Thank you for your help in kicking off our Holiday Giving Season. We set a BIG goal for #GivingTuesday. With the help of our generous partners who extended their match an extra day.....We surpassed our $200,000 goal!
Hundreds of donors and friends contributed their dollars and kind words. If you didn't get the chance, it's never too late to empower children with disabilities and their families:
We thank you for extending such generosity to our community.
Any act of kindness or donation is very appreciated on this global day of giving and will leave a lasting impact on the children who need your support.
Together we can help children navigate complex conditions, overcome mild delays or catch up on missed milestones. The funds raised on Giving Tuesday are key to helping children thrive.
Team Up: Introduce your employer to Easterseals and join in as a match partner. Ask about your company’s charitable initiatives and identify opportunities to team up with Easterseals. Businesses can provide a donation match or fundraise as a team.
Contact Kelly at email@example.com to learn more, pledge your support and request a Giving Tuesday fundraiser toolkit.
Wednesday, January 18, 2023, 2:12 PM
by: Theresa Forthofer, President & CEO This past summer, Easterseals DuPage & Fox Valley suc…
by: Theresa Forthofer, President & CEO
This past summer, Easterseals DuPage & Fox Valley successfully completed the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF) re-accreditation process. As a highly respected and recognized third-party organization, CARF performs rigorous evaluations of service-based providers seeking accreditation. We are honored to be one of very few freestanding pediatric outpatient facilities in the area with CARF accreditation.
Their audits ensure that top service providers are easily recognized by the public when looking for providers who follow internationally accepted standards. We are proud to say that for more than 40 years, Easterseals DuPage & Fox Valley has achieved the highest possible recognition from CARF, acknowledging our commitment to quality services and continual improvement.
“This achievement is an indication of our organization’s consistent dedication and commitment to improving health equity in our communities” said Theresa Forthofer, President & CEO of Easterseals DuPage & Fox Valley. “Our CARF accreditation signifies that each child is receiving state-of-the-art services from our collaborative team of experts.”
Among the observations made by CARF in its survey of Easterseals DuPage & Fox Valley at our three center locations (pictured below, left to right, Villa Park, Naperville, and Elgin):
As a pediatric specialty program, we are required to demonstrate compliance with over 1800 standards. Prior to the two-day survey, the survey team reviews clinical documentation samples, outcome and compliance reports, and thousands of policies. During the survey, the team interviewed Center Leadership, Key Process Owners, Medical Advisory Board members, funders, and most important, clients and families.
CARF uses the ASPIRE to Excellence Quality Framework to guide their survey. Their framework operates on a continuous improvement model which “provides a logical, action-oriented approach to ensure that organizational purpose, planning, and activity result in the desired outcomes.
The entire CARF survey lasts two days, but accredited centers such as ours must demonstrate we have upheld standards over the last three years, as surveys are conducted every three years.
Easterseals DuPage & Fox Valley is a CARF accredited outpatient rehabilitation center with comprehensive services including occupational, physical and speech-language therapies, mental health, assistive technology, medical nutrition, audiology, autism services and inclusive childcare. With 80 therapists and professional staff specialized in early intervention, and further certified in Neuro-Developmental Treatment (NDT), Developmental, Individual-differences, & Relationship-based (DIR/Floortime) methods, Sequential Oral Sensory Approach, Sensory Integration and Praxis Test, feeding, motor, speech and sensory areas of specialties. Additionally Easterseals has a medical advisory board and affiliations with local hospitals and medical partners through our vision, orthotics, mobility, seating and diagnostic clinics. Learn more at https://www.easterseals.com/dfv/programs-and-services/.
Friday, December 23, 2022, 11:28 AM
By: Dr. Citlaly Gonzalez, Clinical Psychologist Winter weather and a week off of school, what better…
By: Dr. Citlaly Gonzalez, Clinical Psychologist
Winter weather and a week off of school, what better time to cozy up with a nice pile of books? There is something magical about the world that is waiting inside a book and the places and times you can travel to, the feelings they evoke, and the things we can learn.
As a psychologist, the opportunity to blend my appreciation for each person’s story and my love of reading has been an incredible thing. In my work in our Autism Diagnostic Clinic, my job is to include a recommendation to support each child’s development. I find that including a list of book recommendations with each report has been a fun way for parents to support their child’s needs.
When presented with the opportunity to write a blog about books I would recommend from a mental health lens, I jumped at the chance, but where to start? Books about feelings? Books on tough topics? My favorite children’s books? One blog post can’t cover them all (but maybe a part II or part III can try), so we’ll focus on the magic of reading with your child and what it can do to support connection, increase understanding of feelings and tough situations, and support the child’s sense of self.
