Helpful Websites for Autism Caregivers

Helpful Websites for Autism Caregivers

Advocacy

A Father Blogs About Experiences With His Autistic Son


A Place for Me

Agency offers various services that include initial and on-going consultative support, training and resources.


The Answer, Inc.

Provides support, resources, education, recreation and advocacy for parents and caregivers of people in the autism spectrum.


Asperger’s Association of New England

Asperger's syndrome is AANE's primary focus; they also offer support and services to individuals with similar neurological conditions, such as high functioning autism (HFA), PDD-NOS, and non-verbal learning disability (NVLD/NLD).


Asperger Syndrome Education Network - ASPEN

This national organization provides families and individuals whose lives are affected by autism spectrum disorders and nonverbal learning disabilities with education about the issues, support and advocacy.


Aspie Extremes

A real mom blogs about the daily issues associated with having an Autistic Son.


Aspire Kids

Robin Schroud, associate director of inclusion & community initiatives
3235 W. Montrose Ave 
Chicago, IL 60618
(773) 878-7868 ext. 3223 
Cook County

Advocacy work includes participating in a four-hour individualized education plan meeting at a Chicago public school. Staff participates in the development of annual goals, the identification of modifications and accommodations, and work to help ensure that children receive the LRE placement and supports to which they are entitled. Learn more.

Ages: 3-16 years.
Cost: call for fee schedule.
No wait list.


Autism Blog

By Lisa Jo Rudy, About.com guide to autism


Autism Society of America

Provides the latest information regarding treatment, education, research and advocacy.


Autism Society of Illinois

ASI is a statewide chapter of the Autism Society of America. Their online Autism Resources Directoryprovides links to organizations for assistance, advocacy, education, and support related to autism spectrum disorders. Their mission is to improve the lives of Illinois individuals and families affected by autism spectrum disorders. For more information, call (630) 691-1270 or toll free at (866) 691-5553.


Autism Speaks

Organization dedicated to funding global biomedical research into the causes, prevention, treatments, and cure for autism; to raise public awareness about autism and its effects on individuals, families, and society; and to bring hope to all who deal with the hardships of this disorder.


Bridge Educational Advocacy

Contact: Ms. Pepi M. Silverman
4839 N Claremont, Unit #2
Chicago, IL 60625
Phone: (847) 903-7778
Email:  pepi@beadvocacy.com

Bridge Educational Advocacy provides project-based services, school-based services, and ongoing support services in order to ensure that ALL learners receive appropriate support services to benefit from their instruction in school.


CafeMom

The largest online community for women created for parents of autistic children. In addition to the typical symptoms, treatments, and advice most guides have, they are interviewing parents of autistic children to get their real world stories in an effort to help parents who are just finding out about the ups and downs of parenting an autistic child.


Countryside Association

Advocates on behalf of persons with disabilities and their families and to support them in their efforts to live and work successfully in their chosen community. Programs and services offered include work and training centers, developmental training, supported employment, client and family support, in-home respite and contracted production services.


Disability Benefits Help

This calculator can estimate how much an an adult with autism can expect to receive if he or she is approved for Social Security disability benefits. The calculator will work for both Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) applicants.


From Advocacy to Action 

Pam Labellarte, special education advocate
231 Bingham Circle
Mundelein, IL 60060
(847) 401-5053
email: plabellarte@gmail.com

Serving Illinois counties: Lake, McHenry, Cook, DuPage & Kane

Serving Wisconsin counties: Kenosha and Walworth

Special education advocate and parent of two children with a disability. Provides the educational/transition process. Services include: education, peer counseling, 504 plan multiple disciplinary conference (MDC-3 year evaluation, manifestation determination-discipline and mediation).

Cost: call for fee schedule.
No wait list.


Good Shepherd Center for Exceptional Children

17314 Kedzie
Hazelcrest, IL 60429
(708) 335-0020, ext. 22

Provides advocacy coaching, community outreach - local voice on legislation that affects families and children in Illinois and ongoing DCFS approved training.


Illinois Council of Developmental Disabilities

The council's work is carried out across the state through a network of advocates that educates the public on system issues while encouraging change. ICDD listens to the needs of individuals with developmental disabilities and their families by investing in new programs to improve the delivery of services and supports they deserve.


Illinois Life Span Project of The Arc of Illinois

Contact Person: Mike Kaminsky
20901 S. LaGrange Road, 2nd floor
Frankfort, IL 60423
(800) 588-7002 or (815) 464-1832
Will County
email: mike@illinoislifespan.org

Provides information on advocacy, supports, and services, searchable by service type and county to people with disabilities and their families statewide. They do not provide direct services of any kind — they are an information and referral resource. Families that do not have internet access or those who are unable to locate the information for which they are searching can call for assistance. There is no charge to users or providers listed on the ILS site.


Illinois Yellow Pages for Kids with Disabilities

Provides reliable information and support. State Yellow Pages: Provides many useful resources, evaluators, educational consultants, academic tutors, support groups, grassroots organizations, advocates, attorneys and others who help parents get services for their children in your state.


JJ's List

Website designed for people with disabilities to review businesses and services that are committed to serving people with disabilities in a welcoming, flexible and respectful way so that they can become an integral and natural part of community life. Website was designed, developed and tested by people with disabilities.


