeper is a leading provider of adaptable IT solutions. They strive to provide peace of mind with technology, extending their mission beyond business operations to positively impact the wider community. Their dedication to customer-centric values and strategic partnerships seamlessly aligns with Easterseals Crossroads’ mission to empower individuals with disabilities.

Rooted in technical excellence, security, efficiency and adaptability, eKeeper’s core values mirror the principles driving Easterseals Crossroads’ impactful work. Recognizing the importance of continuous improvement and community involvement, eKeeper and Easterseals Crossroads share values of empathy, compassion, diversity and sustainability. To amplify their support, eKeeper is matching gifts with a significant financial contribution, aiming to make an even greater impact on GivingTuesday. By supporting Easterseals Crossroads, eKeeper demonstrates its commitment to responsible corporate citizenship, contributing to the well-being of communities and embodying the values that define it as a trusted technology partner.

For more information about eKeeper, visit

2023-11-21T11:51:00-05:00November 21, 2023|Our Blog|

Chase Community Manager Shares Five Key Financial Literacy Tips

Carletta Clark, JPMorgan Chase, Community and Business Development Manager image

Financial health is an important foundation that helps build strong and resilient households, communities and economies. Being financially healthy better prepares you for life’s unexpected expenses.

The reality is, more than 50% of Americans across all income levels consider themselves financially unhealthy. That group includes many Black, Hispanic and Latino families in the U.S., who have less than 50 cents in assets for every dollar held by white families. Studies show that Black, Hispanic and Latino families also face the biggest gaps in access to banking and resources to help them manage their financial needs.

To help close the racial wealth gap, improve financial health and boost financial inclusion, Chase has hired 150 Community Managers to foster engagement in diverse communities. Community Managers host financial health workshops and community events, while developing close relationships with customers to help them achieve their financial goals.

Carletta Clark is the Community Manager in Indianapolis. Clark offers tips to develop healthy financial habits and take control of your financial future.

Build a Budget
It’s important to understand how much money is coming in and going out each month. Use online tools to help you track your savings and spending, and then break spending down into wants versus needs. Once you have an idea of where your money is going, it’s easier to make adjustments to your spending habits.

Start Saving
Even the smallest amount matters because there’s never too little to start saving! To help initiate a savings habit or stick with it, make it automatic. For example, Chase offers Autosave, which allows customers to create repeating transfers from their checking to their savings, set specific goals and even track progress. It’s a good idea to put aside several months’ worth of living expenses because no one is immune from facing unexpected expenses. Having some savings can help prevent you from facing a significant financial strain when those situations happen.

Know your Credit Score
Your credit score is a number that represents a snapshot of your credit history, and lenders use it to help determine how likely you are to repay a loan in the future. The higher your credit score, the more competitive you’ll also be for lower interest rates on major purchases like a home or vehicle, helping you save over the life of your loan. You can find your credit score for free at, which is an official U.S. government website. You can also get your score through your financial institutions or at

Pay down Debt
If you have a low credit score, pay down credit cards, loan balances and make bill payments on time to improve your score.

Talk to your Children
The gift of financial literacy is priceless. Encouraging confidence and financial independence starts with having the conversation at home. By including your children in basic financial discussions, they’ll learn early about budgeting and saving. You can extend these lessons by opening a bank account like Chase First Banking, a great teaching tool for kids ages 6 and older that comes with their own debit card and parental control.

As you think about your long-term financial goals – such as buying a new home or starting a business – you can see how financial literacy can better help you achieve them. Visit one of our branches to learn about the tools available to help you.

For more information, contact Carletta Clark, Community & Business Development Manager, JPMorgan Chase, 3501 Lafayette Road, Indianapolis IN 46220  /  317.345.1780


2023-11-15T14:24:17-05:00November 15, 2023|Our Blog|

Veteran Services – All in for Ability

All in for Ability image with a photo of veteran Charles



Charles was a ship serviceman in the United States Navy where he felt responsible for the morale of the ship through the services he provided from the general store, barber, vending and more.

Once he was honorably discharged from the service, he found himself struggling with everyday life. His wife — for whom he was a caregiver ― was ill, he faced some legal issues and he battled drug and alcohol dependency. As many times as he tried treatment during this period, he never seemed to completely escape the addiction.

Things finally started to fall into place for Charles when he sought veteran services and completed his treatment program. He moved into transitional housing and was directed to the Homeless Veterans Reintegration Program offered by Easterseals Crossroads. From there, he worked with career navigators and began the Compensated Work Therapy program offered through the Department of Veterans Affairs. Charles is now employed at the Veterans Administration as a supply technician.

