For more than a decade, April 2 has been designated as World Autism Awareness Day by the United Nations to help raise public support for research and education initiatives and to increase overall understanding and acceptance of individuals with autism. At Rimland, of course, every day is an opportunity to support individuals with autism and raise awareness in the public sphere.
According to Psychology Today magazine, here are three things we can do to support individuals with autism and their families:
- Don’t Judge – Individuals with autism may be judged by others who don’t understand the autism spectrum and attendant behaviors. No matter how constructive you think your advice or criticism may be, be aware that expressing your opinion may do more harm than good.
- Support Research Initiatives – Donate to autism research efforts as you are able. Share information with people you know. Keep abreast of the current research topics and findings.
- Be There – Some individuals or families may feel isolated and alone when dealing with autism in their midst. They may appreciate a sympathetic ear or someone to ask how they are. Show interest and be ready to listen and offer help where needed.
On Saturday, March 22, five individuals from Rimland participated in Special Olympics Illinois’ Region B Swimming (Aquatics) meet at Lake Forest College in Lake Forest, Illinois. Events featuring Rimland participants included the 25 meter freestyle and the 25 meter backstroke. Two swimmers received silver medals and one received gold for their efforts in their respective events.
Competing in the Special Olympics is a longstanding tradition at Rimland and one we look forward to every year. Participants train throughout the year by attending swim classes and exercising. It’s terrific fun for the swimmers but also for the family and staff members who cheer them on. Congratulations to all the participants and their supporters!
Region B Spring Games, including track and field events, will take place May 4 at Prospect High School in Mt. Prospect, Illinois. We hope to see you there!
Though the range of the autism spectrum is certainly vast, one universal issue individuals with autism face has to do with housing. While Rimland is has been a leader in the effort to provide supportive housing for adults with autism in Chicagoland, other areas of the state are beginning to take action to create housing options for adults with autism. Normal, IL, will be hosting a meeting on March 19th to address the lack of housing for adults with autism in McClean county and to develop action items that will move toward solving the housing crisis in the country. There are an estimated 3,000 individuals with autism in McLean County, and Rimland is glad to see the Normal community taking action to help support these individuals just as we do here in the the Chicagoland area. Follow the link for more on what’s happening in Normal. https://www.pantagraph.com/news/local/meetings-in-normal-to-explore-future-housing-options-for-adults/article_32e88e3a-8646-5340-aaa8-17022e5a4acf.html
We are so proud and excited to open up our newest home, called Grey. Towards the end of 2017, the Department of Human Services Division of Developmental Disabilities sent out a notice that recognized the challenges CILA providers face when expanding capacity in order to support individuals with intellectual/developmental disabilities. They created a grant to assist providers with funding to offset the costs of building and renovating new CILAs. Rimland applied and was awarded the Department of Human Services Capacity Building grant to acquire and thoroughly renovate Grey, as well as to renovate another CILA we currently run.
We have completed a full interior renovation of Grey and also some exterior work. Inside, we redesigned the home layout, moving the kitchen from the rear of the home to the front, allowing for the kitchen, living room, and dining room to be in one large space.
A big picture window next to the dining area allows for plenty of natural light.
There are three bedrooms—two single rooms and one double room.
The bathroom includes a Toto touchless faucet and soap dispenser. We designed the walk-in shower to have accessible controls on a partial side wall so staff may assist, if needed, without invading individuals’ personal space. The partial wall also reduces water splashing outside of the shower area.
For this renovation, we incorporated standards similar to those that we have used at other homes, but some upgrades are owing to changes in product lines. The new porcelain plank flooring we are using from Stonesource is a wider plank and has a higher slip grade than the old standard and is above ADA requirements. The bathroom tile also surpasses ADA requirements for slip resistance.
Finally, a new deck was installed with built-in bench seating. We also installed new awnings, updated the landscaping, and added a two-car parking pad at the rear of the home.
We are thrilled with the renovation and grateful to the Department of Human Services for helping to make it possible.
Rimland’s art program has been expanding over the past few months, and the changes are quite noticeable at DT. In addition to daily craft projects, we have begun to expand our wall murals, not only to beautify DT, but to showcase the hard work and talents of the individuals at Rimland.
We are also making a penny table—a table where the top is made of over 100 pennies that individuals have put together. Creating the penny table is both a fun exercise and a great way to practice fine motor skills.
