Easterseals Central Illinois Response to local news story on bullying and Autism

Earlier this month, a teenager with an autism was attacked by peers in her hometown. As we strive to create a world where every child is 100% Included and 100% Empowered, we released the following statement in order to provide support for Makenna and education for our community.

­The vision of Easterseals Central Illinois is to ensure that every child is 100% included and 100% empowered. As the leading provider of services and supports to families living with autism, we all too often see them suffer the painful isolation of being excluded, misunderstood and mistreated.

 We are not only a resource for the families we serve, but we are here for our community. Our advocacy and awareness programs are available for families, schools, community groups, first responders and workplaces. Using our virtual Ability Awareness Program, we encourage families can take action today by educating their children on what makes everyone unique, and how to celebrate differences.

Autism currently impacts 1 in 54 children. It is estimated that over 7,000 children with autism live right here in central Illinois. Together, we can do better.

Go Team Alex

At Easterseals, we have the privilege of meeting amazing families in our community. We are also incredibly fortunate to have friends and families who use their time, energy and resources to fundraise for our organization.

Rock the Farm is an annual concert that Team Alex organizes, with proceeds from the event benefitting Easterseals. Typically held at Mackinaw Valley Winery, the event has transitioned to a virtual live stream from Bloomington’s Castle Theatre. Participants can stream the concert featuring the Way Down Wanderers and Chicago from the comfort of their homes.

Team Alex fundraises in honor of a very special boy – Alex Camacho! Alex is 13 now, and began receiving services from Easterseals when he was 5-months-old. Team Alex shares that during his time at Easterseals, he has made great strides and reached milestones through feeding & speech therapy, occupational therapy, physical therapy and more.

While working through an initial diagnosis of Cerebral Palsy, Alex’s family noticed that he was having trouble with his vision, and at 7-months-old, Alex was diagnosed with Cerebral Visual Impairment (CVI). CVI is a neurological visual impairment, meaning the eyes are able to see, but the brain is not interpreting what is being seen. CVI is the leading cause of blindness in children in the developed world, but is treatable with therapeutic intervention. While treatment or CVI is known, it is not widely available.

All proceeds from Rock the Farm support Easterseals Central Illinois, benefitting Alex and many other children and families in our community. With the funds raised over the seven years of Rock the Farm, Easterseals is launching The Alex Center for CVI, which will begin its first clinics later this year.

This Friday, June 19 at 7 p.m., Rock the Farm will be live streamed from the Castle Theatre in Bloomington and will feature performances from The Way Down Wanderers & Chicago Farmer with special guests The Home Fires. Tickets are $15 and can be purchased at www.GoTeamAlex.com