On July 2, Easter Seals DuPage & Fox Valley announced it has received a $20,000 grant from the Comcast Foundation to expand its AAC Connections Peer Mentoring Program for children and teens who have verbal communication challenges and use augmentative devices to make their voices heard.
Group members are mentored by those who use the same devices to communicate with the goal building skills and self-confidence.
Easter Seals DuPage & Fox Valley was one of six local Easter Seals across the country selected for the grant by the Comcast Foundation through the Comcast NBC Universal Assistive Technology Grant Fund.
Established in 2011, the fund supports technology programs and services that benefit children and adults, including veterans living with developmental disabilities.
Assistive technologies can vary from Braille-equipped handheld computer systems and voice command telephones to height adjusted tables and augmentative communication systems -- all helping individuals with disabilities to overcome barriers in the home, on the job, at school or on the go.
"We thank Comcast NBC Universal for its continued investment in assistive technology solutions," said president and CEO Theresa Forthofer. "This grant fund makes it possible for Easter Seals to build on our long history of providing expertise and technology support for children and adults with disabilities who want to be more actively involved in school, in the workplace and with their families."
The chosen affiliates excel in programs that help with assessment, training and ongoing support for individuals with a disability. Services are designed to meet an individual's assistive technology needs throughout his or her lifetime.
At the national level, Easter Seals' has allocated $80,000 in grant funds to develop a public service announcement and support Make the First Five Count, a free online developmental screening tool for parents and caregivers of children aged newborn to 5 years old designed to help ensure they are meeting developmental milestones.
Since 2011, The Comcast NBC Universal Assistive Technology Grant Fund has empowered nearly 50,000 Americans living with disabilities by providing expanded assistive technology training and services. The grants have assisted people like AAC Mentor program leader Sam Williams to help children chat, practice, observe and obtain tips on using assistive technology devices with him in group or individual sessions. To date, Comcast NBC Universal has provided more than $25 million in cash and in-kind support to help with Easter Seals' assistive technology efforts.
The mission of Easter Seals DuPage & Fox Valley is to enable infants, children and adults with disabilities to achieve their maximum independence and to provide support for the families who love and care for them. Founded in 1952, Easter Seals DuPage & Fox Valley is one of the largest and most highly regarded pediatric outpatient rehabilitation centers in the Nation serving nearly 3,200 infants, children, and adults with therapy and audiology services each year. Key services include: physical, occupational, speech-language, nutrition and assistive technology therapies and audiology services for all ages.
Additional services include social services, community outreach programs, specialty clinics and The Lily Garden, an inclusive child care center. Support children and adults with disabilities at www.eastersealsdfvr.org. Also for the latest news, like them on Facebook.
The Comcast Foundation was founded by Comcast Corp. in June 1999 to provide charitable support to qualified nonprofit organizations. The foundation primarily invests in programs intended to have a positive, sustainable impact on their communities. The Foundation has three community investment priorities -- promoting service, expanding digital literacy, and building tomorrow's leaders. Since its inception, the Comcast Foundation has donated more than $200 million to organizations in the communities nationwide that Comcast serves. More information about the foundation and its programs is available at www.comcast.com/community.