Tag Archives: respite

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.

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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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Miraculous Megan: Longtime Client and Friend

Megan Fry is an amazing 17 year old girl. She has been part of the Easter Seals Greater Houston family for over 10 years. She has the mind and the personality of a typical developing teenage girl. She loves art and has her own website, Just My Eye, that meg-w-dvox-300x225showcases her creations. One of Megan’s many unique qualities is that she was born with cerebral palsy, with an end result of being nonverbal and using a wheelchair to maneuver around. You need to be careful because she drives her chair around very fast! She communicates and shows off her big personality by using a Tobii. The Tobii is a device that allows Megan to use her eyes to pick out her words which are then shared through the speaker.

Over the years, Megan has attended our summer camps, participated in Family Day Out, received In-Home Respite, and participated in our BridgingApps program. Her family has participated in our Lil’ Rustler Rodeo night with the Houston Livestocgroupk Show and Rodeo, used a Respitality weekend, participated in our Walk With Me at the Houston Zoo event and our Hats Off to Mother’s Luncheon. We were fortunate to have Megan as our summer intern this past year. She created and distributed our Easter Seals Montgomery County newsletter. Megan is currently participating in our Family Day Out program as a Junior Director. She is amazing with our clients and our families.

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Megan is a true success story and ambassador for Easter Seals Greater Houston. Megan and her mom even went on speaking engagements last year to represent Easter Seals during the United Way campaign. She has received services and continues to give back to our community. We can’t wait to see what the future holds for Megan because we know there is nothing she can’t accomplish!

Kristie Carlisle, Respite Program, Easter Seals Greater Houston

Check out Megan’s dad’s post about how assistive technology helped him connect with his daughter here!

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PNO = R&R

My husband, Doug, and I welcomed our wonderful son, Duncan, after our 39th birthdays. Having met at 21, we’d spent the better part of two decades dining at the best “cheap eats” in Houston, taking weekend jaunts in Texas, exercising daily, and enjoying the occasional happy hour. Quite simply, we appreciated the benefits of living as DINKS (double-income, no kids).

Dec 2015 Respite blog PNO 1So along came our beautiful baby. Overnight, our lives transformed in rewarding and challenging ways I never could have imagined. Of course, this is true for any new parent, but there exists an additional anxiety, concern and effort when you care for a child with special needs. Doctors’ appointments, therapy, testing, tutoring, special-ed meetings, financial challenges, and countless hours of online research: It’s just plain exhausting.

So, when we heard about the Easter Seals Greater Houston Respite Program, Parents’ Night Out, we were cautiously optimistic.  We were happily surprised at its affordability: $10 for four hours of babysitting by Easter Seals’ skilled volunteers and staff.  But, we know our son. He is fearful of new situations, despite having attended summer camps with Easter Seals Greater Houston. Bless his heart, he is visually impaired, has epilepsy and CP, so who could blame him?Dec 2015 Respite blog PNO 2

Our concerns were unfounded and he made fast friends at Parents’ Night Out. The volunteers exemplify patience and understanding, each offering a weekend night to care for our son, later telling us how much they enjoy Duncan!  Six months later, he asks to attend the “babysitting place” nearly every Friday night.  Doug and I have actually seen three movies and been out to dinner twice during the last six weeks! That reconnection is critical with the added stress of our days.

From respite for caregivers to summer camps and fun activities for children, Easter Seals is a blessing for thousands of people in the Greater Houston area. And the Graham family is proof of that.

-Catherine Graham, Respite Program client parent

For more about Easter Seals‘ Care Giving Services, click here.
For more about Easter Seals’ Camps and Recreation, click here.

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A Dear Friend of Easter Seals

tupperA Tribute to Lynne Tupper: A long standing, tried and true volunteer for our Respite Program’s Parents Night Out. Lynn will be greatly missed by our clients, staff, and the Houston community.

“I can’t believe she is gone. Lynne was my wonderful friend and also a friend to Easter Seals Greater Houston Respite Program. Even though it was hard for her to tear herself away from her job she loved so much, she always joined us for our annual Christmas Party. As a social worker for 40 years, I have encountered many healers whose hearts were big and who made a difference. But Lynne stood out at the top. She helped me see what really mattered, to examine our values and our hearts. No one can take her place. No one. My life was touched by her in a way that will be with me forever.”

Linda Latimer, Respite Program Director, Easter Seals Greater Houston

lynneLynne served as a devoted Clinical Director at the Occupational Therapy Center in Houston, TX for over 30 years. Lynne will be greatly missed; however, she will never be forgotten.

 

A memorial service for Lynne C. Tupper will be held on Tuesday, December 8th, 2015 at 2:00pm at St. Phillip United Methodist Church – 5501 Beechnut St. (At Renwick) Houston, TX 77096.

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From Bloom Where You’re Planted – “Life and Times of the Kikuchi Girls”

Easter Seals Greater Houston‘s Camp BuckarooThat week has been the highlight of the summer for Keags and Rys! kikuchi 3They were lucky enough to spend the last 5 days having non-stop fun at Camp Buckaroo put on by Easter Seals. It was such an incredible camp, run by incredible people for kids with special needs and their siblings. 

