Category: Developmental Differences

10 ways to fight the winter blues with your spirited child

Photo credit: Forest Preserves of Cook County

Chicago’s winter months can be long and exhausting. The lack of sunlight, bitter cold and the feeling of being cooped up indoors can be challenging for any family–especially for ones dealing with spirited children. Coming up with fresh, fun activities to burn excess energy and get away from the television may seem like a chore – so here are some ideas to help:

1. Indoor play spaces
Indoor play areas like Pump It Up and Pickle's can be g...

Posted on February 23, 2015 at 7:05 AM by Brandon Combs

A Long and Winding Road – The Journey to Find Services for my Son

I think I knew something was different about my son when he was 2 1/2. His baby sister had been in our house for 6 months and he was still mad about it. His behaviors seemed out of the norm. He had unusually long tantrums, and was aggressive for a little guy but in a way he seemed unable to control. In retrospect, I should have known something was up when he was a baby -- he had a super hard time settling down, sleep was erratic and sometimes getting to sleep, traumatic. But I was a new mom a...

Posted on February 17, 2015 at 7:00 AM by Kimberly Heather

Chicago Children’s Theatre is Making Theatre Accessible to All Children

Since its inception, Chicago Children’s theatre (CCT) has been devoted to making theatrical programming accessible to all children. By offering a wide array of classes, camps and scholarship programs, CCT has opened the theatrical door to many children who would otherwise be closed off to it. In an effort to continue its commitment to serving all children CCT offers three types of access performances for some of the main stage productions. These specially tailored performances directly add...

Posted on October 10, 2014 at 8:00 AM by Julie Ramirez

Basics of IEPs- Can It Really Be Reduced to Six Steps?

When a family realizes their amazing, delightful child may need more services to meet his/her needs, a cloud of confusion, panic and even dread tends to set in. They may have heard the acronym “IEP” but don’t even know that it means “Individualized Education Program” and that their child can receive specialized services to realize his/her potential.   Can the complicated world of IEPs be reduced to just a few simple steps?  Steps- “Yes” ; Simple- “No”.


Step 1: Identifyin...

Posted on March 17, 2014 at 12:30 PM by Chicago School GPS

Healthy Habits for Kids with Special Needs

As New Year’s resolutions abound and gym memberships surge, here are some reminders of why healthy habits are a lifestyle – not limited to a time of year.

All children require a nutritious diet to meet goals for growth and good health. When you have a child with special needs good nutrition can aid the child’s overall health.

Shriners Hospital for Children Chicago treats children with orthopedic, spinal, and craniofacial conditions, with a strong focus on family-centered care. Comm...

Posted on February 05, 2014 at 8:00 AM by Pam Patt

NPN's 3rd Annual Developmental Differences Resource Fair is Feb. 9!

NPN proudly presents our 3rd Annual Developmental Differences Resource Fair!  This event was created to help parents of children (ages infant through 8th grade) with a range of developmental differences - developmental delays (i.e., speech, motor skills), sensory processing disorder, autism, ADD/ADHD, PDD-NOS, mixed receptive-expressive language disorder, Down Syndrome, physical disabilities, and more. 

Where: Gordon Tech High School, 3633 N. California Ave., Chicago

When: Sunday, ...

Posted on February 01, 2014 at 6:00 AM by Melanie Schlachter

Nurturing a Collaborative Relationship with Your Child's Teacher

Parent-teacher conference season has arrived. This is the time of year when many of us get to hear how wonderfully well our children are performing, but it is also the time when some of us will hear that the teacher has “some concerns.” Then there is a long pause as a pit develops in our stomachs. How can this possibly turn out well?

As a former teacher and current parent of a child with special needs (autism), I’ve sat on both sides of this table. From my seat on the teacher’s si...

Posted on December 05, 2013 at 8:00 AM by Barbara Cohen

Use Your Child’s IEP as a Bullying Prevention Tool

Although bullying is not new, recent attention to the problem has made adults more aware of the heartbreaking ways kids can intentionally hurt other kids.  Any child can be a victim of bullying; however, children with special needs often bear the brunt of a bully’s wrath because their differences make them easy targets.  Fortunately, parents of kids with special needs have their own tool for fighting back: their Individual Education Plan (IEP).   An IEP is a document that outlines the extr...

Posted on July 11, 2013 at 6:00 AM by Libby Galin

Sorting out Attention Deficit Disorder and Sensory Processing Disorder

While ADHD and Sensory Modulation Disorder (SMD) share many overlapping symptoms, there are some symptoms that are more pronounced in each disorder.  A recent article published in the Research in Developmental Disabilities Journal* compared the behavior and physiology of children with ADHD, SMD, and dual diagnoses.  They found that all these groups had greater levels of sensory, attention, activity, impulsivity, and emotional challenges than typical peers, but some symptoms were more eleva...

Posted on May 13, 2013 at 6:00 AM by Brandon Combs

Sensory Integration and Mental Health

Could your child’s behavioral issues actually be problems with sensory integration?

Most people don’t ever think about the work our brains do to organize and interpret all of the sensory information going in—sight, sound, touch, body awareness, movement, gravity.  Most children develop this ability in the course of ordinary childhood activities.  But others encounter “traffic jams” in their brains which lead to sensory integration issues.  


Children who experience difficultie...

Posted on February 11, 2013 at 6:00 AM by Allison Levine