Parent Guide - Educational Rights and Responsibilities: Understanding Special Education in Illinois

Educational Rights and Responsibilities: Understanding Special Education in Illinois is a document, developed by the Illinois State Board of Education, for parents and others to learn about the educational rights of children who have disabilities and receive special education services. It includes sample letters for parents.

Create a Social Story

Robyn Cox of Child's Voice created a video about creating a social story to help your child deal with a challenging behavior at home.

Hersey Deaf Alumni Success Stories

An inside look at just a few success stories from Alum of the long standing Hersey Deaf/Hard of Hearing program.

Deaf Role Models

Welcome to Holland – A new parent poem

Panel of Adults who are Deaf/Hard of Hearing

John Powers Center Parent Cafe presentation on March 16, 2016 featuring a panel of adults who are deaf/hard of hearing. Co-sponsored by Illinois Service Resource Center and the Special Education District of Lake County.

Panel Discussion about Growing Up Deaf -- 2014 Plainfield Parent Café

ISRC Parent Facilitator Christy Woodall coordinated a Parent Café in Plainfield District 202 that featured Brenda Schmidt, a Deaf adult, and several of her family members. Schmidt has held several administrative and teaching positions in Deaf Education, including her currently position as the Supervisor of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing program at Southwest Coop. Schmidt and her family members responded to questions about what it was like to grow up Deaf, grow up with a sibling who is deaf, raise a child who is deaf, and live with a spouse who is deaf.

Questions covered a wide array of topics, including assistive technology, accommodations, school, communication, safety, friendships, advocacy, and raising a successful child who is deaf or hard of hearing.

Cochlear Implant Videos on ISRC Website

The Illinois Service Resource Center website now features two videos related to cochlear implants. One video, The Audiologist Who Has Cochlear Implants, features audiologist Tina Childress, who describes her experiences with bridging the hearing and Deaf worlds.

The other video, Children with Cochlear Implants: Panel Discussion, includes a panel of students who answer questions related to friends, family, and life as a cochlear implant user. Karen Aguilar moderated the panel.

Both videos were filmed at the conference of the Illinois Teachers of Deaf and Hard of Hearing Individuals (ITHI), held in Springfield, IL in March, 2014. ITHI celebrated its 50th anniversary at this year’s conference. Both videos are closed captioned by VOICE TO PRINT CAPTIONING, LLC.

The Deaf/Hard of Hearing Family Event hosted by SPEED Cooperative held on Tuesday, February 11th, 2014 from 5:30-7:30 p.m.

Shanna Sigers, ISRC Parent Facilitator, and Lisa Clark, ISRC DHH Behavior Specialist, were the presenters for the evening

Kristen Prete-Stewart, DHH teacher, who organized the event.

All About Me Template
This template can be used to create a trifold brochure of information about your child that can be shared with teachers, scout leaders, etc. Download the document and then personalize.

Visit the ISRC Pinterest Page for ideas on how you can support your child at home.

Juliette Gordon Low’s Hearing Loss Patch

Juliette Gordon Low is one of many famous adults in history who had a hearing loss. In earning this badge, Girl Scouts will learn about how Juliette Gordon Low lost her hearing, about hearing loss, and what it is like to have a hearing loss!

Click here for the requirements to earn the patch.

Free Services for Families

  • Visits for support with your child's behavior
  • Support coordinating in-home behavior plans with school behavior plans
  • Assistance finding community resources including transition, counseling, and evaluations
  • Crisis assistance, such as hospitalization
  • Speakers for parent groups

ISRC Parent Facilitators

ISRC Parent Facilitators have a goal of increasing meaningful involvement of parents in the education of their children who are deaf and hard of hearing. They assist with developing opportunities for parents to participate at school and coordinate parent events. All ISRC Parent Facilitators have a child with a hearing loss, so they understand the day-to-day struggles. Feel free to contact these individuals if you would like to network with other parents of children who are deaf and hard of hearing. Find out more about ISRC Parent facilitators here

Other Organizations with Helpful Resources

Illinois Guide By Your Side
Guide By Your Side provides parent guides, adults with children who have hearing loss, to provide information and support.
CHOICES for Parents
CHOICES for Parents is a statewide coalition of parents and professionals ensuring that children with identified hearing loss and their families receive the necessary resources, advocacy, information, services and support.
Illinois Hands and Voices Early Intervention Outreach
Illinois Families for Hands & Voices is a parent-driven, non-profit organization dedicated to supporting families that have children who are deaf and hard-of-hearing without a bias toward communication modes or methodologies.
Illinois EHDI Webinars
The webinars include Guide by Your Side Statewide Calls!

