Fueled by the mission of taking on disability together, Easterseals organizations around the world bring awareness, treatment and advocacy to adults and children with disabilities in America.
The United States Government recognizes National Child Health Day every October 1 and stated in its 2018 Presidential Proclamation that “On Child Health Day, we renew our commitment to ensuring the health and well-being of our young people, who are the future of our great country. All children deserve to grow up in loving homes with parents or guardians who are dedicated to empowering them to live healthy, safe, and successful lives.”
Easterseals is a partner in making this vision a reality and achieves it by creating and managing programs and services that make profound, positive differences in people’s lives every day. Easterseals of Northeast Central Florida’s services can be organized by how they fit into the “Live, Learn, Work, Play, Act” model:
LIVE: These programs offer hands-on, comprehensive, vital services and support to help people reach their full potential—regardless of challenges, needs or disabilities. They include Agency for Persons with Disabilities - APD Application assistance, Autism Early Diagnostic and Functional Assessment Clinic, Feeding Aversion Clinic, Early Steps evaluation and treatment, an equipment loan program, Florida Telecommunications Relay, Inc., interpreter services, pediatric audiology, social skills training and more.
LEARN: These programs are designed to help children and adults learn—and often re-learn— basic functions, master skills needed to develop and thrive, and be sharp and active as they age. They include American Sign Language® classes, case management/service coordination, Child Development Centers, Easterseals Charter School, Pre-Kindergarten, Evelyn Lynn Child Development Center at Project WARM, school-based therapy, Voluntary Pre-Kindergarten and more.
WORK: These programs include a range of training, placement and related services that help people prepare for the workforce—because meaningful work is often the key to overcoming challenges and having a good life. Examples of Easterseals’ offerings include clinical training, Deaf advocacy, internships and physician in-services.
PLAY: Easterseals is committed to offering fun, healthy programs for children, adults and caregivers to relax, connect with friends and engage in constructive activities—all necessary to living the best life possible. These programs and activities include accessible playgrounds, Camp Challenge, Joey’s Gift Respite Care, social skills training, and Tiny Toes Play Group for Early Steps.
ACT: Easterseals is fortunate to have a vibrant community of friends and supporters who stand with those who face challenges by volunteering, advocating, donating and participating in events that inspire us all and sustain our cause. We encourage all citizens to get involved with Easterseals as an advocate, joining a board or committee, engaging in community collaboration, joining the Disability Coalition, contributing to the equipment loan closet, giving or donating funds, participating in special events and volunteering.
To learn more about how to engage with Easterseals and learn more about its programs, connect by calling
386-255-4568, 1-877-255-4568 (toll-free) or 386-310-1157 (videophone); emailing firstname.lastname@example.org; or visiting us online at www.eastersealsnecfl.org.
In our neck of the woods, the 2018-19 school year is about to be at full throttle. Parents have sharpened the No. 2 pencils, stocked backpacks, purchased polo shirts and planned lunches.
But, are these children ready to reconnect with their schoolmates with disabilities in ways that makes them feel comfortable with their questions and compassionate in their actions?
Easterseals of Northeast Central Florida encourages parents to discuss with their children how to think about and connect with people with disabilities. What can parents teach their children about disabilities? What should they say?
Here are four suggestions on what to keep in mind when you talk to your child about their peers (and others) with disabilities:
1. Words are important. Teach your child the appropriate words to use when talking about the differences they may see in others, such as “disability,” “special needs,” or even the name of a specific disability like Down Syndrome or Autism. Teach your child that name calling is not acceptable, and neither are jokes at a person’s expense. Always encourage your child to use respectful language - or “people first” language - when talking about a person with disabilities. Ex, a friend with autism versus an autistic friend; a child who uses a wheelchair versus a wheelchair bound child.
2. A person with a disability is not necessarily sick. Educate you child that they cannot “catch” a disability from someone else. Though an illness can cause a disability, reassure your child that the disability is not a sickness.
3. Your child has things in common with others who have disabilities. Everyone has differences, it’s just that some differences are more noticeable. Instead, focus on what your child and others have in common: eyes, hands, smiles, feelings, etc. And, though someone may have a physical disability does not mean they have a cognitive one. Adults and kids with disabilities can do many things people without those challenges can do, it just may take them a little bit longer or they may accomplish the task in a different way.
4. Questions are allowed and welcomed! Children are naturally curious, and it’s one of the things we love about kids! Encourage your child to ask you questions, and if you don’t know the answer, Easterseals is always here to help. (Call us at 386-255-4568.) Or, pass your child’s question along to a teacher or the child’s parent. Most parents would invite an opportunity to bridge the gap between their child and yours.
Your child is looking to you to guide them on how to interact with others, including those with disabilities. Be a strong example by showing respect and kindness. When you do, you join Easterseals in changing the way the world defines and views disability – whether physical, intellectual, emotional or social – by making profound, positive differences in people's lives everyday.
Sources: Easterseals, today.com, scarymommy.com, care.com