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Evanston Citizens for Appropriate Special Education (CASE) provides Community, Advocacy, Support and Education for families affected by special needs.


*We are a 501c3 nonprofit organization.


On the CASE 

   September 2016

 From the Director's Desk

Hello Evanston CASE community,

The new school year has begun. I hope your child's transition has gone smoothly.  If not, CASE is here to help.  Contact us for support and strategies to address your concerns.

CASE will begin holding Parent Connections Support Group meetings in September.  This supportive and informative service will be offered monthly from September to May on the 2nd Thursday from 7-8:30 p.m. at the CASE offices 1940 Sherman Ave, Suite A in Evanston. Our first meeting will be held on Thursday, September 8th from 7-8:30.

We are offering a new program this year called the Drop-in CASE Clinic.  Bring your special education concerns or questions about your child's IEP to receive a free consultation with CASE professional staff.  If needed, CASE can provide referrals for more in-depth services.  

The drop-in will be held every third Thursday from September to May at the CASE offices. Our first session will be on Thursday, September 15th from 11:30-1:00 pm.  

Evanston CASE and the Evanston Public Library are holding our 2nd Annual Special Needs Resource Fair on Saturday, November 5th, 2016 from 11:00 to 3:00.  Stay tuned for details in next month's newsletter.

Evanston CASE is a 501c3 nonprofit organization! This is a big development for us and has been a long time coming.  I founded Evanston CASE as a grass roots community advocacy organization eight years ago. Much has changed since then, but there is more work to do and new challenges to address.  
Non-profit status will afford us the opportunity to expand our services and programs in the coming years.  We are very excited about the work ahead and we look forward to serving our community in new and impactful ways.

Please support us as we work to get our nonprofit off the ground. Your contributions are deeply appreciated.  Click on the donation link in this newsletter or go to

Warm regards,
Cari Levin, LCSW
Founding Director
Evanston CASE 
Strategies to Ease Back-to-School Transition blog post

"If you find yourself facing a new school year and not feeling well prepared, don't panic. And don't lose hope. The key is to make the transition smooth and gentle. I've shared a lot of ideas with parents over the years, and these are some of the suggestions they've found most helpful:"

To read more, click HERE

Parent's Guide to ADHD at School
From ADDitude Magazine

"Children with ADHD and related neurological conditions have impaired executive function skills due to abnormal dopamine levels in the frontal lobe of the brain. What this means: They forget to write down assignments, they lose completed homework, and they're not sure what you just said."

"Add to that the typical ADHD challenges of distractibility, impulsivity, and hyperactivity, and you've got a whole set of 'invisible' challenges at school."

Mental Health In Schools -- NPR ED Series
From, August 31st, 2016

Identifying and responding to mental health issues in the schools is lacking.  Partly due to resource shortages and partly because staff don't know how, or just don't respond.  Here is an excerpt from the first in a series about mental health in schools from NPR:

"You might call it a silent epidemic. Up to one in five kids living in the U.S. shows signs or symptoms of a mental health disorder in a given year.
So in a school classroom of 25 students, five of them may be struggling with the same issues many adults deal with: depression, anxiety, substance abuse.
And yet most children - nearly 80 percent - who need mental health services won't get them.
Whether treated or not, the children do go to school. And the problems they face can tie into major problems found in schools: chronic absence, low achievement, disruptive behavior and dropping out.
Experts say schools could play a role in identifying students with problems and helping them succeed. Yet it's a role many schools are not prepared for."

To read more, click HERE

Top Back-to-School Apps 2016
This issue of Dyslexia Advantage Magazine is packed with informative articles.  In particular, check out their list of Top Back-to-School Apps.

Read the magazine HERE

Evanston Actors Gymnasium Offers Classes for Children and Teens with Special Needs

A new program gives students with disabilities and special needs access to the joy of circus. Circus arts is a non-competitive, creative recreational opportunity that allows individuals to shine. It has also been shown to increase focus, determination, fine motor skills, social skills, physical ability and self-esteem.

Current classes include Circus Arts for Students with Autism, ages 10 -14 and Circus Arts for Students with Disabilities, ages 16 and up.

See the class descriptions or register here, or call the office at 847-328-2795.

U.S. Dept. of Ed. Guidance on Behavioral Supports

On August 1, 2016, new guidance to school districts on the requirements for positive behavioral supports for students with IEP's was published in a "Dear Colleague" letter from OSERS (Office of Special Education and Rehabilitation Services).

Research indicates that removal from school, even short-term removal, has detrimental effects on students.  Unfortunately, students in Evanston (and across the country) with special needs are often subject to disciplinary actions due to behaviors related to their disabilities. This includes the use of ODR's in our elementary schools (Office Discipline Referrals) and in-school-suspensions. 

From the OSERS letter:

"Recent data on short-term disciplinary removals from the current placement strongly suggest that many children with disabilities may not be receiving appropriate behavioral interventions and supports, and other strategies, in their IEPs. During the 2013-2014 school year, 10 percent of all children with disabilities, ages 3 through 21, were subject to a disciplinary removal of 10 school days or less, with children of color with disabilities facing higher rates of removal."

"...This letter serves to remind school personnel that the authority to implement disciplinary removals does not negate their obligation to consider the implications of the child's behavioral needs, and the effects of the use of suspensions (and other short-term removals) when ensuring the provision of FAPE."

To read the entire letter, click HERE