Category: special needs

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 »

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 »

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night, Special Needs, and Photography

“The world is full of obvious things which nobody by any chance ever observes.” (Sherlock Holmes from The Hound of the Baskervilles) In The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night, the narrator adds, “But he notices them, like I do.” Because the play based on this book just won a Tony award and... Read more »

May is Cystic Fibrosis Month: Having a Grandchild with CF

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

Inclusion: A Preschool that Truly Cares About Other People’s Children

Welcoming and including children with special needs has always been part of Cherry Preschool’s mission. But this Evanston preschool community not only talks the talk, it walks the walk. At its annual fundraiser on March 21, parents, teachers, and friends of the school raised their paddles to donate $35,000 to fund next year’s Inclusion Program.... Read more »

Special Education, the PARCC Test, and Opting Out

Just how should a student with special needs that include significant communication and anxiety disorders express his desire to opt out of the Partnership in Assessment for College and Careers (PARCC) exam? Will throwing his laptop across the room count? How about banging his head on his desk? Does he need to scream or cry... Read more »

Valentine’s Day is a Good Time to Celebrate Friendship and Inclusion

There are lots of aspects of middle school that create PTSD in highly successful and competent adults. Let’s just say it’s not the happiest time in most people’s lives. So in honor of a week that includes Make a Friend Day on February 11, No One Eats Alone Day on February 13, and Valentine’s Day... Read more »

Keep Maggie Daley Park a Dog-Free Zone

Dog lovers don’t hate me. Before you get angry and start to write mean comments on this post, I must state that I really, really like dogs. In fact, one of my daughters is a vet, and all of my kids have dogs. But I have to vote “no” when it comes to allowing dogs... Read more »

What Summer Looks Like for a Child with Special Needs

Ethan is in full-blown refusal mode. He has realized that his “summer camp” is really a version of school, minus his familiar teachers and peers. Not much playtime or recess, even on beautiful 80-degree days. Sofia, on the other hand, is struggling at a summer camp with lots of play but no consistent schedule. Even... Read more »