We have also installed chalkboards throughout DT, so that individuals can always stay creative and communicate in a visual manner.
Rimland’s 2018 holiday cards are available for purchase. Each of these cards were designed by Rimland clients and we are so proud to share them with you. If you would like to purchase them, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org to make arrangements. Variety packs are available for $10.00 and include snowmen, Christmas trees, cornucopias, reindeer, and more!
A Chicago-area equine therapy program was recently featured on NBC Chicago news as part of their Giving Tuesday initiatives to help raise funds for charitable programming. Equine therapy offers many benefits to adults with autism, such as improved coordination, exercise skills, vocational training, and more. In the past, Rimland individuals have taken part in horseback riding with a similar program called Equestrian Connection in Lake Forest, Illinois. Clients have been able to experience the benefits of this type of therapy and also enjoy the activity as a fun outing. We are so pleased to see increased awareness around this unique form of support for adults with autism. See the NBC Chicago story here.
Each year at Rimland, our wonderful Peer Review Team hosts a fantastic Thanksgiving feast! We decorate, get dressed up, and enjoy a delicious meal surrounded by our Rimland family. All of our clients had the opportunity to enjoy a freshly cooked traditional Thanksgiving meal that included mashed potatoes, green beans, dinner rolls, mac n’ cheese, dressing, sweet potato pie, and of course turkey! Thanksgiving is the perfect time for reflection and gratitude, and we are truly thankful for everyone at Rimland and our surrounding community. Happy Thanksgiving everyone!
Rimland’s Holiday Craft Fair & Bingo Party was a great success and a lot of fun! We would like to thank everyone who participated and supported this event. Clients, employees, and guests alike enjoyed the friendly competition. If you weren’t able to make the event, please know that there are still many holiday crafts, paintings, and works of art created by our clients that are still available. We will have them for sale during our Holiday Luncheon on December 21st. Speaking of which… don’t forget to save the date! More details will follow soon, but please feel free to reach out to Laura Egan if you have any questions in the meantime. email@example.com, 847.328.4090
Rimland has recently partnered with a company called LifeSpeed to connect behavioral therapists with our clients. They are starting by working with a small group of individuals and implementing customized behavior plans. Once we have fully established this program, we will look to expand it and connect more Rimland individuals with behavioral therapists. We are thrilled to partner with a local Chicago business that cares just as much about supporting adults with autism as we do! Click this link to learn more about LifeSpeed https://uptolifespeed.com/
Clonakilty, Ireland, has become the first autism friendly town, all thanks to the organization AsIAm. Although Ireland is quite a bit away from Rimland, it is fantastic to see the initiative than an entire town has taken to create environments that are welcoming to individuals with autism. Over 200 organizations in the town worked together to become accredited as autism-friendly. This includes relaxation zones, quiet times, and the ability to bring service dogs to more locations. This is an incredible step forward in promoting neurodiverse communities and we can’t wait to see which American city is the first to join the movement! More information can be found in this article:
Our newest CILA, called Grey, is almost complete! After purchasing the property, Rimland has completely renovated the interior of the home to align it with our Core Standards that we implement in all of our homes. The home has passed all city inspections and we will be receiving licensure for the occupancy total soon. It has always been our goal to provide top quality care for individuals with autism and one of the main ways we go about this is by designing autism friendly homes that are sustainable, welcoming, and safe for all residents. To learn more about the strategy behind the interior designs and how Rimland goes about renovating newly purchased homes, please visit the “Residential Living” and “Residential Renovations” pages of our website
Rimland has partnered with two fantastic Chicago organizations to celebrate the culinary gifts of one of our clients. Doors Open Dishes is a unique initiative that pairs individuals with disabilities with chefs at local restaurants across Chicago. Gold Coast standout Nico Osteria is one of Chicago’s premiere Italian restaurants. Doors Open Dishes engaged Nico Osteria’s chef de cuisine, Bill Montage, to meet and work with Rimland client and cooking enthusiast Carrissia to create a dish inspired by Carrissia’s favorite ingredients and flavors. The experience was captured in this video and the dish they created is currently on the menu at Nico Osteria! Throughout the month of November, visit Nico Osteria during lunchtime hours to taste the delicious dish that Chef Bill and Carrissia have created while supporting adults with autism. Nico Osteria will be donating proceeds from sales of the dish to Rimland! Are you hungry yet? We’ll see you in November at Nico Osteria!
