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  1. Choosing the right preschool for your child can be a daunting task, especially when your child has a developmental difference. You might be wondering if a therapeutic preschool is the best fit for your child. But what is a therapeutic preschool? What does it provide that another preschool doesn't? What should you look for in a therapeutic preschool to know that it is right for your family? In this session you will learn what makes a preschool therapeutic, how traditional therapy is integrated in the preschool environment, the benefits of a therapeutic preschool experience and what questions to ask to make sure you find the best fit for your family. You will walk away from this discussion understanding: 1. How therapeutic preschools differ from non-therapeutic preschools 2. How parents can evaluate and compare therapeutic preschools 3. What to look for when touring a therapeutic preschool 4. What to expect when transitioning to traditional schools after preschool Our esteemed panel consists of: Lorell Marin, Founder and CEO, LEEP Forward, Dr. Lori G. Tall, Executive Director, Black Bear Academy, Dr. Erin Harvey, Clinic Director and Occupational Therapist, Blue Bird Day, Kimberly Shlaes, Director of Therapeutic Preschool Programing, PlayWorks Prep Therapeutic Preschool, Dr. Connie Weil, Clinical Psychologist, Tuesday's Child We appreciate our Supporting sponsors, PlayWorks Prep Therapeutic Preschool, and Tuesday's Child A special thank you to our Presenting sponsors, LEEP Forward, Black Bear Academy, and Blue Bird Day
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    Get the support and resources your child needs at our IN-PERSON fair NPN will follow all IDPH and City of Chicago COVID guidelines. Check back for the latest updates. If your child has a physical, developmental or intellectual challenge, NPN's 11th Annual Developmental Differences Resource Fair can help. Our free fair puts you in touch with school options, therapy providers and more resources that will encourage your child to reach his or her highest potential. Your child does not need to have a diagnosis for you to benefit from the resources offered at this fair. Parents with concerns about their child's development due to COVID regression will find help here. Parents can chat with speech, occupational, physical and ABA therapy providers; schools; fun extracurricular options; and more at the exhibitor booths. Plus, get advice and strategies you can use immediately at free expert-led sessions. Exhibit Hall Hours 1:00 - 4:00pm List of Exhibitors Sessions - These in-person sessions will be recorded. RSVP today to receive a link to the live recordings after the event. 12:00 - 1:00pm IEP Questions & Answers with Mo Buti Mo Buti M.Ed-BD, M.Ed-ADMIN, QIDP, is an advocate and instructional expert who is devoted to supporting individuals and families affected by autism and other disabilities. Providing guidance and support to navigate the school district’s complex systems, she assists parents with every stage of the IEP process. This session will start with a short presentation from Mo, and then open up to questions from the audience. Prior to attending this session, we strongly encourage parents to watch our previously recorded session, IEP 101. Find more free IEP-related sessions in NPN's Video Library. One attendee at this session will win a free IEP evaluation session with Mo! Must be present to win. 3:15 - 3:45pm Paying for Services through Grants and Government Programs Kimi Matsumura is the founder and CEO of Chicago Autism Network, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to helping families find and afford effective autism therapy and supports. Kimi will speak about Health Insurance Premium Payment grants (HIPP), Priority of Urgency of Need for Services (PUNS), Supplemental Security Insurance for Children (SSI), local private grants, national private grants, and Medicaid. Attendees at this session will be able to sign up to receive Kimi's detailed slides to reference after the event. 4:00 - 5:00pm From Recreation to Competition: Enrichment Opportunities for Your Child Chicago has so many enrichment opportunities for your child and in this session you will hear from some of the best. Learn how your child can become a competitive or performing participant, or simply have fun. Our esteemed presenters are: Sam Mauceri, Director of Education & Access Programs, Chicago Children's Theatre Blair Sarkiss, Master Instructor, HMD Academy Chicago Tae Kwon Do Eileen Guinane, Special Olympics Administrator, Chicago Park District Special Recreation and Special Olympics Catherine Attfield, Studio Manager, Intrigue Dance & Performance Arts Center John Fitzpatrick, Owner and Head Coach, Chicago Blue Dolphins Laura Fillenwarth, Executive Director, Kids Enjoy Exercise Now (KEEN) Chicago This panel is presented to you by Chicago Children's Theatre and HMD Academy Chicago Tae Kwon Do MUST-KNOW INFO When: Saturday, May 7 12pm–5pm (exhibit hall hours are 1:00 - 4:00) Where: UIC Student Center East, 750 S. Halsted St., Chicago Who: Open to the public! Registration required. This event is designed for adults but we understand that arranging childcare can be difficult. Parents attending with children will not be turned away. Cost: FREE. $25 donation recommended. Donate here. NPN is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. We rely on your financial support to bring free resources like this to Chicago families. Covid precautions: NPN will follow all IDPH and City of Chicago Covid guidelines. As the guidelines change periodically, check back for updates. Interested in exhibiting or advertising opportunities? Find out more HERE. Questions? Email Events Manager Elizabeth Gourio at egourio@npnparents.org. By registering for this event, you agree that NPN may share your name and email address with our presenting sponsors.