Everyday from 10-3 the girls were doted on and entertained with exciting stuff at the gorgeous and ginormous Woodlands United Methodist Church. Everyday they had story time, song and dance time, games, lunch, a craft and special guests. They also played on the awesome playground, did a scavenger hunt and built a giant fort. The special guests were a music therapist with tons of instruments, a dancer, the snake man with 8 snakes, Crocodile encounter with small alligators and crocodiles, Nature Discovery Center with turtles, lizards and exotic plants, fireman with their truck, a policeman with his car, and a clown!kikuchi 2They each had a college age buddy to help them throughout the week. Riley’s was Brooklyn and Keagan’s was Hallie. They were both so sweet and so helpful! There were also about 12 other cute kids there and a bunch of awesome volunteers, interns and Easter Seals employees. And I mean it when I say they were awesome! On day 1 I didn’t pack an extra set of clothes for Riley and her diaper leaked. Well they are so amazing that they ran to Target to buy her shorts because they didn’t want to bother me!!After the first day we got in the car and Keagan said “mommy I didn’t like it. I LOVED it!” She also told me all about her friend Noah and this silly momma asked her “is Noah special needs or a sibling?” Well shame on me for asking and thank heavens I have a smart daughter that set me straight! Keagan responded “mommy I don’t know! And I don’t care!” Out of the mouths of babes!

kikuchi 1On the last day of camp there was an awards ceremony. Keagan was presented with the “Most Couragous Dancing Queen” award for doing the Whip in front of the whole camp! And Riley received the “Star Performer” award for dancing, smiling and being happy all week. They also received their T-shirts and cute scrapbooks that they made with all their pictures. Some of which I had to take a picture of here to include on the blog.

Camp Buckaroo will definitely be our yearly summer tradition now! All three of us will count down til next year!

About us: I’m the divorced single mom of my darling twin girls Keagan and Riley. Keagan is a spunky, smart and fun girl who keeps life exciting. And Riley is Special Needs with an emphasis on special! She has many medical challenges, 19 diagnoses’s in fact, including Cerebral Palsy, Dilated Cardiomyopathy, Polymicrogyria, Epilepsy and Asthma. But she is one incredible girl-they both are! I think I’m the luckiest mom in the world! Follow me here – http://bloomwhere.blogspot.com/

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Camp Starts With You…The Volunteer

Easter Seals Greater Houston Camp Smiles is off to an incredible start, and we couldn’t do it without our volunteers.  They arrived on Saturday at Camp For All before Campers for more training and team-building.  The 60 volunteers range in age from 16 to 26, from first timers to 9 year veterans (wow!), and nearly half are sibling sets.  It’s all in the family when it comes to volunteering at Camp Smiles!

“I’m so excited about my little brother being here as a volunteer,” said one.  “I have gotten so much out of volunteering at Camp Smiles and I know he will, too.  I can’t wait to see him with his camper!”

As their final team-building activity, the volunteers gathered in a circle.  The first timers talked about what they were most excited about and the veterans talked about what keeps them coming back.  They had in common wanting to create an atmosphere of welcoming and celebration, and of making each camper feel like the coolest kid at camp.

Jessie, a former Camp Smiles camper and a first time volunteer, knows Camp Smiles’ impact from both sides.  She was the last to speak and she said, “The cabins, the activities, this awesome site that we’re on, and the fact that we’re away from our families – all that is really great.  But camp starts with you, the volunteers.  You make that stuff go from really great to amazing, and you help make memories that stay with a camper their whole life.”

Christine Ellery, Program Director, Camps Counseling & Case Management

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Camp Buckaroo – Benefits Aren’t Just for the Campers!

2015 Camp Blog pic 1Camp Buckaroo, Easter Seals Greater Houston‘s day camp, is in full swing and we are having a blast!  Camp is great for the campers because it’s filled with love and acceptance.  One mom said that camp is the only place where her child, who has cerebral palsy and is wheelchair bound and nonverbal, feels like a regular kid.  “She tends to be a daredevil and has an amazing spirit to try new things, and at camp she and her attitude are celebrated!”

The impact of Easter Seals camp isn’t limited to the campers though.  Parents often struggle to find quality camps for children with disabilities at affordable rates.  Many parents talked about extensive medical costs, and changes in primary insurance that have made deductibles skyrocket; Camp Buckaroo‘s scholarships are a true blessing for these families. And we couldn’t offer those scholarships without community support!2015 camp at spca campers

Our volunteers are also relishing in the joy of our summer camps.  This veteran volunteer said it best: I’ve realized over the years what a positive influence a volunteer can be to a camper.  It’s amazing to witness a camper grow and become more confident, all because a volunteer motivates them and showers them with support.  Buckaroo makes a huge impact on everyone involved!”

