Easterseals Ambassadors: Where Are They Now?

In 100 years, Easterseals has had the honor of having some remarkable people pass through our doors. As we prepare for the Easterseals Century Ball we are taking the time to reflect on past Ambassadors. Read on to see what one of our past Ambassadors is up to now!

Jessica Rosenbohm

Jessica can do remarkable things thanks to her hard work at Easterseals and the way that emphasis was always placed on what she could do, rather than what she couldn’t. For Jessica, empowerment stems from having the fortitude and courage to live a satisfying life while contributing to society. She has felt empowerment many times and in many ways, from being able to walk at 2-and-a-half years old to winning golf medals in Special Olympics. Now she puts that empowerment into action.

For the last 13 years Jessica has been a full time employee at Peoria Production Shop in north Peoria. She has worked in several areas around the shop including packaging, labeling, staging and assembly.

When we caught up with her at work, she was working on one of the new auto-bag machines. “I like it over here,” she said, as she demonstrated the machine. Her supervisor, Patrick Stark, said she has been successful in every job she has taken on in the shop. He describes her as kind and hardworking. “She is always upbeat,” he said, “She walks laps during break and picks up pieces of wood to give to the maintenance guys who build stuff with them — she is very thoughtful like that”.

Kindness and a strong work ethic are two very important things to the team at Peoria Production Shop, whose mission is to be the premiere employer of individuals with disabilities. For more than 75 years they have been providing comprehensive packaging, manufacturing, assembly and custom labor solutions, and they do it well. The Peoria Production Shop was recently awarded Caterpillar’s Supplier Quality Excellence Process Gold Certification, which requires a proven track record of excellence in quality, delivery and cost, and is only awarded to those who demonstrate this level of performance on an ongoing basis. They manage to achieve this level of excellence while providing a sense of family and community amongst their 184 employees.

In addition to helping her team at Peoria Production Shop, Jessica finds time to give back. She works tirelessly each and every year to support the Easterseals Telethon. So far she has raised nearly $43,000 for Easterseals Central Illinois since 2005, with no signs of stopping.

Thank you, Jessica!

How can we get to 100% Included. 100% Empowered?

We asked our Easterseals families, staff and supporters to answer that question. We received hundreds of stories of amazing kindness, big moments and little gestures. We also received a lot of questions from the community. One of them being: How can we be more inclusive?

Inclusion is kindness.

Being friendly, generous and considerate of others is the most inclusive thing you can do. We can teach our children to be kind, think of others first and treat others with respect. Inclusion can be as easy as a knowing smile or reassuring comment to a parent. It is encouraging your child to ask someone on the sidelines to come play. It is as simple as saying hello.

Inclusion is honesty.

If you aren’t sure, ask! Some of the most empowering moments that we hear about from our Easterseals parents involve asking honest questions. Like how to accommodate a child with special needs at a birthday party or playdate. Having a coach ask how they can better instruct a child, or a neighbor ask how they can educate their own children on special needs.

Inclusion is a feeling.

A resounding answer we received from families and people with special needs is that inclusion is a feeling. Everyone knows if they are being truly included or not. A true feeling of inclusion is not just being invited into the room, it is about participating. It is about being celebrated, not accommodated.

Inclusion is brave.

At Easterseals, we empower our families every day through therapy and companionship. They take that feeling of empowerment out into the community and brave new situations every day. It is up to the community to respond bravely, embracing these families wherever they go and helping us to create a more inclusive world.

A Look Back: Easterseals Central Illinois and the 2010s

In December of 2010, Easterseals named “The Ray and Kathy LaHood Center for Cerebral Palsy” in honor of the former United States Secretary of Transportation and his wife. The center opened in 2011.

In 2012, the Easter Seals Foudnation of Central Illinois was incorporated as a separate 501(c)(3).

In 2013, Easterseals was awarded contracts to administer tow regional Child and Family Connections offices, one in Peoria County and one in Champaign County.

