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Back to School 2017

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Evanston Citizens for Appropriate Special Education (CASE) provides Community, Advocacy, Support and Education for families affected by special needs.


CASE is a 501c3 nonprofit organization.



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Hello CASE community,

In my experience as an advocate over the years, one of the biggest challenges parents face as their children go back to school is the lack of preparedness and understanding on the part of school staff.  

Every year its like starting from scratch!  Teachers often don't read IEP's and 504 Plans before school starts. Unfortunately, this doesn't set our kids up for success and it leaves teachers without critical strategies to support our kids from the get go.  

So, what can you do?  Write the teacher(s) an introductory letter about your child and send it during the week before school starts.  If you do it any sooner, it will get lost in the shuffle. The letter should include a picture of your child, a brief statement about their strengths and interests, their feelings about returning to or starting school, a list of their challenges and a list of strategies you know to be effective.  Try not to make the letter more than one page so that it will actually be read.  

Arrange for a tour and meet the teacher(s).   The more prepared your child is for new routines and people, the better.

And most importantly, set a collaborative tone with the teacher(s).  Working together to ensure your child's success is what everyone wants.


Organization ideas to implement at the start of the school year...

1. Include in the 504 Plan or the IEP as an Accommodation that the teacher(s) will write in the student's assignment notebook or in a home/school communication plan a time estimate for completion of each assignment based on the student's needs.  This provides you and your child with a guide to how long they should spend on a homework assignment.  That way the expectation is clear and you will hopefully avoid the homework meltdown.  Kids are often overwhelmed and exhausted after school and the dread they feel over homework doesn't help.
For elementary aged students, there should be no penalty at home or school if the student gives it their best effort.  For high school students, this will help them with a time management plan.

2. Create a folder or binder for homework.  Label one folder "To Do" and one folder "Done or Turn In".   This will provide the student with a place to put their papers and a clear system to organize their homework.   I t will help eliminate the "I don't have any homework" or "I already turned that in" arguments.  Engage the teacher(s) to use this system and to support the student by checking it every day.  This can also be written as a formal Accommodation.

I hope you find the information in this newsletter helpful.

Cari Levin, LCSW
Founding Executive Director
Evanston CASE

Join us for Parent Connections Support Group
Thursday, September 14th
If you haven't had a chance to attend a Parent Connections Support Group yet, give it a try!  Meet with others who "get it" and share resources and advice.

From September to May, we will meet on the second Thursday of every month beginning Thursday, September 14th.

We offer two meetings: 
Brown Bag Lunch from 11:30-1:00 and 
Evening from 7:00 to 8:30.
Located at 1940 Sherman Ave. Suite A

For more information, call 847-566-8676 or email

Hope you can join us!

CASE Document Organization Session



CASE offers document organization sessions to help you stay on top of the mounds of paperwork your receive from school, therapists, doctors, etc.  


Benefits of document organization:

1. Find things easily when needed

2. Learn about the power of using information to advocate for your child.

3. Track your child's progress.

4. Ensure that IEP's are accurate and appropriate from year to year.

5. Track conversations and communication with staff to ensure accountability.

6. Feel empowered when you show up to meetings with your binder!

7. And much more...


CASE provides all materials and gives you an easy system that you can use year to year.  


Fee: $50 including materials, for one-hour session.


To schedule an appointment, call (847) 556-8676 or


Back to School Dos and Don'ts
Navigating Summer's End
School Organization 101: Clutter-Free Backpacks and Bedrooms

"Given the five-balls-in-the-air complexity of our own hectic lives, we sometimes forget that our children are also juggling. As early as second grade, children are expected to hand in homework, show up for band practice, and keep track of their belongings. 
School organization is hard for any child, but especially for children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
Fortunately,  organizational skills  can be taught. By working with your child to build systems and routines, you can help him or her move from clutter to control - and clear the decks for learning."

This article offers strategies for school, strategies for home, locker organization ideas, and more...

To read more, click HERE