  3. My husband and I had no intention of moving. I am a Realtor and what I have in my condo, my block, and my neighborhood is golden! For us, we were settled. Then, COVID hit. (Insert eye roll.) After realizing it was time for more space, I started my strategic timeline. My oldest is diagnosed with autism and before COVID, he made great strides to be more flexible. However, when COVID hit, his entire world stopped. All the anxiety around everyday changes came crashing back. In some ways it is worse than before. With that in mind, I had to take a step back and listen to some of my own advice, which is usually given to my real estate clients who have special needs children. Considering this, COVID has raised a little anxiety in all of us so change is hard for everyone right now, especially children, and especially children with special needs. Your current home is their constant in an ever-changing world. Your current home is a place of safety and tranquility in a world that seems, at times, upside down. So this is a big change and needs to be approached with care. As a Realtor and mother of a special needs son, here are some tips I have told my clients. Start a casual conversation around the idea of a new space. Perhaps ask, “Wouldn't it be nice to have a basement so you guys have more space to play?” Or ask, “If you could have your own room, how would you decorate it?” Use whatever narrative that is personal to your situation. This plants a seed, so when you bring up the subject in the future, it is not a surprise. [Related: Chicago venues that cater to kids with special needs] If you can, give your child(ren) a voice in the process. Ask them to design what their new home may look like. Ask them to choose three neighborhoods they would like to live in and why. This will allow your children to take some ownership in the process. If you already know the areas you want to move to, consider putting shallow roots in those areas. Personally, my family is in this part of the process. My husband and I have discussed the three neighborhoods we would move to. Two out of the three neighborhoods are new for our family. So, we have switched some of our extracurricular activities into the two new neighborhoods we are considering. Weekly, we choose a different restaurant to patronize in the new neighborhoods. This is a natural, no-pressure way to explore the neighborhoods, and allow your kids to get to know the potential new neighborhoods. We also signed our kids up for activities at the park district in the new neighborhoods. This is a natural way to make connections with kids in the neighborhood. [Related: Back-to-school prep tips for parents of kids with special needs] Create a social story for each part of the entire process. This will be like a chapter-book social story, for which each "chapter" (e.g., "highlights" on Instagram) is a different part of the moving process. If your current home is to be put on the market, create a chapter around staging and showing your home. Create a chapter on packing up your current home; create a chapter documenting any construction or repairs needed in your current or new home before it can be placed on the market. Finally, create a chapter for the actual move day(s) to the new home. Really think through each step and create chapters in the moving "story" that your child can watch and re-watch as they wish. When you are under contract on a property and close to closing, ask your Realtor to set up a time for you to allow your special needs child to do a “sensory walk through.” I have done this for my clients and usually ask for a two hour block of time. This allows my clients to walk their child through their normal ADLs in the new space. Let them open the cabinet where their favorite snack will be. Let them fill up their water bottle from the refrigerator. Let them touch the walls, turn on the lights, check out the closet in their new bedroom. In their new bathroom, turn on the lights, the vent, the shower, and flush the toilet to let your child feel the water pressure and hear the noise level of the flush and vent. Whatever is an important or part of your child’s everyday routine, take the time to role play and let them feel the space. Does this mean that the buying and selling process may take longer? Yes it may. The suggestions above may or may not work for your special needs child, as every child is different. The fact of the matter is that moving is a major change that is hard for everyone, and if you have special needs child, you may need to take a step back to help support them through this change.
  4. until
    As parents it is hard to imagine our kids as adults, especially if your child is developmentally different. Will they go to college, trade school or get a job? Are there employment opportunities and, if so, what type? Will they be able to live independently? The panelists on this webinar can help you prepare for the many different options for your child so they can live the most fulfilling life possible. PEERS Chicago will discuss their social coaching program for young adults and Urban Autism Solutions will present their residences, transition academy and farm solution program. We will also learn about Elmhurst University's Learning and Success Academy and Anixter Center will discuss their pathway to college and employment programs. Our esteemed panel consists of: Diane Gould, CEO and Owner, PEERS Chicago Heather Tarczan, Executive Director, Urban Autism Solutions Tim Ahlberg, Assistant Director of Admissions, Elmhurst University ELSA Dina Donohue-Chase, Vice President of Growth & Innovation, Anixter Center
  5. until
    Choosing the right preschool for your child can be a daunting task, especially when your child has a developmental difference. You might be wondering if a therapeutic preschool is the best fit for your child. But what is a therapeutic preschool? What does it provide that another preschool doesn't? What should you look for in a therapeutic preschool to know that it is right for your family? In this session you will learn what makes a preschool therapeutic, how traditional therapy is integrated in the preschool environment, the benefits of a therapeutic preschool experience and what questions to ask to make sure you find the best fit for your family. There will be time for Q&A at the end! You will walk away from this discussion understanding: 1. How therapeutic preschools differ from non-therapeutic preschools 2. How parents can evaluate and compare therapeutic preschools 3. What to look for when touring a therapeutic preschool 4. What to expect when transitioning to traditional schools after preschool Our esteemed panel consists of: Lorell Marin, Founder and CEO, LEEP Forward Dr. Lori G. Tall, Executive Director, Black Bear Academy Dr. Erin Harvey, Clinic Director and Occupational Therapist, Blue Bird Day Kimberly Shlaes, Director of Therapeutic Preschool Programing, PlayWorks Prep Therapeutic Preschool Dr. Connie Weil, Clinical Psychologist, Tuesday's Child Thank you to our Presenting Sponsors: LEEP Forward Black Bear Academy Blue Bird Day Thank you to our Supporting Sponsors: PlayWorks Prep Therapeutic Preschool and Tuesday's Child By registering for this event, you agree that NPN may share your name and email address with our presenting sponsors.
