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We hope you’re enjoying the warmth of spring and looking forward to graduations, proms, new school years and summer vacations. This month’s newsletter is packed with sunshine-filled updates, school tips and more! Take a look at what’s new at Easterseals Hawaii...

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Please reach out to us at [email protected] with questions.

Early Intervention (EI)

With summer approaching, there are many wonderful activities you can enjoy outdoors and in the community!

Stepping Up
When your child is walking outside in your yard or a neighborhood park, practicing walking up and down a hill or incline helps toddlers develop balance and coordination. You can encourage your child to step up and down from your doorway, the curb, or steps at a playground. This is

great practice on one or two steps at a time as your child is learning to climb steps. If they’re already doing many steps with ease, try practicing on different surfaces and heights to strengthen their leg muscles, coordination and confidence!

Getting Sandy
Playing in the sand at home or at the beach is such a wonderful experience for the whole family. When your child walks on sand barefoot, they’re building strength in the muscles of their feet and developing balance skills. This is a great sensory experience as well as an opportunity to feel, stand and walk on different textures. When a child is playing in the sand with their hands, exploring the texture and scooping sand into a bucket, they are using fine motor muscles in their hands and developing hand-eye coordination. Don’t worry if they dump out the bucket and start again; dumping and filling containers is an important developmental stage for toddlers. They’ve learned they can put one thing into another and empty it! Children learn through repetition, so they’ll keep practicing until they understand how the sand fits into the bucket, pours out, and can go back in again.

Summer Support
As you’re enjoying all these fun outdoor learning experiences with your child this summer, you can also ask your child’s Early Intervention team for additional ideas and support tailored to your child’s individual development and goals. Our Early Intervention programs operate year-round, and your child’s Primary Service Provider and Care Coordinator will continue all regularly scheduled appointments throughout the summer months. While all services are provided in the child’s natural environment, most often your family home, you can also meet with your provider in a community setting, like a park, to work on outdoor play routines. If your child is turning 3 soon and you’re exploring transition options with the Department of Education, they can also process your child’s transition information throughout the summer months here in Hawaii. If you have any questions about summer services, session locations or transitions, please let your Care Coordinator know how we can support you.

Would you like to share your story?
We would love to hear your Early Intervention experiences and share them with other families in the community in future newsletters. If you’d like to share a story, please contact your Care Coordinator or program office.

Home and Community-Based Services

This past March, our Waimea and Kapa’a Service Center participants embraced self-advocacy with participation in Developmental Disability Awareness Month activities. Waimea Center participant Alexandra McClurg won the statewide Developmental Disabilities Council’s Developmental Disability Awareness Month’s theme contest with the submission “Respect Others and All People with Disabilities.” Alexandra’s theme was woven into local and statewide proclamations and was used alongside the Hawaii statewide Self-Advocacy Advisory

Council (SAAC) logo that was previously created by Kapa’a Center participant Robert Stuart.

Image of a shirt

Waimea Center staff and participants

To further celebrate, Waimea and Kapa’a Center participants joined Kauai SAAC to create signs. They met in front of the Kauai County/State Building on March 16 to participate in a proclamation reading by Mayor Derek S.K. Kawakami and displayed the signs they created while waving to cars and people passing by. Earlier in the month, the participants also joined the Hawaii Developmental Disability Council to participate in the virtual Day at the Capitol event. During the month, both centers also made thank you cards for the Department of Health Case Managers to celebrate National Social Worker Week.

Waimea and Kapa'a Center participants with Mayor and DD council Program Specialist

Waimea and Kapa'a Center participants with Mayor and DD council Program Specialist

Amelia Kyewich-Kaneholani, DD Council Program Specialist with Kapaa Center Participants and staff

Amelia Kyewich-Kaneholani, DD Council Program Specialist with Kapaa Center Participants and staff

Posters for DD Awareness Month

Posters for DD Awareness Month

Cards for Social Workers Virtual Day at the Capitol

Cards for Social Workers Virtual Day at the Capitol

Autism Services

Sunscreen Tips
Summer fun can mean sunscreen struggles. Trying to apply sunscreen evenly can be very challenging – applying it evenly on a child with sensory issues can at times feel impossible. Here are a few tips for sunscreen application:

  1. Begin introducing the routine of applying lotion into your child’s daily routine at a young age.
  1. Apply an initial coat of sunscreen before leaving the house.
  2. Model how you apply sunscreen, even helping another family member make sure all exposed areas are covered. Ask your child to help by pointing to the areas you may have missed.
  3. Provide younger children sunscreen sticks and make applying the product a fun art activity.
  4. Provide older children an opportunity to apply their own sunscreen.
  5. Offer children their favorite snack at the time of reapplication.

Luckily, there are now many alternatives to sunscreen, as you can purchase fun protective swimwear with built in SPF protection. Colorful hats, long sleeve rash guards, and swimsuits provide protection from the sun’s harmful rays.

ESH Autism Services Program Updates
This month we are saying "A hui hou" to BCBA Jennifer Buckendorf as she is moving to North Carolina in June. Jen has been a valuable member of our ohana for over 3 years, and we are happy to share that she will be staying on as a remote team member supporting Parent-Led cases. We would also like to say "Welcome Back" to BCBA Sarah Novickis and offer congratulations on the birth of her beautiful baby girl, Whitney, this past February.

Share Your Feedback

We strive to make our newsletters a source of relevant program updates, helpful tips, and inspiring stories. Your feedback helps guide our content and ensures we’re delivering the kinds of information and stories you and your family care about. Our short (1-minute) survey lets you tell us what you like and want to see more of each month. Tell us what you think!

ESH Office Closures

All Easterseals Hawaii services will be closed on the following days:

  • Friday, May 30 — Memorial Day
  • Friday, June 10 — King Kamehameha Day
  • Monday, June 20 — Juneteenth

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

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