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Specıal Parent CHICAGO WINTER 2014



EMBRACE your child


other tips after a diagnosis

The sweet life

One mom’s special needs journey

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Adaptive Sports Aquatics Cultural Arts Field Trips Inclusion Paralympic Sports Social Clubs

Special Events Special Olympics Summer Camps Unified Sports Vacation Trips Weekly Programs

Providing programs that will enhance socialization skills, improve self-help skills, build self-esteem, and develop fine and gross motor skills.

Special Recreation - your child will explore whole new worlds! The Special Recreation Network of Illinois (SRANI) provides information on the 33 cooperative agencies throughout Illinois called Special Recreation Associations (SRAs). These SRAs deliver a variety of community-based recreation services to children, teens and adults with disabilities through a cooperative agreement with their member park districts and recreation agencies. For a statewide listing of SRANI agencies, see our display ad in the Resource Directory or visit

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Your kids aren’t the only ones getting bigger. Just like your young ones, our affiliation with Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago continues to grow—making the region’s best pediatric specialty care more accessible than ever. At both CDH and Delnor campuses you’ll have access to a growing number of Lurie Children’s pediatric medical and surgical specialists. Growing is a part of life, and it’s an essential part of Cadence Health. To learn more, visit

Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago at Cadence Health is a collaborative program between Cadence Health and Lurie Children’s. The physicians participating in this program are neither agents of nor employed by Cadence Health or any of its affiliates. © 2014 Cadence Health

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2/7/14 12:03 PM 2013 | 1 Specıal Parent Winter CHICAGO

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IN OUR SHOES 7 7 An unexpected gift

Margie Doyle is working to secure a better future for those with Down syndrome

8 My Life: No tough love for this mom No child fits into one box

10 My Life: When Cupid strikes


Rite of passage makes mom a little scared

‘It works for us’

11 Day of play

How to create a fun day focused on finding balance

A peek into the special life of a mom of nine


Nothing is going to stop us

13 News you can use


Four people who tackle a special needs diagnosis head on


Preschool integrates kids with disabilities ■ La Rabida transitions teens to adulthood

After the diagnosis

5 things to do—and not do



Get out of the house! Making positive experiences from new adventures


Special needs moving into the spotlight More companies including people with special needs

ON THE COVER Cover kid: Donovan Guillermo, 2, of Chicago. Photographer: Katie Driscoll of 5 boys + 1 girl = 6 Photography, Palos Park Design: Claire Innes



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Donovan’s favorite things Favorite game: Catch you Favorite bedtime book: I Love You Through and Through by Bernadette Rossetti-Shustak Favorite food: French Fries Favorite toy: Trains

INSPIRATIONS 48 Teenager Breanna Bogucki is singing her way out of the darkness


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Joanne just called for lunch. I said, “I’ll be right there.” “Paratransit is inconvenient for me, because you can’t plan in advance for everything in life. Thankfully, with the regular Pace bus service, you don’t have to. It drives me crazy when I miss out on things because I don’t have a ride. Pace gives me the freedom to meet my friends at a moment’s notice. Today I’m meeting Joanne for a bite to eat, but I have no idea what’s in store for tomorrow. The one thing I do know, is that whatever it is, there’s not a chance in the world I’ll miss it.” If you’re ready to take control of your day, visit 6270



epsum it. Dot evn ty get clse enug to re tis wared you Yo elpu hut yoor epsums - yor moer le her? epsom and yur purosy not liseng- dn't yu id blah bogy. You wul't tre yur eyes thi wy if yu toop whala. I bet not sit raal esolc to the tision

© 2013 Pace |

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66668_2013 Chicago Special Parent Mag

OPD_Joanne 2013

Specıal Parent Winter 2013 CHICAGO



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STAFF EDITORS Liz DeCarlo, Tamara L. O’Shaughnessy ASSOCIATE EDITOR Elizabeth Diffin ART DIRECTOR Claire Innes EDITORIAL DESIGNERS Sky Hatter, Jacquinete Baldwin ONLINE EDITOR Graham Johnston

MARIAN CASEY Executive director of A.S.K

DIGITAL CONTENT MANAGER Jackie McGoey CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Robin Carlascio, Jerry Davich, Megan Murray Elsener, Gillian Marchenko DISPLAY AD SALES Walter Burden, Dawn Engelhardt, Lourdes Nicholls, Karen Skinner, Adrienne Smith CLASSIFIED ADVERTISING SALES Walter Burden ADMINSTRATIVE ASSISTANT Jessica Doerr AD PRODUCTION MANAGER Philip Soell AD DESIGN MANAGER Andrew Mead

SHEEBA DANIEL-CROTTY Clinical psychologist


CARA LONG Easter Seals DuPage and the Fox Valley Region



Helping children with special needs throughout Chicagoland to live their best lives

Villa Park: 630.620.4433 Naperville: 630.357.9699 Elgin: 847.742.3264

FAX (708) 524-0447


Photo by: Rich Howe

Physical Therapy Occupational Therapy Speech›Language Therapy Aquatic Therapy Nutrition Therapy Assistive Technology Autism Diagnostic Clinic Community Based Therapy Specialized Clinics Hearing Services Inclusive Child Care Social Work & More

PHONE (708) 386-5555

CONTACT ELLEN METRICK National Lekotek Center

CIRCULATION WEB SITE Our offices are at 141 S. Oak Park Ave., Oak Park, Illinois 60302. Office hours for all departments are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. © 2014 Wednesday Journal, Inc. All rights reserved.


DR. ALAN ROSENBLATT Neurodevelopmental specialist 4


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The Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities Announces the Return of

2014 EXPO for People with Disabilities FREE AND OPEN TO THE PUBLIC Disability Organizations • Government Services • Products • Sports • Recreation • Raffle Prizes

JULY 17, 2014

10:00 A . M . – 5:00 P . M . N AV Y P I E R , F E S T I VA L H A L L


To learn more, Call 311 (Voice & TTY) or visit

City of Chicago

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A FULL EDUCATIONAL EXPERIENCE For students with Learning and Developmental Disabilities and those on the Autism Spectrum NOW accepting new students ages 3-22!

Marklund Life Skills Academy The Life Skills Academy is a non-public state-certified school located in Bloomingdale, that provides a highly specialized educational experience. •

The latest in technology and therapies including: Smart boards, i-Pads, computer assisted devices, physical and occupational therapy, speech and language therapy, Snoezelen and music therapy, recreational therapy, aromatherapy, aquatic therapy, and more

Skilled and trained staff in the application of various teaching methodologies such as ABA, TEACH, and PECS with staff-to-student ratio of 1:3 and 1:4

Year-round program

Visit us...Contact Karen Gill, Director of Education at 630-307-1882, ext. 3248 or MUSEUM

l l A r o F Play I L D R E N ’S H C O G A C I H C

“It was the day of my l best ife.” –Ra ’Saan,

Play For All participant

We invite children and families with disabilities to experience Chicago Children’s Museum’s playful, multisensory exhibits and activities—one hour before the museum opens to the public.

THE SECOND SATURDAY OF EVERY MONTH AT 9 AM Feb. 8 • Mar. 8 Apr. 12 • May 10 • June 14 FREE* for the first 250 registrants!


To register or request accommodations, please call (312) 321-6551. Or register online at *Limit 6 per family



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org ChicagoChildrensMuseum.00 -10 AT NAVY PIE R • (312) 527 pm –5 am 10 ly: Dai Open


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In Our Shoes


An unexpected gift S ean and Margie Doyle raised their four kids and Margie, figuring that one path was ending and another path was opening, had just gone back to her career. Were they in for a surprise, one Margie calls “a big, beautiful surprise.” At 45, Margie found out she was pregnant. She knew there were risks. Tests confirmed baby Colin had Down syndrome, a moment she recalls filled with “pure fear.” “With four other children, it wasn’t just my husband and I whose lives would change or grow in a way we didn’t know. For me as a mother, I needed to be able to address it for myself and be a source of the right, loving information for my children (John, 26, Packy, 24, Tara, 21, and Brian, 16).” So she logged on to her computer and started to research, which led to the Down Syndrome Research and Treatment Foundation, of which she is now a director. Its goal is to improve cognition for the 6 million people with Down syndrome and prevent early onset of Alzheimer’s disease that she says is inevitable for virtually every person with Down syndrome as they live longer than ever. She doesn’t dare say how much time she devotes to DSRTF but does say she couldn’t do what she does without Sean. “Sean shares the same passion.

Margie Doyle hopes for a great future for Colin.

How to help ■ Find out more about Down Syndrome Research and Treatment Foundation at

Together we have made it work. It’s a balancing act at times.” Margie says Colin, 5, has taught her so much, particularly to pause and participate in the moment, rather than rushing through it. “We call him Boss Doyle. He is everything that’s right. We are just so grateful for his joy and his beauty and his complexities. And he accepts our complexities,” she says.

Funding Futures Chicago, a huge charity auction, grew out of a DSRTF meeting in September 2011 to raise money for research. Its first event raised $65,000. Last year, it raised more than $200,000. Planning is under way for this year’s event. ■

In mom’s words The one piece of advice you would share: Keep reaching. Reach until you find the support and friendships that will help you grow and allow you to experience and live your journey in good company. Seek the people who will bring to your life experience, wisdom, support, peace, direction, empowerment and true friendship. In doing so, you will be able to extend yourself

to another parent in need. Most importantly, you will be able to share these same riches with your child. Your happiest moment: First and foremost was when Colin was born and Sean and I looked upon the most beautiful face and simply embraced this profound moment, a gift of new life. Then, watching our four other children

walk into the room, with flowers from Dominick’s for me, and melting upon seeing their little brother. As each child held Colin, Sean and I witnessed a love, and an unspoken commitment in their embrace, that as a mother, was by far the greatest gift I will experience. If I could change one thing about being a parent with a child

with special needs: It would be to eliminate the “moments” in a grocery store, school setting, anywhere we find ourselves frail, vulnerable or self-conscious as a parent. There is no room for those feelings and they serve no good purpose, but they can, and do happen. Hold your head high and walk on, you have tremendous feats to accomplish. |

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No tough love for this mom No child fits into one box BY SARA KUTLIROFF


n our world we often hear about two kinds of parents—Helicopter Enabler or Tough Lover. It’s confusing and it’s unsettling that these two labels get tossed around easily from one judgmental mother to the next. Today on Facebook, an old classmate of mine posted how proud she was to have used tough love on her elementary school-aged daughter, leaving her to her own devices when a book was left at home, again. The mom refused to ‘enable’ and bring the book to school for her, insisting she was teaching her daughter to become responsible. A conversation ensued. Some moms on one side, firmly agreeing with the tactic to let her learn to be responsible on her own. Others jumping to attack, insisting that enabling a younger child who has a dual-curriculum in school by bringing her a forgotten book now and again was only loving parenting. One mom, who has an older child, insisted that her daughter still grew up to become responsible—even though she socalled “enabled” her. I chimed in that if the forgetfulness happens often, perhaps this was an issue of Executive Functioning, something I’ve become quite familiar with at home. I tried tough love when my son was little. He lost jackets. In his 17 years thus far, I think we have gone through at least two coats a season. I resorted to buying sale-priced, ugly coats so that if they were lost I wouldn’t be too sad. Then, he moved on to homework assignments. Completed assignments sat marinating on his desk, leaving him without a grade and looking quite irresponsible. We got angry. As parents we felt we had done our best to teach him responsibility and here he was failing, daily. We punished, we ignored phone calls to bring things in. Nothing changed. That was when I decided perhaps there was something wrong.



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“As parents we felt we had done our best to teach him responsibility and here he was failing, daily.” When he was about 8, we took him to a physical therapist for some fine motor skill issues because the school had recommended he learn to cut better for his age. We also were handling a recent diagnosis of Tourette’s Syndrome after we discovered tics my son had that weren’t going away. The therapist suggested that with all of the missed assignments, disorganization and lost coats, perhaps our son had an Executive Function Disorder. Often with TS there are co-morbidities, such as Executive Function or even ADHD. Executive Function Disorders can and do affect millions of children and adults. Once we researched more about EF and implemented some easy changes into his routine, the situation improved drastically. I would love to say that at 17 he is the epitome of responsibility. He’s not. But, he has so vastly improved that I only bought ONE jacket last season and nearly all of his completed homework assignments were handed in. He has become more confident in his abilities to handle things on his own. If I had continued on my tough love route, I would have alienated my child. I would have made him feel like a failure. Not every child fits in a box. In fact, I would venture to say NO child fits in a box. It’s not enabling to help them find their path. It’s not being a helicopter parent to bring a forgotten book to school a few times and recognize that if it’s happening a lot, perhaps it’s time to implement some changes or find out why.

Sara Kutliroff is a Chicago mom and blogger at

LEARN MORE  To find out more about Executive Functioning and to learn some simple tools any ‘responsi bly challenged’ child can use: learningdisabilities/executivefunctiondisorders/ whatisexecutivefunction  To learn more about Tourette’s Syndrome, which is more common and can be more subtle than you’d think:


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Extended Home Living Services… Family Owned and Serving Chicagoland Since 1991

• Partnering with multiple funding agencies. • Dedicated to the lives of children with special needs.

March 8–9, 2014 • Donald E. Stephens Convention Center • Rosemont, IL

MoRE THAn...

75 Presenters and entertainers 85 sessions in english and sPanish

Produced by

keynote sPeaker heidi Murkoff

Author, What to Expect When You’re Expecting conference suPPorters

Radio Disney Road Crew • Twiggy the Waterskiing Squirrel Chicago Boyz Acrobatic Team • South Shore Drill Team Jim Gill and His Band • Miss Lori’s CAMPUS • Story Corner Interactive Cooking Demos • Active Play Zone • Learning Zone Complimentary Child Care Services • And much more!

register early and save!

$8 in advance • $10 at the door • Children are free |

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When Cupid strikes… A rite of passage makes this mom a little scared BY JANOAH M. WHITE


h boy, my son likes girls now. I mean REALLY likes them! I guess that sounds pretty normal. As a parent, we all know that at some point, those days are coming. My son has always had a special affinity for a pretty face, but now that he is a teenager, those feelings are in full swing. However, since he also has autism, I’m not quite sure how to deal with this. My son’s social and behavioral deficits won’t allow him to establish friendships in the way traditional teenagers do. He still needs supervision at all times. Although he’s intelligent, his behavior isn’t always socially acceptable or age-appropriate, and he can’t do a lot of the things we take for granted, like cross the street on his own. He’s always liked other children, but never really developed solid friendships, so I don’t know what to expect when it comes to his attraction to girls. I’m not sure if he desires hand-holding, or kissing and hugging. So far everything has seemed pretty sweet and innocent, and I’m grateful for that. He either seems to desire attention from girls or runs from it. I’m never sure how he’ll react on any given day or what triggers a specific reaction. Sometimes he’ll talk about a girl all day, and then barely speak when she says hello. Other times he’ll go out of his way to make sure he says “hi,” and that she returns the greeting. When he sees a beautiful girl, he is often captivated. He’s had a few “crushes” so far, and I’m grateful that as far as I know, the girls have been pretty friendly toward him. He’s liked one so much that he wrote her name of one on his favorite baseball caps.



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Shawn White is a Chicago teen.

Another is a neighbor and schoolmate. With some, he’ll offer to share his belongings; I must say, he’s quite the sweetheart! My son doesn’t quite understand boundaries, and therefore doesn’t always respect them. That’s where my main concern for him lies. His direct nature may make some uncomfortable, and I don’t want him to be too “in your face” in trying to get anyone’s attention or scare someone who may not understand him. I don’t want him to become obsessive in his desire for attention from someone he likes. I also don’t want him to be ridiculed or

rejected because he’s different. I don’t know what he desires in terms of friendships with girls now, or how he’ll feel as he gets older, because he isn’t always able to clearly communicate his thoughts and feelings. I do know that he has emotions and hormones that he may not quite understand. Although he’s different, in many ways he’s the same as the rest of us. These feelings are natural for his age. Still, as his mom, I can’t help but feel a bit apprehensive and uncertain as we navigate these teenage waters. Janoah M. White is a Chicago mom.


