Tag Archives: easter seals

Celebrating Success in the Week of the Young Child

I first learned of Easter Seals from my child’s daycare teacher Ms. Shelia. She was knew I was looking for therapy for my son and she assisted me with getting the proper information that was needed, and that is how we landed on Easter Seals Greater Houston and their Early Childhood Intervention Program.

My experience from the beginning started with our Intake Coordinator, Chloe. We scheduled my appointment for Chase’s evaluation and being that I was very emotional, she was very comforting. Being that she has never met me and only interacted with me by phone, she assured me that everything would work out. My appointment was set for 03.24.2022, and I am writing an actual review about my entire experience within the last 2 weeks as of today.

Chloe contacted me  to fill the spot for an earlier cancellation that allowed me to get in and be evaluated before our original appointment. I can’t stress enough how kind and supportive everyone has been to my child and I. My heart is beyond grateful.

Jamie & Roshanda, therapists on the Easter Seals ECI Southeast Team, were the first staff we met and did Chase’s evaluation. Even though I was discouraged in many areas; they encouraged me and made me feel okay about every step that I was making for my son.

Next step, putting Chase’s team of early intervention experts together.  We were very excited for the team that would be working with Chase. From Sarah, to Kimberly, to Gretchen and Charisse, every single therapist and specialist in this process has encouraged me, and poured energy into me as a mother.

I am forever grateful for this experience thus far. My prayer is that they continue to reach and meet families wherever they are. With a grateful heart, thank you for everything you are doing and have done for Chase and I. Excited to know how many other programs there are for after her graduates at 3 – including the Children’s Therapy Clinic and the Caroline School!

Truly Grateful, Shun & Chase
Parent, Easter Seals Greater Houston, ECI Program

Leave a comment

Filed under Latest News

Celebrating OT Month and Week of the Young Child!

For the #WeekOfTheYoungChild & in celebration of #OccupationalTherapyMonth, the Children’s Therapy Clinic is celebrating the success of Jonathan M. and his Occupational Therapist, Alysia Cummings. Jonathan is 8 years old and has been with the Clinic since age three after graduating from the ECI program. He currently receives OT and speech therapy 1x/week and attends public school. Mom shared his therapy has helped him participate at school and be successful in Activities of Daily Living (ADLs) at home. His OT, Alysia, shared Jonathan has taken really well to visual aids and written schedules. He is working on tying shoes, bathing independently, brushing his teeth, toileting hygiene, buttoning, and handwriting. At home, he uses visual aids for his morning routine, bathing and tooth brushing. Mom said he is able to follow the schedules very well; and has increased his independence. To increase his participation in the Clinic session, Alysia writes a schedule on the board, which encourages him to participate much more easily than he used to. Mom shared it is the everyday progress that has made such a big difference for Jonathan.  Check out more info on our Children’s Therapy Clinic at Easter Seals Greater Houston

Leave a comment

Filed under Latest News

Celebrating Our Caroline School Students During The Week of the Young Child

To Celebrate the Month of the Young Child, The Caroline School would like to introduce you to Azeneth and Alexa!

These two young learners have shown a tremendous amount of growth in their social and academic abilities throughout the school year.

Azeneth enjoys exploring a sensory box for more than her set goal time and Alexa enjoys helping her friend, by picking things up that are falling from her desk and putting them back (without teacher prompting). We here at The Caroline School at Easter Seals Greater Houston applaud both young learners for how hard they work and how amazing they are.

 

Check out all our Caroline School offers to our students and parents!

Leave a comment

Filed under Latest News

2,376 and Counting!

A woman, the wife of a Veteran, known here as CeeCee, has been receiving mental health services since August 2019 from Easter Seals Houston‘s Military Program. In this time, she has grown a great deal through addressing her anger, physical pain, and improving her relationships. Talk therapy and evidence-based therapy have helped her find the internal peace she has desired for years and helped her take the steps needed to participate in life without pain limiting her. But this isn’t an account of her growth, rather it is about how she has helped others.

CeeCee loves her family and friends and has always put them first. Through her engagement with mental health services, she identified the importance of communication and connection for her and learned how to let these guide her daily. Some days are easier than others. Yet, she is understanding and patient with herself when she sacrifices the connection with others to share her anger and frustration. Finding ways to live what is important to her by being at peace, using her voice, and connecting with others reaches well beyond her, just ask her friends and family.

