The services provided by Easter Seals have been carefully developed to help children with many different special needs and disabilities. Given the prevalence of autism and the number of children we serve who are on the spectrum, we have made it a priority to ensure that our services are responsive to meeting the needs of children with ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder).
Early Intervention services are available for kids ages birth to three. After age 3, Easter Seals offers outpatient therapy, specialty medical clinics, and a preschool program to support the continuing needs of children with ASD. In addition our camping, recreation, and respite programs are appropriate for children ages 8 and older to enjoy safe and fun inclusive activities with a focus on socialization and independence.
If you are concerned that your child’s development may not be progressing as expected, be sure to visit Make the First Five Count: a free screening program for children from birth through age 5 to identify potential developmental delays. If a delay is suspected, our team will connect you with local resources that can help.
Early Intervention: Getting the right support---EARLY--- is vital to your child’s development. Easter Seals offers special instruction, behavioral services, occupational therapy, speech therapy, physical therapy, and vision services to children ages birth to three. Our services are designed to promote child development and to minimize the impact of disability while coaching parents and caregivers on how to build on their child’s strengths. If you are interested in learning more about our Early Intervention services please call (610) 289-0114 x 201 for additional information.
Easter Seals provides Early Intervention services to toddlers with a diagnosis of ASD as well as those who may be on the spectrum but do not have a diagnosis.
Our teachers work with you and your child to help them learn and play just like their typical peers. Vital to the learning process are attention skills. The special instructor is skilled at increasing focused attention. Therapeutic strategies such as social stories, verbal behavior, and positive behavioral support plans are used to address learning and challenging behaviors. Educators coach parents on how to increase desirable behaviors while managing negative behaviors. In addition, special instructors help children develop their communication skills.
In addition to working on your child’s fine motor skills, the OT promotes self-help skills like feeding and dressing. Many children, including those on the autism spectrum, may not like the way foods look, feel, taste or smell. The OTs help children learn to accept new foods, and help families develop strategies to support the child’s efforts. Similar to educators, OTs also work on attention and play skills to help the child expand his interests, transition from one activity to another, and learn to interact with other children and adults. OTs work on sensory integration and social skill development as well.
The speech therapist aims to help children learn communication skills. Since each child is unique, the goal may be to master spoken language or learn signs and meaningful gestures. Speech-Language Pathologists also teach children with articulation disorders how to produce sounds correctly in their mouths. Similar to the OT, speech therapists also assist children with feeding concerns.
The physical therapist helps children develop the muscles need to be able to sit, crawl, roll over, hold up his head, walk and more. Goals are developed with each individual child’s specific needs – and his and his family’s goals – in the forefront. For kids with autism spectrum disorder, PT can help address poor muscle tone, balance, and coordination as children with ASD frequently experience challenges with motor skills such as sitting, walking, running, or jumping.
Outpatient Therapy: Easter Seals offers outpatient physical and occupational therapy for children and young adults at our location in Reading. Children receive help with coordination, handwriting, social skills, and sensory integration. Others work on walking, flexibility, balance and receive help with wheelchairs and walkers. Services are provided during the day and after school at our George Street location in Reading. If your loved one needs outpatient therapy, please call 610-289-0114 x404 to find out more.
Specialty Clinics: Specialists from Berks County and the Philadelphia area come to Easter Seals at our location in Reading to provide free care to children who need these services. Clinics include orthopedics, neurology, and feeding. In addition, two different orthotic specialists provide services at Easter Seals where they make custom orthotic braces for kids of all ages. If you are interested in learning more about our clinics, please call 610-289-0114 x407.
Year long LEAP (Learning, Enrichment, and Partnerships):
We are now offering LEAP year round in Berks County! Teens and young adults ages 13-22 years can begin the journey toward a successful career and meaningful life in their community while still attending school. LEAP offers classroom and community experience during the school year along with our 8 week summer program.
Teens and adults want to experience a fulfilling life in their community. Through exploration of volunteer, recreational, and educational opportunities individuals discover how they may connect to their neighnorhoods and pere networks. Our services are offered in individualized and small group settings durning the day and evening hours based on the preferences of the individuals. M-Power encourages teens and adults to live an independent and rewarding life in the community.
In the summer, we run two day camps and one residential/overnight camp. We also offer a program for teens and young adults to support transition and promote vocational skills.
The two day camps include Camp Lily Berks and Camp Lily Lehigh Valley. Camp Lily runs for 6 weeks every summer, and is appropriate for kids aged 8 through young adult. The hours are Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
The overnight camp is Growing Green. This camp is held on a beautiful campus in the Pocono Mountains and runs for 5 weeks each summer. Campers attend for one or more weeks each summer. Camp starts Sunday after lunch, and ends Friday after lunch. Campers must be at least 10 years old to attend.
LEAP (Learning, Enrichment, and Partnership) is a summer program offered in Berks County and the Lehigh Valley that provides opportunities for teens and young adults ages 13-25 to volunteer, explore career options, develop peer networks, and discover recreational activities in their communities. This unique program offers young adults access to their communities Monday through Friday from 9am to 2pm during the months of June and July.
Saturday Respite: September through May:
We have two 6-hour Saturday respite programs that run from September through May of each year.
We offer respite programs in Reading, which meets the 2nd and 4th Saturday of each month (in general), and in Allentown, which meets the 1st and 3rd Saturday of each month. Both programs run from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Kids age 5 and older (plus their potty trained siblings) enjoy a mini-camp day. They play games, make and eat snacks, play sports (weather permitting), watch movies and have fun together while their families enjoy a day of respite.
Evening Recreation: September through May:
We have two evening recreation programs that run from September through May of each year.
In Reading, HangTime meets every Friday evening from 6 to 8 p.m. Teens enjoy getting together to socialize and participate in many different fun activities, such as dancing, parties, crafts, music, eating out, and just having fun.
In Bethlehem, Hangin' Out meets every Thursday evening from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Teens enjoy similar activities as HangTime, and can be found bowling, dancing, cooking, listening to music and hanging out.
Preregistration is required for all of our camping, recreation and respite programs. To find out more, email Katelyn Marte or call 610-289-0114x209.