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For Immediate Release

Easter Seals' New PSA Helps Kids Achieve Their Best at School by Encouraging All Parents With Kids Under Age 5 to Take Its Online Child Development Screening

Support From CVS Caremark Ensures All Children Are Ready to Learn This Year

Chicago, September 5, 2012

Media Contact:
Kristen Barnfield, Easter Seals
P: 312.551.7147

Rachel Talen, Easter Seals
P: 312.551.7246

Today, Easter Seals released an internet public service announcement (iPSA) to make sure every child under the age of five receives a developmental screening this school year. Because more than one million kids enter school with unidentified disabilities every year, Easter Seals is giving parents an easy and free way to screen their kids' development through the Ages & Stages Questionnaires® (ASQ) online survey. 

The iPSA will raise awareness around this important screening tool as part of the disability organization's Make the First Five Count®, which focuses on the importance of early intervention and encourages parents to follow their instincts and screen their children for developmental delays.

A Child Development Progress Report 
"The first five years are critical in a child's life. It is best if parents or caregivers can detect delays early and get support for their child. With early intervention there is a better chance for learning and starting school on par with peers," says Dr. Patricia Wright, national director of autism services, Easter Seals.

The iPSA displays just that: moms Theresa and Beth share real stories about how early detection and early intervention services made all the difference in their kids' lives. While every child develops at his or her own pace, parents should be regularly monitoring their child's progress and address anything that might set them back before they start kindergarten. Receive feedback about your child's development by taking the developmental milestone screening on www.MaketheFirstFiveCount.org.

Thanks to support from CVS Caremark's foundation, the CVS Caremark Charitable Trust, Easter Seals is providing free access to the Ages & Stages Questionnaires® (ASQ) to parents. Produced by Brookes Publishing, the ASQ serves as a screening tool and allows parents to take an online survey that tracks where their child stands in their development. Widely used by pediatricians and heath care experts, the ASQ is recognized as the industry standard for developmental screenings for kids under age five.

To ensure a child has the most success, parents and caregivers are encouraged to complete the questionnaire for every child birth through age five. The fifteen minute survey is free on www.MaketheFirstFiveCount.org.

"We are very proud that the CVS Caremark Charitable Trust is able to support Easter Seals as they strive to get all kids screened -- as early as possible," says Eileen Howard Boone, Senior Vice President of Corporate Communications and Community Relations, CVS Caremark. "With this free online tool we hope every parent will take the opportunity to screen their child and take the actions needed to help them to be the best that they can be."

Areas of Development and Achievement 
Parents and caregivers might know right away if a child has a physical disability, but other social and language delays can be more difficult to recognize. For example, if a parent knows what their child is saying, but others have trouble understanding him or her, it could indicate a communication delay. The ASQ invites parents and caregivers to answer age-specific questions. The results will help you see if your child's developmental progress is on schedule and alert you to concerns that you can discuss with your health care provider. You can also find more resources on developmental milestones on www.MaketheFirstFiveCount.org. Here are some basic areas of development the screening tool addresses;

CVS Caremark's Investment in Young Children
Through its All Kids Can Program, committed to supporting children with disabilities, CVS Caremark has partnered with Easter Seals over the past seven years to support children at risk of autism, developmental delays or disabilities so they can be school-ready and build a foundation for a lifetime of learning:

"We know what's possible for children with disabilities and their families when they are children receive the services and supports they need," says Dr. Patricia Wright, national director of autism services, Easter Seals. "Thanks to our partnership with CVS Caremark, Easter Seals continues to provide exceptional, evidence-based services to deliver solutions that positively shape the lives of children and families living with disabilities."

CVS Caremark's investment in Make the First Five Count will continue to help assure success in school -- and in life -- for young children served by Easter Seals nationwide.

About Easter Seals

Easter Seals is the leading non-profit provider of services for individuals with autism, developmental disabilities, physical disabilities and other special needs.  For more than 90 years, we have been offering help and hope to children and adults living with disabilities, and to the families who love them. Through therapy, training, education and support services, Easter Seals creates life-changing solutions so that people with disabilities can live, learn, work and play. Easter Seals’ Make the First Five Count is designed to give children at risk of developmental delays, disabilities or autism the right support they need to be school-ready and build a foundation for a lifetime of learning. Learn more at http://www.makethefirstfivecount.org

About CVS Caremark All Kids Can

CVS Caremark All Kids Can™, a program of the CVS Caremark Charitable Trust and supported by CVS Caremark, is a commitment to making life easier for children with disabilities. Through this signature program, CVS Caremark and the Trust will support nonprofit organizations that provide innovative programs and services in local communities focused on helping children with disabilities learn, play and succeed in life. To learn more about the CVS Caremark All Kids Can Program and its support of Easter Seals, visit http://www.cvsallkidscan.com/partners/easter-seals.

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