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Packet of Information for Parents New to Autism,

 (on-line version)

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 Children Have Opportunities in Inclusive Community Environments and Schools

Project CHOICES is an initiative of the Illinois State Board of Education that provides free  on-site technical assistance to any school district within Illinois.  Over the past 10 years, Project CHOICES has assisted more than 500 school districts in facilitating education  for  children  with disabilities ages 3 - 21 in preschool settings and general education classrooms.
Project CHOICESí services include:

Any school district personnel can request technical assistance from Project CHOICES. (While parents can not make a direct request for help from Project CHOICES,  now that you know about this entity you can of course ask your school folk to consider contacting Project CHOICES if you feel it might be helpful for them to do so.  I myself intend to ask for more information about the Circle of Friends  listed in the Project CHOICES brochure.)
For more information about Project CHOICES contact Barbara Toney at  630-231-3362, or write to her at:
6S331 Cornwall Road
Naperville, IL  60540  (for all you folk on-line)


From the Swedish word "lek", which means "play", and the Greek  suffix "tek," which means "library", comes Lekotek, a program that recognizes the importance of play in the developing childís life.î  Lekotek  centers are places where you go once a month to meet with your childís own advisor who helps you select up to 6 toys/puzzles/games, appropriate to your childís needs and abilities, to borrow until the next monthly visit.

The object , for our kids, is to find items that can help with fine and gross motor (weíve borrowed wooden balance beams and  bean bag toss games,  peg board -type toys and even cool ìfeelieî bags with abstract wooden objects and matching 2/D cards)   or   classifying (Montessori  sorting boxes, etc.)  turn-taking (various levels of games) pretend play  - they have doll houses,  toy vacuums,  toy cash-registers, toy barbecue grills,  mowers,  etc etc - all the range of Little Tykes stuff plus the kind of (expensive) stuff you might only find in a catalog or at an up-scale  toy  shop.  Lekotek is a  great resource for items to incorporate into home therapy, or simply to help engage a child in appropriate play activities, without the expense of buying new stuff  all  the  time.

There can be a refundable fee (it was $30 for us a couple years ago,  since we did not lose or break any toys we got it all back when we quit the program)  in addition to a yearly fee (ask if you can be considered for a fee reduction or waiver if needed.  We  did, and were.) Lekotek locations are in: Alton, Carbondale, Champaign, Chicago, Evanston [national headquarters], Flossmoor, Franklin Park, Gages Lake, Kankakee, Lombard, Midlothian, Moline, Normal, Ottawa, Park Forest, Peoria, Rockford, Rolling Meadows, South Holland, Springfield, Sterling, and Tinley Park.  You can call the national headquarters in Evanston at 847-328-5514  for more information.


"Reaching Your Child is In Your Hands"

Some Illinois teachers a dedicated to  sharing some of the materials they have found useful and effective in the classroom with parents of special needs students have created KidKits.  All materials in each kit have been previously fine-tuned by extensive classroom use, and adapted as needed for use in the home.   Some of the KidKit materials include:
* Supplies needed to structure your home to make it comfortable and easy for your child to understand.
* Manipulatives and books which expose your child to counting, color identification, and understanding of the printed word.
* Sensory Integration supplies to give your child the much needed ingredients of a sensory diet.
*Velcro-Match books to show your child the important relationship between text, pictures, and the spoken word.
* Social Stories customized to address your childís specific behavior issues.
* A "To Go" bag for trips to the babysitter, grandmas or even the park to easily tote the KidKit Materials.
* A customized "ME BOOK" which included personalized information and pictures of your child.î

Kid Kit
P.O. Box 11
Claredon Hills, IL  60514
Two other sources for  high-quality materials that may be of great use are

MAK Home Therapy Resources
6209 Sundowner Raod
Woodridge, IL  60517

Stages Learning Materials
P.O. Box 27
Chico, CA  95927-0027

Contact all of the above and request free brochures about their products.

Siblings Groups

Let us not forget the unique circumstances of growing up with a brother or sister with special needs!  There are a few ongoing support groups an/or programs for siblings of children with special needs - below I list contacts for those I know of  (if anyone out there know of others Iím missing send your info to the newsletter and Iíll pass it on).

Geneva and surrounding areas: contact Kelly Collins at Community Therapy Services,  630/208-8880

Chicago: contact Mary Kay McGuire at Illinois Masonic Medical Center, 773/296-5685

Northbrook: The Jewish Children's Bureau sponsors sibling support groups.   For more information contact Ali Weiss at 312/357-4595Community Support Services, Inc (Sibshops), contact Tara Kosieniak

9021 Ogden Ave
Brookfield, IL  60513
708-354-4547 x128
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Statewide Autism Training Project Underway

The primary goal of the Illinois Autism/PDD Training and Technical Assistance Project is to strengthen the capacity of districts to educate the growing number of students with autism/PDD in Illinois.  Under the project, 22 teams of educational and related service professionals and parents have been  trained. The main components of the training included characteristics of autism/PDD, educational programming and strategies, functional assessment of challenging behaviors, positive programming, teaming approaches, communication strategies, problem solving and collaboration, sensory issues and social skills development.

Beginning in Summer, 1999, training opportunities became available to additional teams in their own or a neighboring district.  Teams are to include a parent or other family member of a child with autism and three other members who support children with autism in schools, including general educators.  For more information or to get on a wait list to be helped by a trained team, contact Kathy Gould, Project Director at LADSE, 708-354-5730 or email

> > Wendy Partridge
> > Regional Consultant/Manager
> > Illinois Autism Training and Technical Assistance Project
> > Rockford, IL 61114
> > 815-637-4219
> > 815-637-4281 (fax)
> >
> >

The Arc of Illinois -  Advocates for Change

> If you're a parent...

you want an opportunity to learn from the experiences of others who  share your dreams for your child.
> If you're a person with a disability...
you want to be a self-advocate in a supportive environment.
> If you want to be able to effect governmental change to better the
lives of individuals with disabilities --

You need the Arc -  And The Arc Needs You!

The Arc is committed to...

The Arc of Illinois is the leading advocacy organization for people with developmental disabilities in the state.  The Arc is for anyone who has a family member with mental retardation or a related disability including autism.  To receive more information:
The Arc of Illinois
1820 Ridge Road, suite 300
Homewood, IL  60430
(good website - most of the above snitched from it to help spread the word about this group.  The Arc is not specific to autism BUT as an advocacy group does help effect changes that affect persons with autism so it is about time I  mentioned them.)

Packet Contents

Support Groups Illinois Family Assistance Program Books Articles
Newsletters Therapies/Treatments Private Schools Dietary Treatments
"Twelve Commandments" Research More Resources ABA
Educational Materials Autism Society therapy summary Extra Stuff tax deductions updated link!