Autism News Network


Packet of Information for Parents New to Autism,

 (on-line version)



Auditory Integration Therapy.

Several area parents have used this on their children,  with varying degrees of success.  Particularly useful for the child who clearly exhibits  oversensitivity to various sound frequencies.  We have locally at least two  AIT therapists, so for  even  more  information  please  contact:
Margaret P. Creedon, Ph.D.
Easter Seal Therapeutic Day School
3424 S. State St.
Chicago, IL  60616
Sharon Hurst
Auditory Training & Education Center
711 E. Colfax Ave - suite 233
South Bend, IN  46617
(makes frequent visits to Chicago area to do group AIT sessions)


Some of our children have made substantial gains in language and attending skills by completing this 2 hour a day,  6 - 8 week long intensive computer program.  This is an exciting prospect for many of our kids, who typically show the greatest delay in the area of language.   Call or write for more information.FastForWord   is  scientifically  valid (SLC can provide references to the articles.) For more information (including a list of local providers)  contact:
Scientific Learning Corporation
1995 University Ave., Suite 400
Berkeley, CA  94704-1074  (note it is 'word,' not  'ward')

Vision Therapy

Some children have problems with their visual sense that goes beyond being near-sighted or farsighted.  Many children who peer closely at objects, flap hands or objects near their eyes, squint, or rely heavily  on their peripheral vision may benefit from an evaluation by  a  vision specialist with extensive experience working with  our most interesting children.  One vision specialist  who has helped several area children  is:
Neil W. Margolis, OD
1120 N. Arlington Heights Rd.
Arlington Heights, IL  60004

Occupational Therapy (OT)

This has nothing to do with teaching your child a career skill, and everything to do with helping them overcome any  of the sensory issues (such as tactile defensiveness) that most of our children have to deal with as part of their disorder.  Also addresses  delays in fine and/or gross motor skills.  If you were not referred to an O.T.  when your child was diagnosed, contact your local Easter Seal or school district  special education department for a referral.  Also, a very informative book to read would be:  Sensory integration and the Child , Jean Ayres.  pub. 1979

Speech Therapy

The need for extensive speech therapy  is seldom contested with our children.  The key is providing intensive, quality therapy on a frequent enough basis to benefit the child.  Most school programs will offer only an hour or less of 1:1 speech therapy a week.  Using a speech/language professional to help oversee the developmental appropriateness  of a home-based ABA program can provide an ideal amount of daily, intensive 1:1 therapy.  Many parents also arrange private speech therapy to compliment their schoolís offerings.  Ask other parents (go to a support group!) - they will know who is good, locally.


Treatment and Education of Autistic and Related Communication Handicapped Children.
A rival  program to that developed by Dr. Lovaas,  and not nearly as effective in  helping kids recover  a degree of independent, normal functioning (oh, the articles that have been written and responded to as the proponents of each therapy  duke it out in print!).  However,  TEACCH is strong on  exercises to work on fine motor skills, and address sensory issues.  It may be worth ìsnitchingî ideas from TEACCH programming to incorporate into a home-based ABA program as needed.  Bear in mind, this is a pro-ABA parent writing this!


Stanley Greenspan, Ph.D. has devised an alternative, child-lead therapy that many parents choose to use either as the primary mode of treatment, or as an addition to a ABA program.  There is much dispute over the scientific validity of floortime vs. a well-run ABA program,  but to receive more information it would be well to contact the local pro-floortime group, The Illinois Interdisciplinary Council on Developing and Learning Disorders.  Call Jane at 708-771-1918 for more information about this group.
The Interdisciplinary Council on Developmental & Learning Disorders
4938 Hampden Lane, Suite 800, Bethesda, Maryland 20814

Michele Ricamato, who has trained with Dr. Greenspan, sets up home programs; contact her in Carol Stream, IL, has had good recommendations on the news list.

The following were listed by the Floortime Foundation

Beth Osten, MS OTR/L: Diane Selinger, Ph.D
Beth Osten & Associates
Discipline: Occupational Therapy, Speech and Language, Physical Therapy, Educational Developmental Therapy, Social Work
Contact: Mindy Aharoni
5225 Old Orchard Rd. Suite 18
Skokie, IL 60076
Phone: 847 663-1020
Geographic area served: Chicago and Northern Suburbs
Services offered:
We offer individual DIR occupational, developmental, physical, and speech and language therapy as well as parent coaching and psychotherapy for both children and parents. We run a variety of weekly group sessions including social groups, sports groups, and Sensory Integration groups. We hae an intensive therapeutic play group (2 hours, 2-3 times per week) with no more than 4 children and staffed by a certified Special Education teacher, a Social Worker, and developmental therapists. We also provide in-home Floortime sessions with trained developmental therapists.

Molly Romer Witten, Ph.D. Angela Gaudschaal, OTR, Elizabeth Morgan, OTR, Sara Shields Cole, CCC SLP
The Play Group
Discipline: , Occupational Therapy, Occupational Therapy, Speech and Language Therapy, Developmental Therapy
Contact: Molly Romer Witten, Ph.D.
55 E Washington Blvd. Suite 3301
Chicago, IL 60602
Geographic area served: Greater Chicago
Services offered:
Psychology, occupational therapy, speech therapy, developmental therapy for children 0-5 yrs. of age

Sherri Cawn, M.A., CCC-SLP
Cawn-Krantz and Associates
Discipline: SLP, OT, DT
Contact: Sherri Cawn
425 Huehl Rd. Suite 14a
Northbrook, IL 60062
Phone: 847 480-8890
Email: sherrislp@cawn-krantz,com
Geographic area served: Northern suburbs of Chicago
Services offered:
We are a multidisciplinary clinic that offers a wide range of services including speech, occupational and developmental therapy. In addition, we offer in-home Floortime therapy as well as parent coaching and child advocacy.

Little City Foundation
Families One Program
Contact: Julie Carey, Program Coordinator
700 N. Sacramento
Chicago, IL 60612
Phone: 773.265.1539


Private Schools

There are many private schools that work with children with autism - the Illinois State Board of Education will mail you a complete list of Approved Eligible Nonpublic Facilities with Allowable Costs if you call Lisa Willhoit at the Illinois State Board of Education:  217-782-5256;  or check out this information on the  Internet at

Giant Steps Illinois, Inc.
Is one of the schools listed in the above report, an innovative new school, with a huge wait list,  for children with autism, currently in its second year of operation.  For more information write for a brochure:

Giant Steps, Inc
825 N. Cass Ave, suite 116
Westmont, IL  60559


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!