It’s the Final Countdown…

…to ESNG’s Trick or Treat Trot 5K and Family Fun Festival.

We are just over a week away from our big event. You may have seen posts, tweets, pictures, videos – you name it – about the event, but do you really know what it’s for? I’m sure if you look, you could find a run/walk that supports a local nonprofit every weekend in metro Atlanta. So, what’s the big deal about this one? I’m so glad you asked.

Castin Jennich

It’s for the children: Children like Castin receive therapies through our early intervention service, Babies Can’t Wait. Speech and language therapy have given Castin a voice and confidence to become the smart, kind and happy child he is today.

Mansell DadIt’s for the families: Families like Morgan and her dad Dermeko have access to community resources to ensure that they are happy, healthy and self-sufficient.

EY 1 (2)It’s for the community: Our programs and services impact the entire community. Whether it’s health, education or human services, we make sure all community members can do their part to make our community great.


It’s for awareness: It was only 25 years ago that an employer could discriminate against a person because of his/her disability. While that is now against the law, there is so much more we need to do to ensure that everyone has an opportunity to succeed in our community.

Thank You for PWCIt’s for raising money to affect more lives: We provide these programs and services at no charge to participants and their families. They are made possible by generous donations from individuals, foundation and corporate partners. This is an opportunity for our funders to see our work and have our staff and families say thank you!

Easterseals is your resource for family fun for all

Fall is a great time of year to get out of the house and do fun things around town. If you have a child with special needs, enjoying those activities may be a little more difficult. We’ve compiled a list of ideas for you to enjoy with your family.

The Arts

Center for Puppetry Arts – The Center for Puppetry Arts has modified regular programming to allow guests with autism spectrum disorder to experience sensory-friendly Family Series performances, Film series, and Create-A-Puppet Workshops™. The next sensory-friendly performance is The Headless Horseman of Sleepy Silly Hollow on Sunday, October 30.


RMS Drama Aladdin, Jr. Free Special Needs Community Show – A very special free preview show of Aladdin, Jr. will be held for the special needs community on Tuesday, November 8 at 5:30 p.m. by Riverwatch Middle School Musical Theater. Adults and children with special needs and their families are invited to take a magical journey with this sneak peek performance. This show will be held at Lambert High School (805 Nichols Road, Suwanee, GA). Reservations for this sensory-sensitive show only can be made by calling 678-414-1031.


The Children’s Museum of Atlanta – On the first Saturday of each month, the Museum opens early so that children with autism spectrum disorder and their families may enjoy all the Museum has to offer at their own pace. The Museum’s social guide, My Visit to The Children’s Museum of Atlanta, takes you and your children step by step through a Museum visit, our learning zones, and program opportunities. Binders are also available at the front desk as well as in each learning zone.

Target Free Second Tuesday is a special opportunity for the community to bring their children to the Children’s Museum of Atlanta and experience the Museum for free, between the hours 1 p.m. and 6 p.m. Free admission is made possible through the generous support of Target. Fulton County residents are invited to buy one admission ticket and receive one additional general admission ticket for free on the opening day of each feature exhibit.  Tickets are available for walk-in visitors only and are subject to availability.


AMC and Studio Movie Grill offer special needs screenings of movies at special times. Check out their websites for more information.



There are several accessible playgrounds in Georgia. Here’s a list for you to explore.


Go for a walk on the paved trails of the Beltline, Silver Comet, or the Roswell and Alpharetta Greenways. Here’s a list of more paved trails in Georgia –


And, then, there’s ESNG’s Trick or Treat Trot 5K and Family Festival. On Saturday, October 29, children and families can run, celebrate and play at the Infinite Energy Center in Duluth. Children with and without disabilities can trick or treat in a safe environment and truly enjoy the season fearlessly.


What are your favorite places to go with your family in Georgia? Let us know!

