Easterseals Eastern Pennsylvania has had a presence in the community since 1928, though it was founded in different communities at different times throughout its history. In the Lehigh Valley, Allentown Elks Club helped to establish the first orthopedic clinic for children with disabilities. At roughly the same time, community leaders and the Stroudsburg Rotary Club formed The Monroe County Crippled Children Association to serve children with disabilities in the Pocono region.
In Berks County, representatives from the local chapter of the National American Business Club (AMBUC) consulted with the Pennsylvania Society for Crippled Children and Adults, physicians and community leaders to develop a plan to serve children with disabilities in the Reading area. In 1948, the AMBUC Reading Spastic Paralysis (Cerebral Palsy) Clinic was incorporated.
Northampton County community leaders recognized the need to serve children with disabilities and they banded together to form the Northampton County Society for Crippled Children. The organization’s office was located in Easton and provided similar clinic services as those offered in Lehigh, Monroe and Berks counties.
In 1963, the Lehigh and Northampton organizations merged to form the Lehigh Valley Society for Crippled Children and Adults. In the 1970s, the Berks County society moved to a new location and formally became the Easter Seal Society for Crippled Children and Adults of Berks County. By 1989, the Lehigh Valley and Monroe organizations merged to become the Easter Seal Society of Lehigh, Northampton and Monroe. In the early 1990s, the Pennsylvania Easter Seal Society reorganized several partner agencies serving Lehigh, Northampton, Carbon, Monroe, Pike, Berks and Schuylkill counties. What formed was Easter Seals Eastern Pennsylvania. The name was changed to Easterseals Eastern Pennsylvania in 2017 when the organization rebranded itself.
Today, Easterseals Eastern PA annually provides services to over 3,600 children and adults in a seven-county region that encompasses Berks, Carbon, Lehigh, Monroe, Northampton, Pike and Schuylkill Counties. We serve children and adults with a wide-range of physical and cognitive disabilities, autism and other social, sensory and developmental delays – and their families. Our administrative offices are located in Allentown and we have an outpatient center in Reading. The majority of the programs and services we provide take place in the community versus in our own facilities.
We provide Early Intervention services for children from birth to age three, offering physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech and vision therapy, and special instruction. Our EI services are designed to promote child development while coaching parents and caregivers on how to build on their child’s strengths. We offer free developmental screenings through our Make the First Five Count program to ensure early identification of potential delays when it is most critical.
At our center in Muhlenberg Township, we provide outpatient occupational, speech and physical therapy, as well as specialty medical clinics featuring medical and surgical specialists from Philadelphia and the surrounding area. We provide referral-based Autism Diagnostic Clinics in Berks County and the Lehigh Valley, and ABA Therapy Training for parents of children with autism. We offer two summer day camps (Berks County and the Lehigh Valley) and one overnight summer camp in the Poconos. Teens and young adults benefit from our evening recreation programs and employment preparation programs. Our community supports/habilitation program enables adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities to enrich their lives, enjoy a full range of activities in the community, and explore and engage in meaningful and purposeful activities based on personal preferences and needs.