Tag Archives: caregiver

College-bound… Katy Parent Night Out helps teens prepare for college!

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Easter Seals Greater Houston Katy Parent Night Out has a long history of helping teens on the spectrum, including providing informational services for career and post-secondary education opportunities.  Two of our very special clients, brothers who joined our program back in 2016 when they were 13 and 14 years old, have benefited from PNO’s guest speaker program, providing guidance for adolescents transitioning into adulthood!  In 2017, a representative from HCC’s VAST (Vocational Advancement and Skills Training) Academy, a branch of HCC that provides “Opportunities include vocational certificates, pre-college, and freshman success bridge courses, career readiness credentials, internships and employment assistance offered through an inclusive, relevant and affordable avenue.”.  Both boys, who have speech and developmental delays, have been accepted into HCC’s VAST program and are thriving in their new role as “big men on campus”.  They are seeking vocational certificates that will help them find meaningful employment after graduation.  These clients have overcome multiple obstacles (including losing their home from Hurricane Harvey in 2017) and Easter Seals Parent Night Out is proud to provide support and encouragement as they’ve grown into amazing young adults.  PNO continues to inspire teens like these brothers, and WE are inspired THEIR success!

Kelly Knight, Easter Seals Greater Houston, PNO Respite Coordinator 

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I am in the Caring Business

Caregiving-the activity or profession of regularly looking after a child or a person who is sick, elderly or disabled. There can be the feeling of fulfillment and happiness, it can also be overwhelming on a caregiver and could be mentally and physically exhausting. Being a Respite Family Coordinator for Easter Seals Greater Houston, this is what I hear every day through tears, sighs, laughter, joy and distress. I can’t help but feel the families’ pain and do what I do with love. I share their pain, fear and hurt. I can’t deny that this position has made me a better person, more compassionate and understanding to what we take for granted each and every day. I can sit here and ramble on about what a caregiver goes through, but what I need is for people to understand is that we do what we do…because we CARE. Not just anyone can do that and for that, I am grateful that I wake up knowing I did something to make someone else’s day just a little bit better.

When people ask me what I do? Screenshot_2019-07-02-09-17-22~2.png

I start with I ABSOLUTELY love what I do.

I try to bring awareness and motivate people to go out of their way to help those in need. Overall my organization, ESGH is about caring, my Respite program is caring. If all I have to do is show them that they are appreciated each and every day by offering our services, then I will go above and beyond. It is not just a job, I do it with lots of love and pride. To all the caregivers out there, may your heart be filled with joy, warmth and happiness.

“It’s not how much you do, it’s how much love you put in the doing.” –Mother Teresa


Respite Services provides relief options to parents who provide ongoing care of their family member who has a disability. Many parents of children and adults with disabilities have low incomes and cannot afford to hire providers to take time away from their children. Many people with disabilities require 24-hour, around-the-clock supervision, attention and care. This continuous demand becomes a tremendous drain on caregivers emotionally, physically and mentally-this care will remain constant as they grow older. Consequently, families of children with disabilities are at high risk for divorce, substance abuse and child abuse because of the continuing stress of caring for the child with disabilities. Respite care is an assistance program to parents, but just as importantly, is a prevention program aimed at stopping some of the social problems that can result from the tremendous demands made on families due to the disabilities of their child or the institutionalization of the family member with a disability.

Adriana Rico, Respite Family Coordinator, Easter Seals Greater Houston


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Caring for the Caregiver

The following was written by the parents of one of our beloved clients that have participated in Easter Seals Greater Houston’s Family Day Out and Respite Voucher programs for many years.

Family Day Out is a center-based Respite service 20171007_102818that provides respite care on Saturdays to families of children ages 6-14 with all types of disabilities. Our son, Brandon, and the other children benefit from arts and crafts, games, and playground activities and receive one-on-one assistance from volunteers. As parents we benefit greatly with much needed time to get caught up on anything we may need to get done (paperwork, house work …the list goes on) or even have a much needed day date! (Dates are far and in between!) Family Day Out also gives us much needed one-on-one time with our daughter. Children that have siblings with disabilities often don’t get as much attention due to the high demand kids with disabilities require. It’s a great opportunity to spend quality time with siblings.

What we love most about Family Day Out is that our son is able to spend time with volunteers, staff, and friends that over the years have gotten to know and love him.  Each session is also staffed by a nurse and a center director. It’s somewhere he feels 100% accepted and has tons of fun.

20161203_114712We are so grateful to have been able to look forward to at least one Saturday several months a year that Brandon will be well taken care of while having fun so we can have time to ourselves, guilt-free. This September will be a sad one since the Family Day Out program is only able to accommodate kids through 14 years old at this time and Brandon turns 15 at the end of September.

We also participate in Easter Seals’ Respite Voucher Program which allows us to select our own childcare provider for in-home care. These hours allow us to run errands and take a much-needed break while Brandon is with someone we know and trust to care for him. As Brandon has gotten older the respite hours to use at our leisure have become as much of a blessing as Family Day Out. Qualified sitters (those who can handle meltdowns, behavior issues, etc.) for children with disabilities have a much higher rate than typical sitters so the respite hour vouchers help tremendously when funds are already tight.

Easter Seals Greater Houston’s 20171007_130244

Family Day Out program and Respite Voucher program are truly blessings to ours and so many other families!

