Saturday, March 1, 2008

Special Needs Information Fair

The second annual Special Needs Information Fair is Tuesday, March 4th in Peoria. Organizer Laura Sniff said, "We wanted this fair to be a "one stop shop" for families, teachers, etc. to find information on services that are available to their special needs family members/students in our area. This year, our fair is going to be even bigger with 42 organizations represented."

Laura says she expects people to come from several surrounding counties.

Date: Tuesday, March 4, 2008
Time: 6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
Location: Dunlap High School
5220 W. Legion Hall Rd.
Dunlap, IL 61525
For more information:
jlsniff@msn.com


I found out through my husband there is a need for more events like this. He works for AAA Auto Club Group and he was sent the follow message from coworker Connie Karlovic who has a daughter with Downs Syndrome. Her story was used to push AAA employees to donate to the United Way. This is not a donation blog, I just think it's a story many people with typically developing kids never hear.

"AAA District Manager Connie Karlovic’s daughter, Melissa, has been in a vocational program at Park Lawn for three years. Melissa has Down Syndrome, which the state does not provide any type of school or organized activity for after age 21.

“It was quite a challenge as this was a young woman who was very involved in many activities who suddenly become lonely and depressed because the structure that she was used to for the past 21 years was gone,” Karlovic says. “We, as her parents, really struggled. We had to continue working and couldn't create the structured environment that Melissa was used to.”

Park Lawn is an organization whose goal is to provide comprehensive service for people with developmental disabilities and their families located in Oak Lawn, Ill. It promotes independence, choice and access to mainstream living. “I have found that through this workshop Melissa is slowing building back her level of confidence, self esteem and she is on the road to independence,” Karlovic says.

It takes a lot of money to support an organization like Park Lawn where annual program expenses exceed $6 million. The state and local government does not have the funding to help this and the many other organizations like it."

-NewsAnchorMom Jen

2 comments:

Laura Sniff said...

Just an update on the fair, we now have 54 organizations represented! We have something for everyone, from all disabilities to all ages (birth through adulthood). A list of the organizations can be found at www.specialneedsfair.com. Also, the fair is free! Thanks! Laura Sniff

Anonymous said...

This subject always strikes a chord with me since my son has ASD. It's amazing that there isn't anything available for Down Syndrome adults after the age of 21; perhaps a trip to Springfield may be in order. Even though I don't live in the Peoria area, I feel it is important for communities to do events such as this. Thanks for the information, and hopefully many families will benefit.

 
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