April 17, 2020
Easterseals Arkansas Families and Guardians,
I hope that you all are safe and well as you cope with the COVID-19 health and economic crisis. My name is Ron Ekstrand and I started as the new CEO of Easterseals Arkansas (ESA) on December 30, 2019. While I have met some of you, I look forward to meeting more of you after the COVID-19 crisis has been eliminated. In the meantime, I wanted to provide you a COVID-19 response update.
During the week of March 9, 2020, the COVID19 crisis became all-consuming for Easterseals Arkansas as we were faced with some difficult decisions. Specifically, how could we do our part to try to stop the spread of the virus while continuing to provide services.
From that question and others that followed, we have been using three key criteria to help guide our decisions: first and foremost was the health and safety of the individuals we serve and our staff, second was maintaining employment of as many of our staff as we could, and third was the on-going economic survival of ESA. Below is a recap of the targeted actions taken in each of these areas along with results we have achieved so far.
Health and Safety Measures
On the health and safety front, we quickly implemented strict screening protocols and restricted visitors into our buildings. These protocols have included screening for COVID19 exposure, travel, attendance at large social gatherings, illnesses, and temperatures above 99 degrees. On March 13, we closed down a number of buildings and some of our programs following the guidance of the state regarding school closures – including: our Little Rock and Stuttgart child development preschools, Outpatient Therapy, our K-12 Academy at Riverdale. On March 17, we also closed our adult day program at the Center for Training and Wellness.
During this crisis, we have a number of programs that have remained open – including our Children’s Rehabilitation Center (CRC), the Butler Adult Living Center (Butler), our Community Waiver services, our four HUD apartment complexes, and our Outreach Program. With distance learning and alternate methods of instruction (AMI), we have also continued to provide instruction for students from the Academy and students in our ACCE program after UA – Little Rock closed its campus. For all of these open programs, we are working closely with our senior leadership team and the CRC Medical Director to review staff self-reporting of travel, and other potential exposures and making case-by-case decisions about their need to self-quarantine instead of working.
Thus far, we have no known positive COVID19 cases among staff or any of the individuals we are continuing to serve. For our CTW participants, we have begun to make weekly health and safety calls to them and/or their guardians see if they need help or support. We are making similar calls to our preschool families in both the Little Rock and Stuttgart locations.
Staff Employment and Continuity
As for programs and staff employment, we have also made great progress using technology and internal transfers to open programs. On March 24, we announced to 99 staff members in closed programs that they would be furloughed from April 3 through June 4. We chose furlough instead of layoffs because we believe the closures to be temporary and wanted to keep as many of them on the team as we could. This has also enabled us to continue to pay for their health insurance and other benefits and will allow them to retain their seniority with ESA upon their expected return. After allowing staff in closed programs to move to vacant positions in open programs and reassigning staff who couldn't go into homes, the end result was only 71 staff members being furloughed.
After spring break ended, we managed to keep offering AMI and distance learning options to Academy and ACCE students and their families. In addition, we offered remote SET for Success (pre-employment transition) programming via Zoom to school districts. We stood up teletherapy for preschool and Academy students and outpatients, avoiding the furlough of 9 staff to provide those services to individuals in our developmental preschools, Academy and outpatient therapy programs.
Economic Survival of ESA
On the financial survival front, we have reduced spending and cancelled non-essential services. We are also actively exploring loan options authorized under the CARES Act. While it sounded promising at first, it seems most options are designed for small businesses with less than 500 employees. Because we have 550 staff members, we do not qualify for most relief.
Under normal circumstances, our preschools and our adult day program do not get enough Medicaid reimbursement to cover all of their costs. As a result, we must fundraise over $1.3 million each year to make up for the shortfall – mostly through large events like our fashion show, our Arkansan of the Year dinner, and our Walk With Me. However, each of these events are being rescheduled due to the COVID-19 crisis. While we have attempted to do some on-line fundraising, we have not come close to replacing the revenue from these events and are seeking other ways to raise additional funds.
We need your help! Some simple things you can do right now is to like us on Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube. Share and like our posts to help spread the word – especially when we have asks for advocacy or fundraising support.
Health and safety are our utmost concern. To highlight the seriousness of this virus, a volunteer who was scheduled to work at the Fashion Event ended up dying from COVID-19. She was likely contagious and asymptomatic the day of the event where she was scheduled to work the registration table and silent auction. We are forever grateful that we put the health and safety of those we serve, our staff and supporters over economic gain.
If you have any questions or suggestions, please feel free to reach out to me or the rest of the leadership team by sending us an email to email@example.com. Stay safe and healthy! We are all in this together.