Lake County Center for Independent Living (LCCIL)

Lake County Office:
377 N. Seymour Ave.
Mundelein, IL 60060
(847) 949-4440

McHenry County Office:
5400 W. Elm Street, Suite 106
McHenry, IL 60050
(855) 246-8531

info@lccil.org

Provides information & referrals service, independent life skills training, peer mentoring, advocacy and transition services.


Maximum Potential Autism Directory for Illinois

Directory for advocates in Illinois.


MedicClaim Consultants, LLC

Gail Borgerd
1716A Pickwick Lane
Glenview, IL 60026
(847) 657-1157
email: help@medicclaim.com

Provides help to individuals and businesses to secure maximum benefit from your health insurance. MedicClaim was founded in 1998 and to date has assisted hundreds of families.

Cost: call for rates.


National Autism Association

Web site created to educate and empower families affected by autism and other neurological disorders, while advocating on behalf of those who cannot fight for their own rights. Two important grant-funded programs are Family First and Helping Hand. Visit the website for applications and for the location of statewide chapters and the Find a Friend program.


North Shore Pediatric Therapy

Team's blog


Protected Tomorrows

Advocacy firm that enhances the lives of people with special needs through a comprehensive life planning process in the following areas: education, residential, financial, legal, health care, government benefits, employment and recreation.


PUNS - Understanding PUNS: A Guide to Prioritization for Urgency of Need for Services

PUNS is a statewide database that records information about individuals with developmental disabilities who are potentially in need of services. The State uses the data to select individuals for services as funding becomes available, to develop proposals and materials for budgeting, and to plan for future needs.


PURE (Parents United for Responsible Education)

Builds support for and enhance the quality of public education in the city of Chicago by informing parents about educational issues, bringing the views of parents into the decision-making process, and acting as an advocate for parents in their relationships with the school administration.


RAMP

Local service provider for students with disabilities and their families.


Special Ed Advocacy Center

Jill M. Dressner
1935 S. Plum Grove Road
PMB #274
Palatine, IL 60067
(847) 736-8286
Cook County
email: jmdressner@aol.com

Provides free legal representation to low-income parents and caregivers of children with disabilities seeking to obtain appropriate educational and early intervention services for their child.  SEAC seeks to educate parents, caregivers and school personnel concerning their rights and responsibilities under current special education law.

Possible wait list.


Transition Tool Kit

Provided by Autism Speaks, Family Services. Tool kit serves as a guide that can provide you with options to think about and explore as you and your adolescent with autism begin to plan for adulthood. The kit is broken down into different sections. At the end of each section, resources are provided specific to that section, as well as forms to help you keep track of the many pieces that constitute a transition plan. Since the transition process is different in each state, they have developed timelines for each state, with state agency information that may be helpful to you throughout the process. 


Transportation Security Administration (TSA) - Travelers with Disabilities and Medical Conditions

Information for travelers with disabilities -  TSA now provides a Passenger Support Specialists (PSS) to help them get through Chicago Midway International Airport. The PSS provides assistance to wounded warriors and people with disabilities.


VOICE-Advocacy

Provides support, training, and advocacy services for families of children with special needs in school settings and beyond. Organization will assist you with your special education advocacy needs and provide training.


Wrightslaw

Provides accurate and reliable information about special education law, education law and advocacy for children with disabilities.

Education

Association for Science in Autism Treatment

ASAT is an organization of parents and professionals committed to improving the education and care of people with autism. Learn about research being done on evidence-based and non-evidenced based interventions and more.


AbilityLinks.org

Free job opportunity website for all persons with disabilities and inclusive employers. Need help with finding a job, filling an opening or getting answers to your disability and employment questions? Visit AbilityLinks.org to post a resume, post a job or make a contribution to show your support for disability inclusion.


"The ADA In Your Community" Survey

 


How do people with disabilities rate their community's implementation of the Americans with Disabilities Act? To find out this answer, the Illinois ADA Project, in conjunction with the DBTAC: Great Lakes ADA Center is conducting a survey. People with disabilities, their family members, and their advocates are invited to complete the ADA Survey so that your voices are heard when accessibility issues are being addressed in your communities. Print copies and alternative formats are available upon request. To request the ADA Survey in an alternative format, or for additional information, contact Alan Goldstein by phone: (312) 341-0022 or e-mail: alan@equipforequality.org.

Advancing Futures for Adults with Autism (AFAA)

National consortium seeking to create meaningful futures for adults with autism that include homes, jobs, recreation, friends, and supportive communities.


The American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry

Website includes facts, links to resources, press releases, "hot topics," research and more. This site is intended to assist parents and families in understanding mental disorders and problems affecting children and adolescents, especially the link marked complete listing of Facts for Families.


The American Academy of Pediatrics

Find out more about what AAP recommends for your children's health. website provides autism health topics, bookstore and publications, professional education and resources, advocacy.


The Answer, Inc.

Autism awareness and support group.


The ARC of Illinois

The ARC of Illinois and its chapters have been in the forefront of strong advocacy positions for people with disabilities and their families. The ARC continues to be a strong grassroots organization with a rich membership of self-advocates, parents and professionals working together to achieve common goals.


Asperger Syndrome Education Network - ASPEN

National organization provides families and individuals whose lives are affected by autism spectrum disorders and nonverbal learning disabilities with education about the issues, support and advocacy.


Association for Science in Autism Treatment

ASAT is an organization of parents and professionals committed to improving the education and care of people with autism.


