My Clean Hands Social Story

Katie Pena, OTR/L, Occupational Therapist and Manager of Occupational and Physical Therapy for Easterseals Central Illinois shared this great resource for families looking a social story about washing hands!

Easterseals Central Illinois Postpones April Events

Easterseals Central Illinois continues to monitor the developing COVID-19 pandemic and take proactive measures to protect patients, families and staff.  We have consulted with state and local officials, in addition to monitoring the CDC website for guidance.

 In accordance with the CDC guidelines, Easterseals Central Illinois is postponing three fundraising events that were scheduled for April 2020. These include the Easterseals Ladies Auxiliary Fashion Show (April 7th), Run Walk Roll (April 18th) and Passage to India (April 24th). Discussions with these event committees are underway regarding rescheduled dates for Passage to India and Run Walk Roll. The Easterseals Ladies Auxiliary Fashion Show has been rescheduled to September 1st 2020. Anyone who has purchased tickets these events can expect communication soon regarding rescheduling.

 It is our mission to help children in Central Illinois with developmental delays, disabilities and other special needs to meet their full potential. These three events provide vital funds to support that mission. However, we take the health and safety of our staff, clients, supporters and community seriously. We agree with state and local officials that this is the best course of action at this time. We would like to extend our appreciation to the volunteers who have already committed time and resources to developing these events.

Easterseals Central Illinois Response to Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Mar 12, 2020 – Easterseals Central Illinois is closely monitoring the developing COVID-19 situation and a taking proactive approach to protect patients, family members and staff. For the most up to date information please visit either of the sites linked below

What is coronavirus?

According to the Illinois Department of Public Health, coronaviruses are a large family of viruses, some causing illness in people, and others that circulate among animals, including camels, cats, and bats. Rarely animal coronaviruses can evolve and infect people and then spread between people.

Human coronaviruses are common throughout the world and commonly cause mild to moderate illness in people worldwide. However, the emergence of novel (new) coronaviruses, such as SARS and MERS, have been associated with more severe respiratory illness.

What is Easterseals Central Illinois doing in response?

In order to prevent the spread of COVID-19 Easterseals Central Illinois is implementing the following changes to our infection control policy:

  • We are increasing our efforts to sanitize our facilities and equipment as a preventative measure. You will also notice additional signs within our facility reminding you to wash hands often. We also encourage you to wash hands upon entering our treatment rooms.
  • Fever, cough, and/or shortness of breath, are the main symptoms of Coronavirus. We will be screening for these symptoms upon check-in for your appointment. Easterseals will cancel your appointment if you, your child or anyone in attendance for the appointment appears to be sick.
  • If your child or anyone in your family is sick, please call in advance to cancel your scheduled therapy appointment.

Can my child come to therapy?

If your child or anyone in your family is sick, please call in advance to cancel your scheduled therapy appointment.

If your child was sick, he/she may return to therapy when the following criteria are met (please note the following criteria has been adjusted by our Medical Director and replaces the information currently found in your Parent Handbook):

  • Fever free for 72 hours without the use of fever reducing medicines. A fever is considered to be 99.5 degrees or higher.
  • If your child or anyone in your family has been exposed to Coronavirus, you must cancel appointments for 14 days after being exposed to the virus and be symptom free before returning to Easterseals services.
  • No respiratory symptoms (coughing, shortness of breath, etc.) for 7 days.
  • If your child does receive a positive Coronavirus diagnosis, a Dr.’s note will be required before returning to therapy services.
  • Sickness with infectious symptoms, following recent travel outside of the U.S. will require a Dr.’s note before returning to therapy services.
  • Finally, if your child has been absent for 3 or more consecutive sessions due to an illness or if your child is hospitalized, a Dr.’s note will be required before your child’s return to therapy services.

If you have questions or concerns regarding your services with Easterseals Central Illinois or our response to the coronavirus, please call (309)687-1177.