CeeCee who is in her 60s has shared what has been helpful to her with those around her. She has encouraged a friend who is in abusive relationship to get help. At the same time, they remain good friends CeeCee knows she can hear the stories of her friend and take care of herself to not be weighed down by what her friend is experiencing. CeeCee has connected an extended family member to Easter Seals services to help this young mother move toward the mental health, occupational, and financial stability she desires. CeeCee hopes this will interrupt the transgenerational pattern of instability this woman is a part of. CeeCee also connected her mother to Easter Seals mental health services in another state. She is excited her mother finally has the chance to voice the trauma she has experienced and find a way to be happy. A little change really goes a long way.

Dr. Cristy Gamez
Easter Seals Greater Houston, Veterans & Military Service, Mental Health

Leave a comment

Filed under Latest News

Transition & Employment, & Success!

During the pandemic, how and where we serve our clients has changed considerably. Much of what we did in person has become virtual. Some of it is hybrid, with some services done in person and some done virtually. Despite the issues caused by these changes, and everything else that went with the pandemic, the people who come to us for help finding employment have had many successes.

Because of her health conditions, one person looking for employment could not pursue work that took her outside her home. After several stalled attempts to find appropriate work, she began working with Ron Taylor, an Employment Specialist with Easter Seals Greater Houston. With his help, she was found employment with Walgreen’s processing online prescription requests. She was able to gain help from her Texas Workforce Commission Counselor to find office furniture for her home, and from Easter Seals Houston in obtaining a suitable computer for the work she was doing. She has been working for Walgreen’s for a year and is well established as an employee with the company. She can now pay her own way in life without outside assistance and is looking forward to working with Walgreen’s for a long time.

Two persons who recently came to us for help finding employment had to suspend their job search for almost a year because of the pandemic. After a complete assessment of their skills and desires around setting a plan, they began their job search. After placing many applications at different businesses, they were both recently hired by Macy’s. They are both finishing their initial training in their stores, and will work with Robert Aranda, another Employment Specialist with Easter Seals Greater Houston, to learn their jobs and help them fit into culture in their new workplace. They are both looking forward to becoming more independent as they embark on their new careers.

Although the pandemic has forced major changes on all of us, the dream of employment for persons with disabilities is still alive and is being fulfilled every day, it may just look different. At Easter Seals we will continue to do everything we can to help our clients achieve those dreams.

Robert Williams
Transition/Employment Program Director

Leave a comment

Filed under Latest News

Letter from the Heart

To our friends at Easter Seals Greater Houston, I would like to thank you for the support you have given to our family as well as to many other families like ours. Your great contribution to many families like ours is extremely helpful, we are very grateful for the support that the Easter Seals Respite Program has given and this makes our life and work easier with our children and other families in special need. Respite Blog Careigiver for November spanish translation

Your work is not simply an office job but a way to be good human beings and in the same way, it will be rewarded with the best payment that they could accrue which is the blessing of God. You are the ones who who give hope to every person who labors with disability and makes things possible and others to relax, breathe and sit down with the support they need.

Hoping that these few but grateful words will come to your hearts, I am very grateful to them, that God will continue to bless them.

-Valentin, Easter Seals Respite Client

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. For more information click here. This important program is largely possible because of the generosity of our community, please consider donating today.

Leave a comment

Filed under Latest News

The Wonders of Early Childhood Intervention

To the Easter Seals ECI Infant Program – the Woodlands team. Way to go Jeannie, Lisa, and Nicola!

Our experience with Easter Seals Early Childhood Intervention Program was a very positive one. From the very beginning (our daycare suggested we reach out when my son was about 11 months old). little boyAustin’s initial evaluation was a lot to take in, but they explained everything they were doing (and more importantly, WHY), and what the process would look like to begin services and what we should expect (this all before we ever had a diagnosis too)… over the past two years, I have relied heavily on Jeannie and Lisa’s guidance on best practices for us to be using with Austin at home, helpful toys/exercises/etc., and celebrated almost every milestone with us along the way. Easter Seals ECI Staff have been more than flexible with my often hectic work schedule (even when I sometimes forget to call and let them know Austin wouldn’t be at daycare for whatever doc appointment/illness/trip 🤦🏻‍♀️), and I loved getting feedback/photos/progress updates from Lisa after Occupational Therapy sessions. I, of course, wish they could have worked with Austin even more than what was available, but ECI has provided an incredible foundation for Austin’s development and future success. Thank you doesn’t seem like enough in this case and I’m quite sad that it’s come to an end.

Austins Mom – Easter Seals ECI Client

Leave a comment

Filed under Latest News

Celebrating Warrior Princess Ava

Ava spent the first 63 days of her life in the NICU, as a little heart warrior, fighting for her life. Today, Ava is an adorable little princess, delighting everyone with her sweet smile. This story is a celebration of her victory over those first battles, and the battles she continues to face.