Autism and Special Needs Parent Support and Information Email Group (ASPIE)

If you wish to subscribe to a FREE newsletter, which lists northwest suburban area events and news, e-mail: nestsubanp@gmail.com.


Autism Learn 101

Carol Rudd
(631) 821-1902
e-mail: carol@autismlearn101.com

Web site is dedicated to making visually structured activities designed to help develop multiple skills for persons with autism. Many of their activities contain different levels, creating a connected heirarchy. Learn by doing, then progress to each higher level to expand learned skills.


Autism One

Autism One is a nonprofit charity organization started by a small group of parents of children with autism. website educates families about prevention, recovery, safety, and change.


Autism Research Institute

Provides research-based information on the triggers of autism and on methods of diagnosing and treating autism. ARI is a worldwide network of parents and professionals concerned with autism.


Autism Research Institute (webinars - Spanish)


Autism Resource Network

Offers a bookstore for parents and educators with reference books and educational toys, plus a quarterly newsletter.


Autism Society of America

ASA provides the latest information regarding treatment, education, research and advocacy.


Autism Society of Illinois

ASI is a statewide chapter of the Autism Society of America. Their mission is to improve the lives of Illinois individuals and families affected by autism spectrum disorders. For more information, call (630) 691-1270or toll free at (866) 691-5553.


Autism Speaks - 100 Day Kit

Tool kit provides comprehensive information packet available to families who have had a child diagnosed with autism within the past six months.


Autism Speaks - School Community Toolkit

Tool kit provides helpful information about students with autism and tools and strategies to achieve positive interactions and increase learning for all members of the school community.


Autism Speaks - ATN/AIR-P Blood Draw Tool Kit

Tool kit provides a variety of tools to help you and your child to prepare for future medical visits and reduce the stress and worry that may come with blood draws. The kit’s resources include ready-made visual supports, social stories, relaxation and distraction techniques, and tips designed specifically for children with ASD.


Autism Speaks - Asperger Syndrome and High Functioning Autism Tool Kit

Tool kit includes sections on symptoms and causes; list of strengths and challenges; executive functioning and theory of mind; diagnostic vverview; how are AS and HFA different?; you, your family and AS/HFA; interventions and treatment options; AS/HFA and the classroom; transitioning into adulthood;resources by topic; safety tips; action plan for the next 100 days; useful forms; useful books and websites.


Autism Speaks - ATN/AIR-P Parent’s Guide to Applied Behavior Analysis

Tool kit is an informational guide to Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA). It is designed to provide you with a better understanding of ABA, how your child can benefit, and where/how you can seek ABA services.


Autism Speaks - ATN/AIR-P Sleep Tool Kit-Parent Booklet and Quick Tips

This informational booklet is designed to provide parents with strategies to improve sleep in their child affected by autism spectrum disorders (ASD). The suggestions in this tool kit are based on both research and clinical experience of sleep experts.


Autism Speaks - ATN/AIR-P Visual Supports and Autism Spectrum Disorder

Tool kit provides a step-by-step, easy-to-understand introduction to visual supports and the ways that parents and other caregivers can begin using them. It also provides actual visual supports for parents to print, cut out and use, along with links to resources that provide more detailed information for those who want to go further.


Autism Speaks - Tips for Successful Haircuts

Autism Speaks has partnered with Snip-its and Melmark New England to develop a haircutting training guide to provide information to families and stylists as to how to make the haircutting experience more positive for children with autism.


Autism Speaks - Talking to Parents About Autism Kit

Tool kit for professionals contains the tools you need to initiate critical dialogue between parents to urge them to have their child screened. Contents include: message to educators; talking to parents about autism training video; and early childhood milestone map. Available in Spanish.


Autism Speaks - Transition Tool Kit

Tool kit serves as a guide that can provide you with options to think about and explore as you and your adolescent with autism begin to plan for adulthood. The kit is broken down into different sections. At the end of each section, resources are provided specific to that section, as well as forms to help you keep track of the many pieces that constitute a transition plan. Since the transition process is different in each state, they have developed timelines for each state, with state agency information that may be helpful to you throughout the process.


Autism Speaks - Participant's Guide to Autism Drug Research

The goal of this guide is to both answer common questions and pose additional ones that may be important for you to consider. The decision of whether or not to participate in autism drug studies should be guided by your goals and values as well as a clear understanding of potential risks and –benefits and possible demands upon you, your child and your family.


Autism Speaks - Manual de los 100 Días

Manual de 100 Días de Autism Speaks fue diseñado exclusivamente para familias que recientemente fueron evaluadas, para hacer el mejor uso de los 100 días después del diagnoses de autismo.


Autism Speaks - Housing and Residential Supports 

Provides information you need, help you search for housing options, and keep you informed of promising developments, resources, and news in housing and residential supports.


Autism Speaks - Individualized Education Program (IEP) Guide and Other School Resources

A team of lawyers at Goodwin Procter LLP has generously put together a helpful guide to help families understand the IEP process as their loved ones head back to school: Individualized Education Program (IEP): Summary, Process and Practical Tips. This 26 page guide contains an IEP timeline and clearly lays out the steps to take throughout the IEP process. The guide also includes lots of tips, resources, and answers to FAQs.


Autism Speaks - Autism: Should My Child Take Medicine for Challenging Behavior?

Decision aid can help you work with your child’s health care provider when making important medical decisions. The decision aid can help you understand the possible risks and benefits of different treatments. It will help you decide what is most important to you and your family and help you choose an option. The goal for a decision aid is to help you work with your child’s health care provider to choose a treatment that matches your needs and values.


