Therapeutic Day Schools for Children with Autism

Therapeutic Day Schools for Children with Autism

Elementary School

Academy of Excellence in Learning

19056 Henry Drive, Mokena, IL 60448
(708) 271-3478 or (913) 485-8151 and

Illinois State Board of Eduction approved, non-public special education facility. They are currently accepting students with educational diagnosis of autism, cognitive disability, learning disabilities, challenging behaviors, speech or language impairment, and other health impairment.

Acacia Academy

La Grange Campus: 6425 Willow Springs Rd
Burr Ridge Campus: 6880 N. Frontage Rd Suite 100

Acacia Academy is an accredited, private special education / therapeutic school for elementary (grades 1-8), high school (grades 9-12) and Transition Program for ages 18-22. We offer a variety of school year and summer programs designed to meet each student’s learning objectives in terms of his/her learning capabilities. Acacia Academy is AdvancED accredited and has been approved for out-of-district placement by the Illinois State Board of Education for special education. Students from all over northern Illinois attend Acacia Academy

AERO Special Education Cooperative

7600 S. Mason Ave., Burbank, IL 60459
(708) 496-3330

Provides special education programming for 12 school districts and provides a number of related services such as occupational therapy, physical therapy, speech services, social work, assistive technology and school nurses.

Alexander Leigh Center for Autism

4100 Veterans Pkwy, McHenry, IL 60050
(815) 344-2522

Illinois State Board of Eduction approved. School's primary philosophy is applied behavior analysis.

Beard Special Education Center

6445 W. Strong St., Chicago, IL 60656
(773) 534-1228

Offers education and treatment for autism spectrum, emotionally disabled, and cognitively delayed children including, discrete trial, sensory integration, behavioral, music, and art therapy, group theraplay and public talking circle. 

Black Bear Academy 

1801 W Byron Street Chicago, IL 60613

Blue Bird Day School

(312) 243-8487
Multiple locations:

  • North Center: 1921 W Irving Park Rd, Chicago, IL 60613
  • West Loop: 310 N Loomis St, Chicago, IL 60607 
  • Wheaton: 140 E Loop Rd, Wheaton, IL 60189 Phone 312-724-3139 

Blue Bird Day is designed to foster socialization, sensory regulation and academic learning in children ages 2-9 in a Pre-School and Kindergarten setting.

The Camelot Schools

Central Office Location
7500 Rialto Blvd., Building 1, Suite 260, Austin, Texas 78735
(512) 858-9900

Children participating in the autism program at Camelot’s day schools take part in a specialized curriculum that focuses on maximizing independent functioning in home, school, vocational and community settings by utilizing music therapy, occupational therapy, speech/language therapy, social skills training, prevocational and vocational instruction, and a functional academic curriculum; locations in Illinois include Garden Prarie, Bourbonnais, Hoffman Estates, Mt. Prospect, Naperville, Moline, and Dekalb.

Cardinal Cushing Centers

405 Washington St. Hanover, MA 02339
(781) 829-1205
Michelle Markowitz:

Private, non-profit therapeutic special needs boarding school for children and young adults with autism and developmental disabilities.

Chicago Autism Academy

21133 S. 80th Ave., Frankfort, IL 60423
(815) 806-2900

Serves children who have an autism spectrum disorder, cognitive disability, or a developmental delay with a variety of programs and empirical based procedures, which include: speech and language, occupational therapy, behavioral analysis, and social programming.  A variety of empirically based procedures are used including, Behavior Analysis, Precision Teaching, Direct Instruction, and many other interventions. The Chicago Autism Academy accepts students from many school districts across Northeastern Illinois.   

The Chicago Lighthouse for People Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired

1850 W. Roosevelt Road, Chicago, IL 60608
(312) 997-3675

Therapeutic day school: Programs for students with blindness/visual impairments, moderate to severe/profound cognitive impairments, hearing impairments, traumatic brain injuries, autism, sensory processing disorders, seizure disorders, physical disabilities, communication disorders and other health concerns; program includes speech therapy, physical therapy, occupational therapy, social work, nursing, psychology, orientation and mobility, and vision and hearing.

