Protect your Data! It’s Valuable!

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 an information and security risk expert, 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.


No matter whether you’re a pro influencer or a newbie with three followers, you need to think about cybersecurity and protecting your personal data while using social media, even if you don’t post often. Here is how you can keep your account secure, enjoy your online social life, and ghost any scammer that slips into your DMs!

Prize your Personal Info

We want everyone out there to be snobby about sharing their personal data – there is nothing rude about it! Your data is worth billions to social media companies, but you can control what is collected. Your personal data is valuable; treat it like cash!

Check your Settings

Even if a social media app or website never asks you for data, you should assume it is still collecting it. Routinely (every month or so) check your settings and ensure everything fits within your comfort level.

On mobile devices, social media apps might ask for you to give them access permissions at all times, but you don’t have to agree. Here are some default settings you should usually turn off, unless needed:

  • Camera – off
  • Microphone – off
  • Location – off
  • Sync contacts – off

Enable MFA

Multi-factor authentication (MFA), sometimes called two-factor authentication or two-step verification, requires anyone logging into an account to prove their identity multiple ways. MFA makes it extremely hard for hackers to access your online accounts, even if they know your password.

Passwords: Think Long, Strong, Unique

Each social media accounts should be protected by an awesome password with these three guiding principles in mind:

  • Long: Every one of your passwords should be at least 12 characters long.
  • Strong/Complex: Each unique password should be a combination of upper and lower case letters, numbers and special characters (like >,!?).
  • Unique: Each account needs to be protected with its own unique password. Never reuse passwords.

Share with Care

Be cautious about how much personal information you provide on social networking sites. The more information you post, the easier it may be for a hacker or someone else to use that information to steal your identity, access your data or commit other crimes such as stalking. Also, think about who can see your social media musings – most platforms allow you to limit who can see or engage with your posts if you don’t know the whole world to know your business.

2023-08-31T08:32:33-04:00August 9, 2023|Our Blog, Uncategorized|

Celebrating the Successes of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)


In 1990, a landmark legislation was enacted in the United States that forever changed the lives of millions of Americans. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was signed into law, bringing with it a new era of inclusivity, equality and accessibility for individuals with disabilities. As we reflect on the ADA’s successes, it becomes evident how this legislation has positively impacted various aspects of society, fostering a more inclusive nation for all.

Enhanced Accessibility

One of the primary achievements of the ADA is its focus on improving accessibility in public spaces. The ADA mandates that public buildings, including schools, workplaces and government facilities, be made accessible to individuals with disabilities. This has led to the installation of ramps, elevators, wider doorways and accessible restrooms, ensuring equal access and independence for people with mobility impairments.

Employment Opportunities 

The ADA has also been instrumental in promoting employment opportunities for individuals with disabilities. Prior to the ADA, people with disabilities often faced discrimination and barriers to equal employment. However, this legislation prohibits discrimination based on disability and mandates reasonable accommodations in the workplace. As a result, individuals with disabilities have been able to enter the workforce, contribute their unique talents and skills and pursue fulfilling careers.

Accessible Transportation

Transportation is a vital aspect of everyday life, and the ADA has played a crucial role in improving transportation options for individuals with disabilities. The law requires that public transportation services be made accessible, including buses, trains and light rail systems. This has empowered individuals with disabilities to travel independently, access educational and employment opportunities and engage in social activities, enhancing their overall quality of life.

Digital Accessibility

In the digital age, the ADA has adapted to address the growing importance of technology. As a result, the legislation has extended its scope to include digital accessibility. Websites, online services and digital platforms are now required to be accessible to individuals with disabilities. This ensures that people with visual impairments, hearing loss, or other disabilities can access information, services and participate in online activities equally with others.

Public Awareness and Attitude Shifts

The ADA has brought about tangible changes and sparked a significant shift in public awareness and attitudes toward individuals with disabilities. The legislation has fostered a culture of inclusivity, promoting the understanding that disability is a natural part of human diversity. This increased awareness has led to reduced stigma, improved acceptance and the creation of more inclusive communities where individuals with disabilities are valued for their abilities and contributions.

