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Chicago mom and attorney fights for kids with disabilities

After years of advocating for her own child, corporate attorney Micki Moran began representing children with special needs.

Tips for parents

  • Get a full evaluation of your child that identifies the problem
    correctly.
  • Educate yourself about your child’s disability.
  • Make sure your child gets the services he needs
    immediately.
  • Assemble a team of experts you can consult when you’re not sure
    what to do.
  • Find something your child is good at and foster that
    interest.

In her words

Best advice ever received: Trust your own instincts as a
parent.

Best tip you’ve learned from raising a child with special
needs that you want to share with other parents:
The
best tip for parents is not easily reduced to one word or a phrase.
There are three things that I think are most important:

  1. Become your own expert on your child.
  2. Don’t give up.
  3. Keep a sense of humor.

“I learned a lot from my son,” says Moran, 57. “He was my first teacher. I am sure people thought I was possessed… I didn’t want my son to be a statistic. I wanted him to be able to do whatever he could, the best that he could do it.”

Moran is convinced that had Patrick, 29, not received the help they had to fight for, he would not have gone to college or be holding down a job.

Moran thought she could help others. She launched The Child& Family Law Center of the North Shore, a block away from her Highland Park home, to be near Patrick, who was in middle school at the time and has a learning disability. She started out with special education cases before expanding to juvenile court and divorces involving the parents of children with special needs.

“I try to be part coach, part lawyer, part advocate,” she says. “Most people I see are at the lowest point of their lives. It’s a very emotional practice. I have boxes of Kleenex all over my office.”

The job has her working more often with mental health professionals, tutors and therapists, making sure her clients get the services that they need, than with other lawyers.

Outside of work, she sits on the board of the Center for Independent Futures in Evanston and leads talks to empower parents to advocate for their children.

Oftentimes, the mental health cases she handles keep her up at night, worrying about the children she represents, she says. But knowing she is doing her part to help better their lives makes it all worthwhile.

“I have a real passion for what I do,” she says.

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