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A fun day focused on finding balance BY ELLEN METRICK


alancing is a skill that calls on many body systems to work together. Body position, muscle and skeletal control, tactile feedback, motor coordination and visual processing all combine to create the multi-sensory ability to balance our bodies. This is a skill that requires uires practice. Kids also need to learn n to balance things outside of thememselves. Being able to balance ance objects affects how children ren understand and interact with their world. It’s worth spending a day of play teaching your child to balance both themselves and d the things around them.

Breakfast A balanced diet helps create a body that is fit and easier to balance. Most ost experts recommend a balance lance of protein, fruits, vegetables, s, grain and dairy. Have your child draw on a paper plate the letters P, F, V, G and D for the food types and have them put their breakfast items in the right section of the plates to help learn which foods comprise these different food groups. Then open your pantry or cabinet and have the kids guess which food groups the items would go into.

Body balance Once the kids are fueled up, it’s an ideal time to get them into body balancing movements. This can be as simple as putting some masking tape on the floor and creating a pretend story about how they need to walk a tightrope across a raging river to escape. Throw some blankets on either side to mimic waves and have the kids be playful in their attempts to walk the line. Or dig out some games and toys that build balance, such as Hullabaloo, a game by Cranium that asks kids to jump, run, skip or fly to different mats all the while

exploring balance and movement. Weplay makes a playset called Step Challenge where kids need to navigatee over wavy foam blocks to work on body shifting, balancing and fun. Parents can create their own obstacle course (with pillows, chairs and boxes on the floor) for kids to heir move through, step on, and balance their bodies while creat g creating some imaginati imaginative play scenarios.

Balancin Balancing objects

Next offer k kids a lesson on balancing balanc objects. You can be creative and use Kleene Kleenex boxes, tennis balls and bo books to initi initiate a buildi building project o or start sma small with a building set bui that has tha various shapes like the Elemenosqueeze by B. toys. Have the kids choose a structure they want to design, such as their dream home or a castle, and let the little architects explore both the balancing and the toppling effect.

Building block lunch Lunch can continue thee balance lesson by making food d into building blocks. Take various ous shaped crackers and cut up p some cheese blocks or triangles. Let your little ones build a structure out of them. Use grapes to make wheelss and put a cracker on them to makee a trailer and balance other lunch items ems on top. Introduce imaginative play by having kids create a story around their creations and then, like hungry giants, eat the structures they built.

Getting out and getting active Encourage kids to explore their balance points. Strider Bikes took the pedals off traditional two-wheeler bikes and found that kids can better concentrate on the singular task of learning to balance before mastering pedals. Spooner Boards are another way for kids to ‘surf’ a variety of surfaces, including carpets, gravel, grass or snow. These surfboard-like play discs offer hours of exploratory body balancing both inside and outdoors. You can add in other balance-builders like jump ropes and hula hoops. Balance can be built—just like strong bodies—so give your child a steady diet of balance-building play opportunities whenever you can. Ellen Metrick is director of Industry Relations and Partnerships for the National Lekotek Center and a member of Chicago Special Parent’s advisory board. Lekotek is a leading authority on toys and play for children with disabilities. |

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Students Flourish at Cove

Family Resource Center on Disabilities

Providing parents of children with disabilities information, assistance, and support

IEP SUPPORT AT YOUR CHILD’S IEP MEETING *Do you attend your child’s IEP meeting alone? *Do you have questions about your child’s IEP? *Are these questions preventing you from making informed decisions at your child’s IEP meeting?

Our knowledgeable Volunteer Parent Advocates will:


tudents at The Cove School benefit from our intensive individualized instruction and highly specialized team, while learning in an environment that is specifically designed for children with learning disabilities. Cove students are fully integrated in their school environment, participating in arts, athletics, college counseling, job training and authentic leadership opportunities. If you know of a student that could benefit from the exceptional and individualized K-12 program at Cove, contact Dr. Sally Sover, Executive Director, at 847.562.2100 or

Join us at our next Open House on Tuesday, March 18, 2014 at 9:00 a.m. RSVP to Abby at

● Help you prepare for your child’s next IEP meeting. ● Attend your child’s IEP meeting with you. ● Help you understand IDEA (the law that protects your child’s rights to a free and appropriate public education.) ● Help you navigate the educational system. ● Help you communicate effectively with your child’s school.


● You must be the legal parent or guardian of the child with the IEP. ● Must work with the parent advocate prior to your child’ IEP meeting. ● Complete our parent questionnaire. As a parent, you are your child’s best advocate. An appropriate Individualized Education Program (IEP) is crucial to your child’s academic future. To partner with one of our Parent Advocates, contact Paula Wills at or call 312-939-3513. This project is funded through the U.S. Department of Education Office of Special Education Programs



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Camping fun for everyone I n the past few years, organizers of Brookfield Zoo’s popular ZooCamp program began to notice an increase in the number of campers who have special needs. That discovery caused the zoo to reach out to the CVS Caremark Charitable Trust, which ultimately led to the ZooCamp for All program. The program’s new name reflects the zoo’s desire to make sure children of all ability levels feel welcome and comfortable at camp, which is for ages 4-14. So they invested in some accessibility materials, including cushions for those with sensory issues, special scissors, and visual schedules and timers. Other changes include an open house before camp starts to help lessen kids’ anxiety, and tagless T-shirts for kids who are very particular about their clothing.


ZooCamp for All includes special activities like animal visits and opportunities to make enrichment toys for the animals, plus art projects and games, which also were tweaked to reflect the zoo’s desire for inclusivity. “A lot of your standard camp activities are very competitive,” says Katie Edinger, supervisor of camp, overnight and family programs. “That can be very stressful, especially for campers with special needs. We’re shifting our focus to cooperative games … all working together with a common goal.” Brookfield Zoo also worked with Aspire of Illinois to help train counselors in person-first language and helping foster connections between children. “It’s really important for them to feel comfortable and confident working with children of all

Comic book educates about epilepsy In 2013, four superhero movies were among the year’s top-grossing films. But some lesser known superheroes, called the Medikidz, also were having an impact—helping teach ch kids about epilepsy. A new comic book,“Medikidz Explain Epilepsy,” is based on the experiences of 14-year-old Jack, who has epilepsy. He is joined by a group of five superheroes, the titular Medikidz, who help to explain what it is like to live with the condition. Eisai Inc., a pharmaceutical company, teamed up with a U.K.-based comic book company that has books for more than 30 medical conditions to create a first-of-its-kind comic book in the U.S. A board of U.S.-based neurologists peer-reviewed the comic book to make sure it was accurate. The book is available for free at

abilities,” Edinger says. The zoo built in some staff flexibility, so that kids who need one-on-one attention can have a counselor with them at all times. Families can bring along their own aide at no extra cost. ZooCamp for All has no limit on the number of campers with special needs it can accommodate. Registration can be completed at

Font especially for people with dyslexia For people with dyslexia, letters and words often appear differently than they do for typical readers. But a new font, created by a graphic designer who has dyslexia, may enhance the reading experience. The font, called Dyslexie, i was created by Christian Boer using research about how dyslexia affects perception of letters and words, especially the tendency to rotate letters or see them as 3-D objects. Dyslexie puts greater weight on the bottom of letters like ‘d,’ lengthens “ascenders” and “descenders” on letters like ‘h,’ increases the openings of letters like ‘c ‘and ‘e,’ tips some letters,

lik like ‘j‘j,’’ slightly li htl tto k keep it ffrom looking so similar to ‘i,’ and bolds capital letters and punctuation to make them stand out. A 2012 survey of 250 individuals with dyslexia found that the majority of respondents made fewer reading mistakes and had increased reading speed when using Dyslexie. The font is available on vBookz, a text-to-speech app sold in the Apple app store. |

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Students design adaptive clothing

Conductive Education program for newborns to 12 years with cerebral palsy. Intensive Motor Training Program enhances self-reliance in daily life skills using positive peer interactions. Chicago, Countryside, Lake Zurich Contact: Patti Herbst @ 708-588-0833

A group of students at the University of Missouri is designing adaptive clothing for individuals with disabilities as part of their fashion design training. The project, which is part of a class in the Department of Textile and Apparel Management, challenges students to design clothing that is fashionable and adaptable to specific special needs, including for individuals who are wheelchair-bound or use prosthetics. The students conduct market research and attend focus groups to determine which designs will work best. One group specifically designed attire for children with physical disabilities. They paid special attention to providing access to medical devices and using light, breathable fabric for those in wheelchairs. “The project exposes the students to an area of the design industry that often gets overlooked but is needed,” said Kerri McBee-Black, one of the instructors, in a press release. “Adaptive clothing has the capability to directly benefit individuals’ lives.” More than 80 students have been involved with the project, which began in 2012. It recently received grant funding, and the instructors hope it will lead to product manufacturing.

Is School Failing Your Child? Do You Need Help Getting Appropriate Educational Services For Your Special Needs Child? At Calian & Gross, we believe that every child has the right to experience success at school. That is why we focus our legal practice exclusively on special education law. Let us assert your child’s rights so they can achieve the success they deserve.

Calian & Gross, LLP

1609 Sherman Ave., Suite 207, Evanston Jill Calian, Attorney: 847-736-7978 Rachael Gross, Attorney: 847-226-5032 14


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Social network just for autism community A diagnosis like autism can be isolating for everyone involved, from the child to parents and siblings. So the National Autism Network has launched a new social network for those trying to make sense of exactly what the autism spectrum means. The social network, available at nationalautismnetwork. com, divides users into four communities: Individual, Parent/ Guardian, Family Member and Provider. Users can connect with others and also create a place to network with therapy providers and caregivers to facilitate easier interactions. “What if we could use the power of social media to connect parents, providers, and individuals on the spectrum in a safe, HIPPA-secure environment?” said behavioral therapist Denise DeCandia in a press release. “The end result would be time savings for parents and better care for the child.” The website also provides discussion forums, disability resources and legislation information, and local events.


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Grants available for gamers with disabilities A grant program called AbleGamers Charity now gives people with disabilities assistive technology year-round. The program used to be open only sporadically throughout the year, due to funding needs. “I can honestly say this is a dream come true,” said Mark Barlet, president and director of the charity, in a news release. “One of our most important core missions is to bring video games to people with disabilities, and permanently opening the grant program makes that mission come full circle.” AbleGamers Charity is a nonprofit that empowers children and adults with disabilities through videogames. It has the largest community for gamers with disabilities in the world,

Bowl helps with self-feeding

and also works with videogame developers to create accessible games for everyone, including those with mobility, hearing, visual or cognitive needs. The grant application and other information can be found at

A mom-designed bowl is making mealtime easier thanks to its unique design. The Baby Dipper’s triangular shape, non-slip base, contoured interior and spoon-shaped lower corner allow children to more easily reach their food without having to scrape the bowl. And the transparent sides mean they can see exactly where the food is. The bowl’s inventor, Barbara Schantz, is the mother of two sets of twins and was frustrated with the task of feeding them with only two hands. So she created the Baby Dipper bowl as a way to help them feed themselves. Schantz later realized the potential for the special needs community. The Baby Dipper bowl is available for $11.99 in pink or blue at

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‘It works for us’

A peek into the special life of a mom of nine BY JERRY DAVICH PHOTOS BY FRANK PINC


racy Balnis instinctively jumps out of her chair when her 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, stumbles while walking through the front door of the family’s candy store. Balnis, however, returns to her chair within a second’s time when she watches her daughter correct herself. On her own. With no help from her mother, even though the girl was born with Spina Bifida and uses braces to walk. In many ways, this not-souncommon scene reflects how the Berwyn mother of nine children—four of them with disabilities—goes about parenting on a daily basis. “I want them to always know I’m here for them, but they need to do things on their own, too,” says Balnis, who owns Rissi’s Old Time Candy & Toys in Berwyn. On this day, during a snowstorm, Balnis’ family swirled

around the old-fashioned candy store, named after her 3-year-old daughter, Rissi. They arrived in a 15-passenger van, the family car so to speak, after a well-choreographed routine to get them all ready for a road trip. “It may look like crazy chaos, but it works for us,” says Balnis, whose upbeat, hopeful disposition has anchored her more than any parenting book. All nine of her children, ages 3 to 24, have delivered their own challenges, though her four with special needs have also delivered

unexpected surprises. Gianna uses a wheelchair, 10-year-old Michael Jr. is mute with severe autism, 9-year-old Gabriel has high-functioning autism, and 5-year-old Dominic has midrange autism. “He doesn’t talk much and he isn’t potty trained yet, which is the hardest part of dealing with the disabilities,” Balnis says while her son quietly stands next to her. Just before Gianna was born, doctors gave Balnis a box of Kleenex and told her to brace

herself for news of the baby’s expected lifespan: “You’ll be lucky if she lives three days.” Balnis was in shock, not remembering anything else from that exchange. Today, Gianna is strolling along just fine, albeit for a brief scare here and there. “Doctors don’t know everything,” Balnis says flatly. “Remember, they’re only practicing medicine. My daughter proves this.” Was Balnis ever worried of having more children with similar disabilities, especially because autism runs in her extended family? Not at all, she replies. “Every time I was pregnant after Gianna, I told God whatever he gives me, I’ll take it,” Balnis says cheerfully as her husband, Michael Sr., helps corral the kids for a rare family photo. “OK, say cheese, everyone,” he says while making CONTINUED ON PAGE 18 |

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Specıal Parent Winter 2014 CHICAGO



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sure they’re all facing the camera. Michael was an orphan as a child, and Tracy’s father was not in her young life, so parenting comes with extra significance to both of them. They have been together for 25 years and appear to work seamlessly together while raising their brimming brood, including two grandchildren. All the children attend Chicago public schools, though Michael Jr. gets outside therapy. Their oldest daughter, 24-year-old Anita, helps immensely with the younger children, including overcoming nightly homework and daily obstacles. “Our two older children were the ones who told us years ago to not give up hope,” Balnis says. “We’ve never forgotten that. Hope, faith and prayers go a long way.” One Sunday many years ago, Balnis went to church early and joined a special prayer session for a struggling family in the parish. It was only later that she realized the family was hers. “I had no idea they were always praying for us,” she says with a laugh. Over the past 13 years, the couple has had to learn the ropes regarding how to find proper services, treatments and therapies for their kids with special needs. It’s meant countless doctor appointments, therapy sessions and meetings with teachers, aides and insurance agents. “It can be a nightmare to navigate the system, especially when it comes to healthcare and special needs services,” Balnis says. “It’s really a full-time job on its own.” Balnis may write a book on how to steer around such systemic speed bumps, including school-related challenges involving five different schools and four buses for seven of her kids. “My first piece of advice to other parents in a similar situation is to create an assembly line, starting in the morning,” she

says as Michael Jr. makes a silent motion asking for gum. Balnis’ day starts before sunrise, getting her kids up, cleaned, dressed, fed and ready for another school day. Dominic is high functioning but has issues with certain food textures. Gabriel also has special dietary needs. Gianna needs help with her socks, shoes, braces or power wheelchair. And one morning, Michael Jr. shoved a breakfast ham down the toilet, followed by soap, forks and toothbrushes. “I’ll bet I’m the only Chicago parent who has Googled how to get different items out of your own toilet,” she says. Still, Balnis lovingly calls it “controlled chaos,” acknowledging how it could look like bedlam to other parents. “You wouldn’t believe the joy we felt when our one son became potty trained,” Balnis says proudly. “If you told me I could have a million dollars or he could be potty trained, I’d say keep your money.” Michael Sr., a Chicago firefighter, works long shifts, so it’s feast or famine in their home depending on his work schedule. He also does most of the cooking (just like at his firehouse), insisting that certain foods interact better with his children. “Healthy diets, without so many empty calories, really make a difference,” he says


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while gently stroking his youngest son’s hair. “Sometimes I’ll sneak vegetables into my meals to make sure they get healthy ingredients. Processed foods are only a treat.” He also enjoys playing traditional board games with the kids, like Monopoly, Uno and Twister. It helps his boys stay involved in the family’s world, not only their inner world. “There also is an early learning facility by our home. It’s been a godsend,” he says. These unique challenges haven’t stopped the family from doing what other families do, such as long-distance family vacations, including to zoos, museums, Great America and even Universal Studios in Florida. Still, some public places are still off-limits for the family when it’s at full force, such as libraries. “They kind of kicked us out— twice,” Balnis says sheepishly. “Boys can be monkeys, you know.” Balnis’ other piece of advice is to be as direct as possible with school administrators and other

personnel, starting with bus drivers. “Get their cellphone number first thing so you can talk to them directly, or to the aides, not through the schools,” Balnis says squarely. “This has saved me a lot of headaches. The first school bus comes at 6:40 a.m. and the last one at 7:30 a.m. That’s a lot of looking outside the front window each morning.” After the school-aged kids leave, she savors her secret joy— spending the rest of the morning with Rissi. No special needs. No therapy. No doctor appointments. Just good old-fashioned, one-onone parenting time. “When we’re all together, you just have to go with the flow, like a surfer riding a wave,” Balnis advises. “Some days we ride the big waves, other days we feel like we’re drowning. But we’re always back on our surfboards the next day, and that’s all that matters.” Jerry Davich is a Chicago area dad, writer and talk show host.