CEO, Easterseals Arkansas
Teletherapy - Helping Easterseals Keep Up With Our New Normal
Message from CRC Medical Director, Dr. Lara Hobart-Porter
3/25/2020 - A Message from CEO Ron Ekstrand
Thursday, July 27, 2023, 4:00 AM
Embark on this journey to celebrate the world of disability pride, a movement that shows strength in…
Embark on this journey to celebrate the world of disability pride, a movement that shows strength in diversity and resilience. Disability pride is an idea that works towards redefining how people view those with disabilities while emphasizing their unique beauty. Discover its history as well as why it matters within our society today!
Celebrate Disability Pride Month to promote visibility and create an inclusive world.
Embrace disability identity through positive language and respect for individual preferences.
Foster community, challenge stereotypes, celebrate human diversity, educate & share stories of empowerment to drive innovation & inclusion.
Disability Pride Month, celebrated in July each year, is a time of honoring and recognizing the accomplishments people with disabilities have made. It serves to challenge preconceived notions about individuals with disabilities as well as create greater public awareness.
The Disability Rights Movement has been an essential part of progressing legal rights for disabled persons, particularly through their successful campaign for the Americans With Disabilities Act -and allows us to recognize that all forms of human diversity are both natural and beautiful!
To celebrate this progress, disability pride parades are held annually. These parades bring together members from different socioeconomic backgrounds within the disability community. They aim to promote visibility and educate society about ongoing development on these issues.
Disability Pride Month is rooted in the 1990 enactment of the Americans with Disabilities Act, a groundbreaking piece of legislation that was crucial to advancing disability rights and combatting discrimination against people with disabilities.
This law enabled those affected by disabilities to live their lives without fear or prejudice both privately and publicly within areas such as employment opportunities, education services, public transportation systems and other places open for general use.
Every year Disability Pride Parades take place around different cities globally including New York City and Chicago which gives members of this community an opportunity to express themselves proudly while challenging stereotypes associated with them.
It all began back on Disabled Pride Day in Boston, when huge crowds came out to celebrate what soon became a well-known movement dedicated exclusively to individuals living life differently. This celebration promoted human diversity but also triggered change leading to more acceptance than ever before regarding how society views these differences overall.
The social model of disability is a concept that holds the perspective that it is society, rather than individuals with disabilities themselves, who need to change in order for these people to become fully included.
This idea emphasizes this part of human diversity, and does not suggest attempting ‘to fix’ or cure someone’s impairment as this form part of what makes us diversely unique.
As such, by incorporating the social model into everyday life we can create an environment where everyone has access to equal opportunities regardless of their condition.
Be it enabling public spaces so they are accommodating to those living with disabilities or providing them meaningful employment options, creating inclusive settings opens up many doors which leads them down pathways leading to better lives and fulfilling experiences throughout all aspects.
Ann Magill created the Disability Pride Flag as a way to honor and empower those within the disability community, bringing pride and unity through its powerful visual symbolism.
The flag is adorned with five colors – red for physical disabilities, gold indicating neurodivergence, blue signifying mental illness, green representing invisible or undiagnosed illnesses/disabilities while yellow stands in solidarity of intellectual/developmental impairment.
Emphasizing strength among this diverse group of people living with disabilities, this vibrant symbol serves as an enduring reminder that we must not forget our commitment to fight for rights amongst all members of the disability community.
The Disability Pride Flag represents a wide array of disabilities and the strength, brilliance, triumphs and unique perspectives that individuals living with disabilities bring to our world.
Red illustrates physical impairments,
Gold captures neurodiversity,
Blue stands for mental illness.
Green symbolizes invisible or undiagnosed challenges faced by many people with disabilities,
While yellow pays homage to those who experience intellectual/developmental difficulties.
Together these colors create an emblem honoring the proud diversity found in disabled communities today.
Being part of a disability community instills a strong sense of positive pride and empowerment. It fosters a powerful source of identity that includes one’s disabilities, creating a deep connection with others who share similar experiences. This strengthens the bond among individuals living with disabilities.
Language holds sway when it comes to honoring those experiences while promoting acceptance of disabled persons’ identities.
Person-first language, such as referring to someone as “a person with a disability,” prioritizes the individual’s humanity above all else.
On the other hand, identity-first language, like using the term “disabled person,” highlights how a person’s disabilities are integral aspects of their identity.
This approach recognizes that individuals may require support or accommodations due to these impairments, but it also acknowledges that disability is an inherent part of one’s sense of self. It emphasizes that disability is deserving of the same respect and admiration as any other characteristic that defines a person among us humans.
It is essential to show respect for the choice an individual makes when deciding between person-first and identity-first language. Person-first emphasizes that someone with a disability should be viewed as people first, where their condition plays only one part of who they are.
In contrast, utilizing identity-first terminology such as “disabled” or “autistic” shows pride in being disabled and challenges commonly held stereotypes by placing it at the forefront.
