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Laurie Levy
Laurie Levy, M.Ed., has worked over 30 years in the early childhood profession. She is a strong believer in diversity and the rights of children with special needs, and a passionate advocate for children. Through her writing, she seeks to empower parents and educators, and create caring and just communities. She was founder and executive director of Cherry Preschool, an innovative developmental program that includes and celebrates all children. Her personal experiences as the grandparent of children with special needs, as well as her many years working for inclusion, have made her an advocate for the rights of those who cannot speak for themselves. Laurie is a regular blogger at ChicagoNow.

Entries by Laurie Levy

Starting School for Our Youngest Students

(0) Comments | Posted August 28, 2014 | 11:26 AM

September is the month of mixed emotions. All of us can remember the feelings we experienced at the start of a school year. There was always the excitement about fresh school supplies, new clothes, and seeing old friends.

Mixed with that, however, was the worry about whether the new...

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Seniors Trying To Care For Their Elders

(2) Comments | Posted August 26, 2014 | 8:01 AM

I'm a senior trying to care for an even more senior parent. There are lots of us. We are grandparents who are struggling through our "golden years," some of us still working far beyond age 65. Many of us are trying to be good "children" for our parents at the...

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Starting Kindergarten -- Answers to Six Not-So-Easy Questions

(2) Comments | Posted August 12, 2014 | 5:53 PM

I have been meeting for over 20 years with parents whose children are about to start kindergarten. While there was always some level of anxiety at these meetings, it was nothing compared with recent years. When did "I will miss my baby so much" turn into "How will my child...

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To the Summer Camp Director Who Excluded a Child With Special Needs

(0) Comments | Posted August 12, 2014 | 10:46 AM

Olivia's mother was totally honest with the person in charge of the summer art camp program. Her child has special needs and would need one-to-one support, although it did not have to be a specially-trained person. A kind middle school-aged helper would work -- someone to show her what to...

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My Wish for This Year's Kindergarteners

(2) Comments | Posted July 29, 2014 | 5:43 PM

The nation's five-year-olds will file into their schools soon, their faces so young and sweet and innocent. I hope their year is filled with enough happy moments to fill those cute and somewhat overlarge backpacks they proudly carry. At the same time, I worry. Reflecting back on four generations of...

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A Twitter Illiterate's Confession

(3) Comments | Posted July 22, 2014 | 7:11 AM

I must confess I have hit my limit with technology. While finishing The Circle by Dave Eggers on my Nook, I updated my Facebook fan page linked to important stuff. Then I sent out a Constant Contact newsletter asking people to "like," forward, subscribe...

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iPhone Dependency -- Why Am I So Afraid Of Disconnecting?

(2) Comments | Posted July 1, 2014 | 7:09 AM

iPhone-a-phobia. Yep, I think I have finally developed a full-blown case. It seems my biggest fear about my upcoming 10-day vacation in Europe is disconnecting. After spending too many hours trying to figure out data plans for foreign travel, sim cards purchased abroad, Skype vs. FaceTime from phone to phone,...

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June Is Aphasia Awareness Month: Learn About Childhood Apraxia of Speech

(0) Comments | Posted June 25, 2014 | 4:53 PM

You may have heard of aphasia if you know someone who has had a stroke or brain injury. The person is still competent and knows what he wants to say, but he can't talk and may not be able to understand others who are speaking to him. He...

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Summer Activities for Kids Are no Vacation for Their Parents

(0) Comments | Posted June 17, 2014 | 2:51 PM

My deepest apologies for all of the years as a preschool director in which I wrote articles at the end of the school year extolling the virtues of summer. You know those articles...blow bubbles, smell the flowers, run through the sprinkler, draw with sidewalk chalk...what was I thinking?

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Whatever Happened To RSVPs? Evites And Social Media Have Backfired To Make Us More Impolite

(3) Comments | Posted June 10, 2014 | 6:13 AM

A little boy is turning five this June and wants a big, fun birthday party. So his mother sends out Evites to his entire preschool class plus a few friends. Guess how many folks had opened the Evite after a week? I am talking opened, not replied. Shockingly, only three...

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My Kids Are Grown and Gone But My Nest Is Far From Empty

(0) Comments | Posted June 5, 2014 | 4:30 PM

I recently found part of a love letter written to one of my daughters over 20 years ago when she was in high school. It was at the bottom of a stack of notepaper I was using for shopping lists. Of course, I had to read it to see what...

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Educational Rankings: Why Are We So Obsessed With Rating Everything?

(1) Comments | Posted May 27, 2014 | 2:27 PM

The front page of the Sunday, May 11 Chicago Tribune immediately grabbed my attention: "Illinois new school rating system will hold minority students to a different standard." Our schools are unable to meet the 100 percent proficiency requirement of the 2001 No Child Left Behind Act? No problem....

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It's May 2014 and I'm Wondering: What Will Happen to the 2,000 iPhone Photos of my Grandkids from 2013?

(0) Comments | Posted May 21, 2014 | 8:56 PM

My daughter had a problem. Her memories of 2013 were clogging up her phone, making it impossible to take new photos and videos without randomly deleting old ones.  So she downloaded them to her computer, as I suggested, but that just clogged up her hard drive. Then she uploaded them to...

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What Do Kids Learn From Doing Homework?

(0) Comments | Posted May 13, 2014 | 5:05 PM

My granddaughter is a homework burnout in second grade. Every day for the past almost two years, she dutifully takes those homework sheets out of her backpack and completes them. If she has dance class after school, she still completes them before bedtime. And what has she learned from doing...

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A Multi-Generational Mother's Day Tribute

(0) Comments | Posted May 7, 2014 | 12:21 PM

My grandmothers had hard lives. They left their families in the "old country" at an age when girls today are just getting braces for their teeth, traveled by themselves on long ocean voyages to live with people they had never met, worked in sweat shops, married young and spent much...

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It's Teacher Appreciation Week: Here's a Girl Who Appreciates Them Every Day

(0) Comments | Posted May 5, 2014 | 12:03 PM

My granddaughter, who has so much trouble with her expressive language, has no trouble letting me know who her true heroes are. For her, every week is Teacher Appreciation Week. When I ask her what she wants to be when she grows up, that's one question she happily answers --...

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On Becoming a Grandparent and a Senior Citizen at the Same Time

(0) Comments | Posted April 28, 2014 | 5:01 PM

My grandmothers were always old to me. They had grey hair, wore baggy dresses and sturdy shoes and never played with me. They cooked great meals and gave me lots of hugs and love, but I could never imagine being sassy with them or expecting them to play hide and...

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Talking to a Child With Special Needs Through an iPad - A Humbling Experience

(0) Comments | Posted April 17, 2014 | 11:36 AM

Technology is opening doors for children with special needs.  But have you ever tried talking using an iPad to communicate?  I decided to have a two-way conversation with my granddaughter who has severe apraxia and it was a real eye opener.  Instead of talking to her and then expecting her to...

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Parents, Take Note: The Top 10 Games This Grandmother Hates To Play

(21) Comments | Posted April 16, 2014 | 12:50 PM

Like all parents, I know my children imagined me as a doting grandmother, happily playing with their children, unburdened by the daily demands of parenting. And it's true that one of the joys of having grandchildren is spending special time together. To me, that means reading books, drawing, going to...

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You Can Say "You Can't Say You Can't Play" at School

(0) Comments | Posted April 9, 2014 | 10:43 AM

Watching kids play on school playgrounds can break my heart. There are always some who stand alone, unsure of how to enter play. When they try, they are told they may not join the game. After a while, they just stop trying.

I know that all teachers remember the sting...

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