Amazing Family Friends and Educators Coming Together

A Community Group Championing for Children with Unique Needs

We are a community group championing to support the social, emotional and academic needs of children with unique needs and differing abilities in an inclusive environment.

Children and Teacher in Kindergarten

Who We Are

What is a Unique Need?

In our journey to better understand our children, it is not unusual to be confronted with challenges in how they process their world. These unique challenges can present unique needs.  

Unique needs can vary from very mild to more complicated, from anxiety to sensory or focus issues, as well as children who are twice exceptional or who have a physical or intellectual disability.  Parents often find themselves wondering if others are going through similar challenges.  The answer is yes, and AFFECT can be that community for you. 

So if you think your child has a unique need and are looking for some support or you are someone who just wants to be involved, whether you are an educator, family or friend, you are welcome to join us!

Core Values

Our Vision

An inclusive mindset is important to AFFECT, so we want to welcome all who seek a warm community to help meet the unique needs of their children, whether it is at home, at school or within the community. 

A strong sense of community among our members and effective collaboration with our schools and community is also a large part of our vision. We want to offer fun social events for children, informational events for families, and help be a consolidated voice of support to the community and schools, championing what we believe is in the best interests of all our children. 

We believe our efforts will only strengthen our overall community as well as improve the social and emotional health of all of our children by creating an environment of collaboration, acceptance and respect, especially of those who are different. 

A Community for Families

An Accomodating Community for All

A strong sense of community is important to AFFECT as we strive to support each other and work together with the best interests of our children in mind. What this means to us is having fun events where all children can participate, sponsoring informative events to help families, and to have an online forum where members can seek out advice from other members as well as give and receive support. 

Advocacy

Supporting our Community

Another important aspect of AFFECT is championing for our children who need extra support, whether that is emotionally, socially or academically in an inclusive setting. This includes having appropriate challenges that help every student grow and where every child has access to core curriculum in the least restrictive setting for that child.  We believe that everyone should presume competence in every child and every person you meet. 

Our belief about inclusion is that it is a mindset about having a sense of support, kindness and collaboration in every classroom and within the community, while meeting the needs of every child and respecting their rights as students.  An inclusive mindset is more than how much time a child spends in the gen ed classroom.  It is about treating every child like a valued student; one who is respected, accepted and appreciated by the child's peers, educators and community.

Membership

Membership for All

Be part of our community and join today!  Not only do members get free access to most events, they also get access to our online member only resources like member only news, member directory and forum.  To view these resources, sign up for a member account on our page.  Once approved, you will have access to these areas.

We also strongly believe that membership fees should never be a barrier for someone who would benefit from our group. That said, we also rely on donations to help cover costs for events, outreach as well as no fee memberships so that everyone that needs our support are able to receive it. 

So whether you are able to donate more or less than the recommended amount, or not at all, we welcome you!

Help support our cause and donate today.  Any amount is appreciated!

Help support our cause and volunteer today.  We cannot achieve our goals without the help of our volunteers and board members.  Get involved today!

Presume Competence: One of Our Core Values

The meaning is simple: do not limit children because you assume you know what they know. Many children have higher receptive abilities than what they are able to express. So a child with more limited expressive communications should not be LIMITED based on what one assumes that child knows. You will be surprised how much knowledge any child is capable of soaking up.

For example, let's say you treat a child based on what that child is able to communicate expressively. Let's assume that this child is capable of much more than what you have assumed. In this case, this child has been harmed by the limitations unfairly imposed on them. This is not the least dangerous assumption since this child has been limited and harmed by that limitation.

 

If we had presumed competence and treated this child with no limitations, this child would have benefited from this assumption. In this case, presuming competence did not harm the child, but it actually helped the child.

 

Now let's assume that this child was not capable of much more than what was assumed. If we still presumed competence, then there was still no harm done. However, there is no real way to test true receptive abilities, so I believe that a child knows more than what is expressed. Even neuro-typical children do not express everything they know. Why do we assume that for children who aren't able to communicate as well?

 

This is something we should all try to be mindful of, and it should be applied to everyone we meet, child or adult. It will help you appreciate differences in people and help you learn different ways to communicate with others. 

“Inclusion works to the advantage of everyone. We all have things to learn and we all have something to teach.”

Helen Henderson

Contact AFFECT

Get in touch with us to learn more and how you can get involved.

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Barrington, IL 60010, USA

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