No matter which preference each unique individual holds, both methods recognize disabilities. Emphasize different angles on them -respectively highlighting individuals before their conditions or proudly celebrating disability identities upfront.
Regardless of this distinction though, giving everyone due consideration while talking about things related to disabilities should always come above all else.
Showing courtesy through respecting other’s preferences regarding what type of speech they prefer when describing themselves represents just another basic kind of person we can take upon ourselves if we want to make our world better place for those living with disabilities every day.
During Disability Pride Month, we recognize the strength and courage of people with disabilities by celebrating through a range of events. From marches to art shows, these activities bring together our community and raise awareness about disability-related issues in order to promote visibility.
Most important though is that all such gatherings remain accessible for everyone, providing transportation options for those needing it as well as interpreters so no one misses out on joining this celebration of pride in their own identity!
Let us mark this special month with respect and appreciation towards the disabled while commemorating everything they have achieved within society, celebrate Disability Pride Month today!
People with disabilities, from all walks of life, gather together for annual disability pride parade celebrations around the world. Such events not only promote visibility and mainstream awareness, but also foster a sense of community while challenging societal stereotypes about those living with disabilities – be it in big cities like New York or Chicago, or far-away Brighton in England.
By attending these parades, we are celebrating our right to disability pride and showing support for the important work done by the Disability Rights Movement to create more inclusive lives worldwide.
Through such local and global festivities, society is invited to recognize that people with disabilities have an integral part of what makes up this diverse world. Thus helping ensure greater understanding and acceptance among us all.
Inclusion of people with disabilities and making public spaces accessible is an essential part of honoring disability pride day. By fostering inclusivity, we can allow individuals affected by disabilities to take full part in all spheres of life including schooling, jobs, etc.
As a result of this move towards inclusivity and accessibility, everyone regardless of their ability will be able to live successful lives.
Employment opportunities for those living with impairments aren’t just the right decision, but a wise business choice, according to several studies conducted on the subject.
Inclusion boosts productivity and fosters customer loyalty, making companies more competitive. Hiring people with disabilities brings diversity to the workforce, leading to fresh ideas and creative solutions for businesses.
Recruiting individuals with disabilities brings a lot of advantages. Incorporating differing perspectives and elevating the work environment are some examples. Companies that hire people with special needs hire people with special needs.
Experience an increase in productivity, better staff retention rates, as well as fostering a more welcoming company culture. Hiring those who have any form of disability is not limited to meeting legal standards or targets – it’s about creating a workplace where everyone’s individual talents are respected equally regardless of their abilities.
By employing persons living with disabilities, businesses demonstrate how committed they are to diversity and equality.
Fostering disability pride and promoting acceptance is critical in building an inclusive society. We can achieve this by equipping the next generation with age-appropriate information about disabilities, including sensory impairments.
This education is necessary to help dispel negative attitudes toward those living with disabilities. Thus, helping to create a more respectful environment for all involved. Parents and educators have access to numerous resources that will assist them when talking about such topics so as to ensure the proper knowledge is imparted to children at a young age while also conveying an understanding of these issues.
By taking advantage of educating today’s youth on inclusion, we are setting up our future community for success in accepting one another regardless of their physical or mental abilities.
Stories from the perspectives of people with disabilities can be very effective for raising awareness and understanding about their lives.
Through these stories, we are reminded of their courage, tenacity, and determination in facing difficulties that come with disability. While at the same time helping to counteract existing negative stereotypes related to this topic.
The inspiring nature of such tales can motivate us into taking meaningful action – whether it is advocating for better rights concerning those living with a disability or spreading support through encouraging empathy & inclusion amongst all members within our communities.
By utilizing social media, we can support disability pride and highlight the stories of people with disabilities. It is a great platform to share their experiences and perspectives while also encouraging advocacy on behalf of rights associated with having a disability.
This type of virtual environment helps build an inclusive sense of community in which individuals are connected by mutual understanding regardless of whether there’s physical contact or not.
It raises awareness about various issues affecting those living with disabilities as well as challenging existing societal stereotypes – ultimately leading to increased representation in society at large.
Organizations such as the National Disability Rights Network, The Arc and the American Association of People with Disabilities offer advice and assistance for those wanting to support disability advocacy initiatives in their area.
Such efforts can be furthered through access to a helpful resource center that allows people with disabilities increased autonomy and self-confidence.
There are digital platforms available on social media sites that provide individuals or organizations extra sources of information about promoting inclusion within communities while working towards disability rights recognition at the same time.
These resources enable an effective approach when striving towards greater respect regarding pride associated with disabilities all over society today, ultimately leading to societal change across diverse backgrounds!
Disability Pride Month and its corresponding Disability Pride Flag embody a powerful movement in society that honors the disability community. This dynamic initiative challenges stereotypes while allowing for greater visibility of this population, as well as affording an opportunity to share stories that honor individual identity and collective history.
