Tell Me a Story

by Wendy Guyer, M.S., LCSW, Assistant Director of  the Near North Suburban Counseling Center at Jewish Child & Family Services

It is bedtime, that moment where we put aside the day and relax into the mysterious world of sleep, but how does sleep happen? How important is sleep? Is technology really the enemy of a good night’s sleep? What sleep method is the best? Parents are swimming in advice, and sleep is important. Child sleep patterns really do affect parent mood and levels of stress. Frequently, a child’s ability to sleep well through the night has a huge impact on mood, performance, and behavior. Sleep difficulties can lead to increased parent sleep deficits and have been associated with higher risks of maternal depression.

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Come Fly With Me: Travel Tips for Children with an Autism Spectrum Disorder

by Eliana Wool, M.A., Psychological Services Pre-Doctoral Intern

Air travel can be an exciting, yet anxiety provoking experience. This may be particularly true for a child with an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) because of factors connected to flying, including a change in routine, navigating unfamiliar environments and considerable sensory stimulation.

“Airplane travel presents many new sensory experiences including noisy environments, many visual distractions and new smells.  The inner-ear disturbances that occur at take-off and landing can impact vestibular processing disrupting how a child interprets their own body’s movements, which can be very disorienting," comments Haley Bartz, an Occupational Therapist with the Integrated Pediatric Interventions program at Jewish Child & Family Services. "Fortunately, there are numerous ways that a family can help to make air travel a less stressful experience for their child.”

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Refugees: Seeking Solace, Safety and Serenity

by Jessica Schaffer, Director of HIAS Chicago

In 1949, my grandparents, like so many thousands of Jews at the time, arrived in Canada as refugees. They had survived the ghettos and concentrations camps of Poland and Germany and were grateful for the opportunity to build a new, quiet life in a welcoming community. With them was my mother, only two years old at the time. Though she didn’t know the same horrors as my grandparents, she did know the feeling of containment in the Bergen Belsen Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camp, in which she was born and spent the first years of her life. For her, my grandparents wished a bright, safe future. They wanted her to grow roots in a country that accepted her and that she could call home.  

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Helping Teenagers Cope With Grief After Tragedy and Loss

by Robin Stein, Director, Response Center at Jewish Child & Family Services

As a therapist who has worked with teens almost exclusively for over 30 years, I can’t help but imagine what it must be like to be a teenager in 2015. With so many young lives cut short today due to violence, bullying and suicide—dealing with the fear, the sense of loss, the uncertainty.  Grief work with adolescents is so incredibly important.  Often, parents immediately react by telling their child they must be in counseling – they just know their child must be depressed and at risk of imploding. 

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Mental Health First Aid: Sometimes the Best First Aid Is You…

by Nina Henry, Addiction Specialist, Jewish Center for Addiction

At the scene of an accident many years ago, I was able to help a young woman who had been hit by a car. She had hit her head, fallen to the ground and began to have a seizure. I called 911 right away, and I shouted, “Clear the air!” when too many people began to crowd around. When people attempted to put something under her head and others said, “Put something in her mouth to keep her from swallowing her tongue,” I was able to swiftly say they should leave her alone. I had learned to do these things in a one-day first aid seminar at my workplace.

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Finding Your Shalom—Healing, Hope and Abundant Peace

by Elizabeth Siegel Cohen, Jewish Healing Network Coordinator

How do you heal after a loss? You may have heard the adage that time heals all wounds. But does it? I don’t believe time, alone, heals wounds; it is what you choose to do with the time. We offer many ways to address your loss; to find your Shalom (peace).

Nechama: To Comfort the Bereaved Among Us” are classes held in area synagogues for the newly bereaved. Nechama is an opportunity for you to join  with other mourners and learn hands-on tools and information about the grief and mourning process, as well as Jewish resources to support you on your journey.  

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On the Front Lines of Domestic Violence Prevention and Response

By Amy Rubin, Senior Director of Community Services

On August 10, Jewish Child & Family Services welcomed 16 domestic violence professionals to its Skokie office for the first Association of Jewish Family & Children Agencies (AJFCA) Domestic Violence Professionals Fly-In. The participants came from all across the country, including Los Angeles, Cincinnati, West Palm Beach, Boston, Cleveland, Philadelphia, New Jersey, Washington D.C. and Detroit. As this passionate group of colleagues energetically shared ideas and described the breadth of programming that is being accomplished, I couldn’t help but reflect on how much has changed.

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Community Partnership: Bringing Services to Synagogues and Schools

By Molly Buckman

The Oak Park - River Forest has a thriving Jewish community. To better deliver the agency’s services to Oak Park, JCFS formed a Synagogue Community Partnership with two local synagogues and hired clinician Molly Buckman to work two days a week—not just in Oak Park and River Forest, but in the synagogues. Here’s Molly’s report about this groundbreaking program.

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Legal Advocacy Presentation to Become National Webinar Series

In January, Sande Shamash, Director of the Legal Advocacy Center (LAC), and LAC Staff Attorney, Marissa LaVette, submitted a paper for a presentation on childhood trauma and its impact on special education. Their presentation, “Recognizing Childhood Trauma: Identification, Implementation and Advocacy for Trauma Informed Approaches in Special Education” was one of the submissions selected to be featured at the 17th Annual 2015 Counsel of Parent Attorneys and Advocates (COPAA) National Conference in San Diego. COPAA is a national organization that serves to protect the legal and civil rights of and secure excellence in education on behalf of the 6.4 million children with disabilities in the United States.

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