Seguin is committed to integrate, enrich, and empower people with disabilities and other special needs, so they can be productive, valued members of society.
In 1949 a group of West Suburban Cook County parents of children with severe disabilities grew increasingly distressed that their children had no educational or service options in their own communities. The parents formed an alliance called "Mentally Retarded Children's Aid" and began providing day school classes for their children in a church basement. Later, this became the first pilot special education program in the State of Illinois. Since that time, community-based services and outside state institutions have since grown in number and design for children and adults with developmental disabilities.
Seguin Services' philosophy of creating opportunities for acceptance and assimilation of people with disabilities has been continually refined since its inception. In 1989, Seguin closed its sheltered workshop where people with disabilities worked together on subcontract jobs brought in from local industry. Today, through the supports Seguin provides, more than 180 people are employed in regular jobs in community settings.
Residential opportunities, begun in 1979, have also been redesigned according to our mission statement, emphasizing community integration and normalized living experiences. Today Seguin owns more than 60 houses in which small groups of individuals with disabilities live with the support of consistent caregivers.
In 1994, Seguin began its Foster Care program for children who have developmental disabilities, behavioral problems and medical conditions. In January 1997, Seguin created a new Adoption Coordinator position to facilitate future adoptions.
For more than forty years, Seguin has been providing services for people with disabilities that promote community integration and independence. Seguin's Community Employment Program matches participants' job requirements with company needs. Job Coaches provide the necessary training and on-the-job support. Many participants are also involved in volunteer activities and contribute their skills to society in this way.
Society has almost come full circle in its philosophy of treatment for people with disabilities. They are again living at home in their community, with their families or on their own--but now with supports and services designed around their needs. We are, however, not finished with the changes in our services and philosophy. More work is needed to assure that people with disabilities are treated as equals and have the opportunity to follow their dreams.