New Friends, New Classes, and New Skills!

NEW SCHOOL YEAR, NEW FRIENDS

The first week of school is always fun and exciting, and this year was no exception for Easter Seals Greater Houston’s The Caroline School (TCS) students and teachers. We kicked off the 2022-2023 school year with many smiling faces – some familiar, and some new. We welcomed 4 new students and a new Teaching Assistant! More information about our newest Teaching Assistant, Rochna Sherrill, can be found here.

MOVING IN & GETTING ORGANIZED

New school years bring new classroom layouts, organization systems, and routines. To lessen the overwhelm and incorporate student learning of these processes, our students “moved in” to their vocation classroom this year. Using assistive technology and a little guidance, they unpacked their boxes of toys, dishes, linens, and personal items to organize their new learning space. Students of all ages will use this space, their Vocation Classroom, to develop and practice skills in the areas of pretend play, daily living, pre-vocation, and vocation, as well as self-help.

These skill areas are important pieces of a student’s curriculum at TCS. Our collective student teams (teachers, therapists, and families) work hard to provide experiences that develop skills used in not only in school, but at home and in the community. While it was initially difficult for the teachers to leave the room “unfinished,” it was totally worth it. The students loved moving in!

COME JOIN US

We are still enrolling for the 2022-23 school year! We have a couple seats to fill in both our younger and older age groups. To learn more about The Caroline School or to schedule a tour, contact Michelle Andrade at 832-776-1758 or mandrade@eastersealshouston.org.

The Caroline School provides individualized education to students in the areas of developmental delays, multiple disabilities, and medical fragility. The Caroline School team serves learners, up to 21 years of age, and helps them achieve their highest levels of physical, social, and cognitive development. Learn more at CarolineSchool.org.

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New, Easier Way to Find Helpful Apps

The BridgingApps program and website helps people with disabilities, parents, older adults, teachers, veterans and their families leverage mobile devices and apps to enhance their lives. To that end, we have been hard at work updating and improving our App Search Tool, which launched this August.

Finding the right apps to suit individual needs can be complicated and overwhelming. The new Search Tool is designed to minimize that problem with up-to-date features that help users navigate the (also recently updated) database quickly and smoothly:

  • FAQ page
  • User-feedback options
  • New and improved Contact Us options
  • Simplified Search & Navigation setup
  • Easy-to-use Save Searches
  • Options for creating and saving personalized, customized lists
  • New user-ratings and user-community opportunities
  • An array of better-organized app lists
  • An updated Categories sidebar for quick overview of what’s available (apps for Learning, Independent Living, Leisure & Recreation, etc.)

And for users who still get overwhelmed with the number of options: the curated list/View All Lists section, headlined by our new “Confused Guy” logo, for an extra hand getting started—plus assurance they aren’t the only ones who ever have trouble.

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Connecting With My Child

“I am very grateful for the Easter Seals Greater Houston Early Childhood Intervention (ECI) team that was assigned to my son, Kayson. He had his first evaluation at about 20 months old and it was like he was in a bubble, almost in his own world. The hurt that I felt because I could not connect to my own child or even understand what he needed. He started ECI at about 20 months with me not knowing what to expect. He is now 3 years old and has graduated from ECI. I have learned so many things to help Kayson navigate through his world and he has made so many amazing achievements. He has made a total 180 and the connection we have now is indescribable. The true kindness and dedication from our ECI team members Lillie, Susanna, Denise, and Christy helped me be strong for him. Words cannot describe how grateful I am to all of them and how helped us through this journey. Thank you!” -Kayson’s Mom

The time from birth to age three is critical in your child’s physical and cognitive development.  To help make sure your baby is reaching their developmental milestones, you can complete this free Ages & Stages Questionnaire or check with your pediatrician if you have concerns. Learn more about Easter Seals Greater Houston’s Early Childhood Intervention Program!

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Walk With Me Towards an Inclusive and Equitable Future

Easter Seals Greater Houston is leading the way to 100% equity, access and inclusion. Thanks to your support, we impact where people need us the most – school, work, home and in the community by enhancing quality of life and expanding local access to healthcare, education, and employment opportunities. Walk With Me Houston, our annual 5k Family Fun Walk fundraiser through the Houston Zoo, is one way these transformative services are made possible. Check out how the generosity of our corporate partners and community supports impacts our neighbors with disabilities! Special thanks to our Walk With Me Presenting Sponsor, Prosperity Bank, for their incredible support of programs for veterans, service members, children and adults with disabilities, and caregivers! Walk With Me and the reach of our programs wouldn’t be possible without you! Be sure you save the date for our 12th annual Walk With Me: April 22, 2023! Learn more at WalkWithMeHouston.org or contact our Event Manager, Gabriela Silva, GSilva@eastersealshouston.org with any questions. We’ll see you at #WWM2023!