Autism Speaks - Employment Tool Kit

Tool kit helps you research, find and keep employment in the current, competitive labor market. Stories, tips and resources were developed from a collaboration of people, including adults with autism, dedicated to increasing the employment participation of adults on the spectrum.


Autism Speaks - ATN/AIR-P Dental Professionals' Tool Kit

Tool kit designed for dental professionals, discusses ways to help reduce children’s anxiety levels and increase compliance. It provides general and specific information that may help dental professionals better serve the needs of children with ASD. This tool kit is meant to be used in conjunction with other dental materials developed by Autism Speaks Family Services.


Autism Speaks -ATN/AIR-P Parent's Guide to Toilet Training in Autism

Tool kit provides caregivers tips to increase toileting success by teaching toileting skills, providing advice on preparing schedules and routines and promoting visual supports.


Autism Speaks - Spanish Resources


Boardmaker

Computer software program that features more than 4,500 Picture Communication Symbols. Boardmaker is a tool for creating symbol-based materials such as communication displays for worksheets and visual schedules and social stories for children with autism spectrum disorders. (Cost: $329).


Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Provides a list of resources and websites related to autism spectrum disorders. Learn the Signs. Act Early - Information about childhood developmental milestone and delays. You will be able to track the developmental milestones your child should be reaching and download fact sheets on developmental milestones for children from 3 months to 5 years. Autism Spectrum Disorders, What Should You Know?


Chicago Parent

Chicagoland's Special Needs Publication. eBook available at chicagoparent.com. Get a free issue of Chicago Parent.


Chicago Public Schools
Office of Special Education and Supports

Website designed to provide resources and information for parents, students, schools and community members to promote the success of all students with disabilities who attend Chicago Public Schools. Many parent resources.  Browse through more than 100 pages of free printable items suitable for task creation.


College Autism Spectrum

College Autism Spectrum (CAS) is an independent organization of professionals whose purpose is to assist students with autism spectrum disorders, and their families. They help students with ASD explore and navigate college options before, during and through the college process. In addition, they provide campuses and professionals with the tools and training to work effectively with students on the spectrum and to understand the challenges as well as the talents they bring. Download brochure here.


Coulter Video

Coulter Video is a production company specializing in educational videos. Dan Coulter is the producer of the DVDs "Understanding Brothers and Sisters with Asperger Syndrome" and "Understanding Brothers and Sisters with Autism." You can find more autism/Asperger Syndrome videos and latest special needs articles on the website.


Disability.gov - Scholarships

Students who are planning to attend college or enroll in other post-secondary education or training have many financial aid options, including scholarships, grants and loans. Be sure to consider both public (federal, state, and local government) and private financial aid sources.


DisabilityInfo

Provides quick and easy access to comprehensive information about disability programs, services, laws and benefits. Includes information directly related to Autism and other developmental disabilities.


Disability Scoop

Disability Scoop is nationally focused online news organization serving the developmental disability community including autism, cerebral palsy, Down syndrome, fragile X and intellectual disability, among others. Website provides the latest developmental disability news and original reporting on hot-button issues like behavior, medication, IEPs and more that impact the daily lives of people with developmental disabilities and those around them.


Early Childhood Autism Academy Jewish Child and Family Services

Serving children ages 3-8, the Academy is distinctive in its year-round program and full-day schedule of classroom activities and services and is an Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) certified pre-school and early elementary program for children with autism and developmental delays.


Enzymes Information

Provides education and information about digestive enzymes and enzyme therapy.


Enzymes Online Group

Website discusses digestive enzymes (and many other types of supplements) and how their supplementation affect those dealing with conditions of the autistic spectrum/PDD, attention deficit, sensory integration, digestion/malabsorption, food sensitivities/allergies and other uses. Comments and questions are welcomed about using enzymes in any way, including but not limited to those dealing with restrictive diets, treatments, feeding issues, and intestinal health.


Family Resource Center on Disabilities (FRCD)

FRCD conducts free seminars on the special education rights of children with disabilities in English and Spanish, provides information and training on the special education rights of children with disabilities at community locations throughout the Chicago Metropolitan area, and offers opportunities for parent leaders to become effective trainers in their own communities.


First Signs

Organization dedicated to educating parents and pediatric professionals about the early warning signs of autism and other developmental disorders.


From Advocacy to Action

Pam Labellarte, Special Education Advocate
Law Office of Charles P. Fox
3710 Commercial Ave., Suite Six
Northbrook, IL 60062
(847) 205-9897
Lake County
e-mail: spedadvocate@earthlink.net

Special education advocate and parent of two children with a disability. Provides the educational/transition process. Services include: education, peer counseling, 504 plan multiple disciplinary conference (MDC-3 year evaluation, manifestation determination-discipline and mediation).

Cost: Get more information about fee schedule.
No wait list.


Generation Rescue

Generation Rescue is an international movement of scientists, physicians and parent-volunteers researching the causes and treatments for autism and mentoring thousands of families in recovering their children from autism.


Have Dreams

Organization aspires to help children with autism improve their abilities to learn, function independently, and socialize so that they may realize their full potential and develop into contributing members of their communities. Provides instructional programming.


Health Resources and Services Administration

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Federal agency for improving access to health care services for people who are uninsured, isolated or medically vulnerable. Provides information about autism regarding grant programs, service delivery, data and health system supports.


