Tag: special needs advocacy

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 »


As we enter the month of August, the dog days of summer, I share this essay from my book Terribly Strange and Wonderfully Real. I wrote it a couple of years ago, but not much has changed for working families struggling to piece child care together until school begins and normalcy returns. One set of grandkids... Read more »

Park School Needs a Playground its Students with Disabilities Can Use

They are so close to their goal…make a donation today The school playground is usually empty. The swing frame holds no swings. The wooden climbing structure is decaying, faded and cracked with age. The wood chip surface is thin and unusable for children whose wheelchairs can’t be pushed across it. When the Penny Park, a... 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 »

Park School Has a Playground its Students Can’t Use

Have you ever tried pushing a twenty-five pound child in a stroller through sand? It’s comparable to pushing a ten-year-old in a wheelchair through a playground with a wood chip surface. You’d better be really strong. This is just one of the challenges the playground of Park School presents for staff trying to get students... Read more »

Park School Community Creates A Mural for All to Enjoy

There is a building located at 828 Main Street in Evanston that many people used to pass by without recognizing it was a school. But now, an amazing mural catches their attention. The Park School community created the mural: Sixty students with significant special needs, their families, their teachers and support staff, and their friends... Read more »

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 »

How Not to Honor Martin Luther King

At a grade school assembly to honor Martin Luther King, a child from a self-contained class for children on the autistic spectrum sat in the back of the room with his aide. He had no role in this assembly. He didn’t get to shake an instrument to accompany a song his grade sang. He didn’t... Read more »