Debra Vines Shares “Just for Men” video at 2016 Targeting Autism Forum

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For parents of children with autism, support groups can provide a powerful way connect and learn from others who share similar experiences, dreams and challenges.  These groups, however, are typically attended by mothers, leaving fathers with fewer opportunities to find encouragement in their day-to-day lives.  In addition, men are socialized to be more stoic and are often less likely to share their feelings, frustrations and often hide their need for support.   The result can be emotional isolation and depression.

An important component of The Answer, Inc., a not-for-profit organization dedicated to providing support, resources, education, recreation and advocacy for families in the greater Chicago area that are challenged with supporting family members with autism & developmental differences, is the Just for Men support group.  Just for Men was created to cater to the needs of fathers dealing with individuals with autism or other mental impairments.

Take a few minutes to view the inspirational video Just for Men  which was shown at the 2016 Targeting Autism Forum and included as part of Debra Vine’s talk on March 10th. Debra’s complete presentation is available here

Recognizing one of our distinguished 2016 Targeting Autism forum speakers

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In honor of Women’s History Month…
Ann Ford, Executive Director of Illinois Network of Centers for Independent Living (INCIL) in Springfield. Ann is one of the most significant advocates for Illinoisans with disabilities. Ann contracted polio at the age of five, and has become a tireless advocate and strong leader, overcoming countless challenges throughout her life. Ann has served as the Co-Chair of the Disabilities Services Committee – which improves the states compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Ann Ford has dedicated her life to empowering individuals with disabilities to become full participants in society and to realize that there are NO LIMITS!

Ann Ford

2016 Targeting Autism Forum Sessions

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If you were not able to attend the 2016 Targeting Autism Forum, you can see what you missed.  Links to most of the individual presentations are provided here for your convenience.

Marty Murphy – Autism: Beyond the Books Part I

                 Autism: Beyond the Books Part II

Marty Murphy

Ann Ford – The Importance of Building Relationships with Service Providers and Advocacy Groups

Ann Ford

Dan Weiss, Barbara Klipper, April Jones & Daniel Flores  – Music video, Libraries and Autism: We’re Connected and Autism Welcome Here: Library Programs, Services and More grant award presentations

Dan Weiss

Barbara awards Dan and April

Adria Nassim (and Lucy) – On Sensory Processing: A Personal Story

Adria and Lucy

Patti Foerster – Libraries, Disabilities and Washington, DC, Part I

Libraries, Disabilities and Washington, DC, Part II

Patti Foerster

Debra Vines – Report from the Founder/Executive Director, The Answer, Inc.

debra vines

Amanda Marti – Southern Illinois Targeting Autism Collaborative Community Report

Amanda Marti

Renee Grassi and Cate Loveday – Community Report – DuPage, Kane & Will Counties

renee and cate

Holly Jin and Dawn Wlezien – Supporting Transition-Aged Students at Skokie Public Library: Patron Stories and Lessons Learned, Part I

Supporting Transition-Aged Students at Skokie Public Library: Patrons Stories and Lessons Learned, Part II

Holly Jin and Dawn Wlezien

Sheryl Siebert – Community Report from the Director, Chenoa Public Library


The Alex & Hayden Show – featuring Alex Dudzenski, Hayden Davis, Jan Abernethy (teacher) and Katie Henderson (Hayden’s mom)

Alex & Hayden Show

John Donvan, Emmy Award-winning correspondent for ABC and Caren Zucker, Peabody Award-winning television news journalist – A book discussion of their book, In a Different Key: The Story of Autism

Book talk John Donvan and Caren Zucker

Sarah Colby Weaver – The Americans with Disabilities Act and Hidden Disabilities

Sarah Weaver

Mary Pelich – A Mother’s Journey

mary pelich


Nalini Mahajan – Information Connections: For Parents of Children with Developmental Disabilities and Chronic Diseases (made possible with grant funds from the National Library of Medicine)

Nalini - Information Connections

Sarah Isaacs – Early Intervention Clearinghouse (Illinois Department of Human Services, Bureau of Early Intervention)

Sarah Isaacs

ILEAD’s Team Spectra Engages with the Targeting Autism Forum at Assistive Technology Petting Zoo

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Courtesy of the IMLS-funded, 2015 ILEAD USA LB21 Grant, “Team Spectra” offers Targeting Autism forum attendees opportunities to engage with assistive technologies.   Team members include:

  • Marcus Birch, Illinois State Library
  • Natalie DeJonghe, Reaching Across Illinois Library System
  • Meghan Harmon, Chatham Area Public Library
  • Matthew Henninger, Illinois State Library
  • Jamie Mott, Illinois State Library

Inspirational Speakers Address Librarians and Others at the 2016 Targeting Autism forum!

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A few pictures from the 2016 Targeting Autism Forum, held at the Illinois State Library on March 10-11.  All sessions were recorded and will be accessible/posted soon.