Easterseals Releases Guide to Hosting Guests with Disabilities and Special Needs during the Holidays

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2023 Gift Guide & Hosting Tips:

Celebrating the holidays with individuals with disabilities or special needs & their families

The problem: It can feel challenging to purchase a gift for an individual with developmental or sensory needs, whether they’re a child or an adult. Additionally, bringing an individual with these needs into a lively gathering or hosting someone with a disability in your home may cause a lot of uncertainty.

The solution: Easterseals Eastern Pennsylvania (ESEP) employs certified professionals who are trained and well-versed in serving individuals with special needs and their families. Kayla Rhein, M.Ed, BCBA, LBS of ESEP, a Board Certified Behavior Analyst, is sharing her experiences and best tips for parents and hosts, to help ensure families can have positive and meaningful interactions this holiday season. Mother of a child with autism, Mindy L. McCormick, DSW, President & CEO of Easterseals Eastern Pennsylvania brings more than 20 years of experience in nonprofit social work, developing and implementing programs to support families and individuals to increase their stability and reach their goals. She will provide additional insights into the innovative programs and leadership Easterseals provides to the communities and consumers it serves.

SPECIAL NOTES/ POINTS OF INTEREST: Easterseals’ tips include:

  • establishing new traditions that are sensory friendly
  • “rehearsing” for family gatherings and preparing individuals with specials needs in advance with pictures, explanations of what to expect
  • create a quiet space like a spare bedroom where guests can go to take a nap/break/have a few moments away from a large gathering of people

PLUS, learn Easterseals’ tips for how to select a gift for someone with special needs, including some of this season’s hottest items.


Kayla Rhein, BCBA

Board Certified Behavior Analyst and Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) Parent Coach


  • One of ~ 38,000 BCBAs in the world; when certified in 2015, she was #18,252
  • B.S. in Psychology, Kutztown University; Master of Education (M.Ed.) in Applied Behavior Analysis, Arizona State University; Licensed Behavior Specialist, Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
  • Helped create and launch Easterseals’ ABA Parent Coaching Program, to help coach parents of children with autism, notably those with an early diagnosis through ESEP’s Autism Diagnostic Clinic, nationally recognized for its innovative approach


Mindy McCormick, DSW

Doctor of Social Work, CEO & President, Easterseals Eastern Pennsylvania


  • 20+ years of experience in social work in the nonprofit sector
  • Bachelor of Social Work with a minor in child psychology; Master of Social Work; Doctor of Social Work with a focus on leadership and pedagogy from Kutztown University
  • parent of a child with autism


Information provided to TVL by:
Tiffany Sondergaard
Public Relations Liaison Event Planning Specialist
–ts Brand Elevation