August Service Center Spotlight: Easterseals Learning Academy

Fun on the first day of school! A student enjoying a back to school activity at the ESLA.

Easterseals Learning Academy welcomed back students this month! Students started their 1st day back to school with warm welcomes from their teachers and fellow classmates. Just like the 1st day back at any school, some students were nervous, while others were ready to dive back into the day to day activities and routine at the Learning Academy.

ESLA aims to provide students with disabilities access to a more inclusive and sensory friendly school experience. The Learning Academy is designed with a high staff to student ratio, fully equipped classrooms and therapy rooms, evidenced based instructional strategies that empower each student to achieve peak academic performance, increase social and emotional skills, communication skills and functional like skills for independence. 

August Service Center Spotlight: Timber Pointe Outdoor Center

Kris Hinderks has worked at Timber Pointe Outdoor Center as the Kitchen Director for the past 6 years. A different camp comes in each week and they range anywhere from 50 to 250 campers.

Kris, bottom center, surrounded by campers and counselors during one of this summer’s camp sessions.

“I plan, manage and prepare all of the meals from the moment they arrive at camp until the last meal is served. On average, I feed about 60,000 meals during the 10 weeks of summer camps. Seeing all the happy and joyful faces from the campers is what inspires me to keep coming back to Timber Pointe each summer. I have built some lasting friendships with some of the returning campers and I look forward to seeing their smiles and receiving their hugs each year I see them! The thing that I love most about Timber Pointe is that we are all one big family helping and supporting each other.”

A Look Back: Easterseals Central Illinois and the 1980s

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.

What We Do

What is Easterseals?

Easterseals provides services to help children and adults with disabilities and/or special needs as well as support to their families. We’ve been helping families for nearly 100 years. Today, Easterseals assists more than one million individuals and their families annually at more than 550 Easterseals service sites across the country. Each center provides top-quality, innovative services tailored to meet the specific needs of the people we serve.

What types of services does Easterseals Central Illinois provide?

At Easterseals we know that early identification of developmental delays in children, and therapeutic intervention to support development, make a big difference!  Our dedicated team of physicians, therapists and staff help children and families reach new milestones each and every day.  We provide a wide variety of services, supports and community education designed to promote progress.  Therapy at Easterseals is provided by credentialed and licensed therapists who specialize in pediatric services.  Therapists are credentialed and enrolled as providers for Early Intervention and major insurance companies.

Our primary services include:

Who We Are

Our Mission.

Easterseals Central Illinois provides exceptional services to ensure that children with developmental delays and disabilities can reach their full potential.

We do this through providing comprehensive pediatric therapy including  ABA Therapy, Developmental Therapy, Occupational Therapy, Physical Therapy, Speech Therapy and more. We have counseling services, clinics, aquatic therapy prorams, advocacy programs, family and community trainings and social skills groups.  Our experts collaborate to treat the whole child,  while supporting the family that surrounds them.  

The Story of Easterseals Central Illinois

In 1919 Dr. Hugh Cooper, M.D. and Dr. S.H. Easton, M.D. started the ‘Crippled Childrens Clinic’ in downtown Peoria. This once-a-week clinic provided necessary medical attention to children in the area with disabilities. With the help of the ‘Crippled Childrens Coordianting Committee’ the mission grew to include championing education, recreation and therapy services for children with Developmental Dealys and Disabilties in Central Illinois. Today we serve nearly 6,000 families at our 4 locations