School's Out, Fun's In!



Lumiere introduces our NEW Handwriting Clubs and NEW Physical Therapy Classes! These include music movement classes, a yoga series and our Ready, Set, Bike! class to get your child prepped for summer cycling.

**Introductory promotion: Book any group in June and receive 10% off for the month!**

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Click to download PDF

 Click to download PDF

Click to download PDF

How to make a smooth transition into summer

June is a glorious time for kids – no more school means the true beginning of summer, heading outdoors, cool treats and new adventures.

For parents, however, summer means a huge fluctuation in schedules and routines for the entire family. Heading to outdoor events and new places can especially bring on their own set of challenges. The key to making this transition as smooth as possible means being prepared. Below, our social workers are sharing some more tips on making outdoor activities a positive experience for the whole family.


  • Make the upcoming visit a social story. If you are going to a new place that may be overwhelming such as a zoo, concert or festival, talk about it with your child. What will happen there? What can they expect? Predictability helps a lot - especially for kids with autism, who like routine.
  • Have them draw pictures, write out a story or talk about what they are going to see at the event. We usually tell parents to start talking about it a few days beforehand; they can even put it on the calendar to show the kids how it is approaching.
  • Make a schedule for the day of the event if you think your child needs it. Saying things like, “first we will visit the lion house, then we’ll see the elephants and then we will have a picnic lunch” prepares them with predictability and security. 


  • Think about bringing a stroller, so if they do get overwhelmed, they can find comfort in their safe spot. If this is not an option, scope out the venue in advance to see if there is a quiet place you can go to remove the child from the overstimulating environment.
  • Take breaks and walk away from the busy environment. It can even be something as simple as setting up a little picnic area in a grassy spot away from all the action.


  • Letting your child have a say in the day’s activities can help them feel like they have more control over the situation.
  • Give them options and let them make a few choices about where you can go or what you should do. For example, “should we get food first or go on a ride?” 


  • Think about your child’s likes and dislikes before going anywhere. For example, if they do not like swings at the park, they most likely will not like rollercoaster rides.
  •  If your child startles with loud noises, they may need noise-cancelling headphones at a concert.
  •  If your child is resistive to tactile sensory input, the waterpark may be overwhelming.

Ideas for sensory sensitive kids that parents can bring with them:

  • Mouth: Chew toy, crunchy foods/favorite foods or gum
  • Eyes: Visual calming things to look at (they can make a sensory bottle), sunglasses, hat
  • Ears: Headphones or calming music
  • Hands: Fidgets or soft stuffed animal
  • Proprioceptive: weighted blanket

Check out our handy list of outdoor festivals this month in our OUT & ABOUT section, below!


Nathan: A Lumiere Success Story

Nathan has been with Lumiere since June 2015. This month, he will be graduating from our therapeutic preschool.  Here is his story…


Nathan began receiving services from us through the State of Illinois’ Early Intervention program at the age of three. When he aged out of Early Intervention in April 2016, his mother, Nicole, needed to find a therapy clinic for him. “I needed to continue therapies on my own,” recalls Nicole, a CPS elementary school teacher. At the recommendation of one of the therapists, Nicole was referred to Lumiere.

His initial evaluation at Lumiere was for speech. “He was only using utterances and lots of non-verbal communication,” remembers Nicole. Nathan started with speech therapy and later added Occupational Therapy. Nathan received his autism diagnosis at the age of two-and-a-half, but even before then, Nicole’s concerns began around Nathan’s speech. “He started off saying a few words between the ages of one and two and then he just lost that,” she says.

“He was in co-treatment until he started in the therapeutic preschool full-time program in October of 2016,” says Nicole. “He was also signed up for the weekly Socialights clubs.”

After three years of a comprehensive, customized treatment plan by his therapy team at Lumiere, Nathan will be graduating from our therapeutic preschool program this month. He is reading, writing and speaking more - even well on his way to structuring sentences.

“His physical aspect is much better now,” says Nicole. “He does things with me at home, follows directions well, he’s learned how to redirect behaviors on his own, and he’s more verbal now. His non-verbal is diminishing. He’s requesting things more, he’s way more independent now, and he just figures things out more on his own.”

As for how she feels about Lumiere’s role in aiding her son’s developmental progress, Nicole tells us in her own words. “I credit Lumiere with how much progress Nathan has made and I give them all the praise in the world about how far he’s come and all the new things he’s learned. We have a great relationship with the therapists. They’ve been patient with him and communicative with us. They took my suggestions, ran with them and turned it around for Nathan. I love them and we’ll be in tears when he leaves. Lumiere was the best decision I ever made.”


Meet Dr. Tom of Roots Family Chiropractic

Dr. Tom is the chiropractor behind Roots Family Chiropractic, a primarily pediatric and prenatal chiropractic office, which opened in 2016 and is based in Lincoln Park. His wife, Lauren, is the office manager.


