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posted: 10/17/2013 5:59 PM

Hoffman Estates business, nonprofit making books for disabled kids

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Local children with physical disabilities and special needs may soon have a chance to read books specially made for them by employees of a Hoffman Estates business and nonprofit foundation.

Gannett Healthcare Group recently received a $5,000 grant from the Gannett Foundation for a national Make a Difference Day project on Saturday, Oct. 26, said Regional Editor Barry Bottino.

The Gannett employees agreed to give the money to the Friends of Nathan Foundation, a Hoffman Estates-based organization that helps support children with cerebral palsy and other debilitating diseases.

Bottino said the money will be partly used to purchase materials to convert classic children's books into a format that is easier for disabled children to use. The remainder will go to the foundation.

Next Saturday, more than 40 Gannett employees and board members from the Friends of Nathan Foundation will meet from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Hilton Garden Inn Hotel in Hoffman Estates to work on the book project.

Pages from softcover children's books will be cut apart and laminated, then placed in 3-ring binders. The binders will allow children with motor difficulties to prop open the book or put them on pedestals. The lamination allows the books to be easily sanitized for children with compromised immune systems.

Picture communication symbols also will be placed on each page to help children who are either pre-readers or nonverbal with special needs.

Bottino said the goal is to create more than 75 books, which will be donated to Hoffman Estates area libraries and yet to be determined libraries near the homes of some Gannett employees.

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