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A history of changing lives

Easterseals Rehabilitation Center - A History 


Vanderburgh County Society for Crippled Children and Adults is formed and funds braces, crutches, wheelchairs and surgeries. Camp Optimist, a day camp for children with disabilities, is founded.


A preschool center for children with disabilities opens in a Quonset hut at Evansville College. Charles Caniff becomes the Society’s first executive director.


The Center moves to the former Christ the King church building. Speech and physical therapy are added.


The Rehabilitation Center is built as the first facility in the U.S. designed solely for outpatient rehabilitation. The cornerstone is inscribed "For Building Better Lives."


Psychological services and a vocational program begin.


Audiological services are established.


A preschool program is started for children with hearing impairments.


An Early Infant Intervention program is established with a grant from United Cerebral Palsy. To meet the need for services, the Society launches a second capital campaign to add a new wing to the Center.


A new wing opens and the Center hosts more than 25,000 client visits for the first time.


 WEHT-TV broadcasts the first local Easterseals Telethon live from Washington Square Mall.


Name is changed to Southwestern Indiana Easterseal Society. Early intervention program is highlighted by United Nation’s International Year of the Child. Driver’s Training begins for individuals with disabilities, the first of its kind in the state of Indiana.


The Center adds occupational therapy and equipment to test for hearing impairments in infants. The Easterseal Auxiliary forms.


The Center establishes the Semi-Independent Living Program and begins construction of two group homes for children with multiple disabilities. Easterseals celebrates its 40th anniversary.


The first adult group home is established by Rehabilitation Center Developmental Services. Supported employment services are offered. A capital campaign begins to fund a major expansion of the Center.


A new adaptive seating clinic serves 46 individuals. The Center is certified to provide driver’s training for adults with visual impairments. Semi-Independent Living Program enables 45 people to live independently in the community.


Ground is broken for a major building expansion. The Center serves 158 infants in the state’s new First Steps program and contracts with the school corporation to provide preschool services. Therapeutic horseback riding and recreation therapy are offered for the first time.


A state-of-the-art accessible therapeutic pool opens. One preschool room is remodeled and two new ones are added.


People learn daily living skills in Easy Street, a mock city block with an apartment. The Center begins to offer assistive technology services.


The local Easterseals Telethon, produced by WEHT-TV, is judged best in the country.


Evansville’s Sally Coslett is National Easterseal Adult Representative. A new assistive technology workshop opens, providing clients with prescribed rehabilitation equipment on-site. Easterseals celebrates 50 years locally.


Daycare services for children with disabilities are introduced with the opening of Milestones, the Easterseals Child Development Center. Community Living Services are expanded for severely disabled individuals in their homes. STARS, a program for individuals with autism, is launched.


Assistive Technology Solutions celebrates the grand opening of its showroom. Renovations and additions are completed at Milestones, the Easterseals Child Development Center, including a new infant playground area.


Psychiatric consultation services are introduced for children and youth with disabilities. Milestones earns accreditation from the National Association for the Education of Young Children. A pilot project begins to provide fitness activities for individuals with disabilities, including swimming and tae kwon do. The local Easterseals Telethon celebrates its silver anniversary broadcast with WEHT-ABC25. A new web site is introduced to provide online information about services offered.


Milestones is voted "Evansville’s Best Day Care" by readers of Evansville Living magazine. First annual Fitness Awareness Day for People with Disabilities is presented.


Partnership with The Home Depot introduces "Rehabilitating Spaces," a competition to remodel two group homes.


Posey County Rehabilitation Services (including Horizon Industries and New Frontiers Employment Services) is merged into the operations of the Easterseals Rehabilitation Center. Day Services are introduced for adults with developmental disabilities.


The Easterseals Rehabilitation Center raises over $250,000 through the "Angel of Change" campaign to fund repairs to the Therapeutic Pool and to eliminate the waiting list for speech therapy. The community’s exceptional support earns a $50,000 "Angel of Change" challenge grant from national Easterseals.


The Easterseals Rehabilitation Center introduces The P.L.A.Y. Project, a home-based, family-centered early intervention program for children with autism.

2012  Evansville resident Ben Trockman serves as Easterseals National Adult Representative.
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