Photo by Liz Decarlo?

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Nothing’s going to stop us Four people who tackle the special needs diagnosis head on


ome people take a child’s diagnosis and spend their days struggling to deal with it. Others somehow find their way, and the time, to move past the diagnosis and become an advocate for children like theirs. Or, in the case of one young hearing-impaired teen, they become an advocate for themselves and others like them. Here are four local heroes who have turned tough circumstances into opportunities to help others.

‘I dedicate my life to this’ Paula Evans of Darien, cofounder of FAST (Foundation for Angelman Syndrome Therapies)


he first thing you notice about 9-year-old Ainsley Evans is her infectious grin. Her hand covers her mouth as she tries to contain her joy, but it’s too late—Ainsley is laughing and gesturing to the



Specıal Parent Winter 2014 CHICAGO

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room full of friends around her. The first thing you notice about Ainsley’s mom, Paula Evans, is her fierce determination to find a cure for her daughter, who has Angelman Syndrome. Ainsley was 10 months old when she was diagnosed with the debilitating disorder, which is so rare few researchers are

willing to search for treatment or a cure. “It just never sat well with me that there was no hope for this baby of mine,” Paula says. “I just never really accepted that there would never be anything that could help her.” So Paula, a former realtor who admits she knows nothing about science, started some

research of her own. What she found was that most researchers steered clear of studying Angelman because of a lack of funding. But in 2007, researcher Dr. Ed Weeber was able to cure it in a mouse. Neuroscience was exploding at that time, and Paula knew the timing was right to push for a cure for children like


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“It just never sat well with me that there was no hope for this baby of mine. I just never really accepted that there would never be anything that could help her.” PAULA EVANS

Co-founder of FAST

Ainsley. Paula created FAST (Foundation for Angelman Syndrome Therapies) along with other parents of children who had the disorder. She contacted Weeber, who told her the only way funding would come through for the obscure disease was if a celebrity’s child had it and brought publicity to

the research. “About a week later, (actor) Colin Farrell came out with saying his child had Angelman Syndrome,” Paula says. Paula connected with Farrell and with Weeber and the work began. Between fundraising efforts and winning a contest for charities, FAST has raised enough to begin clinical

trials. But Paula continues to push for more research, and won’t stop until a cure is found for all children with this disease. “There’s no doubt this is curable. I dedicate my life to this…because my child suffers from this disorder,” Paula says. “Everything I do is for all the children, but I have a horse in

this race and yes, I do believe (a cure) will be in time for Ainsley and we’re going to have multiple therapeutics while we’re working towards the ultimate goal.” For more information on FAST or Angelman Syndrome, visit |

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Liz DeCarlo

Specıal Parent Winter 2014 CHICAGO



2/7/14 11:54 AM

‘They just had a good heart’ Eliza Peters, 13, of Geneva, started Hear the Cheers!, which raises money for hearing aids for children


eventh-grader Eliza Peters has two passions: sports and her efforts to provide hearing aids to children who otherwise couldn’t afford them. The two passions collided last year when Eliza’s dad John wrote to Sarah Spain of ESPN and told Sarah she was Eliza’s idol. Eliza, who is hearing impaired, hopes to become a sports broadcaster herself someday. What began as an unlikely friendship between a celebrity broadcaster and a young girl has turned into a foundation the two work on together, called Hear the Cheers! They connected with Anixter Center and the Chicago Hearing Society and began fundraising for money for hearing aids. Eliza raffled Cubs tickets at Geneva High School and spoke to the local Lions Club about Hear the Cheers! Spain tweeted about the fundraising on ESPN, and those tweets were picked up by NBA and WNBA stars and deaf actress Marlee Matlin. Eliza spent the day at Halas Hall

with Brian McCaskey, who’s on the Hear Strong board and also connected with some Chicago Blackhawks, who helped publicize her efforts. “The first night we went live, John watched the money go up (on the Chicago Hearing Society website),” says Eliza’s mom Amber. “In a few minutes it was up to $5,000. By the next day, I said we can do $10,000 and in 24 hours, we’d raised about $15,000.” The effort eventually netted more than $18,000, all devoted to buying hearing aids for children. “At the end, it was amazing the people who have given money who didn’t even know us,” says Amber. “They just had a good heart.” The Hear Strong Foundation honored Eliza as a Strong Champion. She will begin a second round of fundraising efforts this month (see for more information), but that hasn’t stopped her from playing basketball on her school team and dancing. Although she does admit, “sometimes when I have to go up to the foul line, I turn them (hearing aids) off so I don’t hear the noise.”

Liz DeCarlo

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Find us on Facebook Join the Twitter party! Follow us @ChicagoParent On Pinterest



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‘We had to embrace the autism’ Diane Mayer Christiansen of Glenview is an author hoping to educate others about autism


iane Mayer Christiansen believes in finding the silver lining. That wasn’t always the case. The Glenview mother of Jackie, 12, struggled when her son was diagnosed with autism in second grade, immediately worrying about whether he would be able to make friends, excel in school, even go to college. “The first thing you do is focus on all the negative stuff,” Christiansen says. “You can really get caught up in that.” But a year later, Christiansen decided it was time for a new perspective. She told herself that she needed to focus on the positive things about her son’s diagnosis and celebrate what makes him unique. “We had to embrace the autism,” she says. That unusual point of view turned into Christiansen’s first book, Jackie’s Journal, which she wrote with her son. The book discussed some of the challenges Jackie faces on a daily basis, whether understanding social cues or having a meltdown due to a sensory issue. And when they shared the book with his classmates, Christiansen says there was a very positive response as his peers realized what was really going on with Jackie. “I began to realize that there needed to be more awareness about what spectrum disorders

really look like,” Christiansen says. “It’s kind of my goal to get that word ‘autism’ out there.” That realization—and her publisher’s excitement about the first book—led to SNUB Club and the Case of the Disappearing Donuts, Christiansen’s latest book for elementary readers. SNUB, which stands for Special Needs Undercover Brigade, focuses on two main characters, Jackie and Cameron, both of whom are on the autism spectrum. But instead of focusing on the challenges of autism, these characters are actually superheroes who use the “powers” from autism, such as Jackie’s photographic memory, to solve crimes. “My motivation comes from the idea that if kids learn about things at an early age, they’re less likely to fear that,” Christiansen says. “These books were a great opportunity to get that little message out there.” She also sees it as a chance for Jackie, who has struggled with self-esteem issues as a result of his diagnosis, to tell his story. Mother and son have occasional book signings, including an upcoming event at the Autism Family Center in Winnetka on March 11, where they share their story. “He has absolutely no fear,” Christiansen says. “I think he can do some great things in the world.” Jackie’s Journal and SNUB Club and the Case of the Disappearing Donuts are both available on

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Specıal Parent Winter 2014 CHICAGO



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‘If you want to know the future, you need to invent it yourself’ Julie and Michael Tracy of Glenview created The Julie & Michael Tracy Family Foundation for young adults with autism


n the summer of 2011, Julie and Michael Tracy almost lost their son. John, who was diagnosed with autism at 2, became mentally ill in high school. The once “really bright, funny, articulate kid” proved difficult to stabilize, and his parents weren’t sure he would recover. “It was a real game-changer for all of us,” Julie says. John, who is now 22, currently lives at The Sonia Shankman Orthogenic School in Chicago. But his parents know those mental health problems aren’t isolated to their son. In fact, individuals who have autism are more likely to struggle with certain mental disorders. So Julie and Michael set out to change

the situation for John and other young people like him. That led to the creation of The Julie & Michael Tracy Family Foundation, whose purpose is to address the challenges facing young adults with autism. “We knew it would help John,” Julie Tracy says. “But we can’t just help John. We have to create strong systems that will support our kids throughout their lifetimes.” One of the organization’s initiatives is called Project 1212, which plans to create residences for three to four young adults with autism. The first residence, scheduled to open sometime this

year, is located in Chicago’s West Loop. The space will also be used to reach out to the surrounding community through classes, meal times, and opportunities to simply “hang out.” “It’s really more selfish than it sounds. In order to help John, we have to create systems that currently don’t exist,” Julie says. The Tracy Foundation also has several other projects, such as the Community Garden and a “Not Enough Cooks in the Kitchen” program that teaches cooking skills. They’re also looking into starting a micro-business in Chicago’s Taylor Street area. “What we’d really like to do is

make Chicago the most autismfriendly place in the United States,” Julie says. In order to do that, she relies on her own background as a speech pathologist, her husband’s “big picture” perspective, and the couple’s concern about their son’s future as he ages out of the system. “We literally take things one day at a time,” she says. “If you want to know the future, you need to invent it yourself. … We believe in doing things, even if they don’t turn out perfectly.” For more information on the Foundation or to contact the Tracys, visit

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As featured on ABC 7, NBC 5, WGN-TV and WCIU-TV The Karate Can-Do! Foundation works hand-in-hand with North Shore Dojo, the area’s premier karate school, to provide personalized training to improve the lives of children who learn differently. Sensei Jeff Kohn is the recipient of the 2011 United States Olympic Committee’s Paralympic Coach of the Year Award 847.729.0001 • 2081 John’s Court, Glenview Karate CAN-Do! is a registered 501(c)(3)


2/7/14 11:53 AM

After the diagnosis 5 things to do—or not do— after the doctor leaves BY GILLIAN MARCHENKO


’ll never forget the moment I was told my baby had Down syndrome. I was sitting next to her incubator in the hospital, holding on to her heel. I remember being pleased because her eyes were open. She stared intently into mine. The doctor spoke and the words ‘Down syndrome’ crashed over me. Suddenly I was alone without a buoy, paddling like crazy in a choppy, new ocean. When a parent first hears, ‘your child has a disability,’ it can be shocking, saddening and scary. If you find yourself in this situation, here are a few things you can do that might help.


Draw your child close. Remember she is the same person she was before the diagnosis. “I wish I would have told her that I loved her before all those horrible thoughts rushed into my head,” my friend Kim told me after the birth of her daughter with a disability. I understand. After I heard the words ‘Down syndrome,’ I looked at my daughter Polly differently out of fear and ignorance. I wish I would have remembered that she was a baby first before her diagnosis. More importantly, she was my baby. It took months for this to click for me. Sometimes I still grieve that time lost.


Don’t Google the diagnosis right away. In our modern times, a click on to the internet is as natural as brushing our teeth. But with a new diagnosis, hold off. It is difficult to focus on your child if your attention is held hostage by a vast amount of information. If you want basic information about the disability, talk with a trusted source like your doctor or check an up-to-date medical site online. Just don’t go on an internet rampage right away.

3 Our cover boy, Donovan Guillermo, 2, of Chicago, has bilateral hearing loss. Pictured here with his dad, James.

Care for your baby/child. After having a baby with special needs, an experienced mother offered me sage advice: “Continue to care for her daily.” She meant that I should not shrug off parenting duties to my husband, mom or friend out of grief. “You take care of that baby,” she said. Her theory was that if I stayed away from my child, the grief and shock of the diagnosis would be prolonged. At the time, I was a bit offended, but I now see the wisdom. Changing my baby, feeding her, bathing her and putting her to bed helped me see that she was my child, diagnosis or not. CONTINUED ON PAGE 26

Photo by Kate Driscoll |

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Try not to worry. A new diagnosis brings worry—about your child’s health, the future, money, other children, your marriage, other people. Worry is a dangerous landscape for parents anyway. If left to its own devices, it sucks up our energy and time; two things that are usually in short supply in parenthood.


5 things friends and family can do


2 Research the diagnosis: If you don’t know anything about the disability, do a little research. If you look online, make sure the resource is reputable and up to date.

Know there is support. In the seven years that I have parented kids with special needs, one of the biggest gains from the experience is community. Some hospitals, organizations and schools host support groups for families affected by special needs. Our family is heavily involved with GiGi’s Playhouse. Talking to other families calms fears, provides great resources, and assures us that life is just as good, albeit a little different, with the presence of special needs. Gillian Marchenko is a Chicago mom to four girls. Her memoir, Sun Shine Down, about her daughter with Down syndrome published with T.S. Poetry Press last August.

1 Show up: Sometimes friends and families stay away from loved ones with a new diag

nosis simply because they don’t know what to do. Showing up and letting the family know you care makes a huge difference in their lives.

3 Talk to your children: Once you learn about the disability, if they are at an appropriate age, explain it to your children. Stigma is broken with educated minds. Explain dis

ability in a way that isn’t scary and tells kids that we all are made differently. 4 Give tangible help: Everyone needs it, but especially families in crisis. Bring a meal, watch other children and visit them in the hospital. 5 Refrain from platitudes and pat advice: If a family is grieving a new diagnosis, the best thing to do is to let them know you care, and to listen.