Vision Care: Services include Optometry.
(312) 997-3686 

City Elementary

Christopher Flint, Head of School
1100 E. Hyde Park Blvd., Chicago, IL 60615
(872) 240-2489

ISBE approved. Offers an educational program tailored to children with diverse learning styles and developmental needs.

Communication Clubhouse - Connections Academy

  • 2901 Finley Rd, #102, Downers Grove, IL 60515, 630.495.6800
  • Jefferson Park: 4958 N. Milwaukee Ave, Chicago, IL 60630, 773.205.8505
  • Roscoe Village: 2630 West Bradley Place, Suite A, Chicago, IL 60618, 312.955.0089

Clubhouse Connections Academy is a partial-day program that offers a social therapeutic setting suited to their needs.

Connections Day School

31410 North US Highway 45, Libertyville, IL  60048

We serve children and adolescents, ages 8-21, primarily from Lake County who, because of significant special education needs (ED, BD, LD, OHI, AUT & CD), require an alternative school program that is both educational and therapeutic. By utilizing therapeutic, educational, family and community connections, CDS is able to promote academic achievement, social/emotional well-being and personal growth.

Connections South Campus

909 E. Wilmette Road, Palatine, IL 60074

South Campus is a private therapeutic day school serving students with a variety of emotional and behavioral needs serving students in Southern Lake and Northern Cook Counties who are in need of an alternative school program, which is supportive, therapeutic and educational. The program serves students between the ages of 6 and 21 years.  SC utilizes educational, therapeutic, family and community connections to promote academic achievement and personal/emotional growth. 

Easterseals Central Illinois

507 East Armstrong Avenue, Peoria, IL 61603-3201 
(309) 686-1177

Provides interdisciplinary pediatric therapy and support for the whole child, and your whole family. Services include: Early Intervention, Feeding therapy, Speech Therapy, Physical Therapy, Occupational Therapy and Counseling. Additional autism services include ABA, DIR/Floortime, assistive technology clinics, adaptive swim lessons, care management, diagnostic evaluations, social skills groups, residential day camp and parent training. 

Easterseals Chicagoland & Greater Rockford 
School locations in Chicago, Rockford and Tinley Park

Autism services include screening and diagnostics (ages 3-12), parent training, individual therapy, parent support groups, and resource support. Therapeutic day school programming available children ages 5-21. 

Eisenhower Cooperative

5318 W. 135th St. Crestwood, IL 60418

Member districts include: Atwood Heights (D125), Alsip Hazelgreen Oak Lawn (D126), Worth (D127), Chicago Ridge (D127.5), Cook County (D130), Calumet (D132), Midlothian (D143), Posen-Robbins (D143.5) and Community HS (D218).

The Developmental Learning Program provides a complete educational program for students with multiple disabilities in a regular education setting. Children are with age-appropriate peers for lessons that are educationally appropriate to the individual child. Students in the Developmental Learning Program work on an academic and functional curriculum developed individually for them. When appropriate, students are included in a general education class for components of their educational program. If necessary, inclusion facilitator will accompany and assist with adaptations and support. 

Elim Christian School

Autism Comprehensive Education (ACE) Program
13020 S. Central Ave., Palos Heights, IL 60463
(708) 389-0555

School offers a one-on-one integrated holistic approach of services including TEACCH, applied behavior analysis, and augmentative communication.