Illinois Council of Developmental Disabilities

The council's work is carried out across the state through a network of advocates that educates the public on system issues while encouraging change. ICDD listens to the needs of individuals with developmental disabilities and their families by investing in new programs to improve the delivery of services and supports they deserve.


Illinois Department of Developmental Disabilities

Registering infants, children, adolescents and adults with developmental disabilities who have needs for services or supports with the Prioritization of Urgency of Need for Services database to receive now or within the next five years. To assist you with the process, call (888)-DD-PLANS and (866) 376-8446 (TTY).


Illinois Department of Human Services

Informs parents about services for children with delays from birth to their third birthday. Search for a DHS Office or Service Provider by selecting your county and ZIP code.


Illinois Department of Insurance

Many families report to us (and we experience it too!) that it is difficult or impossible to obtain insurance coverage for the various treatment interventions available to support their children’s needs. In Illinois, there is a law requiring that certain evidence-based treatments for autism spectrum disorders be covered, but all the loopholes make a tangled mess, indeed. 


Illinois Early Childhood Intervention Clearinghouse

Provides information on health, educational, disability and developmental concerns of infants and young children through books, journal articles, periodicals, videotapes, CD-ROMs, audiocassette tapes, bibliographies, workshops, etc. No fee, only cost is mailing books back to library.


Illinois Parents of Adults with Developmental Disabilities

On-line group that gives Illinois parents of adults with autism spectrum disorder, cerebral palsy, cognitive impairment, Down Syndrome or other disability, a online venue for networking, advocacy and information-sharing to know what's happening around the state. Group's primary focus areas are: employment, volunteering or other day programming, housing options, transportation, transition, and funding strategies that support these efforts.


Illinois Special Education

Dedicated to helping parents of Illinois special education children by providing workshops and resources.


Illinois Yellow Pages for Kids with Disabilities

Provides reliable information and support.


State Yellow Pages

Provides many useful resources, evaluators, educational consultants, academic tutors, support groups, grassroots organizations, advocates, attorneys and others who help parents get services for their children in your state.


Institute on Disability and Human Development

University of Illinois at Chicago
Contact: Vladimir Cuk, MS, PR and Advocacy Coordinator
1640 W. Roosevelt Road, Room 251
Chicago, IL 60608-6904
(312) 413-8833
E-mail: idhd@uic.edu

Organization conducts research and disseminates information about disability to academicians, policymakers, businesses, government agencies, service providers and the general public. The IDHD also provides an extensive array of clinical and community service activities and, through the Department of Disability and Human Development and other academic departments, offers interdisciplinary pre-service training. Training and Technical Assistance can be coordinated upon request. Direct services are provided by their two clinics: Assistive Technology Unit and Family Clinics.


Interactive Autism Network

Website designed to accelerate the pace of autism research by linking researchers and families.


Interactive Metronome

Demo available on website. Interactive Metronome is a brain-based treatment program developed to improve the processing abilities that affect attention, motor planning and sequencing of many children diagnosed with developmental and learning disorders, including autism spectrum disorder.


JJ's List

Website designed for people with disabilities to review businesses and services that are committed to serving people with disabilities in a welcoming, flexible and respectful way so that they can become an integral and natural part of community life. website was designed, developed and tested by people with disabilities.


MAAP Services for Autism and Asperger's

Provides information and advice to families with children and adolescents with autism, Asperger's disorder and pervasive developmental disorder.


Maximum Potential Autism Directory for Illinois

Directory for ABA therapists, additional service providers, advocates, developmental pediatricians, early intervention offices and providers, occupational therapists, parent/family support groups, pediatricians, physical therapists, preschools, private schools, psychologists and speech therapists.


National Autism Association

Website created to educate and empower families affected by autism and other neurological disorders, while advocating on behalf of those who cannot fight for their own rights. Two important grant-funded programs are Family First and Helping Hand. Visit the website for applications and for the location of statewide chapters and the Find a Friend program.


The National Institutes of Health

Search health topics: autism. Lists publications and provides links to other helpful organizational websites on autism.


Neurofeedback Centers of Greater Chicago

Recommended Chicagoland Specialists in Neurofeedback. Neurofeedback is an approach to improve performance and well-being by modifying brainwave patterns. For more information on Neurofeedback, this site will link you to your local professional's website, email address or phone number.


Northwest Special Recreation Association (NWSRA)

Provides a full array of recreation services to children and adolescents with autism and other disabilities within 17 park districts in the northwest suburbs of Chicago. Location varies for each program. Call for program brochure. 

(847) 392-2848


Northwest Suburban Special Education District

Participates in a collaboration of efforts with families, member districts, administration, staff and community agencies for the benefit of students with special needs who range in age from three to 21 (must reside within the eight member school districts 21, 23, 25, 26, 57, 59, 211 and 214).


One Place for Special Needs

One Place for Special Needs is a collaborative community for special needs parents and those that work with children, teens and adults who have disabilities. Everyone adds their own information to help each other, from connecting and networking with families to finding a health provider within your area.


Parent's Guide - Educational Rights and Responsibilities: Understanding Special Education in Illinois

An on-line document developed by the Illinois State Board of Education for parents and others to learn about the educational rights of children who have disabilities and receive special education services.


Picture It

Computer software used for students struggling to understand print.