  6. until
    PLEASE NOTE, THIS EVENT HAS BEEN CANCELLED, HAPPY HOLIDAYS! SEE YOU IN 2023! It’s a night to be supported, to ask questions and share resources, and to be with other parents who get what it’s like to deal with special challenges for their kids. Parents of kids with all types of developmental differences welcome (sensory processing disorder, autism, ADD/ADHD, PDD-NOS, mixed receptive-expressive language disorder, Down syndrome, physical disabilities, medical issues, etc.). Parents/family only, please (no therapists, students or business owners). The Zoom link will be included in your eticket.
  7. until
    It’s a night to be supported, to ask questions and share resources, and to be with other parents who get what it’s like to deal with special challenges for their kids. Parents of kids with all types of developmental differences welcome (sensory processing disorder, autism, ADD/ADHD, PDD-NOS, mixed receptive-expressive language disorder, Down syndrome, physical disabilities, medical issues, etc.). Parents/family only, please (no therapists, students or business owners). Going forward our Developmental Differences Support Group meetings will be alternating in person and via zoom. Our November meeting will be in person at Gigi's Play House, 3948 N. Lincoln Chicago, IL 60613, from 7:45-9:30pm.
  8. until
    It’s a night to be supported, to ask questions and share resources, and to be with other parents who get what it’s like to deal with special challenges for their kids. Parents of kids with all types of developmental differences welcome (sensory processing disorder, autism, ADD/ADHD, PDD-NOS, mixed receptive-expressive language disorder, Down syndrome, physical disabilities, medical issues, etc.). Parents/family only, please (no therapists, students or business owners). The Zoom link will be sent out about 2 hours before the meeting.
  9. until
    It’s a night to be supported, to ask questions and share resources, and to be with other parents who get what it’s like to deal with special challenges for their kids. Parents of kids with all types of developmental differences welcome (sensory processing disorder, autism, ADD/ADHD, PDD-NOS, mixed receptive-expressive language disorder, Down syndrome, physical disabilities, medical issues, etc.). Parents/family only, please (no therapists, students or business owners). Going forward our Developmental Differences Support Group meetings will be alternating in person and via zoom. Our September meeting will be in person at Gigi's Play House, 3948 N. Lincoln Chicago, IL 60613, from 7:45-9:30pm.
  10. until
    It’s a night to be supported, to ask questions and share resources, and to be with other parents who get what it’s like to deal with special challenges for their kids. Parents of kids with all types of developmental differences welcome (sensory processing disorder, autism, ADD/ADHD, PDD-NOS, mixed receptive-expressive language disorder, Down syndrome, physical disabilities, medical issues, etc.). Parents/family only, please (no therapists, students or business owners). The Zoom link will be sent out about 2 hours before the meeting.
  11. until
    It’s a night to be supported, to ask questions and share resources, and to be with other parents who get what it’s like to deal with special challenges for their kids. Parents of kids with all types of developmental differences welcome (sensory processing disorder, autism, ADD/ADHD, PDD-NOS, mixed receptive-expressive language disorder, Down syndrome, physical disabilities, medical issues, etc.). Parents/family only, please (no therapists, students or business owners). Going forward our Developmental Differences Support Group meetings will be alternating in person and via zoom. This month, our Wednesday July 27 meeting will be in person at Gigis Play House, 3948 N. Lincoln Chicago, IL 60613, from 7:45-9:30pm. On months that we meet virtually, the Zoom link will be sent out about 2 hours before the meeting.
  12. until
    It’s a night to be supported, to ask questions and share resources, and to be with other parents who get what it’s like to deal with special challenges for their kids. Parents of kids with all types of developmental differences welcome (sensory processing disorder, autism, ADD/ADHD, PDD-NOS, mixed receptive-expressive language disorder, Down syndrome, physical disabilities, medical issues, etc.). Parents/family only, please (no therapists, students or business owners). The Zoom link will be sent out about 2 hours before the meeting.
  13. until
    We're meeting in person this month! Woo-hoo! However, masks are required. It’s a night to be supported, to ask questions and share resources, and to be with other parents who get what it’s like to deal with special challenges for their kids. Parents of kids with all types of developmental differences welcome (sensory processing disorder, autism, ADD/ADHD, PDD-NOS, mixed receptive-expressive language disorder, Down syndrome, physical disabilities, medical issues, etc.). Parents/family only, please (no therapists, students or business owners). Feel free to bring drinks or snacks you'd like to share!

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