Esperanza School

520 N Marshfield Chicago IL 60622
(312) 243-6097

Esperanza School is a private therapeutic day school that serves special education students with severe and profound Autism and Intellectual Disabilities, aged 6 through 21 years old. Due to their autism and other developmental disabilities, our students also display significant behavioral needs. Our multidisciplinary team includes teachers, behavior therapists, social workers, nurses, occupational therapists and a speech and communication specialist. Ages: 6-21 years

Genesee Lake School

Contact: Stephanie Koster-Peterson, admissions director
36100 Genesee Lake Road Oconomowoc, WI 53066
(262) 569-5510, ext. 3004

Genesee Lake School is a nationally recognized provider offering programs for students with developmental disabilities, mental health disorders, neurological disorders, and emotional disturbances. Additionally, we offer specialized programs for students with autism spectrum disorders, mood and anxiety disorders, and complex trauma. Our 160 acre campus is a nurturing setting where students from around the country gain the skills and experiences necessary to successfully return to their families, school districts, and communities. Our goal at Genesee Lake School is to provide an innovative and enriching environment for the students in our care to learn and experience all that life can offer. Illinois State Board of Education Approved and COA Certified. Ages: 6-21 years.

Giant Steps Inc.

2500 Cabot Dr., Lisle, IL 60532
(630) 864-3801
Sylvia Smith:

Giant Steps Illinois day school offers a one-on-one integrated holistic approach of services for students with Austism Spectrum Disorders. 

Guiding Light Academy 
1051 Internationale Pkwy, Woodridge, IL 60517
Woodridge, IL (Academy)- (630) 739-7500
Woodridge, IL (Central) - (630) 328-0438
Shorewood, IL (West) - (815) 409-4495

Guiding Light Academy accepts referrals for students from various school districts in the Chicagoland area. Potential students must be in grades K-12 and have a primary diagnosis of Autism, Other Health Impairment, Intellectual Disability, and Developmental Delay.


Kristina Baker, director of admissions and outreach 
8700 East 29th Street Wichita, KS 67226
(C): (316) 214-1132
(O): (316) 634-8874

The Heartspring School is a private, not-for-profit, residential and day school, serving students impacted by autism and other developmental disabilities from across the country and around the world. Most Heartspring students also display challenging behaviors that often interfere with their educational progress, as well as their home life and community integration. Ages: 5-21 yrs. Heartspring is a school with a residential program and, therefore, charges tuition and fees. The majority of the students who attend Heartspring are placed through the students’ IEP teams and funded by their local school district. Very few students qualify for funding through insurance providers. However, on a case-by-case basis, this may be possible. Some students have multiple agencies involved in the placement and in the funding (such as a school district, a child welfare agency, adoption subsidy, etc.). For some families, paying privately and/or outside financing may be an option. 

Helping Hand School for Autism

Sally Wilson-Gamble
9649 W. 55th St., Countryside, IL 60525
(708) 352-3580, ext. 437

Use research-based intervention modalities and teaching methods to assure best practice to design each child's own individualized program and curriculum.

Holtz Educational Center

8149 Cass Ave., Darien, IL 60561

Holtz Educational Center, LLC is a non-public, therapeutic day school that provides special education alternatives to students pre-K through 8th grade utilizing the principles of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA).  Holtz accepts students diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder, developmental delay, students previously diagnosed as having PDD-NOS, intellectual and specific learning disorders & other health impairments.

Jewish Child & Family Services

Joy Faith Knapp Children's Center
3145 W. Pratt Blvd, Chicago, IL 60645
(773) 467-3900

Provides the best educational, emotional and therapeutic services for students of all backgrounds in grades K-12 who have not thrived in a traditional school setting, to encourage their academic, interpersonal and vocational success.

Kemit Academy

(773) 966-5039
5100 South Dorchester Avenue Chicago Illinois 60615

Kemit Academy offers specialized day care for infants and toddlers and a therapeutic day school for children ages 5-12 with developmental disabilities. Kemit also provides pediatric occupational and speech therapies. 

