Free Course On How to Care for Children With a Trach

April 14th, 2021

smiling portrait of a young girl with a tracheostomy

NOTE: please see our updated post “New Training Resources on Caring for Children With Trachs” for the latest information on free training resources on caring for children with a tracheostomy tube.

A free course is available for how to care for children with a tracheostomy (trach) with/without a ventilator.

The course is available online until Dec. 31, 2021.

eHomeCare is an online training program designed to provide comprehensive information for those caring for children with a trach with/without a ventilator.

This training is for:

  • Nurses working in home-based environments
  • Physicians
  • Respiratory therapists
  • Family members and caregivers of children with trachs with/without ventilators
  • Anyone interested in learning more about caring for this population

The eHomeCare course includes five modules:

  • Pediatric Airway and Tracheostomy
  • Oxygenation and Ventilation
  • Suctioning and Bronchial Hygiene
  • Tracheostomy Care and Tube Changes
  • Emergency Preparedness

It will take about four to five hours to complete the course.

Free continuing education credits are available.

Learners can use this course for their initial training, an annual review and/or as an ongoing resource.

Participants must create an account and enroll on the eHomeCare webpage.

If you have questions, please contact

Free Tax Preparation Help for Illinois Families

March 8th, 2021

printing calculator on a yellow background

Programs provide help for persons with disabilities, limited English-speaking taxpayers, low-income families and individuals over 60

Free tax help is available for Illinois residents in need through several programs across the state.

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and AARP Tax-Aide programs are offering free basic income tax return preparation with electronic filing to qualified individuals in select locations statewide.

The availability of services will vary by region.

“Taxes are due on April 15 this year. If a qualified taxpayer needs help filling out their return, free assistance is available,” David Harris, Director of the Illinois Department of Revenue, said in a news release.

“While in-person assistance is more limited due to the COVID pandemic, certified volunteers are still available to help people over the age of 50 years and working-class taxpayers file their state and federal returns accurately and on time while ensuring the health and safety of taxpayers and volunteers.”

*Note the Internal Revenue Service announced it has extended tax deadlines until May 17.

The IRS Volunteer Income Tax Assistance and the Tax Counseling for the Elderly programs offer free tax help for individuals who:

  • Make $57,000 or less
  • Have a disability
  • Speak limited English
  • Are 60 years of age or older

Taxpayers can search for a free tax assistance provider closest to them by visiting the Illinois Department of Revenue’s website at

The IRS-sponsored Ladder Up Virtual Tax Assistance Program also provides free basic tax return preparation for low-to-moderate-income and elderly taxpayers.

The AARP Foundation Tax-Aide program provides free tax assistance to taxpayers over the age of 50 or who have low-to-moderate income. Availability is determined at the local or community level by appointment only (walk-in service is unavailable this year).

Decisions on whether a site offers an all-virtual, light contact or in-person approach will be based on safety and health data from Johns Hopkins about COVID-19 levels in a community.

The site locator will be regularly updated, and short-notice changes are possible. AARP membership is not required to receive assistance.

See the state’s Free Tax Preparation news release for more information on all available tax help services.

Program Provides Free, Healthy Meals for School Children

June 1st, 2020

Summer Meals logo

The Summer Food Service Program is open to Illinois children ages 18 and under to fill the summer nutritional gap.

Many Illinois families depend on their children’s schools to provide regular, nutritious meals throughout the school year. The financial strain of the COVID-19 pandemic makes the need for summer nutrition programs even greater.

The Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) provides healthy meals and snacks to children and teens ages 18 and younger at hundreds of sites across the state.

To find a meal site near you:

The Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) runs the program, which is funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).

ISBE says it is using waivers from the USDA to allow meals to be served in safe, socially distanced ways, including:

  • Curbside pickup
  • Home delivery
  • Provision of meals for multiple days of the week at one time

Parents and/or guardians will also be able to pick up meals and bring them home to their children.

“COVID-19 has turned many families’ lives upside down. Illinois’ summer meals programs help to ensure that one thing families do not have to worry about is where their children will get their next meal,” said State Superintendent of Education Dr. Carmen I. Ayala.

To learn more about this year’s program, visit the Illinois State Board of Education website.

Free Virtual Speech Therapy Sessions Available

May 26th, 2020

Mother and daughter looking at a laptop computer

UIUC’s Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology Clinic is providing free tele-practice appointments this summer for individuals and groups.

Do you or your child need speech-language pathology interventions but can’t see your clinician due to the COVID-19 pandemic?

The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology Clinic is offering free tele-practice appointments this summer for individuals and groups.

Illinois residents can receive therapy services from supervised graduate clinicians. These clinicians are under the supervision of licensed and nationally certified speech-language pathologists.

Sessions are available through Aug. 6.

Those interested should email The clinic will ask you to complete and submit an online survey.

Sign-ups will be on a first-come, first-served basis.

More information is available at

Free Child Care for Children with Autism or Developmental Delays

October 12th, 2017

CST Academy logo, Chicago ABA Therapy logo

CST Academy and Chicago ABA Therapy are offering a monthly night out for parents to enjoy themselves.

CST Academy, a Chicago therapeutic preschool program, and Chicago ABA Therapy are sponsoring an initiative to provide free child care for children with autism or other developmental delays so their parents can enjoy a night out.

The program aims to offer parents a monthly, scheduled “date night” or “parent(s’) night out.” Children can be dropped off at the program’s play space, where team members watch, engage and entertain them while parents have time to themselves.

Their team is a group of therapists and aspiring therapists with extensive expertise in speech and language development, occupational therapy, feeding therapy and ABA therapy.

The program is free to parents. A small donation to offset their costs would be appreciated but is not required.

Interested parents should click here to request more information.