Category: special needs

A Caring Community Creates a Playground for Children with Disabilities

A Caring Community Creates a Playground for Children with Disabilities
The Happy Ending to the Evanston Park School Playground Story “The future which we hold in trust for our own children will be shaped by our fairness to other people’s children.” — Marian Wright Edelman The school playground was usually empty. The swing frame held no swings. The wooden climbing structure was decaying, faded and... Read more »

In My World, Every Day is Autism Awareness Day

Today is World Autism Awareness Day. I guess it’s a good idea to have a special day for autism since one out of every 68 kids in America is now diagnosed as having Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD). With odds like those, I suspect everyone knows someone whose life has been touched by ASD. I am... Read more »

Do The Right Thing for Kids Needing Special Education: A Valentine’s Day Message to the State of Illinois

As someone who loves her grandchildren with special needs, I am begging you this Valentine’s Day to have a heart. And as a lifelong advocate for civil rights, which includes the rights of people with disabilities, I am asking our State Senators, Representatives, and Governor to think deeply about the consequences of a bill under... Read more »
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Summer for a Child with Special Needs – So Glad it’s Almost Over

Of the many challenges that families of children with significant special needs confront, summer may be one of the most difficult. Like mine, these families are now counting the days until school resumes and life becomes more predictable and productive for their kids. Predictability is so important for the happiness of children with significant special... Read more »

May is Cystic Fibrosis Month: Advocating for my Grandchild with CF

It’s hard to describe the pain of watching a child you love challenged by a chronic illness. When I learned my 2 ½ -year-old granddaughter had Cystic Fibrosis almost seven years ago, I felt like I had been punched in the gut. My grandchild was not supposed to struggle with a serious condition. That’s not... Read more »

When a Feel Good Story About a Child with Special Needs Feels Bad

A boy with developmental disabilities invited his classmates to his ninth birthday party and no one came. His mother reported that he waited to cut his “K-9” cake, hoping friends would show up, but they didn’t. The Chicago Tribune ran a feel good story about how a Facebook post about the non-party resulted in cards,... Read more »
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Photos Become a Child's Voice

October is Photographer Appreciation Month, and before it ends I want to give a shout out to my granddaughter for whom photography has become a key into her mind. She has special needs that greatly limit her expressive language. I know she understands what I tell her and has plenty of thoughts and feelings about... Read more »

Social Impact Bonds: Chicago Plays Pay for Success with Young Kids

I’ll confess that in my capacity as an early childhood director for over twenty years, I often made the argument for the benefits of quality early childhood education. I discussed it at community meetings as a way to level the playing field to give every child a decent start in life. I wrote about it... Read more »

How Blue Cross Blue Shield Hurts Kids with Special Needs

Shame on Blue Cross Blue Shield (BCBS) for making life even harder for parents of kids with special needs. And shame on our country for putting up with a healthcare system that is all about profits and doesn’t give a hoot for providing either health or care. According to Crain’s Chicago Business (note, this is coming... Read more »
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Writing a Book: When my Granddaughter's Photos Become the Story

When I was working as the director of Cherry Preschool, one of the maxims I followed was “the interruptions are the job.” Writing isn’t that different. Often, the disruptions become the story. So while my day may total a big fat zero for writing my book, blogging about my granddaughter’s passion for photography inspires me to return to... Read more »