At Airports, Making Travel Easier for Autistic Passengers

From the New York Times: For Gearoid Mannion and his wife, Michelle, who live in County Clare, Ireland, air travel with their two autistic sons, Conor, 9, and Darragh, 7, is usually nothing short of a nightmare. The noise level, crowds and announcements at airports overwhelm the boys, and waiting in security and boarding lines is a concept that they don’t understand, Mr. Mannion said. “They get red in the face and start running around and crying and screaming or run toward the exit, because they want to go back home,” he said.

To continue story, click here

Rimland’s Growing Global Influence!

Terrance Wimberly with a visitor from India

Early this June, Rimland was contacted by an individual traveling from India on a business trip. This individual is the father to a teenage son with autism. He toured Rimland with Associate Executive Director of Client Services Terrance Wimberly and was very impressed by our programs. He acknowledged that Rimland’s residential homes far exceeded his expectations of a group home. He is taking information from his experience at Rimland back to India to share with the parents and other family members of individuals diagnosed with autism.

NU Comes Back

Down the garden path

On Saturday, May 13, for the fourth year in a row, Rimland participated in Northwestern University’s NU Gives Back event. NU Gives Back is a student-led, campus-wide day of service that educates participants about the neighborhoods surrounding the University and raises awareness of issues that need attention in the Evanston community. This year, we hosted 12 student volunteers. The students put together a new walkway outside of Rimland’s Developmental Training (DT) Program, organized the DT Program storage closet, and painted two murals within the DT classrooms.

New murals at Rimland

Many thanks to all the volunteers who donated their time and talents to Rimland!

Carolyn Keel and Ronnie Sandridge with volunteers

Mexico in May

Pinata Power!

Last month, our Developmental Training Program clients participated in an event recognizing Cinco de Mayo, a celebration that commemorates Mexico’s unlikely victory over French forces in the Battle of Puebla on May 5,1862. In the US, the day has also become an opportunity to celebrate Mexican and Mexican-American culture. At Rimland, we served a special menu inspired by Mexican cuisine that featured chicken burritos, rice, refried beans, and churros for dessert. Festivities included making maracas and knocking down a piñata containing Hersey’s Kisses.

Special Olympics, Bowling Edition


Following events in swimming and the track and field “Spring Games” in March and April, Special Olympics Illinois Area 18 hosted its spring bowling tournament. This year, the tournament was held on June 3 at Elk Grove Bowl in Elk Gove Villiage, Illinois. Ten RImland clients took part in the event and were rewarded with various medals and ribbons for their success and participation.

Carnival! 2.0

Bouncing in the bounce house

In May, the Developmental Training Program hosted a spring carnival for the second year in a row with program participants. Event activities included face painting, games, prizes, and music. This year, for the first time, we had a “bounce house” for clients, which was a huge success.

Our 2016 Annual Report is here!

Take a look back at our landmark anniversary year and a review of our many accomplishments and program highlights. Check out the annual report here


and on our website.


And while you are on our website, don’t miss our video documenting Rimland’s 45-year history and our array of programs and services!  Check out the video here.

Spring Training

A beautiful day for the meet!

On April 23rd, a group of individuals supported by Rimland attended the Special Olympics Illinois Area 18 track and field meet at Mount Prospect High School. The track and field meet was the second component of Special Olympic Illinois’ spring meets (Rimland took part in the swim meet component in March). Rimland’s entrants participated in events such as the softball throw, the 100-meter speed walk, and the 100-meter run.

Ready for the race!

The individuals received different awards for their participation, including silver and bronze medals. Congratulations to team Rimland!

Spring has Sprung!

Green acres?

Rimland’s Development Training Programs expanded our Horticultural Program this spring. For the last several years, we have been maintaining a garden in front of our DT Program.

Getting our hands dirty!

This year, we planted inside as well. We planted several flowers and herbs including lavender, sweet mint, parsley, and oregano.

Beautiful on the inside

We also contributed to the surroundings of our community this spring. For Earth Day (observed April 22) this year, several of the individuals in Rimland’s Developmental Training program went to local parks to clean up the trash.

Doing our part!

L.A. Story

On the move!

The Health and Wellness Initiative is picking up steam!

A few clients have followed in the footsteps of Rimland staff members and joined LA Fitness! They enjoy weekly trips to LA Fitness to walk the track, use the exercise machines, and swim in the pool.

Pumping Iron!

Lions and tigers and…rabbits?

