Easterseals North Georgia is primarily focused on direct service to children with disabilities and special needs, reaching 44 counties in metro Atlanta and northeast Georgia through initiatives including autism services, Champions for Children, child development centers, early intervention, foster grandparents, and mental health services. The organization’s licensed therapists and teachers are expected to serve more than 5,000 children and their families in 2019.
“As we reach our organization’s 100th anniversary, it’s inspiring to see the influence that Easterseals has had on our community, establishing a better environment for children with disabilities, as well as their families,” said Donna Davidson, president and CEO of Easterseals North Georgia. “We have a passionate belief that there is a genius in every child and look forward to working centuries in the future to help local families through innovative programs.”
A leader in child development, Easterseals North Georgia pioneered the first inclusive childcare program to serve children with special needs alongside typically developing children. Every day in 12 locations across the region, the organization provides comprehensive early education and care to almost 2,000 children living at or below the federal poverty level. In addition to an early education, the initiative provides health, dental, nutrition, disability, and mental health services to children, as well as education and job training to parents. Services also include physical, occupational, and speech therapy as well as autism-specific therapies and special instruction.
Easterseals North Georgia also started Georgia’s first early childhood mental health program, which serves infants and children up to age 5, who exhibit behavioral and mental health challenges due to toxic stress in their environments. Although early childhood mental health has recently surfaced as a national issue, Easterseals North Georgia has more than 16 years of experience in this area and has provided input and consultation to the Georgia Legislative Task Force on Childhood Mental Health, as well as Georgia’s Department of Early Care and Learning, Department of Public Health, and the Department of Behavioral Health.
The organization’s Champions for Children provides financial support for children ages 0-18 with severe disabilities, who are not eligible for state or federal assistance. Offering much needed funding for local families, the program pays for medical co-pays, hospitalization, therapies, medication, and special equipment that insurance will not cover.
For more information on how to get involved or receive services, please visit EastersealsNorthGeorgia.org. The public is also invited to attend this year’s Trick or Treat Trot 5K fundraiser October 19 at Thrasher Park in Norcross.