Easter Seals Disability Services

Easter Seals Metropolitan Chicago

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Metropolitan Chicago honorary ambassador child Chase
Who We Are

Easter Seals Metropolitan Chicago now serves more than 30,000 clients!

Meet Easter Seals Metropolitan Chicago's Ambassadors

Ariana 

Ariana – Age 10
Easter Seals Rockford Family Support

Born 3 pounds and 13 ounces, Ariana has defied all odds.  After being told by doctors that Ariana had a brain hemorrhage and had only five minutes to live, her mother refused to give up.  She is 100% a mother inside and outside.  Right now, Ariana is living healthy and beautifully.

Ariana received services at Easter Seals Family Support at the age of 3.  She was receiving various therapies and began to shine during her time at Easter Seals.  She and her family got involved in various events and established lifelong friendships with other families of children with special needs. 
Austin 2013 

Austin – Age 19
Easter Seals Autism Therapeutic School Chicago

Webster’s Dictionary defines the word “ambassador” as “an authorized representative or messenger.”  To fulfill this important role, Easter Seals Autism Therapeutic School Chicago proudly presents Austin to represent their program and to spread the “message” of his success.

Austin is a 19-year-old student who came to Easter Seals in February 2010, after a long history of struggling behaviorally in a large handful of schools.  Immediately upon his arrival to the Chicago school, Austin’s dynamic personality shone through and he quickly became a leader, role model, and favorite of students and staff alike.   If you were to ask any staff member to describe Austin, some of the responses you are certain to receive are:  “friendly,” “social,” and “quick-witted.”  Austin loves to interact with people, loves to play sports, and has successfully participated in a community-based employment experience as a data entry operator.

Dylan 2013 

Dylan – Age 19
Easter Seals Autism Therapeutic School Tinley Park

Dylan is a bright and friendly 19-year-old student in the senior level at Easter Seals Autism Therapeutic School in Tinley Park.  Dylan has attended Easter Seals for 10 years and has excelled in academic, social and vocational opportunities.  He loves drawing, watching super hero movies, playing video games, hanging out with friends, coming to school and working.  Dylan is an intelligent, outgoing, humorous and talented individual.

 He has held community based opportunities at Walgreens, PAWS, Brunswick Zone and St. James Hospital.  Dylan has also held in-house vocational and employment opportunities at HarrysButtons.com, the School Store and working in the school’s front office.  

Dylan recently represented Easter Seals Metropolitan Chicago at the ultra-exclusive 2013 Red Carpet Celebrity Style Lounge in honor of the 85th Academy Award Nominees.  Dylan had the opportunity to spread the mission of Easter Seals and met famous celebrities such as Jacki Weaver, pop-sensation Paula Abdul and “Glee” actress Lauren Potter.

Ambassador Dominic

Dominic – Age 3
Easter Seals Child and Family Connections #12 – Tinley Park

Dominic James Perakis was born on March 31, 2010 healthy and beautiful and sweet as can be.  Life in the beginning was difficult as he faced many different surgeries.  Born with an open neural tube effect, the road was difficult for the Perakis family.  Dominic faced many different obstacles such as not being able to walk or become independent.

Dominic started early intervention at Easter Seals Child and Family Connections #12 when he was 3 months old.  He qualified for a ton of services and for the past three years, Early Intervention was Dominic’s way of life.  Dominic had physical therapy several times a week, occupational therapy, speech therapy, developmental therapy and nutrition.  The therapists helped him to develop as a young man who reaches his potential.  He now uses his potential to become successful in another venture – school.

Dominic strives every day to his excellence.  He won’t let his disability slow him down, as early intervention geared him to achieve many goals in his lifetime.  We’re proud to have Dominic as the 2013 Ambassador for Easter Seals Child and Family Connections in Tinley Park!

Jordan 

Jordan – Age 7
The Autism Program (TAP) Service Center in Rockford

Jordan was diagnosed with Autism and Intellectual Disability in 2008 at the age of three by the diagnostic team at The Autism Program (TAP) Service Center in Rockford.  At that time, Jordan was nonverbal, wasn’t toilet trained and exhibited frequent, challenging behaviors. 

His mother was frustrated and didn’t know where to begin to best support Jordan on his journey.   Once she began working intensely with TAP Rockford, Jordan started to progress. Throughout his involvement, Jordan and his family have received ongoing training, consultation, and crucial visual supports so that Jordan could be as successful and independent as possible.  All of these services have made a tremendous impact on his life.  Today, Jordan is a happy, inquisitive seven-year-old who loves spending time with his mother, participates in many community based programs, is speaking in full sentences, has learned how to make friends and is even beginning to read!  He continues to make impressive gains and his mother credits TAP Rockford for his successes.

 Nadia

Nadia – Age 8
The Autism Program (TAP) Service Center in Chicago

Nadia was diagnosed with Autism and at the age of 5 and has received services through The Autism Program (TAP) Service Center, a program that offers families and professionals local access to resources and innovative services to better understand Autism.  TAP began supporting Nadia and her family in 2008 when she was enrolled in TAP’s Social Skills groups, a play based therapeutic intervention that focuses on communication, self-esteem, and cooperative play skills through a variety of language, sensory and motor activities.