As we celebrate the successes of the Americans with Disabilities Act, it is clear that this legislation has had a profound and far-reaching impact on society. By enhancing accessibility, promoting employment opportunities, improving transportation, ensuring digital inclusion and transforming attitudes, the ADA has created a more equitable and inclusive society for individuals with disabilities. However, there is still work to be done to address the remaining barriers and challenges that individuals with disabilities continue to face. It is our collective responsibility to build upon the successes of the ADA and strive for a future where every person, regardless of ability, can fully participate and thrive in all aspects of life.

2023-07-25T15:43:38-04:00July 25, 2023|Our Blog|

Staff and Volunteers Steer iCan Bike Summer Camp

iCan Bike – a popular summer camp for young people 8+ who want to learn to ride a conventional two-wheel bicycle – was offered during June 2023 this year. The camp is run by iCan Shine professionals and is presented by Easterseals Crossroads to approximately 40 individuals with disabilities each summer. The camp is unique in that it focuses on learning to ride with adaptive bicycles that are presented in progression with the ultimate goal of riding a conventional two-wheel bicycle. Volunteer spotters – many of them local high school students – walk or run alongside riders to encourage and support the process of learning to ride.

Easterseals Crossroads has been offering this program for well over ten years. Staff member John Kelly has been involved for nine of those years as the director of the program. His unique background has made him especially suited to the needs of the program; not only does he head the home modification program at Easterseals Crossroads, he is a licensed physical therapy assistant. As a cycling enthusiast his entire life, he sees the benefits of cycling as a form of exercise, transportation, freedom and inclusion.

For John, running iCan Bike is truly a family affair; this year was an iCan Bike transition for him and his family. For the past 9 years his two daughters have been hisbike rider with two spotters trusty assistants; he knew he could count on them to cover gaps, assist riders and volunteers and do all the little things needed for a successful camp. They were not available this year, as they are living out of state now. Thankfully, his son Brody volunteered to help. Brody has volunteered at iCan Bike before, but he shouldered a much heavier responsibility this year, filling the big shoes of his sisters very well. He worked over 40 hours during iCan Bike camp, helping many riders learn to ride and volunteers learn to help. His caring attitude and work ethic could not be missed.

“Helping at iCan Bike is always one of the highlights of my summer, getting to teach and bond with the kids as they learn is always amazing. The experience that this camp has given me is something that I will never forget. Being by the rider’s side as they face challenges and learn to overcome them is priceless. At the end of the week seeing the kids that I have helped and bonded with on their own bikes riding entirely by themselves makes me so happy and proud of them. Knowing that the work I put in positively affected them and their whole family makes every drop of sweat and sore feet completely worth it” said Brody.

Frequently parents are skeptical or unsure about the prospect of learning how to ride a bike in a single week. Often they have tried to teach their own child to ride for years, which has resulted in frustration and fear of failure. iCan Bike has a proven success rate of approximately 80% of riders who can ride independently by the end of the camp week. iCan Bike 2023 was a great camp, with a very high success rate. So many kids learned to ride a two wheeled bike. We had great weather, very few spills, a great facility and great volunteers.

“This camp works! The program is a lot of hard work and some magic that comes from the combination of many factors coming together to create success – most importantly, the iCan Bike program and huge amounts of dedicated (and physically fit) volunteers,” said John.

The ability to ride a bike for recreation and transportation can provide inclusion with friends, family and community that can in turn improve physical fitness, mental health and overall quality of life. In addition to the ability to ride a bike, the increase in self-esteem and confidence are often dramatic affecting other positive changes in family dynamics, school and friendships. Instead of being left behind, the child with a disability is empowered to be able to participate in a fun outdoor activity with friends and neighbors.

Success of iCan Bike depends largely on the 80+ volunteers needed to offer the program each year. Volunteers must be able to run alongside their riders offering support and encouragement. The program has established relationships with many sports teams from schools including Southport and Roncalli located on the south side of Indianapolis near the venue, Perry Park. Coaches have encouraged players to volunteer at iCan Bike since it is a demanding workout as well as a team building activity – all for a great cause.