The fact that most of his members are children, makes his practice very unique. He calls his services “safe, gentle and highly effective” for kids to quell concerns about misconceptions people have about chiropractic techniques. The main goal is to assess any interference (i.e. stress) on the nervous system through state-of-the-art technology and make recommendations for ongoing care. Dr. Tom a hard-working individual with a strong foundation built on providing neurologically based chiropractic care to practice members of all ages.

Dr. Tom aims to take care of the entire family. “We take great pride in our mission of empowering families to live a health-based life and we are excited to see how our practice continues to grow and help serve the families of Chicago!”

His care approach is different in that it focuses on the functionality of the nervous system and its ability to adapt. He specializes in Epic Pediatrics, Torque Release Technique and Webster’s Technique.

In March 2015, Dr. Tom took the opportunity to utilize his compassionate nature and commitment to quality chiropractic care by traveling on a clinic abroad trip to the island of Bequia. There he spread chiropractic care to underprivileged children and parents.

Dr. Tom completed his Doctorate of Chiropractic at Palmer College of Chiropractic in Davenport, IA. He is currently attaining a pediatric certification, CACCP, through the International Chiropractic Pediatric Association.

Roots Family Chiropractic
(Lincoln Park)
2744 N Lincoln Ave, Chicago, IL 60614



1-2       DO DIVISION STREET FEST- Division, Damen & Leavitt

1-3       LINCOLN PARK GREEK FEST – Sheffield, Diversey & Schubert

2-3       57th STREET ART FAIR – 57th Street, between Kenwood & Woodlawn

8-10     ANDERSONVILLE MIDSOMMAR FEST – Clark Street, between Foster & Catalpa

8-10     RIBFEST CHICAGO – Lincoln/Damen/Irving Park

8-10     CHICAGO BLUES FESTIVAL – Millennium Park

8-10     SPRING AWAKENING MUSIC FESTIVAL – Addams/Meddill Park

9-10     WELLS STREET ART FESTIVAL – Wells Street, between North Ave & Division

9-10     OLD TOWN ART FAIR – Old Town Triangle Historic District

16-17   GOLD COAST ART FAIR – Grant Park


23-24   RAVENSWOOD ON TAP – Ravenswood & Berteau

29-Jul 1 WINDY CITY RIBFEST – Lawrence & Broadway

Spring Has Finally Sprung!


It’s time to ditch the heavy coats and boots for summer gear and enjoy the benefits of the outdoors. We realize, however, that with children, that may easier said than done. We know that heading outdoors poses different challenges for different kids.

Although there’s lots more to see, do, smell and taste in warmer weather, it usually means crowds of people and increased noise pollution. For some children, being part of these activities tends to pose a bit more of a challenge. As part of our core values, it’s our mission to work with you to make your goals, our goals.

So, what is the goal, here? To minimize potential issues that may arise outdoors, by anticipating them. As such, our team has put together some important tips on how to make outdoor excursions enjoyable for you and your child. 

Lumiere’s Top 10 Tips for Summertime Fun

  1. Always have snacks and water handy

  2. Talk to your child about what you have planned for the day. Changes in routine can be difficult for children to process, so prepare them by letting them know the plan. Predictability and structure can be comforting to little ones. If your child uses a visual schedule make sure to have it on hand.

  3. Use Social Stories to help your child transition activities.

  4. Bring sunglasses, especially if your child is sensitive to light

  5. Bring noise-cancelling headphones, especially if your child is sensitive to sound

  6. Don’t forget to bring hand sanitizer or wipes so you can let them explore various outdoor textures without worrying about them staying messy

  7. Pack a spare set of clothes for the parent and child

  8. For younger kids, have diapers and/or pull-ups at the ready in case you’re not near public bathrooms

  9. Use sunscreen wipes or spray instead of lotion for sun protection

  10. Use Insect-repellent bracelets instead of lotion

Remember that the outdoors provides a plethora of opportunities and new adventures for kids to expand language, fine motor, sensory, and gross motor skills. This means providing many teaching moments for your little one. Anticipating the needs of each individual child can make for an enjoyable, fun excursion! So, go out there, explore and HAVE FUN! 

Some other great sites to explore to give you fun ideas when taking your kids outside!

Kid-friendly summer yoga - to get them stretching and flexing

Sidewalk chalk activities - have them get creative while practicing their gross motor skills

Check out our handy list of outdoor festivals this month in our OUT & ABOUT section, below.

Our Summer Camps!

Did you know our therapeutic preschool offers summer camp options? This is a great opportunity for us to teach and learn alongside your kids in an environment that they’re comfortable in, while introducing them to amazing opportunities for fun that only the outdoors can afford.