There are so many books about feelings out there! It’s a beautiful thing. It’s best to start with feelings books at your child’s level. This could include introducing basic feelings concepts or stories with more complex social situations. Here are some of my go-to books!
Our therapy team is often asked for book recommendations to talk about tough topics. We welcome opportunities to connect families with books that can help them navigate hard discussions. If you are going through a challenging moment, feel free to reach out to your therapist or our mental health team for book recommendations. Your local library may also provide a wealth of resources!
Photo: Topics to Talk About display at the Berwyn Public Library
There are tough moments and there are beautiful moments and all of them deserve space and attention. At Easterseals we are dedicated to celebrating each child and their many skills, talents, and unique way of being. The following are some of my favorite books to celebrate children from a strengths-based frame. (Bonus: These are some of my favorite gifts for my children’s classrooms as a gentle reminder that there are so many ways kids share their gifts!)
The most important book you read might be the one you write together. How you write it, is up to you and your child.
Simply reading with your child is the best, no matter what book your reading, the connection between parent/guardian and child, language exposure, and of course the introduction to new themes all have the potential for so many benefits for wellness.
Our Mental Health team often receives requests for books on various themes which we happily oblige. We have recommendations for books on learning about feelings, grief, potty training, divorce, sharing a diagnosis, and more. We have another blog post with recommendations on best children books on disability. We have those recommendations and lots more! But here is my biggest tip, read these books before you think you need them. Have them accessible. Read about all abilities, cultures, and a wide range of challenges and situations. Normalize talking to your child about life challenges, feelings, and tough topics. This way, when a situation of their own comes up, they know it’s okay to talk about it. They will be less resistant to reading about it. They will be more prepared to handle it.
An added reminder for the parents of children who haven’t yet discovered the magic of books –kids don’t always start out loving books. There was a long stretch of time with my own children when it looked like I was reading to myself or the dog, but I knew that even while running around the room, they were listening. Hearing the stories, exposing them to language, and even the rhythmic reading of toddler books are way to support both connection and reading.
As a bonus recommendation for the kids who are still learning to appreciate books, I love to recommend the Indestructible series and any book with interactive components or buttons. Kids are always taking in pieces from the world around them, whether it’s the words you are reading or the fact that you are sitting, present with them.
So, if you are looking for a final gift to complete “the something you want, something you need, something you wear and something you read” I hope this list helps you find a new book to add under the tree, a book to quietly add to your library for “just in case” or even a simple surprise for an any day moment to have with your child.
For additional information on services for children with disabilities, visit: https://www.easterseals.com/dfv/programs-and-services/. The Easterseals’ Mental Health & Family Support team strives to provide children and families with the mental health support they need to help thrive and empower one another. Our work helps caregivers and children experience more joyful interactions through attunement and connection. For more information on our services, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Friday, July 1, 2022, 9:52 AM
By: Josephine Hipolito, Physical Therapist Summertime is approaching, and around this time, caregive…
By: Josephine Hipolito, Physical Therapist
Summertime is approaching, and around this time, caregivers often ask me to work on bike riding with their kids as one of their goals. As an avid cyclist, it’s one of my favorite things to teach because of the joy and freedom children feel when they learn to ride. Let’s start with a few tips on teaching children bike riding.
Things to Consider When Starting
3. Once they master air cycling, start them on a tricycle with a pedal block (a device that holds their feet on the pedals) or strap their feet on the pedals using an ace wrap or velcro straps. Children usually tend to over-push with their feet at first, so their feet slip off the pedals. Wrapping their feet will keep them on the pedals. You can also get commercially available pedal straps like this one.
4. Once they master the pedal block, take off the straps so they can learn to control their leg movement and keep their feet on the pedals.
5. Make sure they master pedaling with a tricycle so that it becomes second nature to them when they graduate to a bicycle.
I often tell families ready to progress their children from a tricycle to a bike, to start with a balance bike. A balance bike is simply a bike without pedals where children use their legs instead of pedals to move.
Skip the step of learning with training wheels because children can get dependent on leaning on them for balance. The Balance Bike enables the child to learn to find their center of balance on their own
NOTE: Not everyone will be able to get a balance bike and a bike with training wheels, so I recommend taking the training wheels AND the pedals off of a bike to convert it to a balance bike.
The problem with a bike with training wheels is the braking system. They use coaster brakes which means pedaling backward to activate the brakes.
