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Autism Play Groups

Arlington Pediatric Therapy Management Services, Ltd.
Let's Play
Facilitator: Krista Stewart, developmental therapist
3105 N. Wilke Road, Suite H
Arlington Heights, IL 60004-1450
(847) 255-8690, ext. 137
Cook County
Let's play together and make some friends. In this group, there will be a lot of hands on play and learning experiences. A variety of materials and play will be introduced that your child can explore. A multi-sensory approach consists of movement, body awareness, role playing, music, art and sensory exploration.
Ages: 3-6 years.
Cost: $112.

The Center for Hope & Healing
Jessica K. Paganis, MSW, LSW, P.L.A.Y Project Home Consultant
16W241 South Frontage Road, Suites 35 & 36
Burr Ridge, IL 60527
(630) 468-2341
DuPage County
Therapists help strengthen each child's social-emotional development by forming a close relationship that allows children to express and regulate emotions. The Center for Hope and Healing is committed to providing therapeutic interventions that optimize the social, emotional, developmental and behavioral needs of children and families affected by autism and related disorders. Business hours: Monday-Friday, 9:30 a.m.-7 p.m., Saturdays to be determined by parent and therapist.
Ages: birth to 14 years.
Limited private insurance accepted.
Cost: varies by service.
No wait list.

City Kids, Inc.
5669 N. Northwest Highway
Chicago, IL 60646
(773) 467-5669
Cook County
Developmental play groups led by speech therapist and some volunteers. The play groups involve free play, circle time, story time, fine and gross motor play, and sensory based play. They also work on attention focus, waiting, sharing, communicating, and language. Kids follow structured play routine.
When: Two groups - Mondays and Wednesdays; or Tuesdays and Thursdays.
Ages: 2-4.
Private insurance accepted (BCBS).
Cost: Six weeks: $480; Five weeks: $400.
No wait list.

Stacey Glorioso, OTR/L
13246 S. Route 59, Suite 100
Plainfield, IL 60586
(815) 351-5770
Will County
Play group focusing on socialization, integrating sensory information and communication skills.
When: time and date to be determined.
Ages: birth to 18 years.
Private insurance accepted.
Cost: $20 (per session).
Three-month wait list.

Elena Kaiser, MA, ATR-BC, LCPC
Counseling and Art Therapy
2956 Central St.                             
Evanston, IL 60201
(847) 337-2377
Cook County
Provides non-directive play therapy. Consistent with the principles developed by Virginia Axline, Elena develops a warm and friendly relationship with the child. Within this relationship, the child feels free to express his or her feelings. Elena does not hurry the therapy process along nor does she attempt to direct the child's actions or conversations. She allows the child to lead while she remains alert to recognize the feelings the child is expressing. Elena reflects these feelings back in such a manner that the child gains insight into his or her behavior. Play therapy available at home or school-based. Offers flexible daytime, evening, and Sunday hours.
Ages: 3 years and up.
Private insurance accepted (BCBS PPO among other insurance providers).
No wait list.

Kaitlin's Hideout
526 Crescent Blvd., Suite 7
Glen Ellyn, IL 60137
(630) 460-0878
DuPage County
Provides social play groups focusing on socialization, teamwork, following directions, turn taking and table manners. A snack is provided.
Ages: 3-9 years.
Insurance not accepted.
Cost: $10 (per group).
No wait list.

Learning Through Play Center for Child Development
633 W. Addison St.
Chicago, IL 60613
(312) 458-9865 or (773) 615-3202
Cook County
Provides therapeutic playgroups that concentrate on auditory, visual and verbal cueing for organization and incorporate music, art, and play for fun and skill-building for children. Structured playgroups utilize specific strategies to help children transition more easily from one activity to the next. Socialization playgroup uses music and art to motivate children to participate in group activities, learn to communicate with others, and gain confidence in social situations. Feeding group for children also available for children with oral sensory or social feeding issues. Staff includes: speech therapists, occupational therapists, developmental therapists, behavioral therapists, and music therapists. These classes are for children with autism, PDD, sensory dysfunction, speech delay, or other developmental delays. Classes often incorporate at least 1-2 typically developing children as peer models.
When: schedule varies—please call for more information.
Ages: 2-6 years.
Insurance accepted.
Cost: refer to website or call for information.
No wait list.

Structured Developmental Playgroup: uses specific strategies to help children transition easily from one activity to the next. This class is for children who are high-functioning ASD/PDD or developmental delays (Tuesday and Thursday, 9-11 a.m.).
Ages: 2-5 years.
Insurance not accepted.
Cost: see website or call for information.
No wait list.

LEEP Forward, Inc.
Toddler Purposeful Play Groups
Lorell Marin, MST, DT, founder
1280 W. Washington Blvd
Chicago, IL 60607
(312) 624-8750
Cook County
A fun, supportive play group in an environment nurtures social-emotional development, emotional processing, imaginative and cooperative play (e.g. turn-taking, sharing), and communication. Includes a high child-to-therapist ratio. Therapists utilize DIR/floortime, PECS, social stories, and Michelle Garcia Winner's social thinking curriculum.
Ages: 2-4 years.
Insurance not accepted. They do provide invoices for clients to submit to insurance companies.
Cost: depends on the size and needs of the group.
No wait list.

Contact: Hayley Anderson
2001 N. Clybourn Ave., first floor
Chicago, IL 60614
(773) 528-5766, x. 408
Cook County
Focus is on social skills, arts and crafts, stories, sensory play, gross motor activities, and snacks.
When: Saturdays for one hour once a month.
Ages: birth to 8 years.
Insurance not accepted.
Cost: members (free); non-members: $10.
Three month wait list.