Planning Asperger Syndrome Success and Generating Experiences (PASSAGE)

Support and educational group for teenagers and adults with Asperger's syndrome. Focus of PASSAGE is teaching skills for appropriate behavior for finding a job or internship.


Prioritization of Urgency of Needs for Services (PUNS)

Register with the PUNS database is the first and most important step you and your family can take to receive assistance now or within the next five years. What assistance can I receive if I sign up for PUNS?

  • Respite care
  • In-home supports
  • Job coaches
  • Residential living arrangements
  • Adaptive equipment
  • Other supports

RAMP

Local service provider for students with disabilities and their families.


Rethink Autism

Newly launched web-based autism treatment platform for parents and professionals. Website offers a dynamic interface that guides users through implementing science-based teaching strategies for children with autism. Everything is video-based and utilizes the principles of applied behavior analysis.


Social Thinking

Website provides information about Michelle Garcia Winner's treatment approach "social thinking," along with upcoming workshops, books and products. To learn more about social thinking, visit Winner's website.


Special Education Guide

Provides information on the challenges parents and teachers of children with special needs face (such as establishing a parent-teacher partnership, collaborating on an IEP, and more). The articles on this site provide insight into the unique challenges (and solutions) associated with specific disabilities.


Special Needs Freedom Guide

The Estate Planning Law Group
Wheaton, IL
(630) 871-8778

Parents will learn why preparing for your child's future is so important. As a parent, you have the responsibility to make sure that your child's future is well planned for, even after you are no longer here. 


Special Olympics Illinois

Provides year-round sports training and competition in a variety of Olympic-type sports for children and adults with intellectual disabilities by giving them continuing opportunities to develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage, experience joy, and participate in a sharing of gifts, skills and friendship with their families, other Special Olympics athletes and the community.


Talk About Curing Autism (TACA)

National organization with a chapter in Chicago. TACA is volunteer parents working to help other parents by providing information, resources and support to families affected by autism. For families who have just received the autism diagnosis, TACA aims to speed up the time from diagnosis to effective treatments, and 95 percent of the services are free. Meetings take place from 4-6 p.m. every second Saturday of the month.

For more information, contact Sara Difucci at (847) 669-2359 or e-mail: sara_difucci@tacanow.com.


Think College Illinois

Website is meant to serve as a blueprint/toolkit for Illinois post secondary education (PSE) institutions in developing inclusive programs for students with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD). It is also meant to support existing programs in ongoing efforts to become more "inclusive" according to the federal Higher Education Opportunity Act (HEOA) standards. The background information and resources available on the site are intended to be used by students and families, as well as a general audience e.g. disability service providers.


Unlocking Autism

Assists parents of newly diagnosed children by providing direction through a parent-to-parent support hotline and educating parents about legal issues, biomedical treatments and behavioral therapies.


Vitals.com

210 Clay Ave., Suite 140
Lyndhurst, NJ 07071
(201) 842-0760

Vitals.com is a great source for comprehensive medical information on over 720,000 doctors nationwide. Website offers consumers free information on doctors' practices and specialties, consumer reviews, recommendations from other doctors as well as free physician profiles in the Chicagoland area. 


WrongPlanet.net

An online resource and community for autism and Asperger's website was created by two teens with Asperger's syndrome. The site features forums, articles, and a variety of great resources.


National Autism Center

Autism Resources for Families: Being armed with information about autism spectrum disorder (ASD) helps families feel more comfortable as they face new challenges. Some families need to know where to start when one member of the family has been recently diagnosed. Other families face unexpected difficulties as their loved ones with ASD learn to live effectively in home, school, or community settings. We are dedicated to supporting families by making information and resources more readily available.

FREE PARENT RESOURCE: Download A Parent’s Guide to Evidence-based Practice and Autism

Fundraising

Autism Society of Illinois 

ASI is a statewide chapter of the Autism Society of America. Its online Autism Resources Directoryprovides links to organizations for assistance, advocacy, education and support related to autism spectrum disorders. Its mission is to improve the lives of Illinois individuals and families affected by autism spectrum disorders.

For more information, call (630) 691-1270 or toll free at (866) 691-5553.


The Global and Regional Asperger Syndrome Partnership 

GRASP's mission is to improve the lives of adults and teens on the autism spectrum through community outreach, peer supports, education, and advocacy. GRASP envisions a world where all individuals on the autism spectrum are respected, valued, and fairly represented; where appropriate supports and services are readily available to those in need; and where people on the spectrum are empowered to participate in policy and personal decisions that affect their lives. 

Make a donation.

GRASP is in need of a volunteer to help keep their website up to date. They need someone who is familiar with Dreamweaver and has a copy of their own to use. The person must also be, or become familiar with the full GRASP website. Looking for a volunteer to donate 30 minutes of their time per week.

Interested candidates contact: sborris@grasp.com. Include your full name and resume or short paragraph about your qualifications for this position.

Grants

The Arc of Illinois


 

Consumer Stipend Funds

The Arc of Illinois distributes consumer stipends to enable people with developmental disabilities and their family members to attend conferences of their choice that are directly related to developmental disability issues. Click on the Consumer Stipend Funds for more information and an application form.


The Answer, Inc.

Provides support, resources, education, recreation and advocacy for parents and caregivers of people in the autism spectrum.


Association for Science in Autism Treatment

ASAT is an organization of parents and professionals committed to improving the education and care of people with autism. Learn about research being done on evidence-based and non-evidenced based interventions and more.


