Sometimes Families Just Need a Little Help

Today Mother Goose salutes an excellent organization, Erikson Institute’s Center for Children and Families!

“With great care and understanding, family relationships can be repaired.” Erikson Institute has proved this principle countless times since 1969. A progressive family counseling and social work agency, Erikson Institute’s Center for Children and Families consistently meets the needs of parents and children from newborn through eight years of age who are experiencing relational crisis.

Erikson is very glad to announce that they will soon be partnering with Easter Seals’ Willett Center in Oak Park at 120 West Madison Street. This convenient location will benefit resident families of the Austin community in Chicago as well as the people of Oak Park.

Initially, they will be offering counseling and mental health services to veteran families and then soon following with social services to civilian families as well.

Although military children are often described as resilient and surprisingly adaptable to the special stressors in their lives, there are certainly exceptions to the norm. How does a child cope with a parent or perhaps both parents called into active service or even deployed to a combat zone?

No matter the source of the problems, no matter whether the distress is social or emotional, Erikson Institute has the healthy and workable solution to restore peace to homes and families. Their staff of licensed, experienced and qualified counselors work with parents and children through symbolic play-based activities to determine the underlying causes for separation anxiety, clinginess, tantrums, withdrawal, aggression, bed wetting and sleep disorders.

Cassandra Ward has been a staff clinician and family counselor with the Center for Children and Families for the past eighteen months. Her heart is for being on the front lines and helping people right where they are, especially veteran and military parents and their children. Ms Ward recently completed the Infant Mental Health Certificate Program through Erikson Institute, and believes that even infants and toddlers experience family stress and can benefit from these social services.

Cassandra Ward

Coming from SOS Children Villages, a unique foster care placement agency, Ms Ward realized early in her social work career that there is always hope for families when the parents become aware of the special needs of their children and learn to read the cues that even babies and little children will communicate to their parents.

To prove this truth, she described a family situation where a four-year old boy was especially sensitive to sensory overload, including loud noise and bright lights. The mother of the child arranged a bowling birthday party for her son, but entered the bowling alley through one of the back doors. As they walked into the building, her son immediately recognized his own “triggers” and in a state of disbelief called out to his mom over the noise of the pin setting machines, “You’ve got to be kidding, Mom!”.

Indeed, children can identify when there’s a problem! They just can’t solve them alone. With the help of Erikson Institute, problems can be solved and families restored.

Please contact staff clinician Cassandra Ward at 312-893-7203 or email her at for more information or to schedule an appointment.


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