Little Friends Center for Autism, Inc.
Social Skills Group-Play and Friendship

Contact: Mary Crissman
1001 E. Chicago Ave., Suite 151
Naperville, IL 60540
(630) 305-4196
DuPage County
Focus: Meeting and making new friends, sharing, turn taking, waiting turns, and following simple rules while having fun with friends. Each week will start with a snack, and playing a board game before moving to Therapy Gym for focused playtime.
Ages: 4-5 years (boys and girls).
Cost: $360 (due first day of class).

Meetup Mothers of Autism
Shari Hurckes
Where: meeting location varies
Naperville, IL 60540
(312) 446-3739
DuPage County
Play group for children who have sensory issues, autism spectrum disorders and PPD-NOS.
Ages: 3-12 years.
Cost: no fee, unless a special event.
No wait list.

Misericordia Heart of Mercy
Tina's Playgroup

Contact: Anne Maddock
6300 N. Ridge Ave.
Chicago, IL 60660
(773) 273-3064
Cook County
Interactive playgroup for children with special needs and their families. The playgroup is open to all levels of ability and participants are not required to attend every meeting. There is a wide variety of toys that focus on development and fun. Resources about additional services available in the community will also be available.
When: meetings are held on the second and last Saturday of every month from 10:30 a.m. to noon.
Ages: birth to 7 years.
Cost: play dates and parking are free.

Oak Leyden Developmental Services
Chandra Dean
411 Chicago Ave.
Oak Park, IL60302
(708) 524-1050, ext. 132
Cook County
Play group works on gross motor time, circle singing, each month has a different theme, snack-time and other activities planned.
When:  Mondays, 9:15-11 a.m., Tuesdays, 9-10:15 a.m. and 10:30-11:45 a.m., Wednesdays, 10:30-11:45 a.m., and Fridays, 10:30-11:45 a.m.               
Ages: birth to 3 years.
Private insurance accepted. Limited number of public insurance accepted.
No wait list. Call for more information.

A Place for Children
Play Group

Alexandra Koroleva-Regalado, MEd
7830 W. North Ave.
Elmwood Park, IL 60707
(847) 387-5342
Cook County

Second location:
2425 W. Pratt Blvd.
Chicago, IL 60645
(847) 387-5342
Cook County
Class allows your child to interact with children his/her own age. In this class, your child will be challenged to learn social and pre-academic skills throughout art projects, story time, snack time and free play. The play groups are monitored by a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) and are staffed with trained therapists.
When: Group meets Wednesdays (at Pratt location) and Tuesdays and Thursdays (at Elmwood Park location) from 9 to 11 a.m.
Ages: birth to 3 years.
Private insurance accepted (BCBS).
Cost: $20 (per class).
No wait list.

Chicago P.L.A.Y. Project
Tamara Kaldor, MS, developmental therapist & advocate
2128 W. Belmont
Chicago, IL 60618
(773) 426-6290
Serving: Cook County and North Shore suburbs.
Ages: birth to 13 years.
Insurance not accepted.
Cost: varies by service. Sliding scale is available.
No wait list.

Playworks Therapy
2155 W. Belmont Ave.
Chicago, IL 60618
(847) 977-3399
Cook County
Play groups for social language and social skills groups.
Ages: 2-3 years.
Private insurance accepted.

Potanos and Associates
Social Skills Groups

Jenny Potanos, MA, CCC/SLP-L
1N031 Coventry Drive
Wheaton, IL 60188
(630) 510-8021
DuPage County
Cosley Zoo Play Camp
Ages: preschool to 3rd grade (summer group-7 weeks, 2 hrs., 1x per week).
Bowling with Friends
Ages: third grade to middle school (summer group-seven weeks, two hours, once per week).
Integrated Play Groups
Ages: birth to 18 years (group meets all year long).
Insurance not accepted.
Cost: varies; will work with families on this.
Possible wait list. Contact Ms. Potanos around April to get into summer groups.

TMS Psychological Services, P.C.
Therapeutic Play Dates

Theresa Schultz, PhD
1515 N. Harlem Ave., Suite 304
Oak Park, IL 60302
(708) 383-3405, ext. 10
Cook County
Play dates will be structured like groups, in the sense that there will be an initial commitment to a predetermined number of sessions/dates. The initial meeting and the first half of the sessions will likely take place in a group room. The second half of the sessions will ideally be conducted in each participant's home, in order to provide an opportunity for the emotional regulation and social interaction skills that are learned in this process to transfer to the home environment. The size will be limited to two to three participants.
Ages: not age specific.
Private insurance accepted.
Cost: call for details.
No wait list.

Play Group at TMS
Facilitators: Erin Marek, PsyD, and Helen Jonas, MA
Group designed for children who have difficulty playing and getting along with their peers or siblings. This group will help children learn appropriate skills in order to initiate and maintain play with their peers. Skill building will focus on communication and listening, sharing and turn taking, appropriate play, and friendship building.
Ages: 4-7 years.
Private insurance accepted.
Cost: call for details.
No wait list.

Urban Brain and Body, LLC
2551 N. Clark St., Suite 800
Chicago, IL 60614
(312) 257-8550
Cook County
Provides play and socialization groups.
Ages: birth to 5 years.

If you are interested in adding your organization or would like to make changes to a current listing on our website, please contact Natalie Forburger, LCPC, at (312) 563-2272 or