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Social Security & Medicaid Stories– The ARC

With all the talk in Washington about cutting the budget, The ARC anticipates that SSI, Medicaid and Social Security will be put on the chopping block.   They are rapidly working to put together a” human face” for those legislators working on these budget numbers.

The ARC is collecting stories as part of a survey among those who receive and need to continue receiving  these services.  While the impact of this funding is clear to us, it is not necessarily clear to legislators who are under pressure to cut costs.  If The ARC can  share our stories with supporters, they will be able to help them defend us against potentially devastating cuts.

Respondents can tell The ARC how  Medicaid and Social Security affects their lives.   Self-advocates, parents, friends and service providers may wish to participate.  This brief survey is versatile, providing  an option for anonymity as well as an opportunity to provide a photograph and contact information.   Respondents have a great deal of control over the information that is submitted.

These initiatives are taking place on the national level.  For more information contact  The Arc 1825 K Street NW, Suite 1200, Washington, DC 20006,  800.433.5255


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Zumba for Special Needs at Protected Tomorrows

Protected Tomorrows Zumba ClassEven those who hate to exercise might have tried  Zumba.  This is a dance fitness program involving tons of lively international music.   It is rigorous, social and most people say it is  fun.  It is also a form of exercise that doesn’t attract droves of people with special needs.  To address this need, Protected Tomorrows is initiating a seven-week Zumba class that is specifically for those with special needs.

The class begins on November 7, from 5:30-6:15pm and continues every Wednesday for 7 weeks.  The class will be in the Protected Tomorrows Training Center at 103 Schelter Rd, Lincolnshire.  Family and friends are welcome.  Participants must be at least 15 years of age.  Donations are welcome.  These will benefit the Protected Tomorrows Transform U initiative.

If you want more information contact Teri Bodeman, 847-522-8086,

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377 Board Initiative in McHenry Moves Forward

Supporters of the initiative to create a 377 Board in McHenry County are moving forward to get the item placed on a ballot in March 2013.  On November 2 they will present their case to the Health and Human Services (HHS) committee of the County Board.  The HHS is expected to advise the Board on placement of the  initiative on the ballot.  The County Board is expected to act on November 20.

Supporters met on October 17 to discuss their next steps and timeline.  Included steps were the outreach to the Boards of Directors of county agencies and creation of a steering committee.   In addition the need to educate voters about needs in the developmentally disabled community of McHenry County was explored.  The group wishes to contact churches, civic groups and others that may want more information.

Current statistics show that there are 5,236 individuals in McHenry County who are developmentally disabled.  The majority are not being served.  Over the next 5 years, 1300 of these individuals are expected to have urgent needs as caregivers pass on and other circumstances change.   These needs are not being met by state programs.

For more information contact Cindy Sullivan, Options and Advocacy,, 815-477-4700.

 Click here for a link to the previous NemoNews article.


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Nemo’s Summer

This summer publication of has been spottier than hoped or anticipated.  Thanks for hanging in there.  We would like to share a couple of thoughts with you.

First: will resume publishing articles as they arrive for the rest of the summer.  Some regard will be given to the importance, timeliness and audience for the item.  So you’ll see us more often now, but still not quite daily.

Second: In the fall, we will publish on a more regular schedule.  We are currently reviewing software and scheduling options that will make TheNemoNews more useful.  We hope to take Nemo to the next level.

Finally:  Thank you for your encouragement and kind words.  We are gratified that subscribers continue to enroll even though we have not published very much this summer.  We are excited by the opportunities presented by the community that TheNemoNews serves.

Thanks for staying tuned in….

Mary Rhodes

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July 4th “Rest Stop” at Great Lakes Naval Station

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This year there will be a “Rest Stop” for families with special needs at the Naval Station Great Lakes 4th of July Celebration.  The Rest Stop is designed as a place to get out of the sun, take meds, get info and connect with other Exceptional Family Member Program (EFMP) families.

The public is invited to the annual celebration  that features a craft show, a carnival, a 5K run, fireworks, bingo and more.  The website has a detailed description and directions and an FAQ.   Check out the Facebook page as well.

“This is the first year that EFMP will have a tent for families with Special Needs.”, said Sally Tilli, Program Liaison.  “We are hoping that more families will be able to attend because of this support service.  And we’re expecting a really good time!”.

For more information contact Chris Mohr at or Salli Tilli at 847-688-3603, x 119,


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Special Olympics State Includes Lake, McHenry Athletes

Next weekend Lake and McHenry Counties will be well represented at the Special Olympics Summer Games in Normal.  Top regional athletes from several teams will compete in events at Illinois State University.