Special thanks to National Charity League Bayou Village Chapter, The Amerigroup Foundation, The George Foundation, United Way Greater Houston and United Way Montgomery County for making our work possible!

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More Blessings!

My name is Liliana and I would like to tell you about my family. My husband and I have been married for fifteen years. We have three beautiful kids, 14, 12 and 5. My oldest daughter, Haley, is what most people call a “special child” and to us, she really is special. Haley was born with cerebral palsy and she is also deaf. Even though it has been a struggle having to spend many hours at hospitals, different doctor’s offices and therapy places, we simply would not be the same without her. We have learned so much from her; she is very persistent, she has never once complained about having to go to a doctors’ appointment. She wouldn’t even complain about a surgery, she would be walking the same day, trying to do things for herself.Astros Velasquez 4

She is very strong and we are so very proud of her. This year Haley started her first year of high school, and even though she is in mainstream classes, she has always struggled to make friends. Because her speech is not very clear, most kids usually don’t take the time to try and make friends with her. For this reason we started looking around to find a place where she could socialize with other kids like her and this is when we found Easter Seals Greater Houston!IMG_7362

Talking to a social worker, she told me about the agency and ALL the services they offer. We started going to the yoga classes and they have been very helpful. Not only because there are other kids she can talk to but, also, because the exercises have been relaxing and it’s she looks forward to it. Her siblings also attend the classes with Haley and they love it too. We are also very thankful because through Easter Seals, we have had the opportunity to attend different events, like Disney on Ice, Dynamo games and our favorite Astros’ games. We always jump to the chance of getting tickets because my kids love going to the games. We are very grateful for these opportunities because it’s not something we could do on our own with a family of five. I’ m so glad we found Easter Seals and also I’m very glad that there are people out there who are willing to share their blessings with kids like my daughter and I would like to say to them that they have put a smile on my daughter’s face and for that, I’m very grateful.  Nest stop Family Day Out, Camp and maybe even Karate!
Happy Holidays!
– Liliana

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Family Blessing

For those of us who are parents of children with or without disabilities, we know the joy that our children bring every Wold picsingle day.  For those of us with children with disabilities, we are also, at times, strained by the weight of those disabilities and understand that opportunities for us to find time for ourselves are frequently limited due to the limited number of individuals who are willing to provide care.  This has been an issue from the time our son Jacob was two years old and suffered from frequent seizure activity.  Although the number of seizures has greatly decreased, his diagnosis as being intellectually disabled, non-verbal, and autistic continue to make the search for caregivers difficult.

This is where the services of Easter Seals Greater Houston’s Respite program has been a blessing to us for the last several years.  About once a month, we have the chance to leave Jacob and his little brother during a Respite Family Day Out in the capable hands of many wonderful volunteers and full-time support staff who are always willing to grant us a few precious hours to reconnect with each other over lunch, shopping, a movie, or even just a quiet walk together.  We truly consider these individuals to be angels of love for Jacob.  They are patient, warm, and provide wonderful supervision in a world where so many others are nervous and unwilling to undertake this task.

We constantly thank God for the many volunteers and staff of Easter Seals Greater Houston.
-The Wolds

About Easter Seals Greater Houston’s Respite Services Program:

Respite

Easter Seals Greater Houston offers Respite Services to help provide relief options to parents who provide ongoing care of their family member who has a disability. Many people with disabilities require 24-hour, around-the-clock supervision, attention and care, and many parents of children and adults with disabilities have low incomes and thus cannot afford to hire extra help to provide time away from their children. This continuous demand becomes a tremendous drain on caregivers emotionally, physically and mentally, and 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. Learn more.

Family Day Out

Family Day Out (FDO), a center-based Respite service, provides respite care on Saturdays to families of children ages 6-14 with all types of disabilities. Each session is staffed by a nurse and a center director. The children benefit from arts and crafts, games, and playground activities and receive one-on-one assistance from volunteers. Siblings ages 6-10 can also attend, allowing parents a total day of rest. Applications for the 2012-2013 FDO season must be filled out in advance. If your child attended or volunteered at Camp Smiles or Camp Buckaroo in 2013 an application is not needed, but you must RSVP. Learn more.

Parents Night Out

Parents Night Out is a Friday night out-of-home Respite program currently held in two locations around the Houston area. Children, teens, and young adults with disabilities are welcome. Depending on age and activity level, one of the two locations can be recommended for appropriate care. Learn more.

Case Management

Case Management includes education and information guided referrals, family support and advocacy. For more information, please contact us. Support Groups include Parent Plus, a parent/guardian networking group. Learn more.

Community Living Assistance and Support Services (CLASS)

CLASS provides home and community based services to people with disabilities or a related condition as a cost-effective alternative to placement in an intermediate care facility. The main benefit of CLASS is to help maintain independence and provide support for an impaired person living at home, in the community or in the institutional setting of their choice. Easter Seals Greater Houston is one of the organizations that provides case management services for the CLASS program in the greater Houston area. Learn more.

Information and Referral

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