Kids tend to start pedaling backward when they encounter resistance which activates the brakes. It’s always difficult for kids with motor planning issues to figure this out. That’s why you ensure they master the pedaling part of bike riding before moving on.
Keep an eye out for the following:
I hope this blog has been helpful wherever your child is on their cycling journey! Teaching children to cycle has numerous benefits to their development, including improving motor skills, strength and balance. It’s also a fun exercise that can be enjoyed with a sibling or friend!
if you ever have concerns about your child’s mobility, strength, or motor skills, Easterseals DuPage & Fox Valley is here to help! Learn more about our physical therapy services by visiting:
Cyclists of all ages and abilities are welcome to ride distances ranging from 12 miles – 50 miles or join us in reaching a 100-mile goal throughout the summer on the Strava app. Adapted bikes and trailers are welcome. All ages and abilities are encouraged to participate.
We are excited to take this ride to the Fox River Trail and celebrate together at Festival Park in Elgin with food, refreshment, entertainment and more!
Learn more and register here: https://www.givegab.com/campaigns/bikeforthekids2022
Thursday, June 2, 2022, 10:33 AM
By: Allie Katsiris, PT, DPT What Does the Mobility Clinic Do? The Positioning and Mobility Clinic at…
By: Allie Katsiris, PT, DPT
The Positioning and Mobility Clinic at Easterseals provides a comprehensive evaluation of a child’s adaptive equipment needs. It is a collaborative clinic consisting of a physical therapist (PT) and an assistive technology professional (ATP) from a durable medical equipment vendor. Of course, the child and their family members are also valued members of the team. The two vendors that attend clinics at Easterseals are Numotion and National Seating and Mobility. There are a lot of options for seating and mobility devices available on the market, so the PT and ATP will utilize their knowledge, experience, and expertise to recommend the most appropriate equipment for your child.
At the initial evaluation, the PT and ATP will complete a comprehensive evaluation of the child including assessment of posture, range of motion, functional mobility skills, home assessment, and child/caregiver goals. Recommended mobility equipment may include: adaptive strollers, manual wheelchairs, power wheelchairs, or power assist wheelchairs. The clinician will also assess the need for specialized car seats or adaptive bathing equipment.
Following the initial evaluation, the PT will write a letter of medical necessity for the device. This letter will be sent to the child’s physician to be reviewed and signed. The vendor will submit the order and the letter to this insurance company for approval. Once approved, the device is ordered then delivered to the child. The PT and ATP work closely upon delivery to ensure the child is positioned appropriately and that the family understands all features for safe and effective use of the device. We recommended yearly rechecks to ensure that the device continues to properly support the child.
There are many factors that are considered when deciding on a mobility device. In addition to evaluating postural alignment and medical history, the team will ask about your child’s current mobility skills and goals. We will consult with primary therapists as needed to best understand your child’s abilities, functional goals, and endurance level in order to best recommend a mobility device. The team will also ask about your child’s home and school environments. Some considerations include: whether your home has stairs, location of the child’s bedroom/bathroom, and width of doorways.
It is important that the child be able to utilize recommended equipment in all environments to promote his/her best alignment and independence. Another important factor in recommending a mobility device is how the child is transported. Do you drive a compact car or SUV? Do you have an adapted vehicle? Does your child ride the school bus? The answer to these questions will help guide to whether a folding or non-folding option and transit accessories are required. Due to insurance limitations and expectations that mobility equipment will last 5-10 years, it is important that all of these factors, growth, and future needs are considered in order for the equipment to support the child for years to come.
At Easterseals DuPage and Fox Valley, we appreciate the importance of providing children with a safe means of mobility. This allows children better access to their communities and increases overall participation with their family and peers. We also recognize that the equipment ordering process can be overwhelming, so we are here to support you and help your child obtain the equipment he/she needs to thrive! Please contact us to schedule an appointment: 630-282-2023 or click here to learn more.
Friday, May 20, 2022, 1:56 PM
by: Easterseals DuPage & Fox Valley Nutrition Team
Given the shortage of formula in the country (a combination of supply chain issues and product recalls), we know many families are looking to us for help. We understand the ability to feed your child shouldn’t be a concern. For many, this is a scary and anxious time. It has been hard during our nutrition evaluations to recommend any specific type of formula, as the availability is hard to control. A can today may not be available the next time you need it. No one should be without the nutrition they need, and we are here for you.
To help, we have talked with all of our formula contacts to give you resources to find formula and recommendations. We did our best to get you access and an insider view on what steps you can take. Scroll to the manufacturer you need for QR codes, guides to switch formula and more.
