Category: Developmental Differences

Transition from summer to school year with these tips

Photo: Evelyn Perez-Horita

The transition from summer to the new school year can be difficult for any child. It definitely is for my 8-year-old special-needs child, Lia, so my husband and I have tried a lot of techniques and have found some things that work. We’ve also come across some great ideas from other parents. Keep in mind that not all of these suggestions or ideas will work for you, but it’s worth a try for kiddos that struggle getting back into the school routine every year.

Posted on August 22, 2017 at 8:51 AM by Evelyn Perez-Horita

Surviving summer with your special-needs child

Photo: Evelyn Perez-Horita

I have an 8 ½-year-old little girl, Lia (pictured, above), who has been diagnosed with severe intellectual disabilities, sensory processing disorder, autism and hypotonia, and is non-verbal. I do not, nor will I ever, claim to be the resident expert in any given field except when it comes to knowing my own kiddo. With that said, I know how frustrated and bored my little darling is going to be this first week of summer vacation. My husband and I had to figure ...

Posted on July 06, 2017 at 9:35 AM by Evelyn Perez-Horita

This is how to treat a child with special needs

For 20 years I have been a parent of a child with special needs. You can imagine how often I have shopped for, and with, my child. Over the course of those years, I have encountered numerous vendors, proprietors and salespeople. There are retailers to whom I would never return and those who I frequent. There are common characteristics of those vendors, and quality of merchandise is not high on the list.

Foremost, both the sales personnel and the shop are inviting. When I walk into a store ...

Posted on November 14, 2016 at 9:46 AM by Kathryn Lavin

Dreaming of a 'normal' summer vacation


Sometimes I want a break from being ALL. THE. THINGS. 


The home nurse, the fierce advocate, the educator, the researcher of everything related to X medical condition, the "don't you dare come in our hospital room ever again and I want to talk to your supervisor NOW" quality control specialist, the accountant, the medical supply manager, the parent/child visit supervisor, the guy at the bottom of the totem pole who gives all the updates to the DCFS people who can't seem to upd...

Posted on May 16, 2016 at 8:07 AM by Julianne Neely

The special needs of a special-needs parent

Photo credit: Julianne Neely


One thing I know with absolute certainty is that we wouldn't have been able to advocate as hard and effectively as we have for our children without our community. I also know that our kids wouldn't be as strong and stable as they are today without the amazing friends and family who have gone above and beyond to keep us, their parents, strong. 


Everyone knows someone with a special-needs child and I guarantee that even if they haven't asked or e...

Posted on April 06, 2016 at 10:50 AM by Julianne Neely

How to make hospital stays easier for special-needs kids

Photo credit: Courtesy of Julianne Neely


There have been a few strategies I have learned along the way of being a special needs parent that have been so helpful for our family. One such strategy is having a hospital “go” bag. Already having a hospital bag packed has been a major relief at 2am when we are leaving for the ER, because we don’t have to run around scrambling for essentials for what may be a few days in the hospital. We keep our hospital bag in the car at all times—we d...

Posted on March 07, 2016 at 2:16 PM by Julianne Neely

5 ways movement helps your child grow |


Photo credit: Lance Shields/Flickr




As a dance/movement therapist and founder and CEO of Chicago Dance Therapy, I have seen the benefits of movement in children's growth and development firsthand. Here are five ways movement is not only beneficial, but necessary for kids, especially those with developmental differences. 



Secure attachments are developing the moment our children are born and perhaps even before ...

Posted on March 07, 2016 at 9:21 AM by Erica Hornthal

Your child received a diagnosis. Now what?

As your child grows and develops, you might find yourself worrying and wondering if their development is on track. And when it comes to development, there’s a lot to keep track of—feeding, gross motor skills, fine motor skills, speech, language, social-emotional development and play (to name a few!). 

What happens if you feel your child is behind in one of these areas? To start, know that you are not alone. Every child develops uniquely and at their own pace. Talk to your pediatrician ...

Posted on March 02, 2016 at 6:00 AM by Libby Galin

5 awesome Chicago services for special-needs kids |

Photo credit: Courtesy Therapy Yoga Gymnastics Rocks

If your child has a developmental difference, you know you need to find a support team to help him excel, whether it's a therapist, a specialty school, a developmental pediatrician or all of the above. You'll be able to find all of these resources at NPN's Developmental Differences Resource Fair on March 13, but you'll also be able to find services that provide realy cool experiences for your child. 

Check out these exhibito...

Posted on February 18, 2016 at 9:38 AM by Laura Baginski

I keep my child at home all winter, to save her life

Photo credit: Flickr/Pink Sherbet Photography

I recently turned down an invitation for my two-year-old daughter and I to join a fun outing, and the hostess was mad. "Aren't you ever going to let her have any fun?" she said. "How is she supposed to learn social skills?"

Yeah, we miss out on a lot of fun things. Yes, I doubt myself and fear I am overreacting. But before you judge me for keeping my child in a bubble, step into my shoes for a moment.

It's Respiratory Syncyti...

Posted on February 08, 2016 at 9:15 AM by Julianne Neely