Illinois TASH

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The Mission of Illinois TASH

Based on feedback from IL TASH members in Spring of 2014, the primary advocacy issue for this year is “Inclusive Community Transition.” This focus directly aligns with TASH, as the purpose of inclusive community transition is to advocate and support individuals with significant intellectual disabilities and their families as they move from segregated systems to integrated settings in the community. Inclusive community transition, therefore, promotes the rights of individuals of all ages. There is much to do to improve the systems that support individuals with disabilities and their families here in Illinois. We are hopeful that as an IL-TASH member, that you will actively assist IL-TASH efforts to promote positive change.

How can you get involved? We are also looking for motivated members to serve on the Steering and Operations Committees. All are welcome! If you would like more information, please do not hesitate to email any of the Board members.

We look forward to working with all of you to further the TASH Mission and bring together our efforts to improve the quality of life for individuals with significant disabilities and their families here in Illinois.

The Illinois Chapter meeting at the 2014 TASH Annual Conference in December, ten people in two rows in a small conference room, the first row kneeling, wearing teal TASH t-shirts.
The Illinois Chapter meeting at the 2014 TASH Annual Conference in December

Chapter Leadership

Kira Meskin, President, is an Occupational Therapist at Northern Suburban Special Education District. Her main interest is to promote self-determination and empower students with communication barriers to have greater participation in their education.

Paula Wills, Co-Vice President of Operations, is the Technology Outreach Coordinator for Family Resource Center on Disabilities Parent and Information Center. Her interests include advocacy for parents of children with disabilities utilizing special education services, and technology and media management for non-profits.

Michael Grice, Co-Vice President of Advocacy, [biography forthcoming]

Yun-Ching Chung, Treasurer, is an assistant professor at Illinois State University. Her research interests include peer interaction outcomes for students who use augmentative and alternative communication in inclusive classrooms.

Vicki Niswander, Secretary, is currently the Executive Director of the Illinois Association of Microboards and Cooperatives (IAMC). She hosts a weekly radio program on disability issues, Disability Beat (Mondays, 5:30-6 PM on WEFT Community Radio, Champaign, 901FM and online streaming). Vicki has served on the Council on Developmental Disabilities, her local school board and several disability focused organizations including the Arc of Illinois. Vicki and her husband, Mark, are the parents of three adult children. Their oldest daughter, Annie, who has down syndrome, was included in general education classes throughout her school career. Annie lives in her own apartment, has a job at a local day-care center and lives a great life through the support of her microboard and cooperative, and enjoys sharing her experiences at seminars and conferences.

Contact Illinois TASH

Michael Grice
Co-Vice President of Advocacy
Illinois
gricem675@gmail.com

Kira Meskin
President
Chicago, Illinois
443-934-4226
KiraMeskin@gmail.com

Paula Wills
Co-Vice President of Operations
Chicago, Illinois
312-953-6960
Paulawills79@hotmail.com

If you are interested in joining the Steering Committee, please contact Kira Meskin at 443-934-4226 or KiraMeskin@gmail.com.

If you are interested in joining the Operations Committee, please contact Paula Wills at 312-953-6960 or illinoistash@gmail.com.

Do you have an important announcement for IL-TASH members? Send a description and link to additional information for inclusion in the IL-TASH newsletter to William Blackwell at blackwwi@lewisu.edu.