5 Reasons You Should Participate in the Trick or Treat Trot 5K and Family Fun Festival


Our Annual Trick or Treat Trot and Family Fun Festival is Saturday, October 29 at 9 a.m. at the Infinite Energy Center in Duluth. We are super excited to celebrate with as many families as possible. Hopefully, you don’t need that much cajoling to come run and have fun with us. But, if you do, here are 5 reasons why you should participate:

  1. It’s in a great location– Since Easter Seals North Georgia serves families in the 44 counties throughout metropolitan Atlanta and North Georgia, the Infinite Energy Center is a central location – right off of I-85. There will be lots of parking,
  2. The course is awesome – Well, it’s as awesome as a 5K can be. It is USATF certified and a Peachtree Road Race qualifier. We’ve got about two months until the race so we’ve got plenty of time to start or continue training. If you need help, check out the Couch to 5K program. It will get you well on your way to rock the race.images
  3. Kids Run – After the 5K, kids can participate in their very own 1K run (a little more than 1/2 mile). It’s a great way to get some exercise in a fun way.hulk_kid
  4. Festival – After all the running, it’s time to continue the celebration. Kids will be able to bounce, throw, and craft their morning away. It’s also a perfect opportunity to meet Easter Seals families.bounce_house_inside
  5. Make the First Five Count – Every kilometer you run, walk, or skip will be dedicated to a developmental milestone. I wanted to call them kilometerstones, but as you can imagine that got nixed. I know you’re familiar with the milestones since you read last week’s blog post, right?!


Okay, so now that I’ve convinced you of why you should come run and party with us, click yourself right over to and sign up. You can also form a team (get a $5 discount per participant) and raise money for our great early intervention and early education programs.

Can’t wait to see you out there!

#SuccessStartsHere: Volunteers

Every year, our corporate partners spend over 4,000 hours volunteering their time and talents to Easter Seals North Georgia. Volunteers read to and play with children, clean and sanitize classrooms or do something unique. One such group was from Turner Broadcasting.


Employees across Turner Broadcasting System – which includes CNN, TNT, Cartoon Network, Turner Sports and many more – donated more than 2,000 books for infants to five-year-old children and their parents.

Team lead Colleen Sullivan met with ESNG several times to develop a plan for a new library in our Sylvan Hills location. Then, on Thursday, September 15, a team of 17 volunteers came to our child development center to do some hard work. For more than four hours, they built, painted and created the most beautiful library our kids have ever seen.

This is a big deal for our families. The average middle-income home has 54 age-appropriate books for children, while a low-income home has zero to two books. As reported by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, in Georgia, only 16% of children ages one to five are read to more than three days a week. Yet, given the opportunity, low-income families are more likely to read to their children. According to pediatrician Dr. Needlman’s literacy study, mothers receiving welfare are eight times more likely to read to their children when provided with books and encouragement (published in JAMA Pediatrics).

Volunteers from Turner created a fun, engaging space for our kids and their parents. Their dedication to spreading the love of reading to all children will make a difference to our children for years to come. And for that and so much more, we thank you!

If you are inspired by Turner’s project, please contact us at to create your own fun venture that will benefit kids in our community!




September is National Childhood Obesity Prevention Month: 5 Tips to Keep Your Kids Healthy

September is National Childhood Obesity Prevention Month

One in 3 children in the United States is overweight or obese. Childhood obesity puts kids at risk for health problems that were once seen only in adults, like type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease.

The good news is that childhood obesity can be prevented. In honor of National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month, here are five ways to encourage your family to make healthy changes together.

1. Get active outside: Walk around the neighborhood, go on a bike ride, or play basketball at the park. Fall weather is here and Atlanta and North Georgia have such beautiful parks to hike (often free). Walk up Stone Mountain, hike the trails at Fort Yargo, Victoria Bryant, Unicoi and so many others. Here’s a map to all the state parks in Georgia.

20150424_0941312. Limit screen time: Keep screen time (time spent on the computer, watching TV, or playing video games) to 2 hours or less a day.


3. Make healthy meals: Buy and serve more vegetables, fruits, and whole-grain foods. Here’s a great resource to get your family to eat healthier.


4. Add movement games to play time. Sesame Street has some fun ideas to incorporate movement in everyday activities.


5. Avoid sugar-laden snacks and drinks. Check out Super Nanny’s tips on snacking.


Taking small steps as a family can help your child stay at a healthy weight.