Nadia has made great strides and continues to amaze everyone around her.  She is nonverbal and is a happy and curious third grader who communicates using her Dynavox Maestro, (a voice output device) to successfully express her thoughts.  Each week at Social Skills, it is music to our ears when she independently greets her friends.  Her mother wants her to become as independent as possible, but most importantly, that she be accepted and loved every day.  With the continued support of the TAP Service Center in Chicago, she’s confident those goals will be attainable.

 
Nathan 

Nathan – Age 5
Easter Seals Gilchrist-Marchman Head Start

Nathan came to Easter Seals Gilchrist-Marchman Head Start last year when he transitioned from the Easter Seals Near Southside Center.  Coming to a different program with more students was a challenge for him as he was still struggling to communicate with others.  Over time he began to express himself verbally to his peers and those who helped him achieve his goals.


Nathan is motivated by music and memorizes lyrics and melodies more quickly than many of his peers.  He likes reading and enjoys reading and writing words he finds during the Morning.  His hard work, enthusiasm and amazing advances have greatly contributed to the success he has made at Easter Seals.

SomoneandAmari 

Somone & A’mari
Easter Seals Near South Side

Somone first enrolled her son A’mari at the Easter Seals Near South Side Child Development Center when he was five months old, choosing the center so he would receive high quality child care services while she pursued her education and career goals. Through a community program for young mothers, Somone was able to get an internship and a job as an office assistant for a company, and this fall will go back to college to pursue a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology.

Somone and A’mari have benefitted from everything that the Near South Side program has to offer. Somone gets involved in her son’s education through attending parent-teacher conferences and parent trainings. At monthly parent meetings, she acts as a peer mentor, sharing advice and life experiences with other parents. A’mari is now two years old and doing great, especially in language development, regularly telling his teachers about the things he does with his mom and dad. A’mari also enjoys art, dancing, and playing with his classmates.

Trent

Trent – Age 16
Easter Seals Autism Therapeutic School Rockford

Trent is a smart, creative young man. Trent is willing to help others and he is willing to challenge himself.  When Trent first came to Easter Seals, he had a lot of anxiety which had an adverse effect on his learning.  Over the years, Trent has learned to work through his anxiety and difficulties in school.

He stays on track with his academics and loves to play sports.  He has already earned several medals in Special Olympics including the gold medal in running and bowling!  When Trent is working on a new goal or skill, he is able to be a good sport by saying to himself and others, “Keep trying, I know you can do it”.

Triasia 

Triasia
Easter Seals Rockford Teen Family Support

Being a teen mom takes a lot of hard work.  Triasia faced many different obstacles being a teen mother as she struggled to gain focus on schoolwork and caring for a child.  That was before she found the support at Easter Seals.

By finding Easter Seals Rockford Teen Family Support, they have taught her many different steps of becoming a teen mother.  They assigned her a Doula, a birth support partner to help her give birth to her pride and joy, Brooklynn.  The resources she received at Teen Family Support helped her succeed through motherhood.

While taking care of her daughter, Triasia was able to finish high school.  Now, she is working two jobs and is going to college to become an elementary school teacher.  She appreciates what the people at Teen Family Support had to offer her and her daughter.

Tyrel

Tyrel – Age 36
Easter Seals Adult Vocational Program

In December of 2006, Tyrel entered the Easter Seals Adult Vocational Program after being at home for a small period of time without receiving day program services.  Tyrel had a difficult time adjusting to his new placement and required increased staff support and encouragement.   Through staff intervention and support, Tyrel built upon his social interaction skills, independent living skills, vocational skills and communication skills.

Tyrel started out working as a janitorial assistant helping to collect trash and recyclables for the Adult Vocational Program and the Therapeutic School.  Tyrel took his job very seriously and proved to be extremely reliable and thorough worker.  He later worked at Vince’s Restaurant, which is owned by one of ESMC’s board members.  There, he gets everything prepared in the restaurant such as setting tables, folding napkins, filling the bar with ice and wiping oil and vinegar containers.

Tyrese  Tyrese “TJ” – Age 4
Easter Seals Head Start/Early Head Start

Tyrese “TJ” Jackson was born with Cerebral Palsy.  Although Tyrese has faced many physical obstacles such as the inability to walk and difficulty with fine motor tasks, his life is still like that of a typical 4 year old.  TJ is very caring, loving and outgoing.  From his first day in Head Start, TJ instantly connected with the children in the classroom and formed friendships.  TJ is very opinionated and has a wonderful imagination.  He loves to play in the housekeeping area and enjoys dancing and listening to music.  TJ continuously strives to learn, grow and be independent.  He has taken the initiative to participate in activities like circle time by coming out of his wheelchair and interacting with others (with minimal support from teachers).

TJ’s determination and motivation allows him to carry on with everyday activities such as riding a bike, playing basketball and climbing monkey bars at the park.  With the love, support and dedication of his family, teachers, friends, and community, TJ is destined to succeed and have a happy, fulfilling life.  TJ is an inspiration to everyone at Easter Seals, as he learned throughout the year he also taught his teachers as well as the children the true meaning of inclusion.

 

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