It also seeks to encourage others to create an increased understanding of disabilities within our communities so everyone can take pride in such remarkable diversity, strength, and resilience.
The Disability Pride flag is an iconic representation of the disabled community and symbolizes strength, visibility and pride.
Created in 2019 with revisions taking place two years later to include more muted colors as well as straight diagonal stripes, this banner was designed to provide a sense of unity amongst people living with disabilities.
It also serves as an indicator that individuals coping with impairments are an integral part of our society today. The Flag stands tall proclaiming resilience while inspiring hope for all those touched by disability. Showing them they are not alone.
The colors of disability pride symbolize all kinds of disabilities and are a way to recognize those with such conditions.
Blue stands for mental illness
Yellow is associated with cognitive or intellectual impairments
Green reflects sensory impairment issues
While red denotes physical difficulties
Honoring people living with these sorts of limitations through the hues serves as an important reminder that they have much worth and value in this world.
July is Disability Pride Month, a moment to take pride in the disability community and all its accomplishments through civil rights legislation.
It’s also an occasion for us to recognize and honor disabled people’s experiences, histories, struggles, but most of all their unique contribution to society as part of this vibrant community!
We are here both to celebrate the progress made in the fight for disability rights and commit ourselves even towards achieving full inclusion.
Rather than focusing on disabilities as the individual’s limitation, the social model of disability recognizes societal attitudes and barriers as having more influence. This empowering approach is beneficial for those with physical or mental impairments to consider their ability rather than any disabling factors.
Companies that embrace people with disabilities can experience greater productivity, higher employee retention rates and an enhanced cultural environment. Not to mention the unique perspectives these individuals may bring in terms of creativity and innovation.
A more inclusive approach towards those living with a disability opens up additional recruitment options as well as provides businesses the ability to retain a diverse workforce. In essence, hiring people with disabilities brings many benefits not just for employees, but also for overall company morale and culture.
Friday, July 7, 2023, 7:00 AM
Reaching our peak potential as a person is essential for everyone. But individuals with autism spect…
Reaching our peak potential as a person is essential for everyone. But individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) or other developmental disabilities may require extra assistance due to their unique behavior, communication, and social skills challenges. ABA therapy is widely used in developmental preschools, which is crucial in supporting children with ASD.
Fortunately, applied behavior analysis (ABA) therapy offers the tools and support to help individuals with ASD reach their full potential.
In this article, we will discuss how ABA therapy works and how it empowers children with ASD to overcome life challenges and nurture their unique strengths.
Read on to discover how ABA therapy can benefit your child.
ABA therapy is a type of therapy that focuses on analyzing and modifying behavior to improve a person's social, communication, and learning skills.
The principles of ABA therapy are based on the science of behaviorism and involve breaking down complex behaviors into smaller more manageable parts and then using positive reinforcement to encourage desired behaviors.
It is also data-driven and evidence-based, meaning that treatment plans are tailored to the individual and are constantly assessed and modified based on progress.
Positive reinforcement is one of the fundamental principles of ABA therapy.
It involves providing a reward or praise in exchange for a desired behavior, which helps to strengthen that behavior over time. This can be as simple as giving a high five, hug, or verbal compliment for completing a task or exhibiting positive behavior.
Positive reinforcement motivates children with autism to continue performing desired behaviors, as they associate these actions with receiving a positive outcome. This approach also helps create an enjoyable learning environment for the child, encouraging active participation and engagement in therapy sessions.
Positive reinforcement also helps build confidence and self-esteem in children with autism since they get to experience the satisfaction of accomplishing tasks and receiving positive feedback.
Children with ASD can face various behavioral challenges that can be disrupting, limiting, and challenging for both the child and their family. Here are some common behavioral challenges:
Behavior modification techniques are at the core of ABA therapy. They include the following:
As stated earlier, positive reinforcement is one of the key strategies used in ABA therapy. Let's say a child has a habit of rocking back and forth; a therapist can try to get the child to do something else by rewarding them when they engage in a different behavior, like playing with a toy or talking with others.
In ABA therapy, modeling is a technique used by therapists to teach new skills to children. It involves the therapist demonstrating the skill themselves that they want the child to learn. For instance, if the child is learning to play with others, the therapist may model the desired behavior by playing with the child and showing them how to take turns, share toys, and communicate effectively.
Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS) is a communication tool that uses pictures or symbols to help children with communication difficulties express their needs and wants.
ABA therapy teaches the child to exchange a picture for the desired item, facilitating their learning of communication skills. Over time, the child can use pictures to form sentences and communicate with others. PECS is an effective tool for children who have difficulty with verbal communication.