Kradwell School

1220 Dewey Avenue Wauwatosa, WI 53213

A unique learning environment on Aurora Psychiatric Hospital’s wooded campus. Kradwell is a private, nontraditional and nonsectarian school for children in grades 5 through 12. The school specializes in serving students who struggle to succeed in traditional school environments. The teachers and support staff develop educational plans tailored to each student and any conditions they may have, such as dyslexia, ADD/ADHD, anxiety, bipolar disorder, depression, PSTD, OCD, reactive attachment disorder, Asperger’s syndrome and more. Contact form 

Krejci Academy/The Mansion (Little Friends)

619 E Franklin Ave, Naperville, IL 60540
(630) 355-6870

Therapeutic day school for children ages 5-21 with autism or other emotional, behavioral or developmental disabilities.

LaGrange Area Department of Special Education

Colleen Brown
1301 W. Cossitt Ave., LaGrange, IL 60525
(708) 482-1152

Provides services to residents to seventeen school districts in DuPage and Cook Counties.

LifeSpeed Early Learning Center

1110 North Blvd, Oak Park, IL 60301 

LifeSpeed Therapists work 1:1 with children [10 years and under] of all ability levels to foster critical language skills, teach essential pre-academic skills, reduce problem behaviors, and achieve developmental milestones which are essential for future success. The model is centered on a blended approach of in-clinic and in-home sessions. Services in both locations work to compliment one another so our early learners receive consistent, specialized care across all environments.

The Manhattan Childrens Center (MCC)

111 West 92nd Street, New York, NY 10025

The Manhattan Children's Center (MCC) is a not-for-profit, 501(c)(3) school for Autism education and treatment based in New York City. MCC provides world-class treatment and education to children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD).

(630) 593-5500

Locations in: 

  • Bloomingdale: 64 S. Prairie Ave., Bloomingdale, IL 60108
  • Elgin: 1435 Summit Street, Elgin, Illinois 60120
  • Geneva: 1S450 Wyatt Drive, Geneva, IL 60134

Programs include Early Intervention services (Ages 0-3; 630-529-2871, ext. 2238), day school programming (Ages 3-21), day program services (Ages 18+) and residential services (all ages), and employment services for individuals with developmental disabilities. 

New Connections Academy

865 E. Wilmette Road, Palatine, IL 60074

New Connections Academy serves boys and girls ages 6 to 21 with ASD placed by local school districts. New Connections Academy provides school, family and community partnerships leading to successful learning. New Connections Academy offers a primary program (grades 1 to 3), intermediate (grades 4-6), junior high (grades 7 & 8) and several high school classes (grades 9-12).  The classes are self-contained, offering a standard elementary curriculum of Reading, Spelling, Language Arts, Mathematics, Science, Social Studies, and Physical Education.  Each student has an Individual Educational Plan developed by the placing district.

New Horizon Center

6737 W. Forest Preserve Ave, Chicago, IL 60634-1470
(773) 286-6226
Patricia Palmer:

Therapeautic day school for those with severe and profound learning disabilities, autism, and intellectually challenged students who benefit from a personalized program with services such as speech therapy, physical therapy, occupational therapy, music therapy, art therapy, nursing services, social services, vision services, sensory room, Rainbow Dog Therapy, Greenhouse Gardening and much more.

New Hope Academy

Brandy Larrance, executive director
6289 W. Howard St. Niles IL 60714
(847) 588-0463

Illinois State Board of Education approved. Serves students in special education diagnosed with emotional disabilities, other health impairments, learning disabilities, and autism. Students are average to above-average intelligence, withdraw socially and emotionally, experience difficulty “fitting in” a mainstream environment, have difficulty reading social cues, “slip through the cracks” until their problems are severe, procrastinate (specifically with homework assignments and long-term projects), have difficulty with executive functioning, have talents in art and music, have the potential for academic achievement, struggle with gross and fine motor skills, have difficulty with social skills, use frequent illness as a means to avoid school and may become “school phobic,” appear sad, lonely, hopeless, or depressed, harbor anger and hostility but does not act out violently in school or in the community. Ages: 11-21 years.