Here’s a sampling of activities we will partake in, practicing getting outside and immersing kids in the outdoors:

Water day
Field day
Small field trips around the New City area
Learn how to make homemade ice cream
Carnival Day with snow cones, face paint, and games
Arts and Crafts
Themed Weeks
Scavenger hunts
Fun, outdoor games
Science experiments
Garden and Plants
Yoga in the park

Summer camp will be incorporated into our therapeutic preschool program. Our preschool runs Monday-Friday throughout the summer. We have a morning program, which runs from 8:30am - 12:30pm and an afternoon program, which runs from 2:00pm – 5pm. The program is for kids up to first grade. Please call our offices to find out more information or to register your child. 312-242-1665.

COMMUNITY CORNER: Meet Claire Conway


Claire Conway is a licensed clinical social worker who has experience working with children and families from diverse backgrounds. She has been a social worker since 2007 since graduating from Loyola University Chicago with her Bachelors in Social Work. Over the next four years, she gained experience working with children and families and decided to pursue her Masters in Social Work from Jane Addams College of Social Work. She earned her degree in 2011. Prior to joining the Lumiere team, Claire managed a program that focused on helping children and families develop healthy family dynamics. 

Claire's treatment specialties include anxiety, depression, self-development and building skills around self-regulation. Claire has extensive experience in milieu therapy. Milieu therapy focuses on developing treatment plans utilizing the client's environments and client's peers to aid their skill building. Group sessions are the main focus of the milieu therapy approach. Along with milieu therapy, Claire believes family therapy is key to a client’s success. Claire has specialized training in both de-escalating crisis behaviors and aiding caregivers in developing attunement skills in order to effectively respond to children's behaviors. 

In addition to individual therapy sessions, Claire also leads many of the social groups at Lumiere. The social groups focus on providing a safe environment for children to practice skills that will lead to healthy relationships and successful social interactions. The activities within the groups aim to meet the children where they're currently functioning, while building their confidence step by step. During the group sessions, in-the-moment feedback is provided and challenges are created to allow for practice, problem solving and encouragement.  

Keep reading to learn more about Claire!

Q: What do you like most about facilitating the social groups? 
A: Healthy relationships are the root to human self-esteem and confidence so my passion around groups stems from years of observing that one group session can have the same impact on a child as four individual sessions.  

Q: Why are the summer months a great time to practice social skills? 
A: In the summer. there seems to be more opportunity for "recreation". The Chicago summer weather allows families to take advantage of parks, lakefronts and museums.  The idea of "recreation" is that activities are for enjoyment, refreshment and fun.  Recreational activities such as biking, swimming or gardening provides a common language for kids and adults to bond with others. This decreases anxiety that occurs during social interactions and increases confidence in kids and adults. Identifying hobbies and bonding with others around shared interests is the ultimate practice of a social skill. 

Q: What's your favorite part about summer? 
A: Swimming. I feel at peace when I am in water.  In the summer, I can swim outside at the Chicago Park District pools and the Lakefront beaches, both FREE! 

Beaches open over Memorial Day weekend. Pools open June 18th, 2018. For more information, go to:


OUT & ABOUT: May Festivals in Chicago

CHICAGO KIDS & KITES FESTIVAL, May 5 - Montrose Harbor

MAYFEST, May 18-20, 3100 block of North Ashland, Lakeview

FOOD TRUCK SOCIAL, May 19, Lincoln Park Zoo

MOLE DE MAYO, May 25-27, 18th Street & Ashland

MEMORIAL DAY PARADE, May 26, Daley Plaza


RANDOLPH STREET MARKET FESTIVAL, May 26-27, 1341 W Randolph Street


(Wednesdays @ 9:30pm & Saturdays @ 10:15pm)

BIKE THE DRIVE, May 27, Lake Shore Drive



It’s April, which means it’s Autism Awareness Month!

 Lumiere Team

In this newsletter, we’d like to take the time to address the parents of children on the autism spectrum.

Yes, the parents.

Parents are the ones who silently deal with the day-to-day struggles of nurturing and raising kids on the autism spectrum, booking endless doctor appointments and therapy sessions, and dealing with the challenges that come with teaching their child basic life skills and daily routines. What about the guidance they need to help their child navigate these volatile waters?

Here are three things you need to know:

  1. The little things don’t have to be so big
  2. You don’t need to go through this alone. We are here to help.
  3. Our mission at Lumiere is simple: Your Family Goals Are Our Goals.

Simple, daily tasks can become the source of heavy stress and anxiety for parents of kids on the spectrum, however it doesn’t have to be frustrating or difficult and most importantly, you don’t have to go through it alone! There are ways that Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) therapy – combined with our comprehensive customized therapeutic strategy - can work to alleviate some of that stress.