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Get out of the house! Making positive experiences from new adventures BY MEGAN MURRAY ELSENER


etting out of the house with your children can be quite an ordeal. Yet, experiences outside of the home are important to a child’s growth and social development. For children with developmental differences, trying new activities requires a completely different approach. According to Lorell Marin, director and founder of LEEP Forward, families of children with special needs often feel isolated or trapped at home because of the fear of meltdowns or having to explain their child’s differences. “It can be very isolating for these families, and they often are not participating in as many community activities,” Marin says. “But in reality, these families need a sense of community and just have to take some extra steps to find the right activities for their children.” Ellen Sternweiler, a Chicago mom of three children with developmental differences, knows first-hand the challenges of feeling included and part of everyday society. In response to her own inability to find resources and items for her children, Sternweiler opened The Sensory Kids Store at Bellybum, where parents of kids with developmental differences can find what they need in a typical and inviting store environment and shopping experience. “Considering that one in six families has a child diagnosed with developmental disabilities, there is no such thing as typical anymore,” says Sternweiler. “It’s about time inclusion extends beyond classrooms and becomes a part of everyday life activities. Differences are beautiful and need to be supported.” When looking for new activities or classes for your child, Marin suggests focusing on how to set your child up for success. “Think about your child’s sensory needs prior to picking activities and know their sensitivities when searching for programs,” Marin says. “If they are sensitive to noise, look for smaller groups. If they are easily distracted, avoid activities where multiple classes are spaced closely together. If they are upset by unexpected events, choose classes inside rather than outside to eliminate the element of


“It can be very isolating for these families, and they often are not participating in as many community activities. But in reality, these families need a sense of community and just have to take some extra steps to find the right activities for their children.” LORELL MARIN

Director and founder of LEEP Forward

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surprise.” Marin also suggests once you select an activity, visit the space with your child beforehand and even try to meet the instructor in advance to start building a relationship. “You can walk through step by step and see what distractions or issue there may be.” She says watching videos online or creating a social story about the activity helps. For children with developmental differences, parents’ goals may not be about their child playing the sport or creating the art, but rather about socializing with peers in an inclusive environment. “Inclusion may take time and a few extra steps, but stay positive,” Marin says. “It builds a sense of belonging for the child and family to be part of a community and it helps the child’s sense of self-esteem grow when

they are included.” If a new activity doesn’t work out the first time, Sternweiler recommends parents don’t get too frustrated or disappointed. “We all have hits and misses as parents of special needs kids. Just because an activity didn’t work right away doesn’t mean it never will,” Sternweiler says. “For example, our first attempt at a water park was a complete disaster and now our kids love them.” Sternweiler emphasizes that your child will never learn to acclimate if you don’t try inclusive activities. “If it’s possible to be in an inclusive environment, it benefits the kids with developmental differences and the children without challenges,” she says. “Kids need to be exposed to the differences among us because it makes them better people and benefits everyone involved.”

Ideas to try When it comes to selecting a new activity for your child with developmental differences, it can be hard to know where to start. According to Lorell Marin, director of LEEP Forward, and Ellen Sternweiler, owner of The Sensory Kids Store at Bellybum, here are some inclusive and supportive activities for children of various disabilities:  The Red Kite Project. It’s a branch of the Chicago Children’s Theatre that creates theatrical adventures and learn„ ing experience for children with autism and special needs. The current show, Red Kite, Brown Box, runs through March 1.  AYSO VIP Soccer. The Buddy Program pairs students with kids with special needs to have buddies to help them at prac„ tice and games.

have leukodystrophy, which affects my motor “ Iskills, but not how smart I am. I am trying to learn to walk and horse riding makes me stronger. ” —Sarah, age 6

 Go Time Chicago Karate. A martial arts program that is supportive of helping kids with sensory issues, such as reduc„ ing the lights and noise. Lessons offered one on one and in classes.  Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum. The museum holds special events adapted to support children with developmental differences.  Jump Sky High. Once a month, it offers a day when they turn off the music and dial down distractions for children with special needs.  Chicago Symphony Orchestra. The interactive Family Matinees are open to all children, including those with special needs.  AMC Theatres. On a monthly basis, AMC offers Sensory Friendly Films where the lights are turned up and the sound is turned down.



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Grace Driscoll was part of a photoshoot for the Infantino and Step 2 campaign “Everybody Plays.”


Special needs moving into spotlight More companies embracing inclusion BY ROBIN CARLASCIO


hen retail giants Target and Nordstrom opted to include children with Down syndrome in their print advertising, marketing pros suggested the corporations were savvy, tapping into an audience of 53 million who collectively control $200 million in annual buying power. Others suggested it was a risky move that ultimately benefited the corporate giants while enhancing the profile of children with disabilities. Both corporations made the move in favor of inclusion in 2012 without calling attention to it. It was the special needs community that quickly sat up and



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took notice. Blogs lit up with the news that, after years of being excluded, the walls corporate America had built were finally— and notably—coming down. Just as quickly, questions surfaced whether the practice could be seen as exploitative or as pandering to an audience advertisers had long ignored. It was a theory that never gained traction. Those who work to promote inclusion are pleased with what they have seen so far, and would like to see it expand to include other companies and even greater exposure. Toys ‘R’ Us followed the lead of Target and Nordstrom, taking it a step farther when they produced a toy guide for differently

“Every time we see an individual with Down syndrome featured alongside what are considered traditional models, it becomes easier for the next child and the child after that.” LINDA SMARTO

Program coordinator for the National Association for Down Syndrome. abled kids in 2013 using the children as models that the toys were designed to help. Late last year, Hollywood actress Tori Spelling—with her Little Maven clothing line—became the first highprofile boutique children’s wear company to declare inclusion the standard.

Advocates say these corporate decisions are validation of just how important special needs families are in society today while providing another venue to mainstream children with special needs. “We have noticed what we believe is becoming a trend toward inclusion, not only in


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advertising, but also in television on shows, like Glee which has a teen with Down syndrome in a recurring role, and in films,” says Ann Garcia, family support coordinator at the metro Chicagobased National Association for Down Syndrome. Lauren Potter plays Becky Jackson, the co-captain of the Cheerios on the popular program and is one of four individuals with Down syndrome who have been cast in roles on the show. “It is gratifying that after more than 50 years of advocating for children with Down syndrome we are seeing our efforts continue to bear fruit,” Garcia says. “These corporate entities no longer believe that having a child with Down syndrome in their advertising is risky. They ... are beginning to take notice of the many gifted individuals, who happen to have Down syndrome.” Increasingly, Garcia says organizations such as NADS receive calls from unexpected

arenas—such as textbook publishers looking for models—and take note. “This movement is gathering momentum because of people, such as Prince William and Kate Middleton, as well as others who are making conscious decisions that positively influence public thought,” she says. Although the royal couple typically shun gifts, they gratefully accepted a painting of Rupert the Flying Bear, painted by Tazia Fawley, an adult with Down syndrome in England, in honor of the birth of Prince George. The move was seen as significant in helping reverse the stigma that has historically followed those with the disability in that country. As a professional working with the Down syndrome community and a parent with a teen daughter with the chromosomal abnormality, Linda Smarto sees the benefits of corporate inclusion from a host of vantage points.


In her role as program coordinator for NADS, Smarto’s job is to champion Chicago’s Down syndrome community. “Every time we see an individual with Down syndrome featured alongside what are considered traditional models, it becomes easier for the next child and the child after that,” she says. “Our kids are building on those successes and doing things today people would never have imagined even 10 or 20 years ago.” Inclusion has provided Smarto’s daughter, Julia, with dreams that have expanded her horizons, giving her the courage to aspire to do anything other teens her age are doing. “My daughter performs as part of a dance troupe with other girls who want to raise the bar, to show the community what teens with Down syndrome can do,” she says. “... These girls... perform at venues, such as Great America and in retirement homes or at the mall, just like

other girls their age.” That point of having the opportunity to be like any other child is one Smarto drives home whenever she talks about the importance of inclusion, of giving every child the opportunity to live up to their abilities and realize their dreams. It is a dream parents are learning they can have as soon as they have a child who has been born with Down syndrome. “Every time someone opens a magazine or sees a commercial that includes children from the Down syndrome community, it builds awareness,” Smarto says. “That helps make it less scary for parents with newborns because they have seen the beautiful faces of people with disabilities who are out there leading wonderful and fulfilling lives, the kind of lives they dreamed of for their child before they knew they had Down syndrome.” Robin Carlascio is a freelance writer and mom.

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Resources Adaptive Services, ADD/ADHD, Advocacy, Autism Spectrum Disorders . . . . . . . 34 Blind or Visually

Find more information online


he resources you will find here are just an excerpt of the hundreds of searchable resources you will find online at If you are a resource provider and your services are not listed online, e-mail Liz DeCarlo at ldecarlo@ with your information or submit your information at resource-submission-form.

ADAPTIVE SERVICES Extended Home Living Services 210 W. Campus Drive Suite B, Arlington Heights (847) 215-9490

Provides stair lifts, accessible bathroom remodeling, ramps and wheelchair lifts, ceiling mounted lift systems, home elevators, and general remodeling. Free in-home consultations or visit showroom.

Kids Equipment Network P.O. Box 121, Forest Park (630) 766-0505 ext. 8

Impaired, Disability

Helps provide new and refurbished equipment to children with special needs who can’t afford it.

Groups, Down


Syndrome . . . . . . . 38

Plainfield, Skokie, Villa Park (877) 275-4907

Impaired, Camps . 36 Deaf or Hearing

Dyslexia, Education . . . . . . . 39 Epilepsy, Equine Therapy, General . . . . . . . . 40 Health . . . . . . . . . . 41 Legal, Recreation . 42 Support . . . . . . . . 43 Therapy . . . . . . . . 44



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Provides wheelchair vans and adaptive equipment to the disabled community, including sales, mechanical service, rental vans and mobile consulting.

RampNOW 2225 Tanglewood Drive Aurora (630) 892-7267

Rents, sells and installs lifts and ramps that assist individuals with mobility issues.

ADD/ADHD CHADD of Lake County Serves Northern Lake County

Group is facilitated by Beth Schwab, BSN, MPH (parent of children with ADHD), and Eric Tivers, LCSW, MSSW (an adult with ADHD). Free monthly meetings are geared towards parents, caregivers, educators and professionals. Most meetings are in Gurnee on the first Monday of the month at 7 p.m. but dates and locations are subject to change; check the meetup site.

CHADD of Northern Illinois (Children and Adults with Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) Serving Northern Lake and McHenry counties (224) 636-3742

Free monthly meetings are for anyone living with ADHD and/ or caregivers, spouses/ partners, educators and professionals. Most meetings are in McHenry on the third Monday of each month but dates and locations are subject to change; check the meetup site.

Lincolnshire Area CHADD (Children and Adults with ADHD) 940 Waveland Road Lake Forest (847) 295-5183

Support group for families with members having ADHD. Meetings, open to the public, are held the third Monday of the month at The Claremont Rehab and Assisted Living Center, 150 Weiland Road, Buffalo Grove. Visit the website for schedule.

ADVOCACY A New Ray of Hope 435 Pennsylvania Ave. #146, Glen Ellyn (630) 260-3780

Educational and health advocate.

Evanston Citizens for Appropriate Special Education 1609 Sherman Ave. Suite 207, Evanston (847) 556-8676

Special education advocacy, education and support organization. Assists parents in understanding the IEP process and their rights. Provides support and education to parents of children with special needs through the CASE Phone Line and the Parent Connections,

a monthly meeting offering speakers and combating isolation.

Pam Labellarte 231 Bingham Circle Mundelein (847) 401-5053

Special Education advocate and parent of two kids with a disability. Provides advocacy services to families of children with disabilities during all stages of the educational/transition process. Presents educational programs to parents and community groups.

Protected Tomorrows Inc. 103 Schelter Road LifeCare Center Lincolnshire (847) 522-8086

Advocacy firm focused on life planning. Staff helps create future care plans, which address the needs of individuals with developmental disabilities, mental illness, physical disabilities, or cognitive and neurological diseases in the areas of education, residential, financial, legal, health care, government benefits, employment and recreation.

AUTISM SPECTRUM DISORDERS Alexander Leigh Center for Autism 620 N. Illinois Route 31 Crystal Lake (815) 477-2522

Nonprofit, full day, year-round therapeutic day school approved by the Illinois State Board of Education. The day school is for kids 3-16 with autism spectrum disorder, OHI, multiple disabilities, developmental delay

and/or intellectual disability. Also serves preschool children in the development learning center, a half-day program. Serves Cook, DuPage, Lake, Kane and McHenry counties.

Autism & Anxiety Consultants 1101 Lake St., Suite 405B Oak Park (847) 338-2525

Therapy for children, adults and families with autism spectrum disorder/anxiety disorders.

Autism Behavioral Therapies Illinois and Wisconsin (224) 554-9634 autismbehavioraltherapies. com

ABA therapy provided in homes, pools and gymnastics facilities.

Autism Family Center 560 Green Bay Road Suite 10, Winnetka (847) 814-1096

Offers a multidisciplinary approach to treat autism, including Applied Behavior Analysis, speech, art and music therapy, parent training and support therapy. Also provides support services, including training and workshops, for the entire family, as well as sensory-friendly family movie nights.

Autism Home Support Services 85 Revere Drive, Suite AA Northbrook (847) 564-0822

In-home customized ABA behavior therapy for children with autism and related disorders.

Autism Speaks Chicagoland Chapter 2700 S. River Road, Suite 304 Des Plaines (224) 567-8573


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Nonprofit organization dedicated to awareness, funding, science, research and advocacy for autism. Also provides free services for families.

Charlie’s Gift Center for Autism, Sensory and Other Related Disorders 1048 W. Ogden Ave. Suite #200, Downers Grove (630) 810-1200

Provides individual and group occupational, speech and mental health/behavioral therapy for children/ families through a familycentered, team-based approach. Family education/support activities and sibling activities are offered. Afterschool clubs and summer programs offered. A family lending library is available. Charlie’s Gift is a program of The Community House.

Chicago Autism & Behavior Specialists 1063 W. Hawthorn Drive Itasca (800) 844-1232

Works with children and families living with autism spectrum disorders, communication disorders, behavior disorders, and learning disabilities. The therapeutic approach is based on Applied Behavior Analysis and incorporates strategies that have been proven effective for helping children acquire and maintain new skills. The team works closely with families to determine socially significant goals to work on within the clinic, home and/or community environments that will best meet their child and family’s needs.

Chicagoland Autism Connection 1803 W. 95th St., #268 Chicago (773) 329-0375

CAC meets on the third Saturday of each month from September-June. Each meeting features one or more speakers. Meetings are 10 a.m.12:30 p.m. at the Easter Seals School and Center for Autism at 1939 W. 13th St., Chicago. Free respite care offered during the meeting for children with autism. The “A Team” Social and Recreational Club for people with ASD ages 13-young adult and the “Junior A Team” for ages 5-12 also offered.

Easter Seals Autism Diagnostic Clinic and Autism Services - DuPage and the Fox Valley Region 830 S. Addison Ave. Villa Park (630) 620-4433

Provides a comprehensive interdisciplinary team evaluation by experienced professionals to determine the presence of an autism spectrum disorder or other developmental disability. The team is comprised of a social worker, occupational therapist, speech and language pathologist, and a psychologist. Families will leave with a diagnosis, initial treatment guidelines and resources. Depending on the child’s needs, services are provided individually or in a group setting.

Easter Seals Autism Programs - Joliet 212 Barney Drive, Joliet (815) 725-2194

Offers a wide variety of programming for families that have children with autism spectrum disorders, including pediatric physical, occupational and speech therapy. A medical diagnostic clinic, social skills groups,

for Autism. Serves more than 800 people each year throughout DuPage, Kane, Kendall, Will, McHenry and western Cook counties.

PACTT Learning Center 7101 N. Greenview Ave. Chicago (773) 338-9102

Tourette Syndrome Camp Organization, see page 38. sibling recreational workshops, family special recreation nights, inclusive birth-4 day care, mental health therapy, educational materials and a parent support group available.

Easter Seals Therapeutic School and Center for Autism Research 1939 W. 13th St., Suite 300 Chicago (312) 491-4110

This campus combines educational, therapeutic research, training, school-to-work transition and adult vocational services. Custom-designed facility meets the special needs of students with autism, emotional/behavior disability, cognitive or developmental delay. Features include special acoustic finishes, lighting fixtures and observation rooms in classrooms to help reduce distractions and promote learning. Serves clients 3-22.

Have Dreams 515 Busse Highway Suite 150, Park Ridge

(847) 685-0250 2020 Dempster St., Evanston (847) 905-0702

Offers programs for children age 3 through young adult including preschool, afterschool activities, sports, Special Olympics, individual therapy, support for families and social buddies.