In 2014, the new name and brand “Easterseals Central Illinois” was established. That same year, the service territory grew to 62 Illinois counties.

In 2017, the Easterseals learning Academy opened.

In 2019, Easterseals Central Illinois celebrated out 100th Anniversary, culminating in the Easterseals Century Ball on Friday, November 1.

Sound Effect Checklist

by Kelsey Lutes, MS CCC-SLP Speech-Language Pathologist

Sound effects are a fun and effective way to help young children learn to talk by developing vocal imitation skills, transitioning from pre-speech to speech sounds, moving the articulators, developing prosody (the melody of speech) and transitioning from automatic to voluntary sounds. Pair these
sounds with actions when possible. For example, pretend to beep a horn with your hand with “beep beep!”. Be silly and extra animated!

Vehicle Sounds

___ Airplane (ahhhhhhh or ffffffff)

___ Car (beep beep, honk, brmmmm)

___ Fire truck (woo-eee—woo-eee)

___ Police car (siren)

___ Motorcycle (vrooooooom)

___ Train (choo choo or woo woo)

Animal Sounds

___ Dog (panting with tongue out / woof woof)

___ Cat (meow)

___ Pig (snort /oink oink)

___ Horse (neigh with head shaking “no”)

___ Sheep (baa baa)

___ Duck (quack quack)

___ Chicken (bak bak bak)

___ Fish (mouth popping sound or kissy sound)

___ Airplane (ahhhhhhh or ffffffff)

___ Car (beep beep, honk, brmmmm)

___ Fire truck (woo-eee—woo-eee)

___ Police car (siren)

___ Motorcycle (vrooooooom)

___ Train (choo choo or woo woo)

___ Owl (hoo hoo)

___ Cow (moo)

___ Bird (tweet tweet)

___ Lion / Dinosaur (roar)

___ Snake (ssssss)

___ Bee (zzzzzz)

___ Monkey (oo-oo-ah-ah)

___ Mouse (eee-eee)


___ weeeee!

___ boom!

___ Uh-oh!

___ Pee-u!

___ Ouch! / Ow!

___ Boo!

___ Ta dah!

___ Yay!

___ Whoa!

___ Yuck!

___ Wow!

___ Oh no!

___ No no!

___ Ick / Icky!

___ Oops

___ Ewwwww!

Exclamations Other Sound Effects

___ Drinking/slurping sound

___ Loud Exhale after drink (ahhhh)

___ Eating sound(num num num)

___ Mmmmmm!

___ Ah-choo!

___ Fake Cough

___ Snore

___ Yawn

___ Sigh sound

___ Shhhhhh (quiet sound)

___ Ughhhhh (grunt with effort)

___ Blowing raspberries

___ Kissing sound

If you have questions or concerns about your child’s speech and language development contact Easterseals Central Illinois today! (309)686-1177 – Eastersealsci.com.

5 tips for when your child is in the NO phase

by Hallie Johnson, M.A., BCBA

Model Positive Language

Tell your child exactly what you want them to do, not what you want them to stop doing.
I like how you are sitting in your chair! vs. Don’t do that!
Good job walking! vs. Stop running or No! Don’t sit down!
I like how you are using an inside voice vs. No yelling!

Provide Choices

Provide choices of two desired behaviors but allow them to choose.
You can sit in the red chair or the blue chair
You can walk by yourself or hold my hand
You can color or play with play-doh

Use First/Then Instructions

Provide your instruction using first/then structure.
First sit, then play doh
First stand up, then “toy”

Don’t Respond Directly to the Behavior

It is best not to directly respond to your child saying “NO” – giving it little to no attention. Ignore their “NO” and continue your original instruction either providing choices or using a
first/then instruction (see tips #3 and #4).

Reinforce! High levels of praise!

Provide your child with A LOT of praise and attention when they follow your instruction or exhibit the desired behavior! This will increase the likelihood that they are going to do it again in the future!

Easterseals Central Illinois is here to be your partner in raising
healthy, happy children. If you have questions about your child’s
development contact us today at (309)696-1177.