Perhaps it’s getting your child to simply wear socks in the morning or getting him to brush his teeth. Or how about sharing a toy or trying new food? No task is too small for us to focus on. Using family-centered therapy like ABA helps kids and parents reach their goals – and that is OUR goal. Focusing on a multitude of skills across domains, such as independent living skills (i.e. getting dressed), using basic foundational skills (i.e. imitation, communication and socializing with peers) focus on decreasing rigidity and anxiety, and increasing appropriate behaviors. It is possible to make wonderful gains! This is done through a collaboration with parents, who learn the skills they need to help their child reach these not-so-small milestones, and kids, who are taught the skills they need to thrive in their community, school and home.

What about going outside the home? Whatever you want to teach your kids – like riding the train or going to the grocery store - we can help there, too. We call these community outings, our family adventures. By setting a fun precedent, these scheduled and supervised outings are designed to ease the stress and demands of taking your child outside the home.


Our therapeutic preschool program and Jr. kindergarten is offered Monday – Friday and focuses on a holistic learning approach in a therapeutic setting that helps prepare children for their transition into kindergarten. Since it’s also Autism Awareness Month, it’s important to note that our therapeutic preschool can also be an integral part of a well-rounded ABA treatment plan for kids up to first grade.

Every day your child will be exposed to language, literacy, math, science and adaptive self-care activities. These skills will be taught through books, music, movement, sensory exploration, problem solving, fine motor and visual spatial activities. To maximize learning, the program was designed to be custom-built, allowing the individual needs of each child to be met within our classroom setting.

Our program is aligned with the Illinois Learning State Standards; it blends academic and developmental milestones in a learning plan with therapeutic treatment plans. Both focus heavily on social skill development and communication to create a comprehensive program to prepare your child for school. We are also committed to Developmentally Appropriate Practices (DAP) through a play-based curriculum to support the needs of our students.

The program emphasizes the importance of social interactions with peers and includes comprehensive intervention led by therapists with a Master’s degree or Ph.D, who are skilled at developing your child’s social skills so they can have meaningful and impactful interactions with other children, both in and outside of the program. We focus on emotional intelligence; every child should understand and express their feelings.

Daily therapy services include:

  • Speech and Language Therapy
  • Developmental Therapy
  • Occupational Therapy
  • Physical Therapy
  • Social Work
  • Behavior (BCBA/ABA) services

Our multidimensional program also places high emphasis on social skills development and peer interactions. Daily therapies will also be available based on your child’s needs. In addition, our clinic includes a sensory gym, where children can regulate their bodies before challenging themselves with academic tasks.

Our class size is designed for intimate instruction - up to six students - however, we also offer separate, private rooms to build on individual therapy sessions in a more private setting. Contact us to find out more information or to get your child enrolled.


Dr. Matt is a licensed clinical psychologist and neuropsychological trained in the diagnosis and treatment of mental illness, developmental delays, and learning disorders.  He has spent the last nine years providing psychotherapy, neuropsychological testing, and school advocacy for children, teenagers, and college students.

"When I was a child, I experienced severe separation anxiety for years. I also struggled with spelling; the words were wrong, even if I thought they were right. I felt bad, stupid and different,” he recalls.

“These two struggles made my personal, school, and family life much more difficult both emotionally and socially until I entered 8th grade and saw a therapist for the first time. I found her warm, guiding, and inviting. I also worked with another professional tutor who was patient, loving, and helped me with my spelling. One of them helped me conquer my anxiety, and the other helped me conquer my learning delay. They’re both a big part of the reason I achieved my doctorate; they provided solutions to me when I needed them so badly.

These experiences are the foundation of his passion for this work. His mission is to help others the way he was helped. As his website states: “I help angry, sad or anxious kids and adults. Helping you and your family turn despair into happiness, worry into confidence and anger into cooperation.”

“So now I offer solutions to you, your children, and your marriage in an honest effort to recreate what helped me."

Dr. Matt holds a psychology degree from Marquette University and a Master's and Doctorate from the Illinois School of Professional Psychology.


Autism Speaks Walk: Scheduled for May 12, 2018 at Soldier Field. Registration opens at 8:00am; event concludes at 1pm. Walk goal to be raised: $1M



AMC Theaters hosts Sensory Friendly Film showings



Brookfield Zoo Goes Blue for Autism

Saturday, April 17, 2018, 10am-6pm



Chuck E. Cheese offers Sensory Sensitive Sundays on the first Sunday of every month, two hours before the restaurant opens to the general public. 



Pump it Up (Elmhurst, IL)

Offers Sensory Jump Night on the first Tuesday of every month.



Autism Eats Chicago: Various restaurants in Chicago and the suburbs offer autistic friendly dining opportunities that are closed to the general public. Tickets are required to be purchased in advance. The next event is scheduled for April 21st at Lou Malnati’s in Lincolnwood.