Developmental preschools, combined with Applied Behavior Analysis therapy, can offer a powerful tool for promoting personal growth in children with autism. Through a combination of specialized curriculum, social skills training, and targeted behavioral interventions, children can learn to overcome challenges and develop new skills that will serve them throughout their lives.
At developmental preschools like those offered by Easterseals, children receive individualized attention from trained professionals who understand the unique needs of children with autism, providing a supportive environment for growth and development.
Developmental preschools are designed to support young children's overall growth and development by focusing on critical growth areas, such as relationships, exploration and learning, communication, playing, and moving.
But some children face unique challenges that require additional support.
Children with ASD, for instance, often struggle with communication difficulties, including speech delays, language deficits, and social communication challenges. These difficulties can significantly impact a child's ability to interact with others, leading to frustration and isolation.
Fortunately, developmental preschools can use ABA therapy to help children with ASD develop the skills they need to communicate effectively and interact with others meaningfully.
Functional communication training (FCT) is a key component of ABA therapy for communication challenges.
FCT works by identifying the behavior the child uses to communicate their needs, such as crying or screaming, and replacing it with a more appropriate communication method, such as using words or gestures.
The therapist first identifies the specific needs or wants that the child is trying to communicate through their behavior. Then, they teach the child an alternative way to communicate those needs or wants, such as using a picture or word.
The therapist also reinforces the appropriate communication by rewarding the child when they use the new communication method to express their needs.
Through repeated practice and positive reinforcement, the child learns that using the new communication method is more effective than their previous behavior. As a result, they are more likely to use the new method to communicate their needs in the future.
Those with ASD also experience significant difficulties with interacting socially, understanding social cues, and forming relationships. ABA therapists use a variety of methods to address these challenges. One evidence-based method that developmental preschools utilize is social skills training.
Social skills training is a type of ABA therapy that teaches individuals with social difficulties how to communicate, solve problems, and build relationships. It involves group sessions where individuals can practice and receive feedback on their social interactions.
The following are specific examples of social skills that ABA therapy targets:
For those with ASD, life skills are crucial to learn self-care, independence, and community participation, yet acquiring and mastering these skills can be challenging and result in daily-living difficulties.
One of the ways that ABA therapy targets and develops life skills is through the use of functional skill assessments (FSAs) and individualized programming.
FSAs identify areas where individuals need improvement in life skills. The assessments involve observing the individual in various scenarios to determine their strengths and weaknesses and to identify particular life skills that require development.
For example, observing an individual during self-care tasks, such as bathing, dressing, or cooking, can identify specific skills that need development, like washing themselves properly, dressing appropriately, or preparing simple meals independently.
An individualized program is created based on the specific life skills identified from the FSA. It tailors to individual needs and aspirations and employs specific strategies and techniques to develop the identified life skills.
For example, a program to improve self-care skills might include the following:
The benefits of life skills training can extend far beyond childhood. As children with ASD transition to adulthood, the skills acquired through ABA therapy can help them lead more fulfilling and independent lives, with greater opportunities for employment, social participation, and community involvement.
ABA therapy must have a personalized treatment approach because everyone with ASD has unique strengths, weaknesses, and learning styles. What works for one person may not work for another.
ABA therapy involves continuous assessment and data collection to modify treatment plans based on the child's progress, including collecting data on the child's behavior, tracking progress, and making necessary adjustments to the treatment plan.
The ongoing assessment ensures that the therapy is tailored to the child's current needs and that progress is made toward the established goals. If progress is not made, the ABA therapist will modify the treatment plan to better meet the child's needs.
Collaboration is another key component of ABA therapy. Parents, caregivers, and other professionals are actively involved in the treatment process, working with the ABA therapist to implement strategies and promote the generalization of life skills. This collaborative approach ensures that everyone involved is working toward the same goals and that the child receives consistent support.
ABA therapy is a valuable intervention for supporting children with ASD. It effectively addresses behavioral challenges through behavior modification techniques and improves communication, social, and life skills for a better quality of life.
As a result, we highly recommend that readers consider ABA therapy an effective and beneficial intervention to help children with ASD unleash their full potential.
Friday, June 23, 2023, 7:01 AM
Easterseals Arkansas is using a well-established approach to help students with disabilities succeed…
Easterseals Arkansas is using a well-established approach to help students with disabilities succeed in school.
The nonprofit's Easterseals Outreach Program collaborates with local teachers to offer individualized assistance using teaching strategies that are grounded in research and data analysis.
By implementing these teaching strategies, the Easterseals Outreach Program helps learners with disabilities reach their full potential in their academic growth and social and emotional development.
The program gives students access to individualized academic instruction, assistive technology, and specialized assessments.
As a result, learners with disabilities who receive a good education are more likely to become self-confident, independent individuals who can advocate for themselves.
The Easterseals Outreach Program focuses on supporting students with disabilities and their families in Arkansas. The statewide organization also offers vocational training and community living services to improve the quality of life for people with disabilities.