Helping Hand Center 9649 W. 55th St., Countryside (708) 352-3580

Therapeutic Day School for children with autism, ages 3-21. Pediatric outpatient clinic for children birth-21 with a wide array of disabilities and delays, providing occupational, physical, speech and language, and music therapy; and psychotherapy, mental health & diagnostic testing, and behavior services.

Little City Foundation ChildBridge Services 700 N. Sacramento Blvd. Suite 201, Chicago (773) 265-1671 1760 W. Algonquin Road Palatine (847) 358-5510

Provides a full range of services for children with autism and other intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families, including in-home personal and family supports, clinical and behavior intervention, residential services, therapeutic art programs and special needs foster care and adoption services. The ChildBridge Center for Education provides services for students with intellectual and developmental disabilities, as well as students with severe and profound needs on the autism spectrum. Also provides employment services and training, art and residential services for young adults. Provides recreation, medical and dental services for all ages.

Little Friends Inc. 140 N. Wright St., Naperville (630) 355-6533

Operates three schools, vocational training programs, community-based residential services and the Little Friends Center |

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Educational, residential, vocational and consultant services for people with autism and their families. The therapeutic day school focuses on academics, independent living, communication and social interaction for students 3-21. PACTT also operates two group homes for children and two adult homes that focus on independent life skills and community integration.

Resource Center for Autism and Developmental Delays Garfield Community Center 10 S. Kedzie, Room 202 Chicago (312) 746-5447

Free resources, referrals and monthly training. A second site has recently been opened at King Community Center, 4314 S. Cottage Grove, Room 103, Chicago; (312) 747-8571.

Spectrum Support 1575 W. Lake Shore Drive Woodstock (815) 337-7570

Family-oriented autism support center. Speech therapy, occupational therapy, DAN biomedical, chiropractic therapy and tutoring. Support, education and social groups for kids and their families.

The Autism Society of Illinois-Statewide Affilate 2200 S. Main St., Suite 203

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AUTISM SPECTRUM DISORDER Lombard (630) 691-1270

Information and referral, special education advocacy, first responder training.

BLIND OR VISUALLY IMPAIRED The Chicago Lighthouse for People who are Blind or Visually Impaired 1850 W. Roosevelt Road Chicago (312) 666-1331

Provides education, clinical, vocational and rehabilitation services for individuals who are blind or visually impaired, including deaf-blind and multi-disabled. The Lighthouse offers a nationally acclaimed school for children with multi-disabilities, a Birth to Three Early Intervention Program for infants and families, a blended preschool, the Sandy and Rick Forsythe Center for Comprehensive Vision Care, a scholarship program for post-secondary education, and a Tools for Living retail store with adaptive technology.

The Chicago Lighthouse North 222 Waukegan Road Glenview (847) 510-6200

Vision Rehabilitation Center for residents of the northern suburbs. Houses a Birth to Three Early Intervention Program for infants and families, a stateof-the-art vision care clinic offering optometry, psychological counseling and occupational therapy services, a retail store offering adaptive



technology services, and an array of enrichment programs for children including sensory playgroups and Mom & Tots programs.

The Hadley School for the Blind 700 Elm St., Winnetka (847) 446-8111

The largest provider of tuition-free distance education for those over 14 who are blind or visually impaired. Courses are offered in four program areas: Family Education (for parents and grandparents), High School, Adult Continuing Education and Professional Studies. Materials are provided in a student’s medium of choice including large print, Braille, audio and online.

The Illinois Association for Parents of Children with Visual Impairments P.O. Box 2947, Naperville (815) 355-2098

Provides support information services to parents of visually impaired children.

CAMPS Camp Bradford Woods Indiana University’s Outdoor Center, 5040 S.R. 67 North Martinsville, Ind. (765) 342-2915

Single-day and overnight programs and events for children with special needs and their families.

Camp Easter Seals Program

Easter Seals meets the need for accessible camping with 140 camping and recreation facilities across the coun-

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Friends for Therapeutic Equine Activities, see page 40. try. Day and residential camp sessions, as well as weekend and afterschool programs, are available. Hours, duration, activities, eligibility requirements, transportation availability and tuition vary from camp to camp. Visit website for information.

Camp New Hope P.O. Box 764, Mattoon (217) 895-2341

Accommodates people of diverse developmental disabilities ages 8 and up. Wheelchair-friendly facilities include minigolf, pontoon boat, fishing deck, on-site automatic external defibrillator, playground, sleeping cabins with air conditioning, trails, 3-foot swimming pool with lift and shaded deck, respite building and the Camp New Hope train. Camps begin

the first week of June and run through July.

of Youth Services (JCYS)

with developmental delays.

Camp Red Kite

26710 W. Nippersink Ingleside (847) 740-5010

Elite Stars All Sport Camp

Agassiz Elementary School 2851 N. Seminary Ave. Chicago (773) 227-0180

Provides a high quality arts experience tailored to the unique interests and needs of children on the autism spectrum. Led by a team of artists, administrators and special needs teachers dedicated to creating a safe, welcoming and comfortable environment for children with autism. Applications can be found at chicagochildrenstheatre. org/camp-red-kite.html. Scholarships available. For information, email or call.

Camp Red Leaf - Jewish Council

Located on the grounds of Camp Henry Horner, Camp Red Leaf is designed to serve youth and adults with developmental disabilities ages 9 and up. All programs are structured to be adaptable and encourage participation. They are designed to be age appropriate and to meet the needs of all campers. Fee-based program.

Camp Wisconsin Badger P.O. Box 723, Platteville, Wis. (608) 988-4558

Hosts eight one-week sessions and one twoweek session specially tailored to meet the needs of each camper

Multiple locations (847) 804-3547

Offers gymnastics, fitness, figure skating, cheerleading, dance and general sport training for individuals with special needs. Five-day, four-night camp with housing provided or day camp only.

JCYS Camp STAR Highland Park (847) 814-STAR (7827)

Collaboration between JCYS and the University of Illinois at Chicago to provide a state-of-the-art summer treatment program for children with ADHD. Offers a combination of typical camp activities with evidencebased treatment for children 6-12.


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Preschool integrates kids with disabilities


hen staff at the Chicago Lighthouse for People Who are Blind or Visually Impaired were considering the problem of employment discrimination, they went to an unusual source: preschoolers. “We’re always looking for ways to reduce barriers,” says Janet Szlyk, executive director of the Lighthouse. “If you look at developmental psychology theory, it’s really in childhood.” That realization led to the creation of a one-of-a-kind program called Preschool for All, which brings together children with and without visual impairments. The idea is that kids become familiar with inclusivity at a very early age, causing them to become adults who hire people who have disabilities. The preschool opened Sept. 30, 2013. Regardless of the philosophy behind it, Preschool for All operates like a typical preschool program. It’s a CPS partnership

program, and each classroom has a lead teacher, a teacher certified to teach those with visual impairments, and a paraprofessional. There’s an emphasis on learning to be a good friend, using words well, and being part of a community. And kids enrolled in the program are learning to be multilingual, learning Spanish as well as Braille. “Preschool is really a microcosm of what happens in society,” says lead teacher Lisa Karpas. “We want to teach kids a sense of working as a team and being an independent individual.” The half-day program is free for kids who are at a lower economic level or who are blind or visually impaired. Those at a higher income level can pay a small tuition fee. Currently, there are 11 children enrolled in the program, one of whom is visually

Paraprofessional Venus Coleman interacts with students at Preschool For All. impaired. The Lighthouse has a capacity for 20 kids each in the morning and afternoon sessions. The Preschool for All program is open to kids 3-5. If

interested, call School Director Mary Zabelski at (312) 997-3675 or email her at mary.zabelski@

Elizabeth Diffin

Special Recreation Associations in Illinois provide a lifetime of recreation opportunities for children and adults with disabilities. If your community is not listed, contact WSSRA at 847-455-2100 for assistance with finding an agency near you. Look for our ad in this magazine.

Champaign-Urbana Special Recreation (CUSR) 217-239-1152, Champaign, Urbana Chicago Park District Special Recreation Unit Chicago 312-745-1298, Fox Valley Special Recreation Association (FVSRA) 630-907-1114, Aurora, Batavia, Geneva, Montgomery, North Aurora, Oswego, St. Charles, South Elgin, Sugar Grove Gateway Special Recreation Association (Gateway) 630-325-3857 x110,, Burr Ridge, Elmhurst, Hinsdale, Oak Brook, Westchester, Willowbrook

Northeast DuPage Special Recreation Association (NEDSRA) 630-620-4500,, Addison, Bensenville, Butterfield, Glendale Heights, Itasca, Lombard, Medinah, Oak Brook Terrace, Schiller Park, Villa Park, Wood Dale

South West Special Recreation Association (SWSRA) 708-389-9423, Alsip, Blue Island, Justice, Merrionette Park, Midlothian, Palos Heights, Posen, Summit, Worth

Northern Illinois Special Recreation Association (NISRA) 815-459-0737,, Barrington, Cary, Crystal Lake, Dundee Township, Elgin, Hampshire, Harvard, Huntley, Lake in the Hills, Marengo, McHenry, Wauconda, Woodstock

Southwestern Illinois Special Recreation Association (SWILSRA) 618-346-7529, Belleville, Collinsville, Godfrey, Granite City, Highland, O’Fallon

Northern Suburban Special Recreation Association (NSSRA) 847-509-9400,, Deerfield, Glencoe, Glenview, Highland Park, Highwood, Kenilworth, Lake Bluff, Lake Forest, Northbrook, Northfield, Riverwoods, Wilmette, Winnetka

Special Recreation Association of Central Lake County (SRACLC) 847-816-4866, Grayslake, Hawthorn Woods, Lake Zurich, Libertyville, Lincolnshire, Mundelein, Vernon Hills

Northlands Association for Special Recreation (NASR) Belvidere 815-547-5711, Freeport 815-235-6114, Rockford 815-987-1606,

Special Recreation Services of Northern Lake County (SRSNLC) Lindenhurst, Round Lake Area, Waukegan, Zion Lindenhurst - 847-356-6011, Round Lake - 847-740-9828, Waukegan - 847-360-4760, Zion - 847-746-5500,

Heart of Illinois Special Recreation Association (HISRA) 309-691-1929, Chillicothe, Morton, Peoria, Washington

Northwest Special Recreation Association (NWSRA) 847-392-2848, Arlington Heights, Bartlett, Buffalo Grove, Elk Grove, Hanover Park, Hoffman Estates, Inverness, Mt. Prospect, Palatine, Prospect Heights, River Trails, Rolling Meadows, Schaumburg, South Barrington, Streamwood, Wheeling

Illinois River Valley Special Recreation Association (IRVSRA) Creve Coeur, East Peoria, Groveland, Pekin East Peoria – 309-699-3923, Pekin – 309-347-7275,

Oak Lawn Park District/Special Recreation Cooperative 708-857-2200,, Bedford Park, Bridgeview, Burbank, Chicago Ridge, Crestwood, Evergreen Park, Hickory Hills, Hometown, Oak Lawn, Palos Hills, Stickney

Kishwaukee Special Recreation Association (KSRA) 815-758-6663 x122, DeKalb, Genoa, Sycamore

River Valley Special Recreation Association (RVSRA) 815-933-7336, Bourbonnais, Bradley, Kankakee

Lily Cache Special Recreation Association (LCSRA) 630-739-1124, Bolingbrook, Plainfield Lincolnway Special Recreation Association (LWSRA) 815-462-2900,, Frankfort, Manhattan, Mokena Community, New Lenox Community, Peotone, Wilmington Maine-Niles Association of Special Recreation (M-NASR) 847-966-5522,, Des Plaines, Lincolnwood, Morton Grove, Niles, Park Ridge, Skokie

South East Association for Special Parks & Recreation (SEASPAR) 630-960-7600,, Brookfield, Clarendon Hills, Darien, Downers Grove, Indian Head Park, LaGrange, LaGrange Park, Lisle, Western Springs, Westmont, Woodridge South Suburban Special Recreation Association (SSSRA) 815-806-0384,, Country Club Hills, Flossmoor, Frankfort Square, Hazel Crest, Homewood, Lansing, Matteson, Oak Forest, Olympia Fields, Park Forest, Richton Park, Tinley Park

Special Recreation of Joliet and Channahon (SRJC) 815-741-7275 x169, Channahon, Joliet Special Recreation Services (SRS) 708-841-1071 x233, Calumet City, Dolton, Riverdale, South Holland Tri County Special Recreation Association (Tri County) 815-407-1819, Crest Hill, Lemont, Lockport Township, Romeoville Warren Special Recreation Association (WSRA) 847-244-6619, Grayslake, Gurnee, Warren Township, Wildwood Western DuPage Special Recreation Association (WDSRA) 630-681-0962, Bloomingdale, Carol Stream, Glen Ellyn, Naperville, Roselle, Warrenville, West Chicago, Wheaton, Winfield West Suburban Special Recreation Association (WSSRA) 847-455-2100, Berwyn, Cicero, Elmwood Park, Forest Park, Franklin Park, Harwood Heights, Norridge, Oak Park, River Forest |

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CAMPS Shady Oaks Camp for People with Disabilities 16300 S. Parker Road Homer Glen (708) 301-0816

Residential summer camp for people with disabilities ages 5 and up. Also offers a twoweek day camp program for children with disabilities ages 5-17.

Tourette Syndrome Camp Organization Chicago (773) 465-7536

Residential camping program is designed for kids 8-16 with a primary diagnosis of Tourette Syndrome and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and to a lesser degree ADD/ ADHD. For information, email

YMCA Camp Independence Camp Duncan, 32405 N. Highway 12 Ingleside (847) 546-8086

A year-round camp serving children and adults with spina bifida. Provides programs that teach life skills, foster independence, build confidence and increase self-esteem.

DEAF OR HEARING IMPAIRED Alexander Graham Bell Montessori School 9300 Capitol Drive, Wheeling (847) 850-5490

Oral education program for deaf and hard-ofhearing children using Cued Speech to enhance their ability to acquire age-appropriate literacy skills. Children are main-



streamed and receive additional services from the speech and language pathologist and teacher of the deaf.

Center on Deafness 3444 Dundee Road Northbrook (847) 559-0110

Serves children and adults who have hearing impairments with additional handicapping conditions such as mental illness or developmental disabilities.

CHOICES for Parents P.O. Box 806045, Chicago (312) 523-6400 (866) 733-8729

Provides parents of children with hearing loss with support, information and resources.

Illinois School for the Deaf 125 Webster Ave. Jacksonville (217) 479-4200

Educates students who are deaf or hard of hearing to be responsible, self-supporting citizens.

NSSEO (Northwest Suburban Special Education Organization) Program for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing 799 W. Kensington Road Mt. Prospect (847) 463-8100

Serves students in the north and northwestern suburban school districts of Cook and portions of southeast Lake counties.

Project Reach Illinois 818 DuPage Blvd., Glen Ellyn Philip Rock Center (630) 790-2474

Provides technical assistance/consultation, information, training and family support to address

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the needs of children with deaf-blindness and their families.

DISABILITIES ORGANIZATIONS Aspire of Illinois Belle Center Program 1754 W. Wilson Ave., Chicago (773) 878-7868

Provides a progressive, family-centered inclusive approach to education and community life that supports children with disabilities and their families. Offers such services as occupational therapy and speech therapy in the child’s natural environment.

Association for Individual Development (AID) 309 W. New Indian Trail Court Aurora (630) 966-4000

Nonprofit, communitybased organization serving more than 5,000 individuals throughout Kane, Kendall, DeKalb, DuPage, suburban Cook and Will counties. More than 20 programs for individuals with physical or developmental disabilities, and those in need of behavioral health services or crisis intervention.

Illinois Spina Bifida Association 1011 Lake St., Suite 406 Oak Park (773) 444-0305

Nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the quality of life of people with Spina Bifida through services, information, referral, research, and public awareness. The organization is moving to a new location in May.