If you have questions or concerns about the coronavirus in general please contact The State Public Health Dept hotline. The number is 1 (800) 889-3931 or email DPH.SICK@ILLINOIS.GOV

A New Year, but the Same Easterseals Mission

For 45 years, the Easterseals Telethon has brought members of our community together in pursuit of 100% Inclusion, 100% Empowerment for all children. This year, in preparation for our 46th Annual Easterseals Telethon, our campaign luncheons have focused on Easterseals service lines. Read on for a glimpse into one family’s experience with Easterseals.

Trisha and her son, Cruz, enjoying a moment together during an in-home Occupational Therapy session with Easterseals.

For many, a new year means new opportunities. New experiences. Fresh starts. At Easterseals, the arrival of the new year has always meant one thing, specifically: the arrival of Telethon season.

For 46 years, the Easterseals Telethon has been a staple event in Central Illinois. A chance for the entire community to come together and celebrate the culmination of the annual Easterseals campaign. An event where old friends and new friends come together to celebrate Easterseals, an organization that has been a major part of the lives of so many families in our community (over 7,000 in 2019 to be exact). An event where it is clear that everyone connected to Easterseals is a member of our family.

With the arrival of Telethon season comes the Telethon Campaign Luncheons. This month, we enjoyed our New Year Kickoff Telethon Luncheon which focused on our Motor Therapy Services. We heard from two of our Easterseals Therapists, Katie Pena, OTR/L and Joanna Stuck, PT, CIMI, as well as Trisha Romero, a mom of one of our current Easterseals Ambassadors.

In a speech that was equal parts informative and heartwarming, Trisha shared her family’s story.

“Cruz is an adorable 20 month old that brings so much joy to our family. He loves to play with his older two brothers, and just like many other toddlers his age, he enjoys going on walks outside, taking baths, exploring our house and hearing music… Cruz also has Down syndrome, which means that he has just a little something extra, and we now refer to ourselves as a Rockin’ Family,” she shared.

Trisha continued, sharing that it was during a non-invasive prenatal test that she and her husband, Omar, found out that Cruz would most likely be born with Down syndrome. After further testing and time spent researching, they began connecting both locally and via social media with other families that had children with Down syndrome.

After what Trisha referred to as a “fast and furious” birth, she and her husband knew that Cruz would need special services, and that early intervention would be critical for his physical and intellectual development. When Cruz was just 1-month old, he was evaluated by a Physical Therapist and a Developmental Therapist, and has been receiving services since he was 3-months old.

Currently, Cruz is receiving occupational therapy, developmental therapy, and speech therapy in addition to physical therapy and feeding therapy. He is currently working on many goals, and has achieved so many milestones in the past year and a half.

“We are very happy with our team of therapists… Joanna Stuck is our physical therapist… we value our meetings with her as Cruz works on his gross motor skills. Joanna is amazing at demonstrating how he should be doing things and explaining things very thoroughly. Katie Pena is our occupational therapist. Katie always brings a bag full of toys to play with… Katie is always so informative and checks in with me to see if there are any specific areas I would like to focus on,” shared Trisha.

Throughout his mom’s speech, Cruz made his way throughout the room, melting the hearts of everyone in attendance by walking on his own with his walker and waving hello.

Trisha closed her speech by answering questions she asked herself when she received Cruz’s initial diagnosis. She stated that having Cruz has made their lives so much better than they could have ever imagined, and that she can already see how her older sons will protect Cruz and be more inclusive of others who may be different. As employees of Caterpillar, her and her husband have received support and flexibility in making sure that they can attend Cruz’s therapy sessions and doctor’s appointments. On Cruz’s future, Trisha shared that “we are going to give him as many opportunities that we can to let him learn and explore the world and live his life.”

Cruz’s family, and over 7,000 others in the last year, received the services and care they needed through Easterseals. This would not be possible without the support of devoted and caring members of our commnity.

Are you ready to be involved with the mission of Easterseals? Be a part of our 46th Annual Telethon. Contact Haley Tenney at for more information.

