[nobe-l] Passing of Dr. Lilli Nielsen

Hyde, David W. (ESC) david.hyde at wcbvi.k12.wi.us
Mon Aug 26 20:48:53 UTC 2013

I received this from another list. For those who are not familiar with Dr. Nielsen's work, it does not suffice to say that she revolutionized the teaching of children with multiple disabilities. I was surprised to learn about her work when I came to Wisconsin. Evidently, her foundation will go on, as will her work.

Lilli Tribute.pdf
LilliWorks Active Learning Foundation
Web: www.lilliworks.org
email: info at lilliworks.org
Facebook:"Active Learning for the Disabled:
Lilliworks Foundation"
Lilliworks Tribute to Dr. Lilli Nielsen
"Oh, wow, I miss her! :o( I will never forget
meeting her & seeing the compassion &
intelligence in her eyes. She truly knew how
to treat all people as people. May she rest in
peace! Her legacy lives on thru us & "her/our"
Debbie Heslin Zimmer
Lilli, we will miss you!
It was with great sadness that we learned of the
passing of Dr. Lilli Nielsen in an email from her sons.
"Dear friends and colleagues of Dr. Nielsen,
It is with sadness we have to inform you that Dr. Lilli
Nielsen passed away on the 24. june 2013 at the public
hospital of Kolding after a short but hectic period of
illness. She was hit by pneumonia and her general
condition was worsening over the last week. She was
clear in her mind to the very last, but exhausted and
only awake for a few minutes at a time."
Yours faithfully
Christan Reker and Erik Reker
Sons of Lilli Nielsen
Our Thoughts
Active Learning for the Disabled: LilliWorks Founda
"She was an amazing lady that brought the world to
our special children. We are thankful for her life, her
compassion, her love, and most of all for her creation
of Active Learning. She will live on through her wonderful
Lori Enroth
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
You are very much in our thoughts, and your touch has
permeated our lives, not just with Miranda, but all our
children. That we nurture and rejoice in their explorations
is a profound legacy in whole generations passing
the attitude, the perspective, the manner of learning
and of developing oneself is all greatly colored and enhanced
by your infectious faith in and sensitivity to our
curious nature.
God bless you Lilli, because He sure blessed us with you.
Rand Wrobel
. . . How Dr. Lilli Nielsen changed my life . . .
Lilliworks Tribute to Dr. Lilli Nielsen
The "Little Room"
When I was first introduced to Active Learning by my daughter's Blind Babies Foundation counselor, I
saw at last a form of therapy that required my daughter's engagement rather than my manipulation of my
daughter...I knew this was a key to finally reaching Miranda and couldn't wait to learn more.
I met Dr. Nielsen (Lilli) at a training she was giving in Anchorage, Alaska. My daughter Miranda was 2-1/2
years old at the time, diagnosed with Cortical Visual Impairment, Spastic Quadriplegic Cerebral Palsy, and
Epilepsy. I was fortunate enough to not only attend her training but to get a consult with her as well.
In the training, the pure strength and heart of Lilli was something to behold. She spoke with authority
about children she had helped that no others could reach, about the methods she had developed that are
known as Active Learning, and taught all in attendance to learn to observe rather than interfere with our
blind and disabled charges so that they could learn by whatever means available to them. To me, the mother
of a miserable isolated toddler, it was a revelation to hear her and see her in action.
When Miranda and I got private time with Lilli for our consult, her strength was even more apparent. She
spent an hour on the floor with Miranda (Lilli was in her seventies at the time). I recall that neither Lilli nor
Miranda was well that day, but I saw Lilli try everything to reach Miranda. Lilli informed me that Miranda was
one of the most passive children she had ever seen, but that she felt certain this could change because Lilli
has already helped one other child similarly stricken. Lilli encouraged me to believe in Active Learning and
apply the teaching in ways that would eventually break through my child's barriers.
Through the years, my husband and I became friends with the teacher that changed our daughter's life for
the better. She trusted us to bring her equipment to this country and to protect her intellectual rights others
had tried to take from her. I had the good fortune to have Lilli in my home and to share dinners with her. And
because of all Lilli had done, we found a way in to Miranda's world and were able to lift her out of her misery
and isolation to the happy active 16 year old she is today.
Through the founding and creation of LilliWorks Active Learning foundation, I saw the "Lilli" effect repeatedly.
I have seen first-hand unreachable children begin to move and respond to the Active Learning Techniques
Lilli created and taught. Time and time again, I witnessed parents respond with joy at their children's
early responses and see the gift that Active Learning was when all other approaches had failed.
There will never be another like Dr. Lilli Nielsen, she was a force to be reckoned with and created amazing
tools and techniques we know as Active Learning. We will have to go on without her and try our best to
keep bringing her work to the children of the world who benefit so from Active Learning. Her presence with
us will be deeply missed and we can never thank her enough for the gifts she has given us, but her legacy
can and will stay on, hopefully for many generations to come.
Good-Bye Dear Lilli,
Michaele Monaghan

David Hyde, Professional Development Coordinator
Wisconsin Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired
1700 W. State Street
Janesville WI  53546
608-758-6152 (office)
608-751-0960 (cell)
608-758-6169 (fax)
866-284-1107 ext. 34 (toll free)
david.hyde at wcbvi.k12.wi.us<mailto:david.hyde at wcbvi.k12.wi.us>

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