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
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!
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
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
Adria Nassim (and Lucy) – On Sensory Processing: A Personal Story
Patti Foerster – Libraries, Disabilities and Washington, DC, Part I
Renee Grassi and Cate Loveday – Community Report – DuPage, Kane & Will Counties
Holly Jin and Dawn Wlezien – Supporting Transition-Aged Students at Skokie Public Library: Patron Stories and Lessons Learned, Part I
Sheryl Siebert – Community Report from the Director, Chenoa Public Library
Sarah Colby Weaver – The Americans with Disabilities Act and Hidden Disabilities
Mary Pelich – A Mother’s Journey
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)
Sarah Isaacs – Early Intervention Clearinghouse (Illinois Department of Human Services, Bureau of Early Intervention)
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
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.