In this Issue: 

President's Message
2021 Parent University™ 4th Class: Important Things to Know About Guardianship on
April Is Autism Acceptance Month!
Autism and Sleep: Empowering Children with ASD for Better Sleep
Two Upcoming Webinars Featuring Mary Anne Ehlert!
This is Where We Will Be...

President's Message:
Dear Clients and Friends,

Happy Spring!  Yes, flowers are blooming on the magnolia trees, leaves are coming in on the trees, and I'm seeing more people with smiles on their faces.  Aaahhhh!

Hope is shining through, no matter what you have been stressing over, it is hard to fight mother nature!
Once again, this is our busy season to present to lots of groups on lots of new topics.  Feel free to check out our schedule below and participate in our sessions.

I'm happy to share a wonderful story about John Gier,  who is the son of our very own Barb Gier!  We are all very proud of John and all he has accomplished.
Want to share a proud story of your family member with us?  Please do!  Send your story and a picture.  Those great stories motivate many.   
Enjoy this issue.  And enjoy every single day!

Warmest regards,

Mary Anne Ehlert,
Founder & President

We are excited to announce our fourth 2021 Parent University webinar class, "Important Things To Know About Guardianship", to be held on Thursday, April 22, 2021 from 7:00pm - 8:00pm CST.    

Registration is required.  Please click here to register.

Class description: Guardianship is a legal process and used when a person can no longer make or communicate safe or sound decisions about his/her person and/or property.  Before establishing a guardianship, you might consider other alternatives which we will discussed.  What are the alternatives to guardianship?  What individual rights are affected by a guardianship?  What are the duties and responsibilities of guardianship?  What are the benefits and downfalls to becoming my child's guardian?   

PLEASE NOTE: If you are not able to attend this class live but you would like to watch the recorded video at a later time, please make sure to register for this class.  All registrants will receive the information needed to watch the recorded video. 

Posted by Tricia Luzadder |

To celebrate National Developmental Disabilities Month in March, JJ's List had the chance to spotlight one of our own Disability Awareness Players, John G.  We are grateful for John's willingness to tell us his story and excited to share with our community.  

John shares stories about independence and courage and shows the world how people with disabilities are just like everyone else.

Describe yourself:   I am a 38 year old man who lives independently but loves being with people. In "normal" times, I am a volunteer at the Prospect Heights Library. I have been volunteering there since about 2015. I am also an original member of the Disability Awareness Players. I have been a Player since 2009! I love everything about being a Player, especially travelling around the area with the other Players.  I really miss being with people and hanging out with friends. I hope I can go back to camp because I love it.  I also enjoy writing stories, journaling, working out, going to the movies, and eating out. And I have cerebral palsy (CP). 

Tell us about your independence:  I have been living in my condo for about 14 years. It recently was rehabbed and looks great! I live on the ground floor so I don't have to use stairs. I had a personal assistant for several years but I don't any more. My mom supports me by driving me places, taking me shopping, and preparing meals for me. But I do a lot on my own, like laundry, light cleaning, shopping online, Zooming, scheduling my paratransit rides and heating up prepared meals.  

How does CP affect you?  CP affects my balance and my speech. Walking more than short distances can be difficult, and people sometimes have a difficult time understanding me.
But once they get to know me, it's not a problem understanding me.  

What are your goals in life?  I want to meet someone special to share my life with. 

What do you want people to know about you and other people with disabilities?  People with disabilities are like everybody else. We have the same feelings and ideas. We have strengths and weaknesses. We deserve to be treated like everyone else because we are like everyone else.

Any advice to others with disabilities or those just learning to be independent?  Have confidence that you can do it. And don't be afraid to ask for help. 

To sign up for the monthly Newsletter, please click here.

April is Autism Acceptance Month! 

In 1970, the Autism Society launched an ongoing nationwide effort to promote autism awareness and assure that all affected by autism are able to achieve the highest quality of life possible.  In 1972, the Autism Society launched the first annual National Autistic Children's week, which evolved into Autism Acceptance Month (AAM). This April, we continue our efforts to spread awareness, promote acceptance, and ignite change.  Click here to read more about the shift from "Autism Awareness Month" to "Autism Acceptance Month".

The Autism Society of America, the nation's oldest leading grassroots autism organization, is proud to celebrate Autism Acceptance Month in April 2021 with its "Celebrate Differences" campaign. Designed to build a better awareness of the signs, symptoms, and realities of autism, #CelebrateDifferences focuses on providing information and resources for  communities to be more aware of autism, promote acceptance, and be more inclusive in everyday life.

The Autism Society recognizes that the prevalence of autism in the United States has risen from 1 in 125 children in 2010 to 1 in 54 in 2020 - recognizing this continued increase, the goal for AAM is to further increase awareness about autism signs, symptoms and opportunities through: information and referrals, events, printable and digital resources, and community partnerships with businesses and organizations dedicated to building inclusive experiences.

The Autism Society has a variety of resources designed to inform and encourage communities to celebrate differences, and become more inclusive of individuals with autism.  The campaign will overlap with World Autism Awareness Day on April 2nd, and continue throughout the month.  Here are just a few of the resources available through the Autism Society:

Autism and Sleep: Empowering Children with ASD for Better Sleep
by MySlumberYard | March 15, 2021

The pandemic has had an enormous impact on the sleep habits of all children but has been especially hard on children with autism who may already be dealing with sleep-related issues. 

To help children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) regain a healthy sleep routine, we've created a guide with actionable methods for coping with stress and sleep disorder during this time.  Our resource also includes printable, visual aids to help children get involved, such as:
  • A personalizable bedtime pass to help children feel comfortable adjusting to a new sleep schedule
  • A customizable bedtime routine to help children with ASD personally create their own sleep schedule

Two Upcoming Webinars Featuring Mary Anne Ehlert!

When: Thursday, April 15th, 2021 at 5:00pm EST (4:00pm CST)

Description: Join us to hear from a stellar team about the journey towards completing the tasks necessary to ensure our DEE children are cared for in the future.  We'll hear about the journey of one mother, from an expert financial planner specializing in assisting special needs families, and from the CEO of a rare epilepsy foundation and mother about her organizations intensive work to build a comprehensive "transitions" checklist for all our families to use.

SFN Dads Virtual Conference 

When: Saturday, May 15th, 2021 from 7:30am - 3:00pm CST

Description: The SFN Dads Virtual Conference is for dads raising children with special needs, interested in:  
                          - developing their fathering skills 
                          - gathering resources for their child and family, and
                          - meeting and networking with like-minded dads

Some agenda topics include: Being Emotionally Present, Housing & Residential Issues, Sibling & Family Balance, Respite & Marriage, Grieving the Anticipated Life, Estate & Financial Planning, Education Beyond High School, Losing a Child, and Overcoming Denial.  Click here to view the agenda.  

This is Where We Will Be...


                 DEE Child
                 Sponsored by: DEE-P Connections 
                 Online Zoom Webinar

                  Online Zoom Class

                 Sponsored by: NAPFA
                 Online Zoom Webinar

                  Estate and Financial Plans
                  Online Zoom Class

                  Sponsored by: Special Father's Network (SFN)
                  Online Virtual Conference

                   Sponsored by: NBIA
                   Online Zoom Webinar

                  Online Zoom Class

                  Special Needs Families
                  Online Zoom Class

                  Schools - What Is The Right Choice?
                  Online Zoom Class

                  Online Zoom Class

                   For Your Family
                   Online Zoom Class

                   Online Zoom Class

For more information on these click here!
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