2013 Illinois Guide By Your Side Parent Award

Parent facilitator Tory Burrows was presented with the 2013 Illinois Guide by Your Side Parent Award. Congratulations, Tory!

Scholarships and Hearing Aid Assistance for D/HH

Download PDF Document

Special Education Record Keeper

This booklet is for parents to use to keep important information about their child and his/her special education and related services. It is a companion to Educational Rights and Responsibilities: Understanding Special Education in Illinois.

Records play an important role as you plan your child’s education. Dates, people, meetings and reports are important throughout your child’s educational career. The records keeper was developed to assist parents in preparing for Individualized Education Program (IEP) and transition meetings; getting ready for evaluations and reevaluations; and keeping track of paperwork and other materials.

This booklet cross-references the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) publication, Educational Rights and Responsibilities: Understanding Special Education in Illinois. At the bottom of each page, locate the page number(s) that references a section or pages in the guide. The guide offers information to increase your knowledge and understanding about the topic or issue.

To download a copy of the booklet, click here.

Parent/Family Involvement Checklist

For Parents of Students who are Deaf/Hard of Hearing

Parent involvement has a positive impact on student success and achievement. Parents often wonder about ways that they can become involved in their child’s education. This checklist provides ideas for increasing parent and family involvement at each age level.

Contact Your Local Legislator

Sometimes parents choose to contact their local legislators about issues relevant to students who are deaf and hard of hearing. To find out who your state and federal legislators by entering your address, click here.

Understanding Childhood Deafness

CHOICES for Parents is a statewide coalition of parents and professionals providing immediate access to support, information, and resources to families of children with newly identified hearing loss. CHOICES has developed an online handbook of information on a variety of topics related to deafness. Topics covered include facts about hearing loss, role of the pediatrician, hearing technologies (such as hearing aids and cochlear implants), and additional resources. To view the CHOICES handbook, click here.


Executive Functioning Parent Interview

A parent shares their experience with a child having Executive Functioning Weaknesses and provides some strategies.
Download Interview


How-To Guides

Our guides provide easy to use information on a variety of topics, such as sign language, potty training, and more!

Parenting Tips

Summer Survival Tips (English)

Summer Survival Tips (Spanish)

10 Basic Signs

Potty Training Tips (English)

Potty Training Tips (Spanish)

Daily Behavior Chart

Weekly Behavior Chart

Learning & Practicing Sign Language

Behavior Expectations at Home

Positive Behavior Expectations in Sign Language

Encouraging Positive Behavior in Sign Language


Game Night

Pictures from Family Game Night Parent Cafe in December 2013 at John Powers Center

Printable versions of Game Instructions

Card Game Instructions (PDF)

Card Game Instructions - Spanish Version (PDF)

Game Night Vocab Brochure (PDF)

Game Night Vocab Brochure - Spanish Version (PDF)

Editable versions of Game Instructions

Card Game Instructions (Microsoft Word)

Card Game Instructions - Spanish Version (Microsoft Word)

Game Night Vocab Brochure (MS Publisher File)

Game Night Vocab Brochure - Spanish Version (MS Publisher File)

Three Videos from ISRC on How to Play Card Games in ASL

How to Play Go Fish! in ASL

How to Play Kings in the Corner in ASL

How to Play Memory in ASL


Contact Us

We welcome you to contact us through one of the following methods:

In Person: Our offices are located at 3444 W Dundee Rd (corner of Dundee and Huehl Roads) in Northbrook, IL. We are open from 9 am to 3 pm Monday through Friday.

By Phone: During office hours, our phone # is 847-559-8195. In case of an after hours emergency, please call 1-800-550-4772

By E-mail: Our e-mail address for general questions is [email protected]. If you have a specific need, please visit our Contact Us Page for the e-mail addresses of our team members.

By Facebook: To become a friend of ISRC on Facebook, click here. To become a fan of ISRC on Facebook, click here.