Teen with ADHD brings music to indigent children through her nonprofit

Danielle Pellizzeri

by Rob Kuznia – It is often said that getting good grades will open doors. But for 18-year-old Danielle Pellizzeri of Rolling Hills Estates, the key was a ukulele. And, in a sense, another key has been her difficulty getting through school. Diagnosed with ADHD and plagued by depression, Pellizzeri was so down and out […]

Dyslexia bill should help more kids reach their potential at school

by Linda Hicks – Jennifer Hillman of Vilonia describes her 10-year-old daughter, Molly, as a poster child for dyslexia. She’s smart, extremely talented but has low self-esteem. She also has problems with reading and spelling. Molly, Hillman said, struggles daily with self-confidence — a common symptom of dyslexia. “The biggest struggle for Molly has been […]

Service options become limited for young adults with autism turning 21

Travis Rohrer stocks eggs at the Giant supermarket in Leola.

by Jeff Hawkes – As clanging high in the church’s bell tower died away, Travis Rohrer, a husky 21-year-old with autism, prepared to record the Sunday service. In a Plexiglas-enclosed booth in the back of the church, Rohrer had control of geeky electronics and a view important to him: six twirling ceiling fans, four above […]

Information on Down Syndrome pamphlets should not come from legislators

by Paul Jablow – There is no escaping the fact that I’m an agnostic, pro-choice liberal still rooted in an era when people didn’t buy Ronald Reagan’s mantra that “government is the problem.” There is also no escaping – and no desire to escape – the fact that I have an absolutely wonderful daughter who […]

Supporting students with OCD

by Annabella Hagen, LCSW, RPT-S – Roger’s parents were nervous about the new school year. They remembered how Roger’s OCD had surfaced. His fear of possibly choking on lunch food had kept him away for weeks. This problem subsided, but Roger’s OCD had morphed into contamination fears. His parents were on edge and wanted to […]

Photographer proudly uses children models with disabilities

by Annabel Fenwick Elliott – A photographer and doting mom – frustrated with the lack of children with disabilities represented in the countless back-to-school campaigns currently circulating – has taken matters into her own hands. Kathryn Driscoll, 40, a mother-of-four based in Palos Park, Chicago, whose only daughter Grace, four, has Down syndrome, has produced […]

Small business owners with autism can thrive

by Joyce M. Rosenberg – When Matt Cottle asked his boss to let him work in the supermarket’s bakery, she told him he’d never do anything more than collect grocery carts. After six years of bagging groceries and pushing carts, Cottle wanted more. He had already learned how to do some baking. Cottle is autistic. […]

Happy to live with our adult son with Down syndrome

by Mardra Sikora - The first thing you should know is this: My son Marcus is an adult with Down syndrome and he lives with us, not because he has to, but because we want to live together. Like millions, actually well over six million, families with adult children who live “at home” in the U.S. today, […]

More information on cognitive losses in mental illness needs to be available

by Susan Inman – Psychotic disorders are frequently accompanied by significant and disabling cognitive losses. These cognitive difficulties can persist even when other symptoms (delusions, hallucinations) are well controlled by anti-psychotic medications. Well-researched cognitive problems include difficulties with short term and working memory, focusing, sequencing (essential for planning), judgment and problem solving. You may not have […]

Some recommended strategies to help kids with ADHD


by Heather Gilmore – The upcoming school year is getting closer and closer. All kids who are headed back to school will have to manage some level of transition. For basically all kids, this requires them to become more focused, more disciplined, and more organized. Kids with ADHD may have an even more difficult time […]