At five months pregnant, Ava’s mom, Mikki, learned Ava had a congenital heart defect (CHD).  Two weeks later, Mikki found that the heart condition was much more severe than initially thought.  When taking a class about her daughter’s upcoming stay in the NICU, Mikki’s water broke.  She spent the next 32 days in the hospital, on bedrest, until Ava was born at 33 weeks.  The cause of her heart defect was determined at about one week old. Ava was diagnosed with 22.q.11 chromosome deletion (DiGeorge Syndrome), “the most common, uncommon syndrome”.  Ava struggled with feeding and sleeping issues, as she fought to gain enough weight to have her first heart surgery at one month old.  Ava continued to deal with feeding and sleeping concerns, trying to gain weight, for another month after her surgery.  At 2 months old, Ava was discharged to go home.  Staff from the hospital gave her mom a pamphlet about ECI (Early Childhood Intervention), which Mikki dismissed at first.

Ava’s first few months at home were a difficult physical and mental adjustment for her whole family.  An autoimmune condition was revealed, which meant Ava was not strong enough to receive immunizations, and needed to be separated from her 3-year-old sister. Her pediatrician also followed up on the hospital’s suggestion, and recommended ECI. At six months old, Easter Seals Greater Houston started providing ECI services.  Ava received PT (Physical Therapy), OT (Occupational Therapy), SST (Specialized Skills Training), and Case Management. Nutrition was added for two months due to Ava needing to gain weight for a second surgery, which Ava was able to have at 8 months old.  Even though the surgery was considered “a full repair”, she will need more surgeries when she’s older, as her heart grows, for maintenance and additional repairs.  According to her mom, after the second surgery, “we came home with a new baby”. Ava had more energy, and overcame her eating and sleeping struggles. With her new-found energy and ECI’s therapy sessions, “everything fell into place”.

Ava started to crawl at one year old and mom states, “she was the fastest crawling baby I ever saw in my life”. She walked at 25 months old and developed her hand (fine motor) skills. Aided by SMOs (Supra-malleolar orthosis), which give her stability needed as a late walker, Ava now runs!  Ava communicates by pointing, showing what she wants, and using about 30 signs. “Ava has no problem getting her needs known. She’s following her own road, doing milestones in the right progression.” In the fall, Ava will attend the PPCD class with Montgomery ISD, and continue to receive PT and OT services, as well as adding Speech Therapy services from Easter Seals ECI Program.

When asked about how Easter Seals Early Childhood Intervention helped, Mikki reported: “I didn’t know what to do before ECI.  They guided me through her condition and what needed to be done first.  Every therapy was building on what needed to happen next.  ECI also encouraged her big sister to participate.  The therapists gave ideas on how to incorporate the two girls to do daily activities together, and how to make one-on-one time with her big sister.  I couldn’t have done it without them.”

Her mom added: “Thinking that Ava would need therapy was hard for me to accept, but God gave me this child, and it was my job to give her what she needed to be successful.  Ava’s an amazing, sweet little girl, who has taught me so much.  They call heart babies ‘heart warriors’ because they fight battles they don’t even know they have to fight.”  Ava truly is, the perfect combination of warrior and princess.

It has now been four months of #StayAtHome.  That is around the same amount of time your baby/toddler reaches new milestones. Are you keeping a checklist? Are you watching for the next great milestone reached?  Your baby, who might have been five months at the start of #StayAtHome, now at nine months should be standing while holding on, can get into sitting position, sits without support, pulls to stand and crawls.  

Learn more about our Make The First Five Count Campaign and how to ensure your child is meeting their milestones.

Easter Seals Greater Houston’s ECI Program is still providing all services via tele-therapy including evaluations. Call Alicia at 713.838.9050 ext. 385 to schedule a free evaluation and to check on your child’s milestones.

Leave a comment

Filed under Latest News

Internships Build Resumes and Priceless Friendships

Every year Easter Seals Greater Houston hires two interns to help run our amazing summer camps. This year we hired Lindsay and Maddie who are tasked with helping make sure our first ever virtual camps run smoothly. Read how the campers inspire these two hard working young women!

Hi everyone!