Hope’s Playground Pediatric Therapy Center, see page 45. Learning Disabilities Association of Illinois 10101 S. Roberts Road Suite 205, Palos Hills (708) 430-7532

Serves families of people with disabilities throughout Illinois.

NF Midwest 473 Dunham Road, Suite 3 St. Charles (630) 945-3562

Nonprofit network serving families and individuals affected by Neurofibromatosis.

Park Lawn Association 10833 S. La Porte Ave. Oak Lawn (708) 425-3344

Offers a variety of supports, including adult developmental training, residential facilities, vocational training, supported employment and more for individuals with developmental disabilities.

Pathways 150 N. Michigan Ave. Suite 2100, Chicago (800) 955-2445

Raises awareness about the benefits of early detection and early therapy for children with early motor delays. The online brochure can be downloaded in numerous languages. Also offers a free video series “Understanding Sensory Issues in Children.”

The Arc of Illinois 20901 La Grange Road Suite #209, Frankfort (815) 464-1832

A clearinghouse of information committed to empowering people with disabilities to achieve full participation in community life.

Supports those affected by cystic fibrosis by being a source of assistance and advocacy for all CF individuals and families dealing with the everyday challenge of cystic fibrosis.

United Cerebral Palsy of Greater Chicago 547 W. Jackson St. Suite 225, Chicago (312) 765-0419

The mission is to advance the independence of people with disabilities, enrich their lives, provide support to their families and advocate for their inclusion in community life.


The Cystic Fibrosis Institute

Down in the Southland

2401 Ravine Way, #302 Glenview (847) 998-3434

P.O. Box 831, Tinley Park (708) 614-6118

Devoted to fostering the


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development of lifelong educational, social and life skills among individuals with Down syndrome and their families in the southern suburbs of Chicago. Provides educational support and programs.

GiGi’s Playhouse 1069 W. Golf Road Hoffman Estates (847) 885-PLAY (7529)

International Down syndrome awareness centers that offer free educational and therapeutic programs and support for individuals with Down syndrome, their families and the community. Other Illinois locations include Chicago, Aurora, McHenry, Rockford and Bradley.

National Association for Down Syndrome P.O. Box 206, Wilmette (630) 325-9112

Offers information, a parent support program for newly diagnosed children, mentoring program, work experience program and other individualized services. Also has a speaker presentation program to become trained to become a public speaker and talk to doctors and schools and educate them about Down syndrome.

Ups for Downs Hartford Plaza 1070 S. Roselle Road Schaumburg (847) 895-2100

A volunteer parent-run group for families, professionals and people with Down syndrome. Meetings are held on the third Tuesday of the month, from September through May, at the Fox Links Golf Run Club House in Elk Grove Village. See website or

email info@upsfordowns. org for information.

DYSLEXIA Chicago Reading and Dyslexia Center 180 N. Michigan Ave. Suite 2411, Chicago (312) 360-0805

Individualized programs to help children and adults overcome the challenges of dyslexia, ADD and other learning disabilities while keeping their gifts. Specializes in the Davis Dyslexia Correction Program, Davis Attention Mastery Program, Davis Autism Approach and Davis Math Mastery Program.

Everyone Reading Illinois 751 Roosevelt Road Suite 116, Glen Ellyn (630) 469-6900

Provides referrals to services for individuals with dyslexia, their families and professionals.

EDUCATION Beacon Therapeutic School 10650 S. Longwood Drive Chicago (773) 881-1005

Private special education facility serving children 3-21. Offers a multi-site service center for highrisk, multiple problem children, adolescents, teens, and their families in the Chicago area. Prevention, early intervention, assessment and treatment are integral to the continuum of services provided.

Brain Balance Achievement Center 1101 S. Milwaukee Ave. Suite 105, Vernon Hills (847) 821-1328

Works with children

with developmental and learning disorders such as ADD, ADHD, Asperger’s, dyslexia, Tourette’s, PDD and autism spectrum disorders. Individualized program uses a comprehensive, multi-faceted approach designed to address each child’s specific deficiencies while combining proper nutritional guidance.

Chicago Education Project 2353 Hassell Road, Suite 110 Hoffman Estates (847) 884-7030

Illinois State Board of Education special education facility. Provides special education alternatives to students 3-14 diagnosed with autism and related disorders, based on individual student needs, motivation and family goals by using scientifically-based methodologies, including Applied Behavior Analysis and Verbal Behavior.

Cognitive Solutions Learning Center Inc 2409 N. Clybourn Ave.Chicago (773) 755-1775

Specializes in learning disabilities and ADHD, offers educational and psychological testing, one-on-one tutoring, neurofeedback, psychotherapy and executive functions training.

Easter Seals Autism Therapeutic School 17300 Ozark Ave., Tinley Park (708) 802-9050

Approved by the Illinois State Board of Education for children 3-22. The goal is to empower each student to achieve peak academic performance, increase social and vocational skills, develop an effective means of com-

munication and foster life skills for independence in the community. Schools in Tinley Park, Chicago and Rockford.

Easter Seals Gilchrist - Marchman Child Development Center 1001 W. Roosevelt Road Chicago (312) 492-7402

Full-day, full-year inclusive early childhood and education services for children six weeks to 5 years. State-certified, credentialed and bilingual teaching staff.

Elim Christian Services 13020 S. Central Ave. Palos Heights (708) 389-0555

Programs for children and adults with disabilities, including a school and a residential program.

Hope Institute for Children and Families

made up of families, peers and professionals committed to excellence in educational, recreational, vocational, social and religious programs within the framework of Jewish values and traditions. The day school educational model follows structured teaching, also known as TEACCH. For information, contact

educational experience. Cove provides students with customized learning strategies to complete an academic curriculum, while facilitating the development of students’ social and emotional skills and self-advocacy.

Safe Haven School

An inclusive Easter Seals child care center committed to fostering independence, compassion, knowledge and respect for children of all abilities.

937 Happ Road, Northfield (847) 509-5885

Therapeutic school accepts students 5-18 with internalized emotional disabilities. These include depression, bipolar disorder, severe anxiety disorders including social phobia, separation anxiety, selective mutism, post-traumatic stress and obsessive-compulsive disorders, ADHD, LD, NVLD and multiple diagnoses.

Soaring Eagle Academy

15 E. Hazel Dell Lane Springfield (217) 585-5437

8320 S. Madison St. Burr Ridge (630) 323-2900

A multifaceted educational, residential, health services, research and training provider. Programs on and off campus use psychiatry, pediatrics, nursing, applied behavioral analysis, speech pathology, occupational therapy, physical therapy, and dietetic services tailored to the individual needs of each child. Also operates a school in Chicago: The Hope Institute Learning Academy, 1628 W. Washington Blvd.

An Illinois State Board of Education-approved therapeutic day school for students 5-21 with autism and related disorders. School philosophy integrates Developmental Language Models and DIR(r) relationship-based principles within an educational and social environment.

Keshet 617 Landwehr Road Northbrook (847) 205-1234

Therapeutic day school

The Cove School 350 Lee Road, Northbrook (847) 562-2100

A K-12 day school that serves students with learning disabilities from more than 50 school districts around Chicagoland. Kids from diverse backgrounds receive an individualized |

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The Lily Garden Child Care Center 830 S. Addison St., Villa Park (630) 261-6283

The Parent Mentor Project - Special Education District of Lake County (SEDOL) 18160 Gages Lake Road Gages Lake (847) 548-2577

Provides support, training and ongoing technical assistance to parents and educators related to special education services, with a focus on building positive relationships between home and school. Mentors are parents of children with special needs who have been trained by SEDOL and the Illinois State Board of Education.

Therapeutic School & Center for Autism Research 1939 W. 13th St., Chicago (312) 432-1751 (school) (312) 491-4110 (central office)

Offers education, research, training, academic and therapeutic services, school-to-work transition and on-site adult vocational programs on one campus. The facility was designed to meet the special needs of students with

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EDUCATION autism, emotional disability, cognitive and developmental delays.

TLC Educational Services Ltd. 732 Raleigh Court Northbrook (847) 508-9981

Educational specialist, offering remediation and enrichment in all academic areas.

Wolcott School 524 N. Wolcott, Chicago (312) 610-4900

Independent college prep high school offering a program for students with learning differences, including dyslexia and ADHD. The curriculum is tailored to the strengths and aspirations of each student. The faculty helps students gain selfawareness, confidence and resilience as well as academic, social and communication skills. Tuition assistance available. Contact Rachel, admissions director, to submit an application or to schedule a tour.

EPILEPSY Danny Did Foundation P.O. Box 46576, Chicago (800) 278-6101

A non-profit foundation created by Mike and Mariann Stanton to educate other parents about epilepsy and particularly Sudden Unexpected Death in Epilepsy, which claimed the life of their child, Danny. The foundation’s website offers resources for parents, information on SUDEP and seizure safety, seizure monitoring devices and awareness-raising events. Funding goes toward families who cannot afford seizure devices, and research.



EQUINE THERAPY Equestrian Connection 600 N. Bradley Road Lake Forest (847) 615-8696

Improves the physical, cognitive, sensory and emotional well-being of those with disabilities by providing equine-assisted therapies and a range of holistic therapy interventions. These include: hippotherapy, therapeutic riding, sensory integration therapy, art therapy, equine-assisted psychotherapy, job skills training, peer social groups, respite and more.

Freedom Woods Equestrian Center 9501 Austin Ave. Morton Grove (847) 967-9800

Offers therapeutic riding and hippotherapy for children with special needs.

Friends for Therapeutic Equine Activities P.O. Box 1636, Warrenville (630) 588-8543

Provides therapeutic equestrian activities for children and adults with special needs.

Hooves to Heal 20604 Collins Road, Marengo (847) 293-6176

Equine therapy for children and adults with special needs and veterans.

Horsefeathers Therapeutic Riding NFP 1181 Riverwoods Road Lake Forest (847) 234-2411

Provides individuals the opportunity to enhance their quality of life by participating in a horse-

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CHOICES for Parents, see page 38. manship program directed by PATH-certified riding instructors and a hippotherapy program administered by licensed therapists. Provides life skills through vocational programming that encompass all aspects of agricultural life.

Partners For Progress, NFP Therapeutic Riding Center 23525 W. Milton Road Wauconda (847) 226-1300

Occupational, speech and physical therapy facilitated with horses.

GENERAL Access Living 115 W. Chicago Ave., Chicago (800) 613-8549 or (312) 640-2100

Offers peer-oriented independent living ser-

vices; public education, awareness and development; individualized and systemic advocacy; and enforcement of civil rights on behalf of people with disabilities. All services are provided at no charge.

Anixter Center 2001 N. Clybourn Ave. 3rd floor, Chicago (773) 973-7900

Provides an array of services, including education, employment, life skills, communication, recreation, health care, counseling and support for people with disabilities. More than 10,000 children, teens and adults are served each year at dozens of locations. Most people who receive services have physical, intellectual, developmental, sensory, psychiatric or

HIV/AIDS-related disabilities. Advocates for the rights of people with disabilities.

Blue Cap 2155 Broadway St. Blue Island (708) 389-6578

Offers a school for children with intellectual and developmental disabilities, including autism, who are 3-21 years. On-site day care for children of all abilities ages 2-5 is available.

Center for Enriched Living 280 Saunders Road Riverwoods (847) 948-7001

Provides skill development for greater independence, community integration, recreation and social programs for youth, teens, adults and seniors with develop-

mental disabilities. Also offers summer day camp for ages 13-22 and day programs for ages 22 and up.

Clearbrook 1835 W. Central Road Arlington Heights (847) 870-7711

Provides programs and services for people with autism, Down syndrome, cerebral palsy and other developmental disabilities.

Community Support Services Inc 9021 W. Ogden Ave. Brookfield 5416 W. 25th St., Cicero (708) 354-4547

Nonprofit serving suburban Cook and eastern DuPage people of all ages with intellectual/ developmental disabilities and their families. Promotes independence and ability to engage


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in community life with respite, CILA group homes and independent living arrangements, support services, customized supported employment, transition planning and classes, health and wellness classes, and social activities. Cicero location focuses on family support services. CSS also owns and operates the Chicago Canine Club offering day care, boarding, grooming, retail sales and conducting vocational training programs for people with disabilities to develop skills to work in pet care.

Illinois Chapter of the PraderWilli Syndrome Association

List of resources and events for families with this syndrome, the most common known genetic cause of life-threatening obesity in children.

Institute on Disability and Human Development-UIC 1640 W. Roosevelt Road, Chicago (312) 413-1647

Center for developmental disabilities. Services include a family clinic, a Hispanic diagnostic and family support program, 0-3 program and an autism clinic.

Keshet: A Rainbow of Hope for Individuals with Special Needs 617 Landwehr Road Northbrook (847) 205-1234

Provides educational, recreational and vocational programs for children and young adults with special needs (preschool through adulthood). Year-round

programs allow kids to play and work alongside typically-developing peers. They go to school, go on trips, work at businesses, play in a baseball league, swim, and attend summer and overnight camps. Multiple locations throughout the Chicagoland area.

disabilities. Dogs and people are matched based on their training and disabilities. Many dogs are obtained from shelters or rescue groups or donated by breeders. Program includes children, some with disabilities, who foster and train dogs for other clients.

Lexi Kazian Foundation-Helping From Heaven

Neumann Family Services

105 Townline Road, Suite 132 Vernon Hills (847) 624-LEXI (5394)

Helps network families through fun events for the child with special needs that the whole family will enjoy. Also runs Lexi’s Closet, a place to request therapy equipment parents can’t get from their insurance company, are waiting to get delivered or are not sure might work for their child. Also accepts gently used therapy equipment to share with others.

Marklund 1 S. 450 Wyatt Drive, Geneva (630) 593-5500

Offers a variety of programs and services designed to provide infants, children and adults with developmental disabilities a full life. Includes medical and dental care; residential facilities in Bloomingdale and Geneva; rehabilitative therapies; education and day services; community-based respite and early-intervention programs.

MidAmerica Service Dogs’ Foundation 3 Grant Square, #354 Hinsdale (630) 272-8159 midamericadogsfoundation. org

Provides service and companion dogs to children and adults with

5547 N. Ravenswood Ave. Chicago (773) 769-4313

Provides education, housing, recreation, rehabilitation, training and employment opportunities to adults with disabilities and mental illness.

New Hope Center 1624 E. 154th St., Dolton (708) 841-1071

Community service agency that provides services to individuals with developmental disabilities who reside in Southeast Cook County and Northeast Will County.

Oak Leyden Developmental Services 411 Chicago Ave., Oak Park (708) 524-1050

Individual and group therapy and support services for children birth-5 with developmental delays; community dropin events for families; Music Together classes; day and residential services for adults with developmental disabilities.

Pioneer Center 4001 Dayton St., McHenry (815) 344-1230

Provides adult and youth counseling, intellectual and developmental disability services, sexual assault crisis counseling

and homeless services. Its focus is on assisting individuals in becoming as independent as possible.

Ray Graham Association 901 Warrenville Road Suite 500, Lisle (630) 620-2222

Supports and works with people with disabilities, their families and the community to improve the individual’s quality of life. Nearly 2,500 children and adults with disabilities, including developmental disabilities, cerebral palsy and autism receive vocational, residential, educational, respite, therapeutic and recreational services and supports at 35 locations in DuPage County.

Shore Community Services Inc. Regenstein Center 4232 Dempster St., Skokie (847) 982-2030

Provides programs for people ages birth-adult with intellectual and other developmental disabilities. Programs include residential, Early Intervention, supported living, home-based services, senior program, vocational, in-home respite and adult day services. All programs are tailored to meet the individuals’ needs and focus on daily living skills, mobility, cognition, communication, socialization, motor development, independent living, job training and job placement.

