Saturday, September 27, 2008

Today's Parent University

Today's Parent University at MCC was excellent. Sponsored by the Family CARE Project of the McHenry County Mental Health Board, the day's events included a continental breakfast spread out by the MCC food service staff.

The kick-off at 9:00AM brought tears to the eyes of most, if not all, in the audience. The "Teddy Stallard" story that many have read via e-mail is now on DVD. Check it out at

The opening presentation was by Lorraine Plum, a highly-experienced consultant in social and emotional learning who now works with school districts, and then morning break-out sessions, including one in Spanish and translated to English (for some of us), ran until noon.

Lunch was set out by the MCC staff and followed by an entertaining presentation by the Shut Up Sisters. Whether you are a parent of a child with special needs or "just a parent", I think you'll enjoy their website at You might even want to go shopping there.

The afternoon program was excellent, too, and included a get-up-and-move-around, participatory portion. It was presented to Merle Siefken and Yvonne Janvrin of the Illinois Statewide Technical Assistance Center for Parents. I had met them last month in Springfield, when I went there for ther Parent Mentor training.

About all I can say is that it was too bad that the MCC conference center wasn't packed! How many parents of children with special needs are there in McHenry County? How many special ed teachers and administrators are there in McHenry County? One (1) [that's O-N-E) Special Education director was there. There were other school staff members and some parents.

Parents are crying out for help and then a program is offered and they don't know about it. Something needs to change in McHenry County, and parents can make it happen. Parents are going to have to insist that their school districts begin educating them and informing them of training, seminars, workshops and conferences like the one today at MCC.

If you would like to be informed of future programs of this type, email Michelle LaLuz at and let her know you would like to be added to the email distribution list for future Parent University events. She is at the Mental Health Board. Your email address will be used for that purpose only.

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