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December 2017

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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,

As the year winds down, you may be reflecting on how this school year has gone for your child.  If you have questions or concerns, CASE is here to help.  Contact us to schedule an appointment in our Advocacy and Education clinic by calling (847) 556-8676 or email us at

Don't stretch yourself too thin trying to create the "perfect" holiday season. Decide what is important, prioritize, and say "no" to what might make you or your child miserable.  Create your own traditions that match the needs of your family, not the expectations of others.

Wishing you a happy and healthy holiday season.

Cari Levin, LCSW
Executive Director
Evanston CASE
"What Do I Do When..."
"What Do I Do When..."
I disagree with the IEP that the team has drafted and I'm asked to sign it?

Parents/guardians often seem confused about the implications of signing- or refusing to sign - their child's IEP.   They may believe that by not signing the IEP, they can withhold consent for the IEP.  Actually, and somewhat surprisingly, this is not the case.  In Illinois, except for the initial IEP, where parents/guardians must consent to the initiation of special education and related services, parental consent is not necessary to effectuate future IEP's.  The signature page that gets passed around the IEP table simply records attendance at the meeting - not agreement with the IEP. 
So, the good news is that you don't have to fret about signing the IEP meeting attendance page.  But the bad news is that whether you agree with the IEP or not, it is going to go into effect. 

So, what can you do?
The least adversarial approach is to re-group and try again to advocate for your position at the next IEP meeting (keeping in mind that you can request an IEP meeting at any time; you needn't wait another full year).  However, if you are going to ask the team to come back to the table to reconsider a position that they have previously rejected, it is critical to have new data/or perspectives for the team to consider.  CASE can provide advocacy guidance for this meeting.  In a future column, we'll get specific about what you might do to shore up your position.

If this approach doesn't work, you can do any of the following:
              1. File a State Complaint
              2. Request Mediation
              3. File for Due Process
Consulting an advocate or attorney beforehand is advised.

For more details on these processes, please see the Illinois State Board of Education Parent Guide ("Educational Rights and Responsibilities") (pp. 86-111).* 

This is a lot of information to absorb.   If you leave your IEP feeling frustrated, please contact CASE to help you sort through these options.  Contact us at (847) 556-8676 or .
* Do note that if your child is in an educational placement or is receiving services that you want to maintain and the new IEP would change these services and placement, you will want to file for Due Process or request mediation within 10 days of the IEP meeting so that your child can "stay put" in their current placement while the dispute gets worked out.

Jill Calian
Sensory-Friendly Gift Ideas

"Gift-giving must get creative - and smart - when your child has sensory challenges. Begin your shopping research with this list of gifts, large and small, road-tested by a boy with Sensory Processing Disorder, ODD, ADHD, and anxiety disorder."

Some suggestions include:
Kinetic Sand
Lava Lamp 
Sit And Spin
Water Beads
And more...

Click HERE to see the complete list.

Another helpful guide is "The Best Gifts for Kids with ADHD"

Suggestions include:
Kiwi Crate
Desk Buddy
Crash Pad
"Worry Eaters" plush toy
And more...

Click HERE for complete list.
Holiday Season Coping Strategies For Your Child With Social Skills Challenges 

"Holiday events are supposed to be fun. But for kids with  social skills issues, these events can pose challenges and create stress. Use these eight simple tips to help your child successfully navigate this very social season."

Read eight tips 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 to provide clarity regarding the limits and scope of this responsibility and to make sure you feel comfortable in this role. 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.
Join us for Parent Connections Support Group
Thursday, December 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. 

We offer two times: 
Brown Bag Lunch from 11:30-1:00 (drop-in)
Evening from 7:00 to 8:30 (advance registration required)

Located at 1940 Sherman Ave. Suite A, Evanston

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

Our next meetings will be held on January 11th.

Hope you can join us!