A Centennial Year in Pictures

Blake Scribner (Easterseals Ambassador) and Katie Pena (Easterseals Occupational Therapist) helped kickoff our 100th Anniversary year by participating in the Tournament of Roses Parade on January 1, 2019.
Easterseals President & CEO Steve Thompson Celebrating Easterseals Night at the Penguin Project’s production of Hairspray Jr. by posing for a picture with a cast member and his mom.
Jordan (Easterseals Ambassador) and Mark Scott (Easterseals Board Member) bringing down the house at the 14th Annual Black & Blue Ball for Easterseals on February 1, 2019.
A student at the Easterseals Learning Academy enjoying recess on the swing set.
Easterseals Ambassador Avah and her family pose for a picture at the 24th Annual Grape Soiree: Art, Wine, and All That Jazz at the Bloomington Country Club. Avah has been a featured artist at the event for several years.
In March, students at Limestone Community High School share their 2019 campaign total, surpassing the $1 million total raised mark for the children and families of
Easterseals Central Illinois.
A mom and her kiddos leaving the Peoria Service Center on a chilly spring day.
Shannon LoPiccolo (Easterseals Physical Therapist) leading an inclusive children’s yoga class.
Benit, a student at the Easterseals Learning Academy, and his teacher enjoy a moment of laughter.
The Ladies Auxiliary Fashion Show in April of 2019 featured Waylon (Easterseals Ambassador) walking down the runway, cheered on by his mom and WMBD news anchors Lauren Langer and Eugene Daniel.
Kaci (Easterseals Ambassador) crossing the finish line at the 6th Annual Run.Walk.Roll for Easterseals on April 20, 2019.
Passage to India co-chairs US Rep. Darin LaHood and US Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi speaking at the event on Friday, April 26, 2019 at the Peoria Civic Center.
Easterseals Ambassador Hayden celebrates graduating from occupational therapy with his therapist Lauren. To commemorate our 100th Anniversary, we created a “100 Reasons to Celebrate” wall at the Peoria Service Center, where we celebrate our kiddos milestones.
Easterseals Physical Therapist Becky working with Molly on pedaling a tricycle through the halls of the Peoria Service Center.
A camper at Easterseals Timber Pointe Outdoor Center enjoying the breeze on the zip line.
On July 13, 2019 several Easterseals Ambassadors participated in Walk With Me: A Walk With Champions at Illinois State University’s Hancock Stadium. Pictured with Team Jacob are the event co-chairs Julie Dobski and Marlene Dietz, as well as an ISU basketball player.
Easterseals Ambassador Cruz enjoying an occupational therapy session at his home.
Easterseals Ambassador Joci celebrating her completion of iCan Bike camp. iCan Bike is a weeklong camp dedicated to teaching children with developmental delays and disabilities how to ride a two-wheel bike.
An Easterseals Timber Pointe Outdoor Center camper soaking up the summer sun.
Easterseals Ambassador Alex posing for a photo with the Way Down Wanderers at Rock the Farm, an event his family created to raise funds for Easterseals Central Illinois. This year, Rock the Farm had record attendance and raised over $60,000 for Easterseals.
Easterseals kiddos enjoying a fun occupational therapy session.
Diane Oberhelman (co-chair of the Lyle Finch Memorial Claybird Classic) and Steve Thompson (Easterseals Central Illinois President & CEO) listening to a past Easterseals Ambassador address the crowd at the event.
A fun occupational therapy session at the Bloomington Service Center.
Participants pose for a photo outside of Easterseals Timber Pointe Outdoor Center’s main lodge before Run the Woods began on Saturday, October 5, 2019.
President & CEO Steve Thompson congratulations Easterseals Ambassadors who participated in the program at the Easterseals Century Ball on Friday, November 1, 2019. This portion of the program celebrated the amazing accomplishments of several past and present Easterseals Ambassadors.
Larkin (Easterseals Ambassador) sings a solo during the finale of the Easterseals Century Ball surrounded by her mom, Jennifer, her friend, Maggie, and several past and present Easterseals Ambassadors and their families.
Members of the Griffin and Scribner families enjoying time on the dance floor at the Easterseals Century Ball.
The Easterseals Century Ball concluded with a performance of “A Million Dreams” sung by Easterseals Ambassadors and their families, and featured an original dance choreographed and performed by past Easterseals Ambassador, Meghan.

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.

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