Autism Assistance

Provides resources and information about grants, financial assistance, funding strategies and other resources to help families coping with autism.


Autism Society of Illinois 

ASI is a statewide chapter of the Autism Society of America. Its online Autism Resources Directoryprovides links to organizations for assistance, advocacy, education and support related to autism spectrum disorders. Its mission is to improve the lives of Illinois individuals and families affected by autism spectrum disorders.

For more information, call (630) 691-1270 or toll free at (866) 691-5553.


Bridges for Autism Foundation 

Committed to providing educational and financial resources to families with children on the autism spectrum. They award financial grants to individual families so that children with autism spectrum disorders can receive the necessary treatment and support to reach their greatest potential.


The Gray Center for Social Learning and Understanding 

Web site promotes social understanding between individuals with autism spectrum disorders and those who interact with them in the home, school, workplace and community. Provides information and support through a website, phone and email support, networks, a bookstore and resource library, workshops, presentations, conferences, social coaching and social understanding groups.


Financial Resources and Discounts for Students With Disabilities

From the most important federal financial aid information to helpful deals to free stuff, this list of discounts for disabled students will help take the focus off bank accounts and back onto studies.


Michelle McFarland-McDaniels 

Website provides information on grants, financial assistance, funding strategies and other resources for families coping with autism and other disabilities.


National Autism Association

Website created to educate and empower families affected by autism and other neurological disorders, while advocating on behalf of those who cannot fight for their own rights. Two important grant-funded programs are Family First and Helping Hand. Visit the website for applications and for the location of statewide chapters and the Find a Friend program.


National Autism Center

Autism Resources for Families: Being armed with information about autism spectrum disorder (ASD) helps families feel more comfortable as they face new challenges. Some families need to know where to start when one member of the family has been recently diagnosed. Other families face unexpected difficulties as their loved ones with ASD learn to live effectively in home, school, or community settings. We are dedicated to supporting families by making information and resources more readily available.

FREE PARENT RESOURCE: Download A Parent’s Guide to Evidence-based Practice and Autism


The National Institutes of Health

Search Health Topics: Autism. Lists publications and provides links to other helpful organizational websites on autism.


Protected Tomorrows

Advocacy firm that enhances the lives of people with special needs through a comprehensive life planning process in the following areas: education, residential, financial, legal, health care, government benefits, employment and recreation.


STAR NET

Grant/Stipend Information to Attend Trainings
A family fellowship provides parents of children with disabilities the opportunity to be reimbursed for expenses up to $200 per family to attend a workshop, seminar or conference that will benefit the family. A professional development fellowship provides professionals, who work in an Early Childhood Special Education program, the opportunity to be reimbursed for expenses up to $75 to attend a workshop, seminar or conference directly related to their field.

To apply for a family/professional development fellowship, find more information and forms here.

Send your completed application and supporting documentation to the following mailing address:
STAR NET/SWCASE
Region VI 2008-2009
Attn: Marlene Christ
6020 W. 151st St.
Oak Forest, IL 60452

Family Fellowship and Professional Development Assistance
STAR NET Region II
2626 S. Clearbrook Drive
Arlington Heights, IL 60005-4626

Download application form here. Submit form to the above address one month before your event.


Teaching Children with Autism 

Resource for anyone interested in teaching children with autism or other related developmental disorders encompassing a variety of instructional techniques and philosophies.


Unlocking Autism

Assists parents of newly diagnosed children with autism by providing direction through a parent-to-parent support hotline and educating parents about legal issues, biomedical treatments and behavioral therapies.

Multisensory Products

Fun and Function

Website for professionals and parents that provides sensory toys and therapy equipment for special needs children to help learn adaptive responses for what they may lack or crave.


Infiniteach

Founded to change the way we approach autism education. We believe that every child with autism should have unlimited access to proven strategies that can increase their independence and help foster meaningful relationships. We're developing autism solutions through technology and training. We are launching educational applications and providing custom trainings that are rooted in evidence-based autism interventions. Our focus is on increasing continuity of learning across school, home, therapeutic, and community settings.


Integrations

3155 Northwoods Parkway
Norcross, GA 30071
(800) 850-8602
e-mail address: customer.service@sportime.com

Provides products for children with learning and sensory differences. The Integrations Store includes products for the following categories: accessories and parts, adapted play, body works, dramatic play, education station, furniture aids,interactions, on the move, other instructional materials, positions please, resources and sensorimotor.

Insurance not accepted.
Cost: varies.
Most in-stock orders ship within 24 hours and are delivered to you within one to three business days.


IPAD Apps & Resources for Individuals with Autism

A spreadsheet of recommendations.


Seguin Services, Inc.

3100 S. Central Ave.
Cicero, IL 60804
(708) 863-3803
Cook County

Provides a sensory room that is visually active and physically relaxing. Room includes: a light show featuring bubble tubes that change colors, a vibro chair with relaxing music playing through it, images on a floor mat with different activities that can be played by the participants. Individuals with autism spend 20 minutes in the room, 20 minutes at a time, and the ideal situation is with one person with a disability and one person guiding them through different activities, allowing them to interact with their environment.


Southpaw Enterprises, Inc.

P.O. Box 1047
Dayton, OH 45401
(800) 228-1698
e-mail: customerservice@southpawenterprises.com

Offer sensory integration and developmental products, pediatric therapy equipment, resources, and support for therapeutic professionals, health care professionals, schools, and families. Products for the following categories include: early intervention, oral motor, gross motor skills, living aids, mats and protection, weighted vests, helmets, mobility, weight and resistance, etc. Visit their website to request a catalog.

