16 Ways to Prepare Children with Autism for Holidays

The following blog post was originally posted on Easter Seals’ National website.

16 Ways to Prepare Children with Autism for Holidays

by Cathy Pratt, Ph.D., BCBA-D

While many happily anticipate the coming holiday season, families with sons/daughters on the autism spectrum also understand the special challenges that may occur when schedules are disrupted and routines broken.

The following tips were developed with input from the Autism Society of America, the Indiana Resource Center for Autism, Easterseals Crossroads, Sonya Ansari Center for Autism at Logan, and the Indiana Autism Leadership Network. We update our list of suggestions annually, and our hope is that by following these few helpful tips as the holiday approaches, families may lessen the stress and anxiety created by the holiday season and make it a more enjoyable experience for everyone.

Continue reading “16 Ways to Prepare Children with Autism for Holidays”

2016: A Year in Review and A Look Forward

The theme of 2016 at ESNG was expansion. We expanded our programs, reach, events and accreditations. Let’s take a look back at what we did as we get ready for a fun and exciting 2017.for blog

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Last year, we piloted the innovative STEM in early education at our Brookvalley location. Thanks to funding from the Sibley Award and Frances Hollis Brain Foundation, we are expanding the program to our Guice, Mansell and Warsaw locations.

20151112_143926_resized Continue reading “2016: A Year in Review and A Look Forward”

Family Support: The difference in success

089Recently I’ve been thinking about what makes Easter Seals North Georgia’s programs unique. Okay, lots of places provide early education, early intervention and/or support services. I realized almost immediately that the thing that makes us unique is our commitment to FAMILY. We cannot fully educate, support or provide therapies to children with special needs if we do not focus on their families too.

As Thanksgiving approaches, let’s talk about family and their importance on a child’s development.

Easter Seals North Georgia’s overarching goal is that parents will be their children’s first and most important teacher. How do we do that? Continue reading “Family Support: The difference in success”

ESNG is thankful for our heroes

As we all know, November is a month of being thankful. So, this month we are going to meet some members of the ESNG family that we feel are our heroes. To get us started, we talk to Laura Moncada, who is the service coordinator for our early intervention program, Babies Can’t Wait. (To read more about the beneficiaries of the program, check out this previous blog post.)

Castin Jennich

  1. How did you come to work at Easter Seals North Georgia?

In 2009, I finally finished my Bachelors in Early Childhood Care & Education (Birth to 5) and was looking for a position. I saw the Service Coordination position posted on a job website and applied.

Elias Cloer now Continue reading “ESNG is thankful for our heroes”

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. Continue reading “It’s the Final Countdown…”

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. http://puppet.org/programs/asd/

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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. www.facebook.com/RMSDramaSpecialNeedsShow

Continue reading “Easterseals is your resource for family fun for all”

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

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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, too.download Continue reading “5 Reasons You Should Participate in the Trick or Treat Trot 5K and Family Fun Festival”

#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.

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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. Continue reading “#SuccessStartsHere: Volunteers”

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. Continue reading “September is National Childhood Obesity Prevention Month: 5 Tips to Keep Your Kids Healthy”

#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.

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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!!!”