Thank you,

Jeff and Tiffany, Respite client parents, Easter Seals Greater Houston

Learn more about Easter Seals’ Care Giving Services.

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Relax, Recharge, Feel Refreshed

Thanks to Easter Seals Greater Houston and Hilton Hotel of America, Downtown Houston – my husband and I enjoyed the gift of time together and a break from home, where we could recharge ourselves. Living in a disabled family, although rewarding, is full of extreme ups and downs that can be excessively stressful at times. Around the clock duty as a care taker to our adult son with autism and co-occurring disabilities means that time away is a chance to unwind, have some much needed down time and also return ready to take on another day. We really appreciated that Easter Seals Greater Houston Respite Program gives us the chance to get away from home, but be close enough in case of emergencies. We enjoyed our trip to The Houston Galleria to prepare for the holidays and were spoiled with deliciously prepared breakfasts.


Easter Seals Greater Houston has been a constant support in our lives for our son. Not only with the Respite Program, but when he was younger and attended Family Day Out on Saturdays once a month and of course the much anticipated Camp Buckaroo in the summer. Before the location in The Woodlands started, we would drive over an hour each way into Houston for camp, it was worth the chance to have our son engaged and stimulated in a safe environment for a few days during the summer break.

Thank you for the opportunity to enjoy this time especially during the hectic holiday season. We were so happy and care free for a couple of days – and this opportunity could not have come at a more needed time.

We appreciate Easter Seals Greater Houston, love the Hilton of Americas and are thankful for all you do for the disabled community and care takers.

Thank you,

Nicole and Darrel, Respite Services clients, Easter Seals Greater Houston

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The Caregiver Thanking The Caregivers

2014 caregiver blog 2It takes a whole world of people to care for a child with special needs. It’s more than parents, family, friends or neighbors. They are oh so important, but it takes a cadre of caregivers in our lives. Yes, those who literally watch my son so I can have some respite, but those who care beyond an appointment. Doctors who pay attention, therapists who work together to create a well–balanced sensory diet to help my child meet the demands of his day, educators who care about understanding the way my child learns and business offices who understand why the bill hasn’t yet been paid.

My son may not be able to do a lot of things kids his age can do. But he cares about his world and he is happy living in it. I find what ends up meaning the most to us at the end of the day are those who took time to care for us as a family.

My son has so much to teach those who will listen. Yes, you may have to talk about princesses and villains for what may seem like a very long time. I like to remember something I read the other day that really struck me:

“The only disability in life is a bad attitude.”  I think that says it all.

Michelle Groogan, Parent, Advocate, Writer and Client of Easter Seals Greater Houston

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A Caregiver Journey of Expectation

“It’s amazing how caregivers do it all. November is National Family Caregivers Month, and Easter Seals wants to share the many faces of caregiving and the incredible things they do.  All month-long, we’ll highlight caregivers and caregiving resources on our website, including those who care for veterans, spouses, neighbors, parents and more.” So check out our blog AND our national headquarters!

Easter Seals Greater Houston client.  When my husband and I decided to start our family six years ago, we didn’t have any expectations other than healthy “typical” children. We both came from a typical family where disabilities or special needs just did not exist.  Circumstances over the past six years have caused me to reexamine expectations and the nature of “family “while our journey has taken a much different path.2014 caregiver pic 1

Our first daughter Emma was the light of our lives. While she had some speech issues due to ENT issues of ear and throat infections, after surgery she began to increase her speech and her verbal skills now are superb. We had the same expectations during my pregnancy with Annie, our second child.  Those expectations began to change very quickly after her birth.  Feeding issues, medical issues, mood and sensory issues, just to mention a few, kept my husband and I back and forth to hospitals and doctors’ offices while our journey down this road was definitely  much different from we expected.  It seemed every day was a different and new road to negotiate.  One day Annie started vomiting and I noticed she was vomiting up hair – She was pulling out her hair and eating it! No wonder she had complained of stomach aches and fevers!  The pediatrician directed us to shave her head, and that haircut of all her beautiful baby curls to a now bald child shoved was the first of many accommodations we had to make.

Over the next year issues continued and testing revealed Annie had Celiac Disease. Her sensory issues continued resulting in tantrums and melt downs, all at the very worse time.  Annie is receiving help with speech therapy, occupational therapy, behavior therapy, school support at St. Peters Early Childhood Development Center, and medical treatments for her Celiac.

Support for me and my husband came to us from many different directions. We started to get the help our family needed to rest and rejuvenate and recover when we discovered Respite!  Bernadette, our Respite Provider was wonderful with Annie.  I discovered I could take some time for myself, and make it to a yoga class once a week!   My husband and I could have a date!  I could spend special time with Emma giving her some individual special time.

People say that parenting is the toughest job there is, and they are absolutely correct! For families who do not have help, it can be an overwhelming experience. Add disability to the mix, and it often can become crushing.  We were so lucky on our journey of different expectations.  We found Respite through Easter Seals Greater Houston, a great preschool through St. Peters and wonderful therapists to support Annie and the whole family! My husband and I feel so blessed to be caregivers of two beautiful children, and we appreciate the help of everyone in our lives that are helping us raise them to be the amazing people we know they will be!

Caregiver Kelly

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