Aquatics — Individual and relay events
Independent Fox Lake, Lamb’s Farm, Libertyville Stars, Northern Illinois Special Recreation Association, Warren Special Recreation Association

Bocce Ball — Traditional and Unified
Lamb’s Farm, SEDOL, Special Recreation Association of Central Lake County, Special Recreation Services of North Lake County, Vernon Hills, School District, Warren Special Recreation Association

Gymnastics — Bars, Vault, Floor Exercise, Rings, Balance Beam and Rhythmic Gymnastics
Gymspot Champions, Northern Illinois Special Recreation, Woodstock School District

Power Lifting
Northern Illinois Special Recreation, Special Recreation Association of Central Lake County

Soccer — Individual skills and team play
Northern Illinois SRA, Woodstock School District

Track and Field — Walk, Wheelchair, Run, Shot-put, Long Jump, Ball Throw, Relay
Barrington Broncos, Grayslake Central High School, Jacobs High School, Kiley Center,  Lamb’s Farm, Northern Illinois Special Recreation, Northshore Special Olympics, SEDOL, Special Recreation Services of Northern Lake County, Special Recreation Association of Central Lake County, Vernon Hills, School District, Woodstock School District, Warren Special Recreation Association praises the organizations that field these wonderful teams of athletes.  We further recognize the coaches, volunteers, boosters and families that support them.  We regretfully noted that it was sometimes difficult to locate information on the sponsoring organizations and/or teams.  We would love to see these athletes and teams honored on organization websites by mentioning that they “made State”.

We wish all of these fine athletes well in the competition and are reminded of the Special Olympics Athlete’s Oath  — “Let me win. But if I cannot win, let me be strong in the attempt.”

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Rosalind Franklin Medical Students Conduct Autism Events

Medical students at Rosalind Franklin University conducted three events in April to observe National Autism Awareness Month and increase disability awareness among health care students.

The events included a workshop with a panel of parents, team participation in the North Shore Walk Now for Autism Speaks and lunch discussion with a developmental pediatrician.  The events were co-sponsored by the Pediatric Interest Group and the Student Interest Group in Neurology.

Noting that medical students don’t often encounter patients with disabilities in their curriculum, the sponsors developed a panel of local parents to discuss their experiences.  The parent panel included several parents who currently serve on the SEDOL Parent Advisory Board.  One of the panel members was a medical student with a child with a disability.

Parents and students felt positively about the experience according to Eva Schwartz, medical student and event organizer.  “Overall, the panel was a good reminder about some of the basics of patient care  — treat the patient not the disease, be involved with your patients and their families, listen, and show compassion.”, Schwartz continued.

There is interest in repeating the event, although It has not been determined if this will be repeated next year.  For more information contact Eva Schwartz at

The Nemo News salutes the medical students for reaching out to learn more about our families and autism.

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Teen Depression: A Graphic Novel

A local teenager recently shared his experience with depression in a moving graphic novel format.  The Chicago Tribune published his story, a video and a slideshow of his experience on May 9, 2012.  The article notes that 1 in 12 teens experience a major depressive episode.  Kudos to Mr. Watson and his family for sharing their insight, compassion and courage with others who may suffer.

The Nemo News notes that the young author had Tourette’s Syndrome and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder before experiencing the depressive episode he describes.  These  pre-existing conditions most likely contributed to the low social standing and bullying that is described in his story.  This highlights the importance of Social Emotional Learning from an early age.  The Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) has published standards for this domain and the FAQ can be found here.

The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) offers support, education, resources and advocacy for individuals and families affected by mental illness.  The Lake County Chapter  .and the  McHenry County Chapter have regular meetings, resource guides, and support groups for recovering individuals and their families.  Typically these services are free of charge.  Contact information is on each respective website.

Readers are encouraged to share information on other resources that may be helpful to those facing mental illness in Lake and McHenry Counties.   Use the comment button to share your thoughts.



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Valor Games Midwest Registration Begins

Registration for the Second Annual Valor Games Midwest began this week.  The games are for disabled veterans and wounded, ill and injured active duty service members.  The games will be held  August 13-15 at various Chicago venues including Soldier Field and US Cellular Field.  Events include shot put, discus, cycling, archery, power-lifting and indoor rowing.  Applications will be reviewed and participants will be notified of their acceptance for the competition by July 15.

Last year, many of the 100+ participants had little or no previous experience.  In addition, applicants may apply for a 4-day introductory sports camp before the games.  The camp is sponsored by   the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago. All costs for Valor Games participants are covered, with the exception of transportation to and from Chicago. Those that participate in the camp will receive a travel stipend.

Organizers are seeking additional volunteers and sponsors.   Other events during the games will include a (Careerbuilder) job fair, veterans resource fair and more.  Current supporters include U.S. Paralympics, the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Chicago Park District.

For more information contact:  Susan Katz, Director of Paralympic & Disability Sport, (312) 861-4848,



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Stipends to Attend Conferences Available

Individuals with developmental disabilities and their families are eligible to apply for funding to attend conferences that pertain to their disabilities.  The Consumer Involvement Program is administered by the ARC of Illinois.

Applicants may receive up to $300 per conference or $500 per family per year. The conference may be in-state or out-of-state.  Other rules apply, and these are clearly stated on the application form.  Find the application here.

These stipends allow those directly affected by a developmental disability to participate in and contribute to discussions of direct interest to them.



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