Rimland residents are working with our dedicated volunteer Ann Moltz on a project via our art program at DT. Clients are making positive cards for children at local children’s hospitals. The Levy Senior Center in Evanston is spearheading this initiative and Rimland is thrilled to collaborate on this program. After clients make their cards, Mrs. Moltz will take them to the Levy Senior Center, which will convey the cards to the children’s hospitals.
This is a great way for Evanston organizations to work together to help others and build a more tightly knit community. We are so thrilled to participate in this program!
The Belmont Dental Mobile Clinic’s goal is to provide top quality care in a safe and high-tech mobile unit. Along with standard general dentistry services such as checkups, teeth-cleaning, and x-rays, the Belmont Dental Mobile Clinic provides periodontal and preventative dentistry that addresses treatments such as gum cleaning and fluoride treatments. This program serves many people in the community and is funded by the Department of Human Services. What we really love about this program is that they can come directly to our Developmental Training Center. This eliminates the need for us to provide transportation, but more importantly, it allows us to provide top quality care in a familiar environment for our clients. We are so thrilled about this partnership and look forward to using this program for many years to come!
Holiday Plant and Christmas Wreath Fundraiser
Our holiday plant sale is already in full swing. All proceeds from this sale will benefit Rimland Services! Holiday evergreen orders must be placed by October 15, 2018 and plant orders are due by November 15, 2018. All purchases will be available for pickup at Rimland, 1265 Hartrey, Evanston, IL, on Friday, November 30 from 3pm – 7pm and on Saturday, December 1, from 8am – 12pm.
Visit the online form to place your order today!
Holiday Craft Fair Art Projects
Are you ready for the holidays? Our Holiday Craft Fair & Bingo Party Fundraiser will take place on November 11 from 2 – 5 at Rimland’s headquarters. Supporters can purchase custom-made candles, cards, and crafts made by the individuals at Rimland.
There will also be holiday snacks, music, and—of course—bingo! On top of this, there will be a musical performance by our clients. See you there!
In addition to providing music on Fridays, Tom, our musician, who has partnered with Rimland for many years, is also offering an art class on Tuesdays and Thursdays. He draws murals at DT and the clients paint them in. This is a wonderful program that offers clients an opportunity to do a sensory activity while at the same time beautifying DT and making the place their own.
Music For A While
Three days a week from 10am-2pm, clients are learning to play musical instruments such as the piano, drums, guitar, and flute from a professional musician. Soon, a group of our clients will be ready to do a presentation where they show off the skills they have learned. We have had several musical programs throughout the years at DT, and this is a highly engaging and fun activity that everyone can participate in and show off what they’ve learned.
Rimland’s annual client vacation took place from September 24 – 28. Twelve clients and four staff members enjoyed the days at a big vacation rental home in Kissimmee, Florida. There, they enjoyed endless swimming in the pool and group BBQs.
The group also ventured out to the Disney parks a few times, including the Animal Kingdom and the Hoop Dee Doo Musical Review dinner show (we have been several times over the years and everyone still loves the show!). The group also enjoyed the opportunity to relax and eat out at restaurants.
The Client Trip is a great Rimland tradition that we take a lot of pride in. Everyone deserves to enjoy a vacation and this is a fantastic way for our clients to engage with the world, apply their skills, and have some fun in the sun. We are already counting the days until next year’s Client Trip!
Rimland is partnering with Evanston’s premium indoor cycling spot, Cycle Bar, for a spin class fundraiser. Join us on Saturday, September 22 at 12pm for an invigorating, 45-minute spin class, and 100% of the event proceeds will go to Rimland. Spaces are filling up, so it is important for participants to register using this link or go to our website for more information.
All questions regarding fundraising and events can be directed to Laura Egan, firstname.lastname@example.org
“Many people with autism have trouble understanding social cues and emotions, and this can greatly limit how they fare in the world. Wall developed an algorithm that relies on artificial intelligence. His plan was to incorporate the algorithm into the glasses, so that someone wearing the glasses would see a tiny emoticon that matches the expression on the face of another person.” — From “How Dennis Wall Became the ‘Bad Boy’ of Autism Research”
Follow the link to learn more about Dennis Wall’s controversial approach to autism diagnosis.