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With 2022 underway, we find ourselves filled with hope for the future. After 2 years of difficult change and constant adjustment, our New Year’s resolution is to continue fostering hope that all our hard work together will continue to bring us better days ahead. And, in reflecting on the honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day this month, we’re reminded of his powerful quote:

“We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope.”
– Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

We wish everyone a happy, healthy and safe new year!

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

Early Intervention (EI)

As we look forward into the new year, please review the important announcement regarding our safety protocols, as well as an exciting show of love for Easterseals Hawaii!

Being COVID Conscious: While the pandemic continues to heighten our awareness of health and safety precautions, all EI services can either be provided in person or via telehealth based on family request. If you request in-person services, your EI program will contact you 24 hours prior

to a visit to ask health screening questions in alignment with Hawaii's Early Intervention Section's guidelines. If you answer “yes” to any of the screening questions, you will either need to reschedule the in-person visit or receive services via a telehealth session instead.

  1. Does anyone in your home have symptoms of COVID-19?
  2. Is anyone in your home currently under quarantine/isolation due to a positive COVID-19 test result, waiting for COVID-19 test result, living with someone with COVID-19 or in close contact with someone with COVID-19?

Depending on your answers, your program may either reschedule the in-person visit or offer you a telehealth session instead. In-person visits may resume only when all 3 items below are met:

  1. 10 days have passed since symptoms first appeared or if no symptoms 10 days since last COVID-19 test was taken or if continued close contact, 10 days after person with COVID-19 finishes isolation.
  2. At least 24 hours have passed since last signs of fever without the use of fever reducing medication.
  3. No symptoms (e.g., cough, sore throat, diarrhea, etc.) are present.

In the News: Easterseals Hawaii's Early Intervention was featured in the Garden Island Newspaper in December 2021. Tyra, a parent from our Kauai Early Intervention Program, shared her story:

“Earlier this year, Tyra gave birth to her son, Oshen, at Wilcox Medical Center in Lihu‘e. Immediately after, Oshen suffered a stroke and was airlifted to Kapi‘olani Medical Center on O‘ahu. Fortunately, the medical team was able to stabilize Oshen, but his mother still worried about his future and how this might impact his development.

Tyra was referred to Easterseals Hawai‘i Early Intervention by her pediatric neurologist. Like many other health-care providers, Easterseals Hawai‘i offered services through telehealth during the pandemic, which allowed Tyra to schedule biweekly virtual appointments with early-intervention therapists on Kaua‘i and O‘ahu.

Tyra and her team of early-interventionists used their online visits to create a family-centered, routine-based plan for Oshen’s developmental goals — which included crawling, rolling over or playing independently. Using the individualized plan as her guide, she worked with Oshen and the team to build healthy routines and navigate challenges together.

Easterseals Hawai‘i is the largest provider of early-intervention services in the state. Our early-intervention services offer a comprehensive, research-based program for children from birth to 3 years of age who qualify for services due to a developmental delay or who may be considered at risk of delay, at no cost to the families. Self-referrals are welcome.”

You can read the rest of this impactful story here.

Would you like to share your story? If you have an early intervention experience you’d like to share with your local community, please contact your Care Coordinator or program office. We’d love to share your story with other families in the community!

Home and Community-Based Services

Over the holidays, our participants created stunning wreaths for their doors. But who says wreaths can’t be used all year round? Check out our steps to make a wreath special for the New Year! All you need are 2 yards of tulle in colors of your choice (you can also use plastic tablecloths or something similar), 1 wire hanger, leftover tinsel or party streamers, and any additional decorations you like.

  1. Shape the wire hanger into a wreath shape. Bend the hook of the hanger down to form a loop for hanging the wreath. For safety, you can wrap painter’s tape or masking tape around the twisted wire before bending the hook, so the wire is not exposed.
  2. Cut the tulle or tablecloth into strips roughly 1 inch by 6 inches.
  3. Tie the strips around the hanger, alternating colors. You can also try four of one color, then four of the other, repeating as you go.
  4. To make a fuller wreath, pack the strips together tightly as you work on the wreath. Continue tying strips on the hanger until fully covered.
  5. You’re now ready to add decorations! Try tying on tinsel or party streamers for a New Year’s theme, or other neat additions like dried flowers, sparkly beads or even handwritten resolutions for your guests to read.

Being COVID Conscious: We want to remind our families about the safety protocols in place at both Easterseals Hawaii and through the State of Hawaii.

  • If positive for COVID-19 (regardless of vaccination status), isolate for at least 5 days and until symptoms are gone and continue to wear a mask for 5 days after isolation.
  • If exposed to COVID-19 (boosted, or fully vaccinated within past 6 months, or within past 2 months for Johnson & Johnson), there is no need to quarantine but wear a mask for 10 days and get tested on day 5.
  • Those who are neither boosted or fully vaccinated must quarantine for 5 days, wear a mask for 5 days after quarantine and get tested on day 5.
  • Anyone with COVID-19 symptoms, even mild symptoms, should stay home from work, school and other activities. Those with symptoms who have not been tested should be tested as soon as possible.

Autism Services

With another challenging year behind us, Easterseals Hawaii Autism Services is still thoroughly committed to providing quality services to our clients and families. A new year means a new chapter, so we thank you for allowing our staff to be a part of your incredible story. As we turn the page, here is news from our program:

  1. In the next month we look froward to providing our clients and families our Autism Services Handbook. The

digital handbook will be easy to access on our website and contains valuable information about what to expect while in services, who to contact with questions and how the whole family plays a role.

  1. In the next month we will be rolling out new scheduling and cancellation policies and practices, as well as providing new make-up session guidelines. Maintaining sessions is an important part of treatment and is even deemed medically necessary by insurance providers. The details of these new practices will be shared with families in the coming weeks both by email and direct from practitioners.
  2. We are growing our team and our program! Over the past few months our staff has grown by two BCBAs, and we are currently training our next two behavior therapists. We can’t wait for you to meet them!

Covid Surge and Services:

  1. We have been able to carefully navigate through the pandemic without any exposures related to in-person services for both clients and staff, thanks to our safety protocols in place.
  2. We will continue to provide in-person services in a safe manner by adhering to the guidance and guidelines set forth by the CDC, the Hawaii DOH and our organization.
  3. We’re at 100%! All Easterseals Hawaii Autism Services staff are fully vaccinated and complete a health screening at the start of every shift.

Did You Know?

The IRS has raised the amount that can be contributed to an ABLE account (also called Hawai’i ABLE) from $15,000 to $16,000. This special savings account for people with disabilities allows them to save up to $100,000 without the risk of losing their Social Security or other government benefits, like Medicaid. Interest earned on these accounts are tax-free and can be used for housing, education, transportation or healthcare. People with disabilities that are employed can also save in a Hawai’i ABLE account!

To be eligible for the accounts, individuals must have a disability that began before age 26. Those who can’t open accounts themselves can have an Authorizes Legal Representative (ALR) do it for them. For more information click here.

ESH Office Closures

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

  • Monday, February 14 — All-staff development day
  • Monday, February 21 — Presidents Day

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

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