Easterseals Arkansas is an affiliate of Chicago-based Easterseals, which was founded in 1919. This nationwide organization, which is one of America’s largest nonprofits, serves more than 1.5 million people annually. Easterseals Arkansas has been a leader in its field and has served individuals with disabilties and their families since 1944. The Outreach program is funded through a grant from the Arkansas Department of Education.
One of the Easterseals Outreach Program’s primary offerings is a classroom support service that provides trained professionals to work alongside teachers and students. The service ensures that students with disabilities get individualized assistance that enables them to achieve their academic goals.
The outreach program also offers consultations for parents and educators. These consultations cover topics including behavior management, academic support, and communication strategies.
To ensure that students with disabilities receive consistent and comprehensive support, the Arkansas Department of Education collaborates closely with the Easterseals Outreach Program.
Professional development for educators is another one of the Easterseals Outreach Program’s primary offerings. The program provides a variety of training including workshops and online courses to help teachers build their knowledge about how best to educate students with disabilities.
The training enhances the expertise educators need to work more effectively with these students. Because these learners require specialized instruction and support to achieve academic success, their teachers must have a solid understanding of special education laws, regulations, and accommodations.
Collaborating with the Easterseals Outreach Program benefits educators by keeping them up-to-date on best practices and research-based methods. As a result, the teachers are able to provide more effective instruction and support to learners with disabilities and improve student learning outcomes.
Applied behavior analysis is a successful therapy for diverse populations such as children with autism spectrum disorder, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, and other developmental disabilities.
Teachers in a variety of educational settings can use pedagogical strategies such as these, which are based on applied behavior analysis, to help students with disabilities achieve academic success:
The Easterseals Outreach Program’s team of professionals, trained in applied behavior analysis, collaborates closely with educators, parents, and students to gather information about the strengths and needs of learners with disabilities.
The collaborators use this information to develop specific goals and objectives for each student, which they spell out in an individualized education program (IEP). This legally binding document also specifies what specialized services the learner is entitled to receive and what educational accommodations each learner needs for academic success.
Individualized education programs are essential tools for helping students with disabilities achieve their full potential. They ensure these learners have access to the same educational opportunities as their peers.
Educators have other tools in addition to individualized education programs that support learners with disabilities in classroom settings:
Easterseals' work betters the lives of children with disabilities, enabling them to achieve success both inside and outside the classroom.
Brody is one such success story. He has a remarkable talent for bringing joy to those around him. His infectious personality, beaming smile, and fun-loving nature warm the hearts of everyone he meets.
Brody has a passion for World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) and knows the walk-up songs of almost every wrestler. His energy and enthusiasm make him an inspiration to everyone who has had the pleasure of knowing him.
The Easterseals Outreach Program, which utilizes applied behavior analysis, has helped improve education for learners with disabilities throughout Arkansas.
Through its tireless efforts, Easterseals has provided training and resources to educators and school districts statewide.
In addition to directly supporting students, the organization has worked to raise the general public’s awareness about the need to provide students with disabilities equal access to high-quality education. It has been a tireless advocate for policies that support these learners.
Easterseals’ efforts have helped make Arkansas a more inclusive place to live and learn.
Students with disabilities who receive support from the Easterseals Outreach Program are more likely to succeed in school.
The program gives students access to individualized academic instruction, assistive technology, and specialized assessments.
The program brings educators, parents, and caregivers together to create comprehensive educational plans that are pathways to academic success. This collaboration involves sharing information, setting goals, and developing strategies to help learners reach their full potential.
If you are a parent, caregiver, or teacher of a student with disabilities, the Easterseals Outreach Program is here for you. Reach out to us whether you need help with academic instruction, assistive technology, or something else for your student’s success.
Join us in making a difference in the lives of learners with disabilities. Together, we can create a more inclusive and supportive educational environment for them.
The post Champions of Education: How the Easterseals Outreach Program Fosters Academic Success appeared first on Easterseals Arkansas Blog.
Friday, June 9, 2023, 1:30 PM
It is said that a single act of kindness can ripple out into the world like a stone thrown into stil…
It is said that a single act of kindness can ripple out into the world like a stone thrown into still water. Volunteering has the potential to create waves of positive change in any community, large or small. Whether you're interested in working with animals, children, or the environment, there are plenty of volunteer opportunities available.
In this day and age, when so much revolves around technology and social media, it’s easy to forget how powerful one person’s effort can be when they choose to give back to their local community through volunteering.
Organizations such as Easterseals Arkansas are working hard every day to make life-changing experiences possible for those with disabilities. Founded in 1944, we provide education, therapy, and other support resources for people in need throughout Arkansas.
Volunteers play an essential role in continuing this important work by helping staff members with activities such as organizing events and assisting with fundraising efforts.