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Meaningful Eye Contact Means the World

Easter Seals Greater Houston’s Early Childhood Intervention (ECI) Program team of specialists have the knowledge and care to best help children ages 0-3 reach their milestones. Are you concerned about your baby’s development? ECI services are available for children birth to 36 months who show a developmental delay, who are at risk for a delay, have a disability or atypical behaviors. Our experts provide Occupational Therapy, Physical Therapy, Speech Therapy, Specialized Skills Training, Case Management, and Nutrition services to little ones and partner with their families to help achieve. Learn more about how we can help your child thrive like we have helped Andre!

“As a former special education teacher, I felt lost and overwhelmed when trying to provide for the delays my son exhibited. The amazing therapists with Easter Seals Greater Houston’s Early Childhood Intervention Program came in and have given us manageable, applicable ways to help our sweet Andre learn and grow! Before working with ECI, Andre rarely made eye contact and almost never responded to his name. Now, we are able to use picture cards to allow him to make choices, maintain meaningful eye contact, and he even follows a few simple commands! This is after just a few months of working with ECI therapists. They love my sweet boy so well, try to learn his specific interest and build on those, and always leave me (as the parent) feeling more encouraged by the time they leave! I am so thankful for each of our therapists and I’m looking forward to seeing how Andre will continue to progress!” – The Moore Family

Anyone can refer a child for a developmental evaluation, including parents, caregivers, friends, neighbors, doctors, and other community agencies. Learn more!

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We want you to THRIVE!

Do you need help understanding credit or building a budget? Do you have questions about what to do about items on your credit or need help getting your credit report without it having any impact on your credit?

We have a dedicated THRIVE team at Easter Seals Greater Houston to help guide you through the process. We can help guide you to repair your credit or build a budget. Our team of experts can work with you to achieve your financial goals. We know budgeting is important now more than ever. We can make recommendations that will work best for you and your family. Our THRIVE Program is completely free and will not impact your credit at all. Let us know how we can help you or what questions you have. 

Check out some of the Easter Seals Greater Houston THRIVE clients and client projects that our team has worked with in the past! Contact us to learn more and get started. Civilians, please contact jlopez@eastersealshouston.org. Veterans, please contact jgaehring@eastersealshouston.org or hmelton@eastersealshouston.org.

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Continuing Camp Excellence

Our fantastic Camp Directors, Kenzie and Ross.

We are incredibly proud but a little sad to share that our fantastic Camps Director, Kenzie Richard, will be returning to school to become a Physical Therapist. She has worked hand-in-hand with the team and her awesome successor to make the transition a smooth success. We are thrilled to introduce our new Camp Director, Ross McCann! He has a wide array of experience, truly cares about the campers, and spent this summer learning the ins and outs of the Camp Program. Get to know Ross from his introduction earlier this summer!

“My name is Ross McCann and I am starting at Easter Seals Greater Houston as the Assistant Camp Coordinator this summer. In my youth, I worked with my local Special Olympics group. Volunteering with Special Olympics youth gymnastics was my first experience working with people with disabilities. My experience with camp started in 2016 when I worked three summers at Camp For All, this is where I got my first interaction with Easter Seals Greater Houston through Camp Smiles overnight camp. I worked at Camp For All for 3 summers where I loved the work we did with the various communities. Following that, I worked at Morgan’s Wonderland Camp in San Antonio, serving a similarly diverse clientele.

I am a fan of movies, books, and sports. I love being at summer camps, where my favorite activity is split between the ropes course and the pool. I have two dogs, they are crazy and wild, but good girls. My goal is to continue the excellence of the Camp Program at Easter Seals Greater Houston as well as develop it further as my predecessor did.

I look forward to meeting the entire community and can’t wait for all the fun and amazing camps we have coming up!”

Did you know that Easter Seals Greater Houston offers a wide variety of camps and recreation programs for children, teens, and adults with disabilities as well as specialized programming for the military community? Learn more.

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A Service Dog is a Veteran’s Best Friend

The following was written by Easter Seals Greater Houston’s client Nicholas who has received and trained his service dog, Freya, through our Veterans Service Dog Program with the expertise of our Texas Veterans + Family Alliance partner My Service Dog, Inc.