O-School (The Sonia Shankman Orthogenic School at the University of Chicago)

Therapeutic Day School Program
Kristin Friesen, LCSW (Director of Admissions)
6245 S. Ingleside Ave., Chicago, IL 60637
(773) 420-2891

The O-School is a therapeutic day school for individuals with high functioning autism and/or other mental health issues. The O-School is Illinois State Board of Education approved. The day school is committed to fostering inquiry into the clinical and treatment needs of students. The O-School relies upon the therapeutic relationships that develop between a student and their teachers and therapists as a major component of the treatment. Milieu staff members are actively involved with the students throughout the day, not simply monitoring or supervising them but developing bonds and relationships with students that create a structure in which each child or adolescent can receive emotional support, develop new skills and sustain healthy relationships. The school and family work together to create a consistent experience for each student. Serves ages: 5-21; Funded through private pay or child's school district.

PACTT Learning Center

7101 N. Greenview Ave., Chicago, IL 60626
(773) 338-9102

Illinois State Board of Education approved. PACTT is an agency that provides educational, residential and vocational services to individuals with autism.

PODS Inc.  

1401 E 79th Street, Chicago, IL 60619 

PODS is a full service, community based, inclusive therapeutic program serving children from birth to 13 years of age. Our desire is to focus on increasing the child/youth’s functional skills within his/her school, own home and community. Once it is fully identified, we will offer a continuum of evidence-based behavioral intervention (ABA therapy) to the child as well as resources and training for their families and caretakers. We service both children and youth with other developmental delays and children with typical behaviors. These goals will be determined and based on their individual needs and strengths across developmental stages from birth to 12 years of age.

Rush Day School

Jean L. Heideman, MPP, MS, director
2150 W. Harrison St. Chicago, IL 60612
(312) 942-6627

Illinois State Board of Education approved. Rush Day School utilizes a team approach to provide intensive psychotherapeutic services combined with an academic program. Offers education and treatment for autism spectrum and emotionally disabled children. Goal for each student is to return to a less restrictive school environment. The majority of students return to a public or private school in regular education with support. Class size: limited to six to nine students. Children may be enrolled throughout the academic and extended school year.

Ages: 5-15 years (grades K-8).
Cost: Most students are funded by the child's home school district.

Soaring Eagle Academy

8330 S. Madison St., Burr Ridge, IL 60527
(630) 323-2900

First school in the Midwest to provide a social and academic learning environment utilizing a developmental individual-difference relationship based (DIR) approach for students diagnosed with autism and related disorders.

Stride Autism Centers

(312) 554-5578

Provides center-based ABA therapy and full-day ABA programs for pre-school aged children, 2-6 years.

Stuart G. Ferst School 

6050 N. California Ave., Chicago, IL 60659
(773) 761-4651, ext. 235

Illinois State Board of Education approved. Provides co-ed functional academic instruction, vocational experience and/or therapeutic education to students with behavioral/emotional disorders, traumatic brain injuries, or developmental disabilities such as autism, cognitive impairment or physical/medical impairment.

Summit School

The Autism Spectrum Program
333 W. River Road, Elgin, IL 60123
(847) 468-0490 

Program offers a one-on-one integrated holistic approach of services including DIR, TEACCH and RDI.

Trinity School 

301 Veterans Parkway New Lenox, IL 60451

Trinity School was founded in 1950, and has evolved to Trinity Services, Inc. to provide a broad range of supports and services for people with disabilities. The school remains a vital support for students with intellectual and developmental disabilities between the ages of 3 and 21. Issues may include developmental delays, autism, behavioral challenges and attention deficit disorder. 

The Winston Knolls School

2353 Hassell Rd, Suite 110, Hoffman Estates, IL 60169
(630) 283-3221

Services Provided: Provides ABA Therapy, Occupational Therapy, Speech Language Pathology, Physical Therapy, Social Skills Groups, Parent Training and Education, Family Counseling, Social Work, Psychiatry, and Academic Programs through insurance.