Through the 80’s the organization continued to grow and innovate treatment methods. In July of 1985, Easterseals established the Central Illinois Center for Independent Living. It was later spun off as an independent, not-for-profit organization and is known today as Advocates for Access.
In 1986, Easterseals marked the 50th anniversary of service in the Peoria Area and hosted the first “Lekotek” program in downstate Illinois. Lekotek is a Swedish word meaning “play library”. This innovative program made adaptations to toys and loaned them to children with disabilities and their families. Certified Lekotek Leaders showed parents how to use both conventional as well as adaptive toys to effectively engage, motivate and teach their child. This groundbreaking programs helped to form the play-based therapy strategies used today.
In 1989, ground was broken on “The House of Dreams,” a $269,000 luxury home whose proceeds went to fund services for children at Easterseals. Take a look at the newspaper clipping below to read more on the story of this dream house.