A big volunteer spotlight was the Roncalli Women’s Volleyball team. They signed up to cover the third session for the entire week and did not disappoint! They turned up in force showing enthusiasm, a caring attitude and a strong work ethic. The iCan Bike staff were amazed at their ability to get kids riding. Thank you Royals and Coach Christina Erazmus. The way she and her team have embraced iCan Bike each year demonstrates their commitment to our community, to a great cause and to enriching your team and players along the way.

Thanks to a mighty team of staff, volunteers and community partners, we turned some bike riding goals into reality again this year!

2023-07-12T15:18:11-04:00July 12, 2023|Our Blog|

AgrAbility and Easterseals Crossroads

Indiana AgrAbility is a USDA-sponsored program that assists farmers, ranchers and other agricultural workers with disabilities. Since 2022, our INDATA Project staff have been involved in a partnership with Indiana AgrAbility, although the two entities have worked together prior to the partnership. Lisa Becker, an assistive technology technician for Easterseals Crossroads, has been involved with the project and explains more about it below.

According to Lisa, AgrAbility is similar to what our clinical assistive technology services does in that we provide vocational service through vocational rehabilitation for individuals with disabilities seeking employment. In this area, the core employment goals are agriculturally related. We help people keep farming or working in the agriculture field after experiencing a traumatic event or being diagnosed with a disability that might affect the ability to work in the field. It could also include individuals who have interest and skills in starting a new business in agriculture after a diagnosis.

Referrals for this service are typically made by vocational rehabilitation through the AgrAbility staff. INDATA has purchased approximately $10,000 of items to start the AgrAbility lending library, which is a service that allows interested individuals the opportunity to borrow and try a piece of equipment – in this case, equipment related to agriculture – before having to make a purchase. The lending library provides a unique, try-before-you-buy opportunity that can be a huge cost-saving measure for individuals with disabilities. While we are currently in the library set up phase, it is our goal that these items will be available to anyone in Indiana to check out and try before purchasing from other sources.

This new partnership formalizes our work and challenges us to find ways for us to work together and provide additional outreach opportunities. Each organization has been successful in specific outreach programs. So far, our skills have complimented each other and are improving and expanding our outreach programs. At our first ever Indiana AgrAbility Agricultural Assistive Technology Expo (April 13, 2023), we spotlighted two Easterseals Crossroads programs – home modification services with service provider John Kelly and the INDATA alternative finance program. – Lisa Becker, Assistive Technology Technician.

AgrAbility photos - composite of attendees trying farm equipment

The expo provided an opportunity for people with and without disabilities to work and learn more about tasks typically associated with agriculture. Different types of assistive technology were explored to see what might work best on a farm.

Attendees attempted the following tasks: stepping up into a big tractor; climbing through the bucket into a skid steer; hopping into a zero-turn mower and steering with both hands; and flying a drone to look over a field and identify problems.  They then were guided to other tasks with the use of assistive technology such as using lifts to move someone in and out of a truck (to and from a wheelchair, for example) or to view the top of a tree or piece of equipment; moving in and out of a utility tractor using automatic hitches; driving a wheelchair adapted for all-terrain use (trackchair); using that trackchair to stand straight up; laying a temporary ramp to move over an obstacle; and much more.

AgrAbility Expo photos - composite with attendees trying farming equipment

Expo attendees toured two farms affiliated with Purdue University including a dairy farm to observe milking, feeding adult cows and viewing the calf area;  sheep operation to observe feeding, care of babies and shearing; grain silo operations and planting; and aquaculture to observe various fish breeding and raising for release to increase a population of the Eastern hellbender (North America’s largest salamander).

The conference was attended by 67 individuals who represented vocational rehabilitation counselors and supervisors; occupational therapists and therapy students; extension office employees; and individuals representing neighboring AgrAbility programs (Ohio, Illinois and maybe Wisconsin).  Several farmers who had worked with AgrAbility spoke as part of a panel about their experiences.

For more information about AgrAbility and Easterseals Crossroads, contact us.

2023-06-14T11:59:02-04:00June 14, 2023|Our Blog|

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|
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