HISTORY AND PROGRESS
For 75 years in Massachusetts and 100 years nationally, “Easter Seals,” or now “Easterseals” has been changing the way the world defines and views disabilities with innovative programs and legislative advocacy.
“We make profound, positive differences in people’s lives every day with our personalized programs and services that are constantly responding to the evolving unmet needs of people in the state,” said Easterseals President & CEO, Paul Medeiros. This purpose statement is broad to emphasize larger social concepts that Easterseals is responsible for such as breaking down inclusion barriers with innovation, dispelling stereotypes, and emphasizing the concept of potential through unique programs and services that empower children and adults with disabilities.
“Our look may change, but our commitment to providing services for people with disabilities to fully live, learn, work, and play within their local community stays strong. We remain the vital resource for people with disabilities, veterans, caregivers and families.” -President & CEO, Paul Medeiros.
75 years ago, Easter Seals Massachusetts had one simple, yet powerful mission: ensuring that children and adults with disabilities have equal opportunities to live, learn, work and play.
Through the years Easter Seals has been continually developing new programs and innovative approaches to meet the specific needs of its clients. While there are many disability services providers in the country and state, Easter Seals Massachusetts is famous for finding innovative solutions when others can’t or won’t.
We say YES when others say NO. After nearly 75 years of experience and commitment to inclusion and equality, Easter Seals Massachusetts has created a philosophical and practical motto of always caring purposefully and personally. Many service providers are designed to address only specific needs of narrow segments of the disability community, but Easter Seals serves all ages, all abilities, in nearly all locations!
Easter Seals recognized the potential benefits that technology holds for children and adults with disabilities. Our Assistive Technology Program began with a few donated computers and one specialist. Today, the program has more than 20 specialists and utilizes a wide array of software, hardware and adaptive devices. 27 years after its inception, Easter Seals Massachusetts staff are truly the leaders in expanding independence for people with disabilities at home, in school and in the workplace.
Years ago, the idea of college was simply not considered for many people living with physical or developmental disabilities, but Easter Seals and assistive technology are helping many young adults fulfill their dreams with the help of Augmented Alternative Communication (AAC) and various other devices in the school setting.
We are now the experts in assistive technology with highly credentialed and dedicated staff, as well as two regional Assistive Technology Centers. Numerous programs help people access the assistive technology they need. At the Assistive Technology Regional Centers, people with disabilities can see, try out and borrow devices in order to make more informed decisions about technology that will meet their needs.
We currently have one of the largest spectrum of disability services for adults and children currently serving 326 communities across the state and more than 21,500 Massachusetts residents with disabilities, their families, caretakers, teachers, and employers. Read more below to understand the brief history of our different programs, unique services, and personalized approach to ensuring people with disabilities are living their best life.
Through the Youth Leadership Network, Easterseals also offers opportunities for young people with disabilities to discover their personal abilities and skills. Service learning activities help generate feelings of importance and self-worth while encouraging them to become forces for change in their communities. We are also experts at navigating Youth Transition Services, a service that has grown in importance exponentially over the years.
Easterseals Rehabilitation Services offers physical, occupational and speech therapy to people in homes, schools, nursing homes, day care centers and clinics.
The Easterseals Job Training and Employment program helps people with disabilities develop the skills they need in order to get and keep jobs in today’s competitive workplace. The program offers individualized vocational rehabilitation, job training, and employment services to students and adults.
For decades Easterseals Massachusetts has been a proud provider of Recreation Programs for individuals with disabilities, and today is no different. As we continue to adapt and change, so have our programs. Please continue to check in to see what exciting and new programming we have to offer to ensure equal opportunities to play!
Easterseals Massachusetts recently launched a Military and Veterans Program that pledges to achieve an environment that promotes and maintains the physical, financial and mental wellness of our service members, veterans and family members so that no one is left behind.
Easterseals staff members also answer thousands of questions every year through a disability resource information center. And advocates work to help state legislators and government officials understand and meet all the needs of men, women, and children with disabilities.