Southwest Community Services 6775 Prosperi Drive Tinley Park (708) 429-1260

Five core programs provide services to more

than 450 individuals with developmental, behavioral, physical, or learning disabilities and to those with a mental illness. Day programs include vocational opportunities and training, counseling, social activities, and community integration. Physical, occupational, speech and language, and massage therapy are offered through the Southwest Therapy and Rehabilitation Services (STARS) program (

St. Coletta of Illinois 18350 Crossing Drive Suite 103, Tinley Park (708) 342-5200

Provides elementary through high school education. The school program serves children who are developmentally disabled or have autism. The Vocational Training Center provides opportunities for individuals with special needs to become self-sufficient and learn the responsibilities and benefits of working. St. Coletta’s residential program is designed to provide quality housing for special needs individuals, allowing clients to be integrated into the community. The program consists of 30 groups homes within 15 southwest suburban communities of Chicago.

Suburban Access Inc. - SAI 900 Maple Ave., 3rd Floor Homewood (708) 799-9190

Nonprofit agency handles case management and service coordination to individuals with developmental disabilities in 18 townships of south and west suburban Cook County. |

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Trinity Services Inc. 100 N. Gougar Road, Joliet (815) 485-6197

Provides a wide range of programs and services for children and adults with developmental disabilities and/or behavioral health needs. Provides residential services (CLIs), adult learning programs, a variety of vocational programs including supported employment, an autism center, respite services, in-home supports, a drop-in center, varied therapeutic services, etc. Is also the state affiliate for people with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder.

V.I.P Service Dog Foundation P.O. Box 851, Oswego

Trains service and companion dogs for the disabled.

HEALTH Advocate Hope Children’s Hospital 4440 W. 95th St., Oak Lawn (708) 684-8000

Provides a cleft palate and craniofacial center; a pediatric endocrine program; comprehensive pediatric rehabilitation program; treatment of sleep disorders in children; and followup clinics for children who required a stay in the neonatal intensive care unit and children who have previously undergone treatment for cancers.

Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago 225 E. Chicago Ave., Chicago (312) 227-4000 (800) KIDS-DOC (543-7362)

Offers the latest innovations in medical technology and research with

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GENERAL kids and families at the center. The hospital is the pediatric teaching and research partner of Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. It is one of a handful of U.S. children’s hospitals with a dedicated pediatric research center.

La Rabida Children’s Hospital 6501 Promontory Drive East 65th at Lake Michigan Chicago (773) 363-6700

Children with complex medical conditions receive the array of services they need under one medical home roof. Teams may include a pediatrician, nurse, developmental and rehabilitative therapists, psychologist, social worker, case manager and dietitian.

MAGIC Foundation 6645 W. North Ave., Oak Park (800) 362-4423

Support and education for children and adults with growth disorders.

Pfeiffer Medical Center 3 S. 721 West Ave., Suite 300 Warrenville (630) 505-0300

Medical outpatient facility specializing in the treatment of symptoms from biochemical imbalances. Its medical team treats children, teens and adults with symptoms of behavioral and learning disorders (including ADD/ ADHD), autism spectrum disorders, depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, anxiety, post traumatic stress syndrome and Alzheimer’s disease. PMC takes an integrative approach to identify and treat the root metabolic causes



with a multi-disciplinary clinical team involving physicians, nurses, dietitians, pharmacists and other clinical specialists.

Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago-Pediatric & Adolescent Program 345 E. Superior St., Chicago (800) 354-REHAB (7342)

Pediatric clinical experts treat children with a wide range of diagnoses, from mild stroke to major trauma. Patients benefit from an integrated pediatric team of physical and occupational therapists, speechlanguage pathologists, a child psychologist, social worker and child life specialist. Access to RIC’s extensive continuum of care, including a 25-bed inpatient unit and 27 sites of care.

Shriners Hospitals for Children 2211 N. Oak Park Ave. Chicago (773) 622-5400

Provide pediatric orthopedic surgeries, plastic and craniofacial surgery, and spinal cord injury rehabilitation to children under 18 at no charge. There is an outpatient clinic, rehab facilities, a wheelchair-accessible playground and an accessible track. Shriners is a teaching hospital that conducts significant research.

LEGAL DePaul University Special Education Advocacy Clinic 1 E. Jackson Blvd., Suite 100 Chicago (312) 362-8294

Comprehensive advocacy program designed to protect the educa-

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Keshet, see page 39. tional rights of children with disabilities. The clinic’s primary goal is to facilitate the adoption of practices that promote inclusion of children with disabilities and help overcome barriers to education in underserved communities. Primarily works within Cook County and at public schools only.

RECREATION 1st Position Dance and Movement Dance Center Evanston 1934 Dempster St. Evanston (847) 563-8719

Designed to encourage movement and improve posture and selective motor control. Also promotes socialization and artistic expression. Classes include facilitators for each student and live piano music.

Chicago Children’s Museum Navy Pier 700 E. Grand Ave. Chicago (312) 527-1000

On the second Saturday

of every month, the museum hosts Play For All, which provides families with children with special needs a chance to visit the museum early and play in a quiet, more manageable setting. Opens at 9 a.m. for the event and offers a quiet room with special lighting. Museum opens to the public at 10 a.m. Registration is required at (312) 321-6551 or chicagochildrensmuseum/ The first 100 to register (limit six per family) receive free admission.

Dolphin Swim Club Crystal Lake, Skokie, Schaumburg - (847) 854-1300 Loves Park, Rockford - (815) 282-3488

From small-group lessons to private one-on-one lessons, teachers are experienced in working with students who have special needs including autism, Down syndrome, cerebral palsy and sensory integration disorder.

Funtastic Gymnastic Therapies Multiple locations (224) 554-9634

Offers occupational therapy in gymnastics settings and aquatic therapy in warm water pools with dynamic and therapeutic activities, including ABA therapy. Combines therapy, social and peer interaction and sensory integration to encourage and increase body and spatial awareness, tactile discovery, strength, and confidence in every child.

Haley’s Playground Inc. 1 N. Lincolnway North Aurora (630) 777-5045

Provides a safe, healthy, sensory motor environment for individuals with physical, cognitive and social disabilities to improve quality of life through play, exercise, activity, and education while interacting with family, friends and peers. Available for ages 2-30. The kids, teens and young adults are mentored by their peers of typical development. Offers Thursday teen night, Saturday morning

classes and Sunday open gym. For more information, visit haleysplayground.

Hanson Center 15 W. 431 59th St. Burr Ridge (630) 620-2222

Nonprofit agency offers a variety of programs for everyone in the community. The 12.5-acre facility includes an indoor horseback riding arena, a playground, a petting zoo and an indoor solarium. Programs include horseback riding, sports, physical fitness, summer camps and a preschool.

KEEN: Kids Enjoy Exercise Now University of Illinois at Chicago Sport and Fitness Center 828 S. Wolcott Ave., Chicago (312) 876-2536

Nonprofit, volunteer-led organization that provides free recreational opportunities for those 5-21 with developmental and physical disabilities. KEEN pairs a trained volunteer “coach” with a young athlete in sports and swim program. A


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second facility is located at Fleetwood-Jourdain Center, 1655 Foster St., Evanston.

Right Fit Sport Fitness Wellness 7101 S. Adams St., Unit 7 Willowbrook (630) 850-4050

Right Fit’s Raise the Bar fitness programs and camps are offered year round for youth and adults with autism spectrum disorders and those who are physically and mentally challenged. Right Fit is a partner with PAK (ProActive Kids), training youths who struggle with obesity and providing support to the families.

Rink Side Special Sk8er class Rink Side Ice Arena and Family Entertainment Center At Gurnee Mills Mall Entrance H, Gurnee (847) 856-1064 ext. 302

Skating class for ages 3 to adult who have physical and mental challenges. Classes are held Saturday mornings. Cost is $13 pre-registered, $15 at the door.

School of Performing Arts Spectrum Program 200 E. 5th Ave., Suite 132 Naperville (630) 717-6622

Workshops in music, theater, dance and visual arts geared toward children with special needs. Also offers summer camps for children with special needs.

Sky High Sports 2244 Corporate Lane Naperville (630) 717-5867 6424 Howard St., Niles (847) 801-5867 and

Once a month, Sky High Sports turns off the

music and dials down the distractions for special jumpers. One court remains especially quiet for kids with sensory disorders. A parent can take their child out of the wheelchair and lay them on the trampoline. Then mom or dad jumps, bouncing their child on the trampoline. Jumps are held from 3-6 p.m. the first Tuesday of each month. Cost is $5 for three hours for the special jumper with a parent or therapist free. Siblings, friends and others who jump are also $5.

focuses on motor development and preparation for participation in future sports. Trainings and events happen at the local, regional and state level. For information about starting a Young Athletes program, contact youngathletes@

Special Recreation Associations in Illinois

Special Gifts Theatre

To find your Special Recreation Association or learn more about specialized recreation services in your area, log on to the website.

P.O. Box 2231, Northbrook (847) 564-7704

Therapy Yoga Gymnastics Rocks

Provides a creative drama experience for children, teens and adults who have special needs. The stage is used to enhance social and emotional literacy skills, increase self-esteem and develop speech language. Programs are offered at multiple locations throughout the Chicagoland area.

2630 W. Bradley Place Chicago (773) 991-7316

Special Olympics Illinois Northern Office 800 Roosevelt Road, B-220 Glen Ellyn (630) 942-5610

Provides sports training and competition for children (8 and up) and adults with intellectual disabilities. Check website for schedule and locations.

Special Olympics Illinois Young Athletes Program (630) 942-5610 or (309) 888-2551

A gross motor training program for children with and without intellectual disabilities ages 2-7. Young Athletes

Provides pediatric occupational and physical therapy in fun gymnastic and yoga centers. Certified therapists create individualized sessions that use gymnastics equipment and yoga activities to improve physical, social, cognitive and life skills. Additional locations in Northbrook at 1845 Raymond Drive and in Niles at 7779 N. Caldwell Ave.

SUPPORT AmeriFace P.O. Box 751112 Las Vegas, Nev. (888) 769-9264

National organization with volunteers around the country. Provides information and emotional support to individuals with facial differences.

Celebrate Differences 5375 Route 34, Suite 4 Oswego (630) 885-3006

All-inclusive disability resource center. Offers parent-facilitated support groups, monthly workshops, sibling workshops, a resource library, an annual summer and holiday party, a book club, play groups, and teen and pre-teen autism social groups.

Center for Independent Futures 1015 Davis St., Evanston (847) 328-2044

Nonprofit organization that helps individuals with disabilities and their families access skills and opportunities.

Family Resource Center on Disabilities 11 E. Adams St., Suite 1002 Chicago (312) 939-3513 or (312) 9393519 TTD

Provides information and support for families, free seminars, Youth Advocacy Project and Parent-To-Parent Training Project.

Family Support Network of Illinois 651 E. 159th Place South Holland (708) 331-7370

Works to unify individuals with disabilities and their families to advocate for funding, services and community resources.

Illinois Parents of Adults with Developmental Disabilities (IPADD) Unite 3104 Treesdale Court Naperville (630) 922-3232 group/IPADDUnite

More than 1,200 Illinois families working toward better futures for their loved ones. IPADD offers free online support and resources

specific to Illinois on topics including: transition, employment, volunteerism, day programming, funding, legislative advocacy, housing, social security, Medicaid and Medicare and transportation.

National Lekotek Center

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A parent-led group open to all parents, regardless of their child’s diagnosis. Monthly meetings to share experiences and support. Guest speakers. Childcare provided on-site.

Supporting Illinois Brothers and Sisters

2001 N. Clybourn Ave. Suite 100, Chicago (773) 528-5766

Offers therapeutic playbased sessions and play groups for children with disabilities (birth-8) and their families. These play sessions are structured to help children with special needs learn, develop and thrive. Members are able borrow toys from the toy lending library. Services are provided in English and Spanish.

Protected Tomorrows Charities 103 Schelter Road Lincolnshire (847) 522-8086 protectedtomorrows

Nonprofit dedicated to helping families with special needs optimize the lifelong care of their loved ones. The mission is to provide resources, research and education for families of individuals with disabilities and the elderly.

South Chicago Parents & Friends 10241 S. Commercial Ave. Chicago (773) 734-2222

Supports people of South Deering, South Chicago, South Shore, Pullman and Roseland communities with developmental disabilities, enabling to learn, work, play and live just like others.

Special Parents for Special Kids 212 Barney Drive (inside |

Easter Seals), Joliet specialparentsforspecialkids. com

3800 N. Lake Shore Drive #3E, Chicago (708) 989-3619

Nonprofit organization providing support to siblings of people with disabilities in Illinois by connecting them with information, networking opportunities and resources to enhance the quality of life for their entire family. For information, e-mail tara@

The Apraxia Connection 401 N. Catherine Ave. La Grange Park

Established by three Chicagoland mothers of children with varied degrees of apraxia of speech, global apraxia, and associated disorders. Strives to connect neighborhood resources and information on apraxia and associated disorders with those who need them. The Apraxia Connection serves Chicago-area communities and the Midwest.

Tic Together Community Group River Heights Business Center 5375 Highway 34, Suite 4 Oswego

Support group for people whose lives have been touched by Tourette Syndrome. Meets the third Wednesday of every month at 6:30 p.m. and is open to all ages. For information, email

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La Rabida transitions teens to adulthood


rowing up is hard, and it can be even more difficult for kids who have special

needs. That’s why La Rabida Children’s Hospital has launched two new programs designed to help its young adults and their parents deal with the challenging transition period between childhood and independence. The transition programs were inspired by the American Academy of Pediatrics national initiative encouraging assistance for the movement from pediatric to adult care. They both focus on the 16-21 age range. LAUNCH, which stands for Leading Adolescents to Understanding New Challenges in their Health care, is a foursession program designed for La Rabida patients who are

cognitively typically developing but have a chronic health condition. Young people and their parents attend together, but sessions are broken up based on the topic of discussion. Topics include insurance, employment and employment rights, and the emotional process of letting go. At one session, patients who have previously participated in the program form a panel to discuss their own situations. ASCEND, which stands for Assistance and Support for Caregivers as they Embark in New health care Directions for their young adults, focuses exclusively on parents of young people who are severely cognitively impaired. It also is a four-session program and focuses on topics like insurance, how to

Jamal Stallings hugs his sister after a LAUNCH sessions. obtain guardianship and schooling issues. ASCEND also provides emotional support and companionship for parents struggling with the transition time. “It’s very difficult for our families to leave La Rabida,

especially those who are very impaired,” says Pam Northrop, Medical Home program manager. “This group really meets a need that helps support them.”

Elizabeth Diffin


All Bright Therapies

sibshops; and family programs.

Adult and Child Therapy Services

1957 W. Dickens, Chicago (773) 698-6535

708 Washington St., Woodstock (815) 338-1707

Speech/language, occupational and feeding therapy for children.

Offers physical, occupational and speech therapy, as well as nursing services.

241 Golf Mill Center Suite 201, Niles (847) 699-9757

Aspire Children’s Services

Feeding clinic and multidisciplinary therapy services.

Adventist Paulson Pediatric Rehab 222 E. Ogden Ave., Hinsdale (630) 856-2600 Care-Services/Pediatric-Rehab

Offers children the highest level of services in an atmosphere that nurtures growth and encourages participation. From high-tech therapy to the latest in play, the program is fun for kids and comforting to parents. Also offers physical, occupational and speech therapists, and a pediatric audiologist.