We know that manufacturers and legislators are doing everything possible to make more options available. But it will still take 6-8 weeks to get availability at a more comfortable level. In the meantime, please only take what you need for a week or two. Leave formula, especially specialty formula for children with allergies, on the shelf for those that truly need it. And please don’t dilute formula to make it last longer. This results in a lack of nutrition and not enough calories for infants. This can have serious consequences, such as increase risk of seizure.
Finally, please be cautious with recipes that are floating around to make your own baby formula, without consulting with a medical professional first. Many homemade recipes contain ingredients that are not safe for young infants, are low in calories, and are not nutritionally complete. Feeding a baby homemade formula can cause problems with growth and nutritional deficiencies.
Just like adults, babies need protein, fat, and carbohydrates in their diet. Infant formulas sometimes differ in which specific proteins, fats, and carbohydrates they feature. Breast milk has two protein sources: whey and casein. Some infant formulas have both of these proteins, while others only have whey. All meet the FDA’s requirements. Similarly, infant formulas can differ in the type of fat they use. All infant formulas sold in the U.S., whether they are name-brand or store-brand, must meet the FDA’s standards to ensure proper nutrition for your baby.
Generic or store brand infant formulas are very similar to national brands. They even use similar marketing terms, including:
Most store-brand baby formulas contain DHA and ARA, prebiotics, and nucleotides, just like brand-name infant formulas. Almost all—including store brands made for Walmart (Parent’s Choice), Target (up & up), Walgreens (Well Beginnings), and Kroger (Comforts for Baby), etc.—are made by the same manufacturer: Perrigo Nutritionals. Read more from verywellfamily.
Some children have no issues with transitioning to a new formula, while others may need a little time to adjust. For some children, new adjustments to their diet may cause gastrointestinal (GI) changes. If you need support for your baby’s allergies, constipation or other emerging GI issues, please contact a pediatric dietician for support.
Due to the shortage, now may be the time to move a toddler or older child off of formula and transition to another option. We know this change can be scary. But many families have found this has been a needed push with a beneficial outcome.
The support from communities to help those in need of formula is so heartwarming. Consider reaching out to friends and family to help find formula for your baby as they shop. Purchasing donor breast milk from your local milk bank, may be an option. While there is a high demand they are also experiencing more donations of extra milk. One such resource is the Mothers’ Milk Bank of the Western Great Lakes.
Use caution with milk sharing or buying milk over the internet from places other than an official milk bank as these may contain contaminants. If someone is offering extra formula they no longer need, please be sure the formula is not expired and has been stored in a temperature controlled location (i.e. not in a garage).
Instacart is a helpful resource that shows where formula is on shelves. You don’t have to shop on Instacart, but use as a locater in your area.
Community Facebook groups like local Mom Groups, parenting groups and more can help share tips or resources for formula. Chicagoland Formula Finders is a recent and helpful resource for many.
Enfamil.com has a store locater that is updated three times a day. They also share this qr code and product comparison chart below.
Nutramigen is an extensively hydrolysed formula for the dietary management of infants with mild to moderate cow’s milk allergy. It is hypoallergenic, which means it has been specially formulated to not cause allergic reactions in most infants with cow’s milk allergy. This formula has been more available at this time, but please only purchase if necessary.
At Reckitt/MJN, we see this as a very serious issue, because we understand the responsibility we have in making the single source of nutrition for so many infants, therefore can be no short cuts for this vulnerable population. Our manufacturing facilities are operating 24/7. This has allowed us to supply 30% more product to market YTD, which allows us to provide formula to an additional 200,000 babies per month since the Abbott recall occurred.
It is important to note our manufacturing is near pharmaceutical grade and quality and safety are paramount. Our goal is to get as many feedings to shelf as possible, but our highest priority are those mothers and infants in the WIC program as they are the most vulnerable in our society. Where Abbott can no longer meet their commitments, we are filling the gap as much as we can.
We’re continually looking for more ways to increase supply, while ensuring the highest levels of safety and quality. We’re also working closely with President Biden, the FDA, and the USDA to expedite approval for us to use a factory outside of the U.S., access key ingredients, and make it easier to ensure the most vulnerable babies have access to the formula they need. We know parents and caregivers are concerned about formula supply on the shelves, we are working with our retail partners to support limiting purchases to 1- week supply per household and always recommend buying formula from a reputable source.
This is the highest priority for us as a company and the entire industry. We are confident that by working together and remaining focused on this problem, we will solve it, ensuring that parents and infants have access to the nutrition that they need.
