Chicago special needs fair seeks to empower families

One thing families with children with special needs all know is that more challenges often come along with a diagnosis.

If you go

Developmental Differences Resource Fair

  • Sunday, Feb. 9, 10 a.m.-2 p.m.
  • Gordon Tech High School, 3633 N. California Ave, Chicago. The
    high school is handicapped accessible and offers free parking.
  • Free

This year’s Neighborhood Parents Network’s Developmental Differences Resources Fair will focus specifically on empowering families to take on some of those challenges, NPN Executive Director Melanie Schlachter says.

The breakout workshop sessions planned at this year’s fair will focus on challenges involving school, home and community, she says.

The school workshop will focus on school transition and will provide a road map for school options. Parents can expect to get expert advice on education, no matter where they are in the education process, she says.

The home workshop, led by Tuesday’s Child, includes a parent panel that will share behavior and family dynamics tips to help families make the home environment happy and healthy for everyone, Schlachter says.

The community workshop, led by Leep Forward, will help families discover the best and most inclusive activities for their child, along with tips for making treks out of the house more successful. Checklists and resources will be available to make life easier for families, she says.

The free fair is open to the public and attracts about 90 exhibitors ranging from therapeutic services to education and enrichment help to retail stores all geared for families with special needs.

“I think it is truly a unique event,” Schlachter says. The resource fair is now in its third year and draws more than 350 people with a variety of special needs.

Chicago Parent, which publishes Chicago Special Parent, is one of the sponsors of the event. The new issue of Special Parent is available Feb. 17.

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