CASE logo
In This Issue
ETHS Special Education Survey
Dealing with Explosive Behavior
"Intense World Theory"
ISBE Funding Cuts Planned
Parent Advocacy Strategy
Neuropsychological Testing
Chicago Botanic Garden Day Camp
Quick Links


Your support will help to defray operating costs.

LogoEvanston Citizens for Appropriate Special Education (CASE) is a community advocacy organization working to improve the range, quality and accessibility of special education services in Evanston/Skokie District 65 and ETHS District 202.

We provide information and support for parents of children with special needs through Parent Connections meetings and our CASEline number.
We are commited to advancing disability awareness in the Evanston community.

Like us on Facebook
Join Our Mailing List

On the CASE 

April 2014

Hello Evanston CASE community,


Happy Spring!  Let's hope we've seen the last of the snow!


There has been a significant development in the special education department at ETHS.  Dr. Maria Smith, Director of Special Services for D202, has resigned, effective immediately. Ms. Amy Verbrick, Special Education Department Chair, will be serving as interim director.  It is difficult to know what impact this will have on the accessibility and quality of services for the remainder of this school year.  However, CASE will be advocating ardently to bring our concerns to the table as we see this as a significant opportunity for change. 


Also, please participate in the survey sponsored by ETHS to guide the District's choice of a new special ed director!  Share your opinions regarding qualities you feel are essential in special education director and your thoughts on the most important issues facing the department.


There will not be a Parent Connections meeting in April because of Spring Break.  But,


Evanston CASE Screening of

Who Cares About Kelsey?

May 13th

Details to follow


In this issue:

  • ETHS Survey on Choosing New Special Education Director
  • Dealing with Explosive Behavior
  • ADHD Study Strategies
  • "Intense World Theory"
  • ISBE Funding Cuts Planned
  • Parent Advocacy Strategy -- The Written Opinion
  • Neuropsychological Testing
  • Chicago Botanic Garden Day Camp

I hope you find this information useful.


Warm regards,


Cari Levin, LCSW

Founding Director

Evanston CASE 


Participate in Survey to Choose the New Special Education Director at ETHS!!


Mr. Peter Bavis, Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction at ETHS has asked me to circulate this important survey to members of the CASE community.  This is an excellent opportunity for you to weigh in.  The survey closes April 4th, so don't delay! 

Angry Kids: Dealing with Explosive Behavior


Angry Kids: Dealing with Explosive Behavior

How to respond when a child lashes out

Published in Child Mind Institute newsletter on March 25, 2014 


"When a child-even a small child-melts down and becomes aggressive, he can pose a serious risk to himself and others, including parents and siblings.

It's not uncommon for kids who have trouble handling their emotions to lose control and direct their distress at a caregiver, screaming and cursing, throwing dangerous objects, or hitting and biting. It can be a scary, stressful experience for you and your child, too. Children often feel sorry after they've worn themselves out and calmed down.

So what are you to do?"


Read the entire article HERE


"Intense World Theory" of Autism

A Neurobiologist Struggles to Understand his Son


If you have questions about the intersection between autism and sensory processing problems, you might want to check out a piece on what's called the "intense world theory of autism. It's a theory that sees hyper-responsiveness to stimuli, and the resulting information overload, as an explanation for the behaviors we associate with the spectrum. It's not about cognitive or emotional deficits, this theory holds, it's about too much of everything.


"The Boy Whose Brain Could Unlock Autism" written by Maia Szalavitz in Matter, is a fantastic presentation of this view of the autistic brain and how it impacts on the experience of people on the autism spectrum.  A renowned neurobiologist, Henry Markram, struggles to understand what's going on in his son's brain.


Here is an excerpt:


"IMAGINE BEING BORN into a world of bewildering, inescapable sensory overload, like a visitor from a much darker, calmer, quieter planet. Your mother's eyes: a strobe light. Your father's voice: a growling jackhammer. That cute little onesie everyone thinks is so soft? Sandpaper with diamond grit. And what about all that cooing and affection? A barrage of chaotic, indecipherable input, a cacophony of raw, unfilterable data."


To read the complete piece, click HERE

It is also available as a free Kindle download or audio book.

ISBE Reimbursement Cuts Planned for Special Education Residential Placements 


"Demand Soars for Special Ed Boarding Schools"
By Bonnie Miller Rubin, John Keilman and Karen Ann Cullotta, Tribune reporters


"Many parents say these schools have performed wonders for their children, helping them back from the brink of dysfunction, despair, even suicide. But the high cost and soaring need have prompted some experts to warn that the service could be in jeopardy.
The state has informed local school districts, which pay much of the tab for their students' stays, that demand for the boarding schools has outrun the money set aside to pay for them. That means districts will have to bear extra costs themselves - costs that can amount to hundreds of thousands of dollars a year."


ISBE recently informed school districts that only about 60 percent of the room and board expense will be covered this year. The districts will have to make up the rest.


Read complete article HERE



Parent Advocacy Strategy: 

Submit Your Written Opinion 

IDEA 2004 specifically allows you to submit your concerns to the IEP Team. One way to record your concerns is to use a written opinion.


Good advice from Pat Howey, Special Education Advocate


"Your written opinion ensures that the IEP team understands what you think happened at the meeting. Tell the team that you will be sending a written opinion later. You do not have to be an expert on "the law" to write a written opinion. In fact, it may be best not to quote or interpret the law in your written opinion."

Your written opinion can include:

  • What happened at the meeting.
  • What did not happen.
  • What the team discussed or failed to discuss.
  • Team decisions to which you did not agree.
  • Relevant facts the IEP does not include.
  • Correction of wrong facts in the IEP.

To read more, click HERE


Neuropsychological Testing:

What is It? When is it Needed?

This blog article written by Thinking Outside the Classroom, an agency that provides executive functioning coaching, is a good summary about neuropsychological testing.


 Here is an excerpt:


"A critical skill that neuropsychologists bring to the assessment process is breaking down learning problems into their component parts. For example, perhaps a child struggles to follow directions, and that reveals itself during testing. A neuropsychologist will go to another level of testing to evaluate which of the following this problem stems from:

  • The child is unable to concentrate when directions are being given
  • The child was unable to comprehend the directions he received
  • The child was unable to remember the directions.

In other words, neuropsychologists dig deeper and get more granular than teachers or even psychologists do."


To read the full blog post, click HERE


Plant 'n' Play at the Chiago Botanic Garden Inclusive Summer Day Camp 

Children with special needs or disabilities are invited to discover the sights, smells, and fun at the Chicago Botanic Garden. Lekotek is offering an all-inclusive, nature-inspired Plant 'n' Play day camp designed for children ages 3 to 8 years old and siblings. Parents and a sibling are welcome to join in our camp activities that foster social interactions, motor skills, and outdoor education. Plant the seeds that will grow in your backyard and in your child's development! Parents/caregivers are welcome to stay and participate, or drop-off is available during the camp week.  


Call (847) 835-8361 to register.

Dates: August 11 - 15

Ages: 3-8 plus sibling

Times: 9:30 a.m. - noon
12:30 - 3 p.m.


For more information, click HERE