“I had thought that having a service dog was out of reach until Dr. Jennifer Wright of Easter Seals Greater Houston introduced me to Allie Keaton from My Service Dog. From day one she guided me through the process. It was not easy, but Allie was there to teach me and answer questions (sometimes at odd hours). I was shocked at how fast Freya, my service dog, picked up the commands. Allie has all kinds of tips and tricks that I would have never thought of. Allie works with veterans’ schedules and allows for more than enough time to train the service dog. She helped me train Freya and get her ready for my move overseas.

Freya has been an excellent addition to my ongoing treatment and is much better than more pills. I never thought having a dog would do so much. I have to get up to make sure she gets out. It starts my day off right. I get more stuff done during the day. I can’t afford to sleep in. It allows me to get out in public a bit even when I have stressful days. I have someone to talk to. She knows when I have a sleep apnea attack, she will put her paw on me when I stop breathing. She rolls up next to me when I am stressed out and is picking up on the things I need.

Like anything else, you get out of the program what you put in. I feel as though I could train another service dog, if needed, with the knowledge that Allie has handed down to me. Allie definitely cares about both the veterans and the animals. Without her, I would not have a wonderful service dog that helps me daily. Thank you Allie, Dr. Wright and Easter Seals Greater Houston.”

Learn more about Easter Seals Greater Houston’s broad range of Veterans, Service Members, and Military-Connected Family Programs!

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Playing with Adaptive Fire!

What an amazing time students are having at The Caroline School’s 2022 Summer Program! The school’s 7-week, camp-style program features a new theme each week and runs Monday-Thursday from 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. until August 4. Families can sign up for the whole summer, or choose the weeks they want to attend.

Students learned all about crawlers and fliers during Nature Week! They explored a variety of animals including a gecko, which they adorned with fun, tactile decorations. They also learned about the beauty of butterflies. They were able to observe them and make their own models.

For the fourth week of camp, The Caroline School was thrilled to host Camp M.I. Way by Homerun Hitters. Their team of camp counselors transformed The Caroline School into a true camp experience complete with an indoor tent and an adapted campfire! With their assigned camp counselors, The Caroline School students spent their mornings controlling their camp experience by visiting an assortment of stations. They made their own snow cones, sand art, and stories to tell. In the afternoon they enjoyed group games like baseball, water play, and campfire songs.

We are now enrolling for the 2022-23 school year! To learn more about The Caroline School or to schedule a tour, contact Michelle Andrade at 832-776-1758 or mandrade@eastersealshouston.org.

The Caroline School provides individualized education to students in the areas of developmental delays, multiple disabilities, and medical fragility. They help learners up to 21 years of age achieve their highest levels of physical, social, and cognitive development. Learn more about Easter Seals Greater Houston’s The Caroline School.

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Early Childhood Intervention Champions

The following testimonies are from parents of children who participated in Easter Seals Greater Houston’s Early Childhood Intervention Program. The program serves children from birth to 36 months, who have developmental delays, medical diagnoses, disabilities, or atypical behaviors. Our specialists travel to your child and work with the entire family to help little ones achieve their goals. We are so proud of all of our Early Childhood Intervention Champions like these little ones!

“When Noah first entered Easter Seals Greater Houston’s Early Childhood Intervention (ECI) Program he was fairly far behind in his communication skills. His vocabulary was extremely limited and his frustrations when trying to communicate with us were very apparent. But thanks to all the hard work and dedication from his amazing ECI therapist, Noah’s speech began to flourish over time. They helped give us the guidance and tools we needed to help get Noah where he is today as well as how to continue to help him as he grows. Thanks to ECI and his wonderful therapist, at 2 1/2 years old Noah has reached his goals and is no longer in need of speech therapy. We can’t thank ECI enough!”

“Both my son and daughter received services through ECI. The therapists offered helpful and insightful suggestions that helped my kids progress toward their developmental goals and milestones. I appreciate the support and perspective my family received from ECI.”

We offer an array of services based on the child’s needs. Our services are provided by licensed/certified providers who have extensive experience in working with small children. Our services include but are not limited to:

Our main goal is to work with parents and caregivers in their everyday routines and natural environments where children learn best and we can support the needs of the entire family.  ECI services are provided in a child’s natural environment, meaning wherever the child spends most of their day. That may be the child’s home, a caregiver’s home, or a daycare. Services may even be provided virtually or at other community locations. Easter Seals Greater Houston’s Early Childhood Intervention/Infant Program proudly serves the following counties: Brazos, Burleson, Fort Bend, Grimes, Harris, Leon, Liberty, Madison, Montgomery, Robertson, Walker, and Washington.

Learn more about how Early Childhood Intervention services can benefit your little one today!

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