The impact volunteers have on communities cannot be overstated; without them, many organizations would not be able to continue providing these vital services.
By giving just one hour of your time each week, you could help someone find new hope or gain skills that will open doors of opportunity previously closed to them—something no app or tweet can do!
So why not take some time today and consider getting involved with a cause close to your heart?
Volunteering is a meaningful and rewarding experience that offers countless benefits to both volunteers and those they serve—from improved physical and mental well-being to social connections, career development, and more.
Here are some of the ways volunteering can benefit all who are involved:
Volunteering gives us an added layer of meaning in life beyond what we do day-to-day. It offers us unique opportunities to connect with each other while making contributions to our communities that will have long-term impacts far into the future. Explore volunteer opportunities to make a positive impact in your community and beyond.
Volunteering is a rewarding way to give back to your community and make a positive impact on the lives of others. With Easterseals, there are a variety of volunteer opportunities available that cater to different interests and skills. Whether it's helping with events, assisting with administrative tasks, or working directly with individuals with disabilities, there is something for everyone to get involved and make a difference.
Volunteering offers an incredible opportunity to make a positive social impact, whether it's by supporting a local community, helping individuals in need, or contributing to a global cause. By volunteering, individuals can contribute their time, skills, and resources to create a better world and improve the lives of others, while also gaining personal fulfillment and growth. The impact of volunteer opportunities can be far-reaching and transformative, not only for the beneficiaries but also for the volunteers themselves and society as a whole.
The concept of philanthropy is an important one—it has the power to transform lives and bring about real, substantial change in our communities. Giving back through volunteering shows compassion, empathy, and selflessness, qualities that are essential for making our world a better place.
Philanthropy makes us think beyond ourselves and encourages us to use whatever resources we have at our disposal to help those less fortunate than us. By working with people who may not otherwise receive support from any other source, volunteers can make a huge difference in their lives – see for yourself through volunteering at Easterseals Arkansas!
Volunteers at Easterseals Arkansas have been an integral part of the organization's mission to change lives. From providing direct services, like helping with recreational activities, to being a source of emotional and mental support for individuals and families dealing with disabilities—volunteers make a real difference in people’s lives.
Here are four ways that volunteering at Easterseals Arkansas can have a positive impact on communities:
At Easterseals Arkansas, we strive to ensure our volunteers feel the worth of the impact they’re putting into our community. We recognize and appreciate our volunteers through several events and celebrations throughout the year.
Every individual has the potential to positively influence their community through volunteering. By doing so, we can develop meaningful relationships with others, gain valuable life experiences, build strong communities, and touch lives in powerful ways.
Volunteer opportunities helps bring about positive transformation within ourselves first and then spreads outward into the world around us. We not only learn more about who we are as an individual but also how to work together as part of a team to achieve common goals.
The power of volunteerism is immeasurable; it can truly be life-changing, both for those receiving assistance as well as for those offering it. When we take action by dedicating our time and resources toward making a difference in other people’s lives, we create ripples of hope that extend far beyond what any one person could accomplish alone. So why not explore the wide range of volunteer opportunities available to you and start making a difference today?
It is this sense of interconnectedness that allows us all to be part of something greater than ourselves—something worth giving up our precious time for! Volunteer today!
The post Be the Change: How Volunteer Opportunities at Easterseals Arkansas Transform Lives appeared first on Easterseals Arkansas Blog.
Friday, May 26, 2023, 7:01 AM
Independent living for adults with disabilities is a fundamental right that should be accessible to …
Independent living for adults with disabilities is a fundamental right that should be accessible to all. It means the ability to live in an environment of one’s own choosing and make decisions about how best to lead one’s life, without relying on others for excessive assistance or support. This includes having access to safe and affordable housing, as well as resources that facilitate independent decision-making and self-sufficiency like employment opportunities, transportation, health care services, and educational programs.
For individuals with disabilities, securing suitable housing can pose a significant challenge due to physical barriers, such as steps leading up to entrances and a lack of appropriate modifications within dwellings. A potential solution is shared housing, which allows people with disabilities to rent rooms or apartments from landlords while sharing essential household items like furniture, appliances, and kitchenware.
Shared housing also provides individuals with disabilities with social interaction and companionship they may not have otherwise experienced while living alone, allowing them the opportunity to build crucial life skills such as communication and problem solving.
We must ensure our laws reflect this need so that everyone has the chance at a quality lifestyle filled with dignity and respect.
The importance of independent living for adults with disabilities is often overlooked, but as the disability rights activist Helen Keller once said, “Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.” It is time to come together and recognize that fostering independence should be a priority when it comes to supporting adults with disabilities.
In this article, we will discuss why independent living is essential for adults with disabilities to thrive emotionally and physically, both within their communities and beyond.
