Monthly Archives: February 2013

Cheer Your Kid On with a Smile

As a client of Easter Seals and the Fox Valley Region, sometimes it can be hard to keep your spirits up. You go to therapy and the progress can seem really slow. It can be frustrating to go week after week not to see concrete progress. Parents have to be their child’s biggest cheerleaders. Here are a few tips to keep spirits up during therapy. Cheer


–         Acknowledge the little things such as a good step during walking if your child is in physical therapy.

–         Tell your child if they are close to reaching a goal.

–         Have the child relay what they did in therapy to another parent, a sibling, or another significant other in the child’s life.

–         You could make a fun progress chart at home and keep track of the progress they are making in therapy.

–         Have siblings or grandparents come in every once in a while and see how far the child has come. Grandparents in particular love bragging on grandchildren!

I recognize it is tough on parents too to see a difference when their child is in therapies week after week. Try to stay positive and remember that smiling at your child can make all the difference.


Here at Easter Seals DuPage and the Fox Valley Region, we recognize that volunteers are crucial to keeping our organization excellent. We recognize it so much that we recruit from different organizations. Recently, we went to Montini Catholic high school to raise awareness about Easter Seals. Over the years, we have found that having a recipient of our services provided speak and share their story is effective. Along with being an intern, I am a client so they asked me to go. Here is what I said:

During senior year of college, I was faced with a difficult decision. Do I go to Marquette University or Elmhurst College? Ultimately, I chose Elmhurst College. One of the many reasons that gave me confidence in my decision was that Easter Seals was fifteen minutes away. I have Cerebral Palsy and physical therapy is crucial to staying healthy. Let me explain my disability.

I have a form of Cerebral Palsy that is quite unique because my muscles are not super tight all the time. The actual cerebral palsy affects my balance and ability to talk. I have a lot of involuntary movement due to three movement disorders. I have a slight scoliosis on top of the constant movement and the cerebral palsy. As you can see, my need to be physically fit and have people watch everything going on with my body is great. I am a busy woman and I don’t have time to necessarily watch my body and worry about it. I was very involved in college, I was involved in a sorority, three honor societies, was active in Catholic campus ministry; I was a busy woman and still am.

Currently, I am interning at DuPage Easter Seals. This is an invaluable experience because not a lot of organizations would want to hire somebody with a disability. But Easter Seals doesn’t just talk the talk, they walk the walk. I have gotten hands-on experience. Its one thing to be in class, it’s another thing to work and gain experience.

I also am a professional speaker. I have spoken to doctors about how to treat patients with special needs, spoken to teachers and school staff about the challenges of high school; I’ve spoken to elementary schools about accepting people who are different. I speak to a variety of audiences.

Because of Easter Seals, I know my body is ready to go every day. I have two incredible physical therapists that have become like family to me. We work on physical therapy of course, but they know when I am having a bad day and they will make me talk about it. I am so grateful for both of them.

At this point, I want to stop lecturing at you and let’s have a lively question and answer session. You can ask me about anything, my disability, my equipment, my internship, or anything else, I am an open book.

The volunteer manager accompanied me and she explained how fun volunteering is. The students seemed to enjoy hearing from us. The best part was that three students had called our center by the end of the day wanting to volunteer. If you would like to volunteer, you can contact Cassandra Salinas at 630.261.6240 or  MH900024438

Let’s stop the Bullying!

Bullying and hazing are becoming increasingly popular topics for media outlets. Most people would say that the bullying must stop. When children with disabilities are targets of bullying, it can be a significant concern for parents. If you are worried about your child being bullied, here are some warning signs from

–         Unexplained injuries

–         Difficulty sleeping or frequent nightmares

–         Declining grades, loss of interest in schoolwork, or not wanting to go to school

–         Self-destructive behaviors such as running away from home, harming themselves, or talking about suicide

If you think your child is being bullied, suggests ways to help. First, praise your child for telling you; it took a lot of courage for them to tell you. Secondly, remind your child that many people get bullied, and they are not alone. Bullying should be taken seriously so parents should go to the school counselor or teacher. If this does not work, the parents of the victim should talk to the parents of the bullying the presence of a school counselor. The school counselor can help mediate the conversation.

There are some tips specifically for children with special needs who are being bullied from, “Talk to the child about situations that invite bullying. A child with developmental delays such as Down Syndrome or Asberger’s syndrome is often trusting and friendly. Because he does not think that others will play tricks on him, he becomes an easy target”. Also, it’s a good idea to explain body language to a child that may not pick up on social cues as easily as other kids. Additionally, you may want to practice confident and socially appropriate comebacks. Finally, children should leave the situation as soon as they can. Bullying

Bullying can be a traumatic thing. Parents and siblings can ease the pain. As parents, your job is to recognize the signs and help stop the bullying. If we stay dedicated to this cause, we can stop bullying once and for all. Do you have any ideas on how to stop bullying? If so, post them here!

Last to the Finish Line but First in our Hearts

Conner and Caden Long are two boys that defy all odds. Conner was born without any special needs. However, his little brother, Caden was born with Cerebral Palsy. Caden was born with many limitations including playing sports with his little brother. The two brothers could not play like normal little boys with Caden’s Cerebral Palsy. Despite this significant obstacle, Conner found a way to bond with his brother through triathlons.

One weekend Conner decided to do a local triathlon with Caden. They would come in last but first in everyone’s hearts. They started doing more and more triathlons and eventually gained national attention when they did the kids Iron Man. This attention made them candidates for Sports Illustrated Kid of the Year. The brothers found out on Good Morning America with their mother, you can watch their reaction at: They accepted their award in front of many who were amazed at their story. You can watch their acceptance speech and more here: Is there a kid at Easter Seals DuPage and the Fox Valley Region that reminds you of these two boys? If so, post their story here!