Developmental Disabilities

First Steps Toward Inclusion

From the day we are born we are a member of a community. As our development progresses and we learn to convey our wants and needs, our involvement and inclusion in family and community life increases. In some instances, infants and young children require early intervention therapy to augment their social, emotional and physical development so that they become actively engaged in their community.


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Sibling Relationships

by Erica Aten, M.A., Pre-Doctoral Clinical Psychology Intern, Psychological Services

Although parents are typically a child's first source of human connection, sibling relationships are also an important factor in development. As of 2010, 82.22% of youth lived with at least one sibling(1). Sibling bonds are unique in that they often last a lifetime and are typically people’s longest relationships in life(2). Sibling relationships are influential in many ways.

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How Glick Family Camp Has Inspired Me

by Melissa (Mimi) Goldberg

At Jewish Child & Family Services’s Glick Family Camp, parents, their children with disabilities and siblings enjoy a family-oriented, nature-filled camp experience – together! The camp is offered once each spring at Jewish Community Youth Services Camp Henry Horner/Camp Red Leaf in Ingleside, Illinois. The weekend is filled with a variety of social, creative, recreational and supportive activities. A family camp worker is assigned to each family.

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First Steps After Receiving an Autism Diagnosis

by Caitlin McIlwee, M.A., Psychological Services Pre-Doctoral Intern

You have just learned that your child has been diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder. For some parents, the news comes as a shock, while other parents may have been expecting it. However, almost all parents who receive this diagnosis for their child struggle with reimagining their child’s future with this pervasive developmental disability. You are not alone, and it is normal to feel this way. The important thing to know is that, although there is no known “cure” for autism, there is hope. Your child will be able to learn, grow and gain new skills within their potential. The important first steps are educating yourself about the diagnosis, adjusting the child’s home environment to best meet their needs, and seeking professional therapeutic services.

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Come Fly With Me: Travel Tips for Children with 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 Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) because of factors connected to flying, including a change in routine, navigating unfamiliar environments and considerable sensory stimulation.

The following recommendations have been found beneficial to families planning air travel. It is important to remember that children diagnosed with ASD vary in terms of abilities and preferences, and not all recommendations may suit every child with ASD.

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Ask a Clinician: Developmental Benefits of Yoga for Kids (preK-3rd grade)

The Integrated Pediatric Interventions Program at JCFS is offering Yoga for Kids for children (preK-3rd grade). Come join our Occupational Therapist in a fun, child-centered environment that merges age-appropriate yoga practices including breathing techniques and animal poses with other play, art and social game experiences. This class encourages exploration of early yoga practices while building your child’s gross motor skills, coordination and body awareness.

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5 Things to Help Toddlers and Preschoolers Develop Language

Last August a study from the University of Washington’s Institute for Learning & Brain Sciences (I-LABS) in Seattle  said that babies as young as seven months old are mentally working out the mechanics of how to form words with their mouths; In October the New York Times ran an article emphasizing the importance of the quality of words spoken to children , beyond just the quantity of words.  And, in late November NPR’s Science Friday  interviewed Fred Genesee of McGill University in Montreal, about his study that suggested that “early impressions of language are much more durable than scientists predicted.”

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For Parents of Young Adults with Disabilities, Heichal Home Provides a Vision for the Future

By Chris Krapek

When you walk into the beautiful two-flat in Rogers Park, you’ll smell the food being prepared.

The three residents love to make cuisine from all around the world. They research countries  and customs, cook the meal and maybe even host a few friends. From now until the end of the year, they’ve got every dinner and its theme planned out.

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