Shared housing is a solid option for adults with disabilities and offers many benefits. It provides increased affordability through cost sharing, which is vital for those on a limited income or in need of financial aid. Shared housing arrangements can also be tailored to meet individual needs and preferences.
One of the most important reasons shared housing is an attractive choice for adults with disabilities is its potential to provide social and emotional support. Living together in a shared household creates companionship and camaraderie, which can help improve quality of life and build lasting relationships between people from different backgrounds.
Furthermore, having multiple individuals present ensures enhanced safety and security, and all housemates benefit from sharing various household responsibilities.
Successful models for shared housing have already been established in other cities across the country, demonstrating how this form of communal living has helped further empower disabled people while also providing them with much-needed assistance when times get tough. By offering both short-term and long-term arrangements, these models create a supportive atmosphere where everyone involved feels valued and respected, regardless of their disability status.
Shared housing can be a beneficial option for adults with disabilities, and Little Rock's roommate housing program offered by Easterseals Arkansas is specifically designed to promote independence and self-sufficiency. With the aim of creating a supportive community for individuals with disabilities, the Easterseals Roommate Housing program provides a range of advantages for participants.
One of the key benefits of roommate housing through Easterseals is the opportunity for peer support. Living with compatible roommates allows individuals to develop meaningful relationships and social connections with their peers. This sense of community and belonging can have a positive impact on emotional well-being and may contribute to improved academic or workplace performance. Roommates often become close friends who understand each other's unique needs and challenges, providing valuable support and companionship.
In addition, individuals with physical or mental impairments may require extra assistance with daily activities such as cooking meals or doing laundry. Having roommates can greatly reduce stress levels and ease some of the burdens associated with these tasks. Sharing household responsibilities allows each individual more free time outside of work or school commitments, as they are not solely responsible for all tasks. Easterseals provides ongoing support and oversight to ensure that the living environment is safe and conducive to the well-being of all participants.
Moreover, living in a shared apartment complex through Easterseals' program also provides access to amenities such as swimming pools or fitness centers that may be otherwise unaffordable for an individual living alone.
In sum, the Easterseals Roommate Housing program offers several advantages over traditional independent living arrangements for adults with disabilities. It promotes peer support, reduces financial costs, improves quality of life, and provides access to amenities, all while maintaining a safe and supportive living environment.
Finding accessible housing in Little Rock can be a challenge for individuals with disabilities, but it is an important step towards achieving independent living. Accessible housing should provide features like wide doorways, grab bars, ramps, and other disability-friendly amenities that promote independence and mobility.
Financial aid options exist that could help people with disabilities find affordable and suitable housing; however, navigating the process of finding available resources requires support from knowledgeable professionals such as social workers or case managers.
When searching for accessible housing in Little Rock, here are some key considerations:
Ultimately, having access to appropriate accommodations provides a feeling of self-reliance and control over one’s daily life. With financial assistance and proper guidance from experienced professionals, those with disabilities can make well informed decisions on their quest for independent living through securing accessible housing in Little Rock.
Adults with disabilities often face unique challenges when it comes to independent living.
We must strive to ensure that all individuals have access to the resources and support needed for successful independent living.
One important factor in overcoming these obstacles is ensuring these individuals develop life skills such as self-care, effective communication, problem solving, time management, budgeting, and meal preparation. Teaching job skills through training programs or other methods, depending on individual needs, is essential for individuals to maintain their independence.
Additionally, having an established social network provides emotional support, which helps reduce any feelings of loneliness and isolation associated with disability.
In order to fully realize their potential, adults with disabilities need assistance navigating complex systems and advocating for themselves so they can gain equal access to healthcare services, employment opportunities, and housing options. With adequate financial recourses and proper guidance from qualified professionals—such as mental health counselors or peer support specialists, supportive family members, or organizations dedicated to helping people with disabilities—independence is within reach for many more adults with disabilities.
It is possible for individuals with disabilities to achieve independent living despite the challenges, ultimately ensuring a better quality of life. With proper support and assistance from family, friends, community organizations, and government agencies, individuals with disabilities can construct an environment that suits their individual needs and desires.
To make this happen, there are several factors that must come into play:
By taking advantage of housing-related opportunities, adults with disabilities have the chance to build a more stable future for themselves. They can gain independence while connecting with other members of their community and gaining access to practical life necessities.
In addition, they will experience increased self-sufficiency and dignity as they become empowered to take charge of their own lives. Ultimately, assisted autonomy provides individuals with disabilities the opportunity to live meaningful lives full of joy, inclusion, growth, and most importantly, independence. Discover housing options for adults with disabilities at Easterseals Arkansas.
The post Welcome Home: Discover the Joy of Independent Living with Easterseals Arkansas appeared first on Easterseals Arkansas Blog.
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