I knew I saw a wabbit!

Rimland’s Easter celebration included an Easter egg hunt in our Developmental Training Program along with an Easter Bunny who welcomed the program participants to the egg hunt.

A job well done!

Rimland would like to recognize the staff members at our Brown and Custer house.

At recent annual Individual Service Plan meetings, parents and guardians of the individuals in the home expressed their gratitude.  They said that the staff members are professional, friendly, and knowledgeable.

Thank you for all the work that you do on behalf of the individuals we support!

On the Town

Heading downtown for an exciting day in the city!

One of Rimland’s residents enjoyed a day downtown this April with her staff and mentor. They took a CTA bus ride, saw the musical Aladdin, and enjoyed a tasty lunch.

Winning Performances

On March 25, six Rimland clients participated in Special Olympics Illinois’ 2017 spring swimming event at Lake Forest College in Lake Forest, Illinois.

Individual events included the 25-meter freestyle and backstroke. All of Rimland’s participants received ribbons and some even received medals for their efforts.


We are very proud of all of our participants and look forward to upcoming spring games in the area of track and field.


A Promising Partnership

Rimland is pleased to announce a new partnership with the organization Connections for the Homeless. Connections for the Homeless is an Evanston-based non-profit that supports individuals and families that are homeless or are threatened with homelessness. The goal of our partnership is to connect individuals seeking employment with opportunities at Rimland. We see this as a way to strengthen the community in a mutually beneficial way, since Rimland provides opportunities for employment and full job training. Connections for the Homeless assists more than 800 individuals and families each year through the efforts of over 5,000 staff, supporters, and volunteers. To find out more about Connections for the Homeless, visit:

Progress Report

Dr. Frank Karkazis of Preferred Dentistry in Evanston, a practitioner that treats Rimland clients, has remarked that he is seeing a “remarkable improvement” in clients’ dental health owing to the healthful menu that Rimland has implemented over the past two years. The menu was developed by a certified nutritionist and minimizes sugary foods. Our clients now have less plaque buildup and fewer cavities. This is a testament to our dedication to providing preventative healthcare in addition to reactionary care.

St. Patrick’s Pride

We celebrated St. Patrick’s Day on March 16 with Irish music and decorations for everyone. Clients got their own headbands or hats,


dressed in green, and made artwork.

It was a fun day for everyone and was very festive. We played Irish music through our sound system and also had a live band in the afternoon.

A New Resident Moves to Sesame Street

The long-running children’s television show Sesame Street has made history by introducing to the cast a new muppet character named Julia, who has autism. The appearance of the new character is not only significant because the show raises awareness and visibility of autism nationally, but also because Julia is female. Autism is under-diagnosed in girls because they don’t present the same apparent symptoms as boys, so this is an important effort by Sesame Street not only to teach children and other viewers about autism, but about also to highlight how autism affects girls specifically. Follow the link for more info about Julia and Sesame Street’s first new character in over a decade:

Rimland’s New Tech-Fitness Initiative!

With our new Tech & Fitness initiative, Rimland is seeking to enhance our Developmental Training program by combining technology and fitness to create engaging programming for the individuals we support. Donations will be used to purchase a T-wall and an EyePlay Interactive Wall. A T-wall is a flat, upright interface with numerous touch surfaces and red signals that light up in sequences of varying positions and speeds. The game challenges players to react quickly to deactivate the light as soon as it appears by quick touch. This universal training tool provides a fantastic cardio workout across numerous applications, including sports, fitness and rehabilitation.

The EyePlay Exergame Surface is an interactive video game which is projected onto the floor and allows multiple people to interact with it at the same time. With a wide range of games, kids and adults can be entertained for hours while running and jumping around. EyePlay will bring smiles to everyone who uses it, along with an elevated heart rate!

Both of these technologies burn calories and fat, improve motor skills, are very engaging, and allow multiple participants to interact at the same time at their own pace. Rimland strives to provide every opportunity for our clients to thrive and connect with the world around them. Please check out our gofundme site and our website to learn more about this project and to make a contribution to the important work we do. Thank you!

The Monster Jam!

As a reward for a job well done—ten Developmental Training participants put labels on bottle caps that are used at stores like Whole Foods—Rimland took clients on a February  outing to Allstate Arena for a Monster Truck Jam. This live-action show featured “breathtaking stunts and the awesome power of the world’s most popular Monster Jam trucks.” The clients were thrilled to witness this exciting event!