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July 26th is the 31st Anniversary of the ADA!

In 1990, President George H. Bush signed the Americans with Disabilities Act into law. The ADA ushered in a new era of recognizing the rights and freedoms of individuals with disabilities, and after 31 years, we are celebrating our collective progress toward making access and inclusion a priority in our country. This quote, "I wouldn't change you for the world, but I would change the world for you," reflects how important we feel it is to continue raising awareness and advocating for people with disabilities this world can be an equitable place where everyone feels that they belong.

We hope you and your family are enjoying a safe summer with all the lovely weather this season has to offer. As you move through your routine this month, take a look at what's going on in our programs.

Early Intervention (EI)

Easterseals Hawaii EI programs have resumed in-person services statewide and families are thankful. The Toves family shared: “We are grateful for the start of in-person services. It was exciting for my son to finally meet his therapist, Megan, face to face after months of being online. She is fun, patient and engaging. Her wealth of knowledge as we embark on this journey for the first time is priceless.” – Heather Toves. As restrictions around COVID-19 loosen, we want to remind

our families and staff that wellness checks, physical distancing and wearing masks are still required for in-person services. EI services continue to be available via telehealth, please contact your Care Coordinator if you are interested in resuming in-person sessions.

Dr. Jamie Hanson, Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychology at the University of Pittsburgh, presented findings on how COVID-19 has affected young children’s mental health and social-emotional development and how we can best support them. An expert on brain development and early life stress, Dr. Hanson shared his latest research and discussed what parents, advocates and policymakers can do for young kids after a year of upheaval. You can watch HCAN’s Keiki Talk: The Pandemic and Young Minds recording session by clicking here.

The Keiki Under 6 Food Support Program provides additional benefits for keiki under 6 who have received SNAP benefits at any time since October 1, 2020. Payments are given for each month eligible children received SNAP benefits between October 2020 through May 2021. Eligible children are automatically enrolled. Click here to check on your child's benefit status. For more information call 1-888-975-PEBT(7328) or write to DHS by clicking the "Contact Us" button here.

Home and Community-Based Services

In the last month, all 7 of our service centers reopened and started providing in-person services to groups of 3 or 4 participants. While we are looking forward to the day when physical distancing requirements are no longer necessary and we can provide services to groups of 6, we will continue following recommended guidelines to keep everyone safe and healthy. We appreciate your understanding as we navigate these changing requirements.

Our individual services in the home as well as in the community continue to grow as our participants return to services and participants who have been receiving services increase their service hours. Currently, 168 of our 260 participants are actively receiving services, and we expect this number to increase as restrictions are eased in the coming months.

Autism Services

We’re pleased to share that our ABA program continues to resume in-person services at a safe and steady pace. We’re thankful for this continued progress and that this option is now available to our participants and their families.

As a reminder, temperatures this summer are toasty and individuals on the spectrum might need some nudges to remember to stay hydrated. For your loved one, try these helpful tips:

  • Make sure they have plenty of fluids to last the entire day, whether they’re at home or out in the community. Offer sips of water frequently throughout the day.
  • Try freezing half of their water bottle and topping off with fresh water in the morning.
  • Ensure that weather-appropriate clothing is being worn to help protect from the elements or overheating. Be sure to provide sun protection in the form of SPF sunscreen, hats, eyewear, etc.
  • Pack or plan a non-microwaveable lunch for the day and offer snacks with high water content like apples, grapes, oranges, strawberries, celery or carrots.

ESH Office Closures

All Easterseals Hawaii offices and services will be closed in observance of the holidays below.

  • Friday, August 20 — Statehood Day
  • Monday, September 6 — Labor Day

For general questions, please reach out to us at [email protected]

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