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January 2018

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Evanston Citizens for Appropriate Special Education (CASE) provides advocacy, support and education to improve the lives of Evanston families impacted by disability.


CASE is a 501c3 nonprofit organization.



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Hello CASE Community,

The holidays are over!  Whew!  Now you have to transition back to school and that can create a double-edged sword.  On one hand, badly needed structure and routine are re-established.  On the other hand, the stresses triggered by school have returned. High school students are facing final exams and changing schedules with the new semester.

Be mindful about ramping up your expectations gradually.  Getting sleep and homework schedules back in place may take some time.

Cari Levin, LCSW
Executive Director
Evanston CASE
"What Do I Do When..."
"What Do I Do When..."
It's time for transition IEP meetings!  

For some reason 5th grade and 8th grade transition meetings are held in January.  Middle school and high school are a long way off and your child's needs may change in the meantime.  How can you possibly write an appropriate IEP under these circumstances?  What can you expect will happen when representatives from the middle school or high school will be in attendance?  Can they change your child's IEP at this meeting?

Some important things to be aware of:
  • Your child's current services will be implemented in different ways in the middle school and high school environment.
  • There are fewer service providers relative to the size of the student population.  
  • Certain types of classrooms will not be available or necessarily equivalent to your child's current classroom (self-contained/pull-out).
  • Your child's service minutes might change.
  • Your child will have more than one classroom teacher, or will have an increase in the number of classroom teachers.
  • There will be an increase in transitions during the school day.
  • The building will be larger and more complicated to navigate.
  • The lockers will have combination locks.
  • Your child's books and materials will not be in the classroom.
  • Push-in speech, push-in social work and push-in OT will not be available.
  • Your child will change clothes for PE
  • The team representatives from the new school are not necessarily the ones who will end up providing services.
So, what should you be prepared to do?  Pay particular attention to your child's accommodations to ensure that all of their challenges are addressed with a plan.  If they propose a change in your child's service minutes, ask for data to support that his/her needs have changed.  

Co-teach is available in the middle and high schools.  Essentially, a special ed teacher is in the classroom providing support and instruction alongside the general ed teacher.  This is not available in every academic subject though, (social studies and science) so additional supports/accommodations should be in place during non co-teach subjects. If your child requires a modified curriculum in a subject in which there is no co-teacher, find out who will be responsible for providing this.  Hint: this person cannot be a paraprofessional or aide.  Curricular modification must be done by a special education teacher.

Remember that you can always ask to take a couple of days to consider their proposal.  CASE is available to help you determine if the plan is appropriate.  It is also important to request a meeting closer to the end of the school year to establish your student's current levels of functioning.

Parent Connections Support Group
Thursday, January 11th

Feeling isolated and overwhelmed?  Do you have special education related questions?  Want to meet other parents who "get it"?

Join us for our free Parent Connections Support Group.

Every second Thursday from September to May.  11:30 - 1:00 at the Evanston CASE offices, 1940 Sherman Ave. Suite A in Evanston.

Hope you can join us!

The Ugly Truth About ADHD and Lying
Guest blog from ADDitude magazine

Why some kids choose to lie when the truth is easier.
    "I have never met a grown adult who hasn't told a lie. We might fib because we don't want to hurt someone's feelings or call in sick when we just want to sleep in, but could it be possible that children with ADHD are  habitual liars ? This feels true in my own home."

To read the entire article, click HERE
Special Needs Playdate

Chicago Parent is hosting our second annual Special Needs Playdate for hundreds of families raising children with special needs. Join Chicago Parent at  DePaul Prep o n  February 11th .  This event is free!

For more information, click HERE

Sleep Deprivation: A Roadblock to Improving Executive Functioning
From Beyond Book Smart, Executive Functioning Blog

"As an Executive Function coach and school psychologist, I observe how sleep deprivation affects my students' behavior. When put on the spot, students admit to staying up late watching Netflix, playing video games, texting with friends, or spending time on social media. Alternatively, there are students who stay up late doing schoolwork due to poor planning and time management skills that make last minute crises a daily occurrence. Other students suffer from anxiety or sleep disorders that impact their sleep. Yet teens are usually clueless about the importance of sleep and so the cycle of exhaustion continues daily. It can make you wonder if sleep deprivation is the new normal for teens."

To read the entire article, click HERE
CASE Parent Partners Program

Would you be interested in supporting other parents in school meetings?  Do you feel you would have some experience to offer?

If so, CASE is currently developing a program for parents to support other parents.

School meetings are stressful and overwhelming.  No one should have to attend them alone!  Having another person on your side of the table is empowering. Volunteering to be a Parent Partner would be a great help to others.
Cari Levin will provide brief training on special education rights, understanding the IEP document, and basic advocacy strategy. You would be called upon when needed, based on your availability.
Please contact us if you are interested.  (847) 556-8676 or  Cari will be offering training sessions starting in January to prepare for spring IEP season.

Join us for Parent Connections Support Group
Thursday, January 11th
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

What time: 11:30-1:00
Where:  1940 Sherman Ave. Suite A, Evanston

STAY TUNED!  We are currently looking at expanding this program to an additional day per month, as well as offering an online option.

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

Hope you can join us!