Camp Intern 1My name is Lindsay.  This summer marks my fifth summer being involved with Easter Seals Greater Houston and my second summer as a Camp Intern!  I began volunteering with Easter Seals summer of 2016, simply to get service hours.  Little did I know at the time how much Easter Seals would transform my life.  Interning last summer was hands down one of the best summers of my life.  I learned so much and made the most amazing connections with those around me.  In the fall, I’m headed to Texas A&M University to study Allied Health.  Easter Seals has provided me with an amazing career trajectory as I hope to be either a speech pathologist or physical therapist in the future.  Time will tell which one of these paths I choose to take!

Camp Intern 2While being stuck in quarantine, one of the things I have missed the most is camp.  Even though this summer is going to look different than most, I know it will be a great one! The thing I’m most excited about is reuniting with all the amazing campers I met last summer!  The friendships I have formed with so many campers are the reason why I keep coming back.  The children I have met at camp have shaped me into the person I am today, and I am forever thankful. One of my favorite stories is an interaction I had with a camper named Angel.  I met Angel at Camp Smiles last summer.  Throughout the week at camp, I got to know Angel and became friends with him.  At the end of the week, Angel told me camp was one of the best weeks of his life and that he was so excited to come back next year but only if I was there! It was such a small statement, but it meant so much.  I cannot wait for another summer full of little moments like this.

-Lindsay Veech

Hello Easter Seals readers!

camp Intern 4My name is Maddie, I’m 19, and I’ve lived in Houston my whole life! I just finished my freshman year at Texas A&M University, where I’m studying Environmental Science. At Texas A&M, I’m involved in my sorority Kappa Alpha Theta and Aggie ACHIEVEMates. I first started volunteering with Easter Seals Greater Houston through my chapter of National Charity League. I’m very passionate about Easter Seals and serving those with disabilities. I’ve been to both Camp Smiles and Camp Buckaroo! One ofmy favorite camp memories is Karate Day with my buddy Christian at Camp Buckaroo, he is a pro at karate-chopping! I’m so excited to be a summer camps intern this year. I can’t wait to learn more about Easter Seals and hang out with the most awesome campers!

Camp Intern 3

-Maddie Farrell

Learn more about our Camps and Recreation Programs and volunteering opportunities today!

Leave a comment

Filed under Latest News

Pilot Program for Service Dogs… gone virtual..not to the dogs

My name is Bryan Cream and I am an Army Veteran who served eight years as a Chaplain Assistant. During my time, I served in many great units but I was lucky enough to serve my two tours in Afghanistan with the 101st Airborne Division. During Deployment, I do not recall any one specific event that caused damage to me physically. Overtime, my body deteriorated due to nothing more than I can explain as wear and tear. After eight years of climbing the ranks to E-6 or Staff Sergeant, I was Medically Discharged because my body had failed me. The next five years were very tough for me to accept my new life in the Civilian world.

As a Chaplain Assistant, I was responsible for ensuring the Soldiers and their families spiritual needs were met and that they maintained a level of mental strength and preparedness. Now, I am perceived as a Disabled Veteran and not able help myself. Through time and a lot of effort, I was able to accept and handle the mental impact of it all but now I am left with physical limitations that will certainly get worse with time.

Over the years, I dreamed of having a service dog to help me navigate life with the challenges that I am facing, but I never wanted to take a place from a Veteran that had Combat related injuries. Shortly after buying our first home, we found a beautiful Black Lab who we fell in love with and named her Lucie. We had her for about two months before I saw an ad from Easter Seals advertising their great program that offered a path to a Service Dog for Disabled Veterans. Not only did it offer training for Lucie but for myself as well.

The Easter Seals Pilot Service Dog Training Program has obviously gone virtual given the pandemic we are experiencing.  I am only halfway through this 10-week course; I am already seeing drastic changes and impressive results. Lucie has gone from a hyperactive puppy with a few basic commands to a 5-month-old puppy who I am able to trust in public.

The commands she is able to recognize and execute are sit, laydown, stay, wait, left, right, up, down and off. She is able to walk alongside a shopping cart in a public store without any issues. She is able to stay in the down position while I am twenty feet away for an extended period with multiple distractions.

Beyond the commands, I have learned to notice the small details and to listen to my dog. Building a bond with Lucie to make sure she knows where my next step or turn is. Allie (Easter Seals’ Trainer via My Service Dog) has been by Lucie, and my side throughout this course. Helping me see the small successes with Lucie and myself. She has taught me how to be patient with Lucie and most importantly, patient with myself through this training opportunity. Although, she is not quite a full-time service dog, I have faith that she will be there before too long. I look forward to working with Lucie some more and have her fully trained to be my companion in my any challenges I have to face.

Retired Staff Sergeant, Bryan Cream, Easter Seals Greater Houston Client

Leave a comment

Filed under Latest News