This program can help with a one time gift of formula in cases of financial assistance or multiple births. With help from a medical professional or one of our dieticians, choose from one of the three applicable programs. Offer is limited to one formula gift per household, per birth. Programs and offers subject to change without notice. Only parents and/or legal guardians who meet offer qualifications are eligible. View the program application.
While we are a small player in the U.S. infant formula market, we are absolutely committed to doing everything we can to help get parents and caregivers the formula they need so their babies can thrive. We have significantly increased the amount of our infant formula available to consumers by ramping up production and accelerating general product availability to retailers and online, as well as in hospitals for those most vulnerable. We are also working through our Parent Resource Center, website, social media and industry groups to help make sure essential information is available for those parents and caregivers seeking it.
Demand for Gerber formula has increased due to a national infant formula shortage. This increased demand may result in some temporary out of stock issues at certain stores. Each retailer has the best estimate of when specific products will be on their shelves. For information about which retailers in your area carry Gerber formula, you can visit https://www.gerber.com/shop-by-product/formula.
While individual stores may be temporarily out of stock, it should return soon, or you can order from our website.
Our Parent Resource Center is available 24/7 to help parents with any feeding queries, including help in finding our formulas and suggesting recommended alternatives, as it is generally okay to switch routine infant formula brands (800-4-GERBER). If an infant is on a specialty formula for a medical condition or for treatment of allergy, switching infant formula should be discussed with your health care provider before doing so.
We understand that patients, caregivers, and healthcare professionals are pressed to find alternatives. Kate Farms formulas may be a solution for patients affected by the Abbott recall. Our formulas are only for children one and up, but could be appropriate for kiddos aging out of an infant formula including those who are appropriate for a peptide challenge and were formerly on an amino acid product. Below are a a few crosswalk tools which show which Kate Farms products would be considered “equivalent”, and we have a dedicated out of stock webpage here: https://www.katefarms.com/customer-service/out-of-stock-support/.
The Nutritional Applications Pediatric Formulas is also a helpful resource to show what may be appropriate by disease state. The pediatric transition guide is also helpful for tube fed patients. Learn more about transitioning to a new formula with this guide in partnership with a Registered Dietician.
Kate Farms formulas:
Kate Farms formulas are broadly eligible for insurance. Your home medical supplier will check your coverage and ship Kate Farms to you. Or you can purchase any one of our formulas online with free 2-day shipping at katefarms.com.
We offer nutritional solutions that positively impact the health from early life and onwards into old age.
For families whose babies require specialty, metabolic formulas, the FDA recently informed Abbott Nutrition that the agency has no objection to releasing urgent, life-sustaining supplies of certain specialty and metabolic formulas on a case-by-case basis. Abbott has established a request line for patients and caregivers seeking access to their specialty formulas: 1-800-881-0876.
We know that our recent recall caused additional stress and anxiety in an already challenging situation of a global supply shortage. We are working hard to help moms, dads and caregivers get the high-quality nutrition they need for their babies.
Abbott is working closely with the FDA to restart operations at the Sturgis, Mich., facility. We continue to make progress on corrective actions and will be implementing additional actions as we work toward addressing items related to the recent recall. In the meantime, we are working to increase the supply of infant formula by prioritizing infant formula production at our facilities that provide product to the U.S. market.
Below is a QR code that is updated regularly to show availability of infant formulas at different large box stores. More will be available in the next few weeks.
We have a special obligation to WIC families. About one-half of babies born in Illinois participate in WIC in the first year of their lives. We will continue to do everything possible to safeguard their development and access to safe, nutritious formula.”said IDHS Secretary Grace B. Hou
The state of Illinois is taking a series of steps in response to the current, nationwide infant formula shortage. Senate unanimously passed the House’s bill to add flexibility to WIC benefits. The federal nutrition program for women, infants, and children is the largest infant formula buyer in the country — making up about half of all formula purchases. The approved legislation would waive the contract requirements for emergencies (like during a formula shortage), and allow mothers to purchase other formulas available without having to pay out of pocket.
In coordination with the USDA Food & Nutrition Service, Illinois retailers are being encouraged to set aside formula for low-income families enrolled in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children program.
The Illinois Department of Human Services has also trained caseworkers to assist families with formula questions. The IDHS Help Line at 1-800-843-6154.T he Help Line is designed for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program and WIC customers primarily but is open to all residents of Illinois. Read more here.
For more information on our Feeding Clinic, nutrition and feeding services, visit: https://www.easterseals.com/dfv/our-programs/medical-rehabilitation/nutrition-therapy.html.