“These programs opened a lot of doors for me. I have my own apartment now and I am moving forward. If you put your time in to make changes, Easterseals Crossroads will work with you. Believe me, you will get something out of it,” said Charles.

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

2023-11-09T12:09:22-05:00November 10, 2023|Our Blog|

Why I Game

About Abby
Abby Dreith is a founding member of our esports team, Volt.

The topic of video games has been in the rotation of mainstream buzz since its inception. What makes the media of gaming so unique is that it’s everywhere. Consoles, computers, smartphones, and even public places. Although most of the world’s population has easy accessibility to video games, it’s the accessibility within these games that needs questions raised.

Growing up in the budding of widespread gaming mania, I played video games from an early age. I remember playing Peggle on the family computer, Pokémon on the DS that I saved up my well-earned money for, and finally outsmarting my dad on Mario Kart on our Wii. I also remember playing Tetris on my mom’s flip phone, and watching whichever kid I was babysitting at the time play Fruit Ninja or Temple Run on their iPad. Gaming was, is, and will be everywhere.

The concept of video gaming and online personas are such a monumental form of self-expression. Nowadays, with massive multiplayer online platforms, or MMOs, people are able to express themselves through conceptualized avatars and network amongst themselves without the pressure of physical-appearance perceptions. In my long tenure of gaming, I’ve met so many wonderful people I’ve found through gaming and common interests. From my own standpoint as someone with autism, gaming has been a truly positive aspect of my day-to-day life, helping me find new interests and friends, and optimizing my cognitive skills and intelligence.

However, there is by far so much more work that needs to be done. For people with physical disabilities, it’s an uphill battle for video game accessibility. Certain aspects of story and gameplay require controls that are not accommodating to players with physical disabilities and a lack of settings regarding controls and visual/audial sensory adjustments. Providing solutions for these issues, as well as incorporating proper disability representation in gaming will be key to dismantling ableism in one of the most popular forms of media on the planet.

I am beyond excited to provide a wonderful community, partnering with Easterseals Crossroads to enhance the gaming scene in the Indianapolis area. If you or someone you know is interested in Easterseals Gaming, the Crossroads gaming discord is here: Our Discord server is for players 16+ at the present moment, but we are also developing other programs for gamers under the age of 16.

We are also starting our own esports team, Volt, very soon. If you are over the age of 18 and interested in joining Team Volt as a member, feel free to reach out to us!

2023-11-09T10:36:58-05:00November 8, 2023|Our Blog|

Assistive Technology Options

Assistive Technology Clinical Services

(fees and availability vary)
Since 1979, Easterseals Crossroads has been Indiana’s premier provider of Assistive Technology Services. These clinical services are the hallmark of our program and have been available for almost 45 years.

A qualified Assistive Technology professional meets with an individual or organization to evaluate their specific accommodation or assistive technology needs. This service typically takes 4-6 hours and results in a detailed and structured report that includes recommended equipment, training or other services.

Like an evaluation, but typically shorter in nature and less comprehensive, this service allows for brief interventions by a qualified Assistive Technology professional. Reports typically take the form of a memorandum and focus on a single aspect of an individual or organization’s needs.

Our staff provides a wide variety of individual and small class trainings designed to teach the user how to use their assistive technology on the job, at home or in school. In 2012 we expanded our training services by offering comprehensive on-line instruction as well.

Digital Literacy
We provide proctored digital literacy assessments to vocational rehabilitation clients, evaluating their current computer and software skills as well as their ability to use technology in daily life. Based on assessment results, we offer tailored training to address any skill gaps identified.

Web and Document Accessibility
We offer web and document accessibility services to ensure everyone, regardless of ability, has access to information. Our team is well-versed on Web Accessibility Content Guidelines (WCAG), Section 508, and other accessibility standards.

Home Modification Services
We offer home modification evaluations performed by a qualified healthcare professional independent from the contractor to ensure individuals receive appropriate modifications to maximize function in their home.

Potential Funding Sources for Clinical Assitive Technology

  •  Vocational Rehabilitation
  • Medicaid, Medicaid Waiver, Medicare, Choice
  • Social Security Work Incentive programs (PASS, IRWI, BWE)
  • Employers
  • Schools (K-12 or Higher Ed)
  • Veterans Administration
  • Individuals or organizations often private pay for services and technology

For More Information


Indiana Assistive Technology Act (INDATA) Services

(no charge for these services)

In October 2007, Easterseals Crossroads was awarded the Assistive Technology grant, which consists of state and federal funding targeted to increasing the availability of Assistive Technology to Hoosiers with disabilities. There are 56 programs of this type in the United States and US territories. These services are available statewide at no charge.