Bonus tip: Come out to ESNG’s Trick or Treat Trot 5K and Family Fun Festival – hey,you knew it was coming! Older kids can run/walk the 5K (must register), the 1K (free for all) and/or participate in the activities at the Family Fun Festival (free for all). bounce_house_inside

#SuccessStartsHere: Eliavah’s Story

This month we are looking at how ESNG can help your special needs child overcome challenges – social, emotional, or physical – and live, learn, and play fully and freely. One of the many ways we do this is through the Champions for Children program. The program works with families whose children do not qualify for the Katie Beckett Waiver. Their children’s medical needs require so much attention that it’s difficult for them financially. One such child is Eliavah.


Eliavah is a sweet five-year-old girl who has been in therapies since she was six months old. She was diagnosed at birth with tetralogy of fallot, and underwent open heart surgery at four months old to repair her defects.

Later, after not meeting typical milestones, she was diagnosed with low muscle tone. A team of specialists has followed Eliavah her whole life to try to determine a cause behind her conditions. Although an exact cause has not been discovered, she struggles daily to overcome developmental delays and sensory processing disorder.

In the last two years, she has struggled with sleep issues and possible allergies that affect her daily living. Her family is in the process of trying to detect the cause of these, and how to best help her.

It is because of Champions for Children that Eliavah has been able to continue her needed therapies, and get help with extraneous medical expenses that would be a burden on the family otherwise. She continues to show progress and even spends half of her day in kindergarten in general education class!

She is very proud of her abilities that she has gained through hard work and therapy. She can now read and her writing is improving daily. Her independent skills are also improving in areas such as self dressing and grooming.

She is truly becoming a more confident young lady. Her mother says, “We are forever grateful for the blessing in our lives through Champions for Children. The staff has not only been loving and encouraging, but prompt and professional in helping our family and this makes a huge difference in the lives of parents that have children with needs!!!”


Live, Learn, Play for All

Easter Seals is the largest provider of inclusive learning in the country. What exactly does inclusive instruction mean, though?

Inclusive instruction means recognizing, accommodating, and meeting the learning needs of all students. It means acknowledging that all students have a range of individual learning needs and are members of diverse communities. Most importantly, inclusive teaching avoids pigeonholing students into specific groups with predictable and fixed approaches to learning.


ESNG introduced inclusive learning at our child development centers back in 1992. The innovative program soon became a model for the state of Georgia. Today, we educate and care for 1,503 children, 30% of whom have a disability. We have partnered with Atlanta Public Schools (APS) to offer children with disabilities an inclusive learning environment. There are five collaborative classrooms in our Guice and Sylvan Hills centers with two APS special education teachers and two ESNG teachers.

What are the benefits of inclusive learning?

Children learn from each other. 
Clearly, the children do not know their friends have special needs or require any accommodations. They just see their friends. Children with special needs see typically developing children following directions, singing, dancing, and talking. It becomes a part of their everyday activity and soon will follow those behaviors.

inclusive 3

Children learn to be leaders.
Children with special needs and typically developing children have classroom jobs. They set and clear tables, lead lines, and clean up together. One teacher says, “This year, Kayla has really become a leader. She was in the program last year and knows exactly what to do. She loves setting the table and telling her friends that lunch is ready. I can definitely tell that her confidence has improved remarkably since last year.”

inclusive 1

Children learn from structure.
We encourage families to keep their children in the program for multiple years to get the most out of it. One of the reasons is because children thrive from structure, especially kids with special needs. They know what to expect and what is expected of them. A teacher told me, “Caleb used to throw his toys when it was time to clean up. It took him a couple of months to get used to the schedule, but he got it. Now, he hears the clean up song, grabs the toy bin and puts the toys away.”

inclusive 2

Children learn from play.
That is to say, though, it’s not fun and playful. Children with disabilities – just like children without disabilities – learn from running, throwing, and dancing. Children with low muscle tone can gain strengthen by running on the playground. Children with sensory issues can get used to different textures in a sandbox. And, music helps children with behavioral issues learn to follow directions.

inclusive 5

Children learn empathy.
One of the beauties of childhood is they often don’t see the differences in people. Children in inclusive classrooms see children in wheelchairs and know that they cannot use their legs. Teachers and kids talk about it and kids know that they need to help their friends who need it. Four-year-old children may not know the importance of what they are learning now, but as they meet people with different abilities and thoughts, they will know how to help.

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More info:
The benefits of inclusive learning. One family’s story –