Business Hours: Monday-Friday: 8 a.m.-5 p.m. EST
Insurance not accepted.
Cost: varies.
Most items are in stock and will be shipped within 10 working days.


STITCHES by Anne

Custom-made weighted blankets, lap pads, vests, hats, animal critters, cooling vests, bibs, infant head rest, neck cushions and more. Weighted products provide deep pressure touch stimulation providing a naturally calming effect. Customers who have benefited from the deep pressure touch stimulation include those of all ages with autism spectrum disorder.

Comments, questions or to order email: stitchesbyanne@gmail.com

Cost: $8 and up (plus shipping).

Legal Issues

Access Living

115 West Chicago Ave.
Chicago, IL 60654
(312) 640-2100  

Access Living offers services and support for people with disabilities in Chicago including home and community based services (personal support workers, support group, independent living skills classes, etc.), housing services, youth programs and legal services. 


Autism Society of Illinois

ASI is a statewide chapter of the Autism Society of America. Their online Autism Resources Directoryprovides links to organizations for assistance, advocacy, education, and support related to autism spectrum disorders. Their mission is to improve the lives of Illinois individuals and families affected by autism spectrum disorders.

For more information, call (630) 691-1270 or toll free at (866) 691-5553.


CARPLS - Cook County Legal Assistance Hotline

(312) 738-9200

Provides free legal consultation regarding guardianship.


Center for Disability and Elder Law

Provides free legal services. Dedicated to protecting and advancing the legal rights of low-income persons with disabilities and special needs in Cook County.


Chicago Legal Clinic

(773) 731-1762

Provides guardianship assistance/consult. Attorney & court fees apply. Call for intake.


Chicago Volunteer Legal Services

(312) 332-1624

Provides guardianship assistance.


Disability Scoop

Disability Scoop is nationally focused online news organization serving the developmental disability community including autism, cerebral palsy, Down syndrome, fragile X and intellectual disability, among others. Web site provides the latest developmental disability news and original reporting on hot-button issues like behavior, medication, IEPs and more that impact the daily lives of people with developmental disabilities and those around them.


Guardianship and Advocacy Commission

(866) 274-8023

Provides guardianship assistance.


Illinois Yellow Pages for Kids with Disabilities

Provides reliable information and support.


State Yellow Pages

Provides many useful resources, evaluators, educational consultants, academic tutors, support groups, grassroots organizations, advocates, attorneys and others who help parents get services for their children in your state.


Protected Tomorrows

Advocacy firm that enhances the lives of people with special needs through a comprehensive life planning process in the following areas: education, residential, financial, legal, health care, government benefits, employment and recreation.


Special Ed Advocacy Center

Jill M. Dressner
1935 S. Plum Grove Road
PMB #274
Palatine, IL 60067
(847) 736-8286
Cook County
email: jmdressner@aol.com

Provides free legal representation to low-income parents and caregivers of children with disabilities seeking to obtain appropriate educational and early intervention services for their child.  SEAC seeks to educate parents, caregivers and school personnel concerning their rights and responsibilities under current special education law.

Possible wait list.


Transition Tool Kit

Provided by Autism Speaks, Family Services. Tool kit serves as a guide that can provide you with options to think about and explore as you and your adolescent with autism begin to plan for adulthood. The kit is broken down into different sections. At the end of each section, resources are provided specific to that section, as well as forms to help you keep track of the many pieces that constitute a transition plan. Since the transition process is different in each state, they have developed timelines for each state, with state agency information that may be helpful to you throughout the process. 

Download free tool kit.


Wrightslaw

Provides accurate and reliable information about special education law, education law and advocacy for children with disabilities.

Toys

AblePlay

Toy rating system and website that provides comprehensive information on toys for children with special needs so parents, special educators, therapists and others can make the best choices for the children in their lives with disabilities.

email: info@ableplay.org


Autism Resource Network

Offers a bookstore for parents and educators with reference books and educational toys, plus a quarterly newsletter.


Beyond Play

Early intervention products for young children with special needs.


Cat & Mouse Game Store

1112 W. Madison St.
Chicago, IL 60608
(312) 465-2178
Cook County

Educational toys and board games for all skill levels, host to family events and workshops.


Discovery Toys

Specializes in toys, books and games. Provides autism support symbols throughout catalog to find products that help support learning in six different areas (e.g. independent play, sustained engagement, cooperative play, etc.).


Fun and Function

Website for professionals and parents that provides sensory toys and therapy equipment for special needs children to help learn adaptive responses for what they may lack or crave.


Special Needs Toys

Toy items include: multisensory (e.g. bubble columns, fiber optics projectors, soft play), senses (e.g. visual mirrors, blacklight disco gadgets, moving parts, moving lights), auditory aromatherapy (e.g. noisy toys, CDs, DVDs, resonance), tactile (e.g. squidgy toys, soft toys) and much more.


Spectrum Toy Store

1911 W. Belmont
Chicago, IL 60657
(773) 231-8001

Illinois toy store specifically for children with developmental disabilities. They offer a variety of toys, sensory items, children’s books as well as resources for caregivers and educators.


Toys R Us 

Toy Guide for differently abled kids. To receive a free issue of this catalog, go to the link above. This website provides a collection of toys for children with special needs.