Information and Referral
Anyone with questions about assistive technology may call our Information & Referral/Funding Specialist to learn more about available services and funding options.

Alternative Financing Program
Although there are several available funding sources for Assistive Technology equipment and services, there are times when an individual does not qualify for a traditional funding source. INDATA works with a lending partner to offer low interest and extended term bank loans as an alternative funding source for assistive technology equipment and services.

Device Demonstration
Many individuals benefit from experiencing a basic Assistive Technology equipment demonstration. These demonstrations are available statewide and typically allow an individual to spend 10-20 minutes with an Assistive Technology Specialist who demonstrates the basic features of the Assistive Technology Device or software. (Does not result in recommendations.)

Device Loan
INDATA has a growing library of Assistive Technology Devices that can be loaned for 30 days. The library has over 2500 items at this time and continues to grow.

Equipment Reutilization
INDATA operates an equipment reutilization program in which we accept video magnifiers and other assistive technology devices. These items are sanitized, repaired and given to individuals with disabilities in Indiana for free.

Recycled Computer Program
Donated computers are picked up from a donor, wiped of all previous data, refurbished and provided, at no charge, to individuals with disabilities who live in Indiana and have no other means of obtaining a computer.

Full Day Trainings
INDATA hosts free trainings on various aspects of assistive technology. These trainings are held at our Indianapolis facility and streamed via the Internet. Continuing Educations Units (CEU’s) are also offered. CEU’s are only available to those who attend the training in person.

Weekly Podcasts a Daily Blog provide persons with disabilities, AT professionals and general enthusiasts with latest developments and up-to-date information from the world of assistive technology.

For More Information

2023-11-06T14:22:35-05:00November 1, 2023|Our Blog|

Pathways to Opportunity Program Creates Employment Opportunities

Pathways to Opportunity is a program designed to provide intensive services for individuals with disabilities who want to create their path to a good future with a promising job. The program is funded by the Lilly Endowment’s Enhancing Opportunity in Indianapolis. Career navigators guide candidates through individualized steps toward economic independence. Candidates must have a disability, live in Marion County and meet income level requirements.

Linda is a recent Pathways to Opportunity participant. In fact, she is the first person who started the program in November 2021, as well as the first person to complete all aspects of the program in August 2023.

Linda learned about the program from our partner organization Circles. Her goals stretched beyond simply finding a position, as she has had success as an employee in various service fields. Her goals stretched more towards an occupation – a career in a field where she could see growth and longevity.

“I started the Pathways to Opportunity program because I knew I wanted to make changes, but I did not know where to begin. The staff – the career navigators – had resources and they knew how to help me with my goals towards a better future,” said Linda.

Linda obtained employment at OneAmerica as a support representative. She scans information, checks for accuracy and assigns the documents to the appropriate location. She is part of a team and she is excited to learn and work with new computer programs. She looks forward to attending workshops to further her learning. Linda knows that she is a dependable, hardworking team player and she hopes to move up within the company when the time is right.

Crediting the Pathways to Opportunity program and its staff members, Linda feels that circumstances worked together to help her build connections and gain confidence. Beyond her professional goals, she also worked to obtain a better credit score, find a more suitable apartment and purchase a dependable car. She knows that the program helped her learn to hold herself accountable and make her push herself to get things accomplished.

“The Pathways to Opportunity program was created to fill a need in our community for individuals with disabilities who are ready and committed to making positive changes in their lives. The program focuses on creating meaningful, individualized paths that will lead to careers that can enhance and elevate quality of life for participants,” said Marjorie Duryea, who oversees the Pathways program.

Linda still has goals, but she is more confident about achieving them now that she is employed in a position that she loves. At some point, she hopes to return to school and she is working towards a routine that will allow for better overall physical health.

“Changes don’t happen overnight. The program raises awareness and helped me do things that I did not know how to do. I learned how to understand the workforce better, and I learned more about budgeting my money and the importance of saving. Most important, though – I have learned to be confident in myself. I can do whatever I put my mind to; it just takes hard work and dedication,” said Linda.

Amicia Ramsey from WISH spoke with Linda during October to learn about her career journey. Watch the video below.

2023-11-01T11:24:51-04:00October 24, 2023|Our Blog|
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