1815 S. Wolf Road, Hillside (708) 236-0979

Comprehensive services for children who have developmental delays and disabilities. Includes developmental, occupational, physical, sensory integration and speech therapies; evaluations; orthopedic and vision clinics; social skills groups; alert groups for children who need to recognize and regulate their arousal levels; assistive technology and augmentative communication evaluations and support; parent groups;

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Assential Therapies

BDI Playhouse 11411 W. 183rd St. Orland Park 1864 High Grove Lane Suite 104, Naperville (708) 478-1820

Provides a range of therapy services, intensive programming for autism, play groups and parent training.

Beth Osten & Associates 9833 Woods Drive Skokie (847) 663-1020

Offers individual occupational, developmental,

physical and speech and language therapy as well as parent coaching and psychotherapy for children and parents. Weekly group sessions include social, sports and sensory integration groups. Also an intensive therapeutic preschool play group and in-home floortime sessions.

Center for Independence through Conductive Education 100 W. Plainfield Road Countryside (708) 588-0833

Provides intensive motor training programs based on principles of conductive education. The peer-supported program focuses on functional activities to improve independence and serves children with

cerebral palsy 2-18. The team of conductive education teachers, occupational therapists and physical therapists provide year round and summer programming. Locations in Lake Zurich and 2434 S. Kildare, Chicago.

City Kids 5669 N. Northwest Highway Chicago (773) 467-5669

Physical, occupational, and speech and language therapy, plus educational preschool playgroups and a variety of classes and groups.

sports training and music therapy. Teen center to learn and practice leisure and social skills.

Community Therapy Services 40W310 LaFox Road Suite A1/B1, St. Charles (630) 444-0077

Provides speech, occupational, physical, and augmentative communication therapy. Facilitates support groups for parents and caregivers. Check website for more information regarding groups or contact the clinic directly.

Clinical Connections

Connected Kids Pediatric Therapy

2225 Lakeside Drive Bannockburn (847) 234-0688

15 Commerce Drive Suite 111, Grayslake (847) 502-8348

In-home floortime services, speech and occupational therapy,

Provides therapy in a gymnastics setting. Approach combines


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social interaction, sensory integration, strengthening, coordination, sequencing and following directions.

Courage To Connect Therapeutic Center 2400 Ravine Way, Suite 600 Glenview (847) 730-3042

Full range of therapy and support services for Asperger’s Syndrome, anxiety, depression, ADHD, art and play therapy, behavior management, teens and young adults. Monthly social groups for Asperger’s and ADHD social skills.

Easter Seals DuPage and the Fox Valley Region 830 S. Addison Ave., Villa Park (630) 620-4433

Offers physical, occupational, speech-language, nutrition and assistive technology therapies. Also offers audiology services, community outreach programs and specialty clinics. Pediatric medical specialists partner to provide a Respiratory Clinic, Nutrition & Feeding Clinic, Positioning and Mobility Clinic, Casting Clinic, Splinting Clinic, Orthopedic Clinic, Vision Clinic and Dental Clinic. Social worker and parent liaison available to help parents. Also provides support groups and sibling support groups. Other locations at 1323 Bond St., Naperville and 799 S. McLean Blvd., Elgin. The Lily Garden Child Care Development Center in Villa Park ( is an inclusive childcare center.

Easter Seals Joliet Region 212 Barney Drive, Joliet (815) 725-2194

Provides physical, occupational, speech

and developmental therapy, inclusive child care, early intervention, school therapy, outpatient rehabilitation and residential group homes and foster care services. Offers a wide variety of programming for families with children with autism spectrum disorders through the Family Center for Autism Resources including: social skills groups, sibling workshops, family recreation nights, educational materials and a parent support group. Jump Start Early Childhood Programming is provided for at-risk families with children birth to 3.

Easter Seals Society of Metropolitan Chicago 1939 W. 13th St., Suite 300 Chicago (312) 491-4110

Provides comprehensive autism services, early intervention, inclusive early childhood education, family support and services, and youth and adult services.

El Valor 1850 W. 21st St., Chicago (312) 666-4511

Bilingual, bicultural resource centers; respite services for families with special needs children; Inclusive Head Start and Family Services; Transition Family Education.

Eyas Landing 1436 W. Randolph St., Suite 204, Chicago (312) 733-0883

Offers occupational, speech and group therapy, therapeutic preschool program, early intervention services and summer camp programs. Specializes in sensory integration, autism and speech delays.

Flying High Sports & Rec Center: Superstars Pediatric Therapy Program 5400 East Ave., Countryside (708) 352-3099

Indoor sports and recreation center. Offers Superstars, a pediatric occupational and physical therapy program.

Focus on Kids Too 425 Huel Road, Suite 14A Northbrook (847) 412-9772

Pediatric occupational therapy. Specializes in the treatment of children with sensory processing disorders.

Hope’s Playground Pediatric Therapy Inc. 311 W. Depot St., Suite N Antioch (847) 838-8085

Offers pediatric occupational, physical and speech-language therapy for children birth-18 with a variety of diagnoses, offering treatment and group therapy services.

Institute for Therapy through the Arts 1702 Sherman, Evanston (847) 425-9708

Provides individual, group and family therapy services for those who have psychological, physical and developmental challenges, encouraging them to achieve the fullest potential through the arts—dance/movement, drama, music and art. Serves clients throughout Chicagoland as well as at a clinic in Evanston.

Kick Start Pediatric Network 1845 Oak St., Suite 15 Northfield (847) 386-6560

Pediatric clinic offering occupational therapy, speech/language therapy, groups including social groups and fine motor/

handwriting groups. The staff specializes in a range of approaches including Sensory Integration, Fine and Gross Motor Development, Oral Motor, and DIR. Provides early intervention services and private services for kids 0-3 in a clinic setting.

Kids Can Do Inc. Children’s Therapy Center 19100 S. Crescent Drive Suite 101, Mokena (708) 478-5400

Provides speech, occupational and physical therapy.

Learning through Play Center for Child Development 633 W. Addison St., Chicago (312) 458-9865

Offers speech therapy, ABA/behavior therapy, occupational therapy, and sensorimotor modalities such as Interactive Metronome. Has a variety of preschool classes, socialization groups and yearly speech camps.

LYNX Therapeutics Pediatric Therapy 9436 Ozark Ave. Morton Grove (847) 791-1631

Pediatric therapy and learning instruction programs. Home-based services available. Provides assessments, techniques and technology. Focuses on improving sensorimotor development, gross and fine motor skills, as well as enhancing social development, attention, and academic success.

Milestones-For Kids’ Success 2901 Finley Road, Suite 101 Downers Grove (630) 792-1800

Provides pediatric occupational, physical, speech-language therapy, social work, bio-

feedback/neurofeedback and chiropractic/holistic care. Expertise in sensory integration therapy, sound-based/therapeutic listening intervention, feeding therapy, Neuro-Developmental Treatment, Kinesiotaping, and specialized techniques to work with children with apraxia, torticolis, neurodevelopmental disorders, and autism spectrum disorders.

Mosaic Therapy 604 W. Lavergne, Wilmette (312) 799-9351

Offers families counseling, educational therapy and occupational therapy through parent education and direct service.

North Shore Pediatric Therapy

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Special Therapy Care 11750 S. Western Ave. Chicago (773) 779-5800

Offers occupational, speech, physical, or developmental therapy as well as sensory integration treatment. A second location is at 4507 W. 95th St., Oak Lawn.

Tivers Clinical Specialties, PC

Glenview, Chicago and Highland Park (877) 486-4140

Pediatric multidisciplinary clinics including neuropsychology, diagnostics and therapy. Offers occupational, speech and physical therapy, applied behavior analysis, behavior911, social work, nutrition, academic tutoring, reading and social groups. Also provides free resources, developmental checklists and parenting blogs on its website.

PlayWorks Therapy Inc. 2155 W. Belmont, Chicago (847) 977-3399

Offers home-based and clinic-based developmental therapy, speech therapy, play groups and social work/counseling services.

Social Endeavors 1416 Lake St., Suite 1 Evanston (773) 339-7619

Social skills groups for children 2-10, focusing on the development of |

age-appropriate social and communication skills. Emphasizes handson learning for parents, children and teachers. Uses a variety of techniques and strategies including social thinking, perspective taking, problem solving, cognitivebehavioral and group process. Individualized support and therapy services are also available.

26575 W. Commerce Drive Unit 506, Volo (224) 993-9450

Therapy, coaching and consulting. Specializing in ADHD and Asperger Syndrome/HF Autism. To receive a free email newsletter text TIVERS to 22828.

UIC Child & Family Development Center 1640 W. Roosevelt Road Room 336, MC628 Chicago (312) 413-1567

Offers state-of-the art services individualized, evidence-based, and family-centered. The child’s caregiver is an active participant in sessions where they learn to promote their child’s growth and development. Licensed and credentialed clinical staff provide evaluation and therapy services through private insurance and or Illinois’ Early Intervention System. Pediatric therapy services with bilingual Spanish/English providers available.

Specıal Parent Winter 2014 CHICAGO



2/7/14 11:45 AM

Specıal Parent CHICAGO






At Southwest Dental we take special care of

special needs. You Want [to Communicate More Effectively.] Exceptional Care at Affordable Rates.

See our ad on the Inside Front Cover

PEDIATRIC DENTISTRY We take the fear out of dentistry for your child. • Shots and drilling are no longer necessary • Computer x-rays reduce your child’s exposure to radiation • We use smaller chairs and instruments • We welcome patients with special needs • Pleasant, comfortable surroundings

Exceptional care and patient comfort go hand in hand at Southwest Dental Group. This gives special needs children and adults an experience they can feel good about - with the option of IV sedation for situational anxiety. We believe there’s no need too special.

(708) 403-3355

16600 South 107th Court, Orland Park, IL

Dr. Tentler holds diplomate status in the American Society of Dentist Anesthesiologists. Dr. Robert L. Tentler and Associates, General Dentistry

Diplomate, American Board of Pediatric Dentistry

16345 S. Harlem • Tinley Park

Midwestern University

SpeechLanguage Institute Your Family’s Home for Healthcare 3450 Lacey Road Downers Grove, IL 60515 630/743-4500

Earn Income At Home Safe, Sensible, Simple & Solid Business

I am a mom of a child with special needs. I know how hard it can be to work a traditional job. Let me show you a business that will work for “our special needs”.

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SIBSENSATIONS gives siblings (ages 8-13) of children with special needs a chance to meet peers in a fun, friendly setting where they can share common joys and concerns. Through games, activities and discussions, they will form friendships, learn about disabilities and discover how to handle tough situations they all face.



Saturdays: Please call for dates and times


$10.00 per session, registration is required.


acktman Children’s Pavilion Y 1675 Dempster-Park Ridge, IL


Kathryn Smart MS RN, 847-723-9484


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1OUT OF 50 CHILDREN ARE DIAGNOSED WITH AUTISM Your gift to the Autism Society of Illinois will help 1000’s of families


Help make Autism Society Of Illinois great!

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All money raised in Illinois stays in Illinois to serve our families





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ChiCago Specıal Parent Advertiser Index Ad Name .....................................Page Number(s)

Chicago Park District....................................... Inside Back

Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities.....................5

Acacia Academy..............................................................22

Children’s Research Triangle ..........................................26

Midwestern University .............................................15, 46

Advocate Children’s Hospital ...................................18, 46

The Cove School .............................................................. 12

At Home CEO .................................................................. 46

DuPage Children’s Museum ........................................... 14

Autism Family Center .....................................................23

Easter Seals ...................................................................... 4

Autism Society ............................................................... 46

Equestrian Connection .................................................. 30

Sertoma Speech & Hearing Center................................ 18

Bellybum ..........................................................Back Cover

Extended Home Living Services ..................................... 9

Smart Love Family Services ........................................... 31

Cadence Hospital .............................................................. 1

Family Resource Center on Disabilities......................... 12

Southwest Dental Group ......................................... 28, 46

Calian & Gross, LLP .......................................................... 14

Healthy Children Expo ..................................................... 9

Camelot Therapeutic Day Schools ................................. 19

Here We Come Transportation ......................................24

Center for Independence ............................................... 14

Karate Can-Do! ................................................................24

Charlie’s Gift .................................................................... 18

Learning Disabilities Association of Illinois .................. 19

The Theater School at DePaul University .....................28

Chicago Children’s Museum ............................................ 6

Markland Day School ....................................................... 6

Wood Family Law ...........................................................26

PACE ...................................................................................3 SEASPAR............................................................................ 9

SRANI ...................................................Inside Front, 37, 46 Fredric S. Tatel, DDS ....................................................... 46 |

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Specıal Parent Winter 2014 CHICAGO



2/7/14 2:55 PM


Singing her way out of the darkness T

eenager Breanna Bogucki was nervous when she first took the stage at the Special Talent America Show to sing her own version of Taylor Swift’s song “Mean.” But when she saw that the crowd—and the judges—were dancing and clapping along, she relaxed and belted out a first place finish in the Naperville competition a year ago. Since then, Breanna has recorded her first single, “I Was Born Yesterday,” written especially for her by her voice teacher Lisa McClowry and Jim Peterik, a former member of the rock band Survivor. “I always wanted to be in a recording studio,” says Bree. “And the song they wrote is about my life.” Bree’s mom Mary Ellen Bogucki would be the first to acknowledge that Bree’s life has not been easy. She has sensory integration disorder, obsessivecompulsive disorder and is on the autism spectrum. As a young child, her only language was repetitive—there was no possibility of having a conversation with her. And taking her out of the house “was horrible,” Mary Ellen recalls. “She would scream and we couldn’t take her anywhere. She’s my youngest (of three children) and we just stopped taking her anywhere.” Bree began a variety of therapies by the time she was 3, and attended school with a 1-on-1 aide until she completed eighth grade. The only thing that calmed her down during



Specıal Parent Winter 2014 CHICAGO

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these difficult times was music, and soon her family heard Bree singing along. “At 6 or 7, she was singing in the backseat of the car and I realized she could actually carry a tune,” Mary Ellen says. Soon Bree began voice lessons through NISRA, the local special recreation association. Now 16 and attending Cary-Grove High School, Bree is mainstreamed into regular classes and has joined the school choir. It’s still not always easy though. Whether it’s the fact that she has special needs, or her new-found fame, other students don’t often approach her and she’s spent more than one lunch hour sitting alone. “She wants to fit into our world, but she’s trapped between two worlds,” her mother says. To help, Mary Ellen and another mother have started a group called Friends Finding Friends, where high-functioning teens and young adults can share social activities. Bree also plays four sports through Special Olympics and has found friends there. But through it all, Bree remains optimistic and bubbling over with exuberance, especially when she talks about music or her love of photography. Her advice to other parents of children like her? “Don’t be afraid to get them help; it makes a difference. And never give up hope.”

 “I Was Born Yesterday” is currently available on iTunes under Breanna’s stage name, Breanna Alyssa.

Liz DeCarlo


2/7/14 2:55 PM

Our most important customers are children.

Special Olympics • Adaptive and Paralympic Sports 312.742.PLAY (7529) 312.747.2001 (TTY)

City of Chicago, Rahm Emanuel, Mayor Chicago Park District Board of Commissioners Chicago Park District, Michael P. Kelly, General Superintendent & CEO

Innovative Programs • Inclusive Recreation

8th Annual National Junior Wheelchair Softball Tournament

August 8-9, 2014 Chicago, IL If you are a player looking for a team or a team looking for a tournament, contact

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12:39 PM

inclusive, simple, fun: because finding what you need should be easy! • • • • • • • • • •



Sensory & Developmental Toys Behavioral & Learning Systems Therapeutic Furniture & Aids Therapy Swings & Scooters Adaptive Technology Chewelry & Fidgets Weighted & Compression Items Bed, Bath & Feeding Gear Parent Support Groups Online Store & Wish Lists






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Chicago Special Parent Winter 2014  
Chicago Special Parent Winter 2014