Reading aloud helps Make The First Five Count

Two years ago I traveled to Topeka with my Seeing Eye dog to visit Easter Seals Capper Foundation in Topeka, Kansas. A story in the Capital Journal did a beautiful job describing our visit.

Jim Leiker, president and chief executive officer of Easter Seals Capper Foundation, explained the purpose of Finke’s visit to Kidlink, which is an inclusive preschool and child care program for children with or without disabilities.

“She has a disability and has lots of challenges,” Leiker said, “and she has lots of goals and dreams, and she’s been able to achieve those. I think that’s a really positive message for the kids.”

My favorite part of that visit was reading aloud to the kids at Kidlink. Plenty of the kids in the preschool had autism, but truth is, without being able to see them, I couldn’t tell. Some were scared of my Seeing Eye dog, some couldn’t stop hugging the dog. Some seemed shy, others wanted to jump on my lap. Which were symptoms of autism, and which were symptoms of … well … childhood? Who knew? All we did know is that something different was happening in the room that day, and that we were all having fun.

Now Kansas First Lady Mary Brownback has joined in on the fun too! This month the First Lady read two books to the children at the Capper Foundation to help promote reading by adults to children. Coverage of the First Lady’s visit by 49 News (the local ABC station in Topeka) and The Capital Journal mentioned Easter Seals’ Make the First Five Count campaign. President and Chief Executive Officer of Easter Seals Capper Foundation Jim Leiker was quoted in the stories about how important it is for kids to get off to the right start so that they’re ready for school. First Lady Mary Brownback added:

Most people have the gut feeling as a parent, this doesn’t seem to be quite right or quite where they should be and then they need to get some help and figure out what the problem is and address it.

This visit from Kansas First Lady is a great way to bring awareness to the people Easter Seals Foundation serves — children and families living with autism and other disabilities.


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