Special Education Resource Guide



  • Community Resources:

    AID (The Association for Individual Development) is located in Aurora, IL and provides client, adult home, and respite support to individuals with developmental disabilities. Services may also include: assessment of need, support, advocacy and referral to appropriate services, linkage to other community services including entitlements, and assistance to promote independence in the community in the areas of daily living skills, social skills, budgeting, medication management accessing public transportation and scheduling medical appointments. 

    Aunt Martha’s Youth Service Center provides crisis intervention, delinquency prevention and counseling resources for children, youth and families. Crisis intervention services are available 24 hours per day in Joliet and Elgin. 

    Breaking Free provides adult, adolescent and family services for mental health counseling, mainly geared toward substance abuse issues. Prevention services for school and communities, family support services are also available. 

    Celebrate Differences is located in Oswego, IL and is an all-inclusive Disability Awareness Center, for children and their families. They offer services such as informative monthly workshops, sibling shops, resource library, annual summer and holiday party, Next Chapter book club, play groups, as well as Autism and Down syndrome support groups. 

    Centennial Counseling Center is located in Yorkville and provides comprehensive mental health care for individuals, children, couples and families provided by psychologists, clinical professional counselors, marriage and family therapists, and clinical social workers. Confidential counseling services and psychological assessments are provided for a wide range of issues, including: anxiety, depression, trauma, recovery, behavioral disorders, ADD/ADHD, eating disorders, relationship difficulties, anger management, domestic abuse and substance abuse. Spanish speaking counselors are available. Most insurance contracts are accepted. Sliding fee services are also available. 

    The Center for Disability Services provides support and direct services to individuals and families impacted by the challenges of developmental disabilities, in addition to promoting community awareness and advocating for issues pertaining to those with developmental disabilities. CDS programs and serve individuals with severe, multiple disabilities in a seven county area including Will, Kankakee, Grundy, Kendall, LaSalle, Ford, and Iroqouis. 

    Day One Network assists families with children and adults who have developmental delays or disabilities. Their goal is to connect people with the services and support that best meet their needs in Kane County, Kendall County, and Hanover Township of Cook County. 

    Easter Seals Jump Start Parental Training Program is a parenting enrichment program offered in Kendall and Grundy Counties. It is a free program that offers parent education and family support services throughout pregnancy until their child enters kindergarten. Easter Seals also provides services, education, outreach and advocacy for individuals and families of those living with Autism and other disabilities. 

    Kendall Area Transit provides transit service in the Kendall County area that is reliable, flexible, and financially sustainable, while satisfying the various mobility needs of the general public and individuals unable to access or operate a private automobile. 

    Kendall County Food Pantry is charged with the charitable collection & distribution of food, clothing and related necessities to those in need, in crisis and/or in emergency situations.  Including, but not limited to, the collection of donated funds for the acquisition of food, clothing, small household goods, personal products and necessities deemed necessary for personal use while an individual and/or family is in need. 

    Kendall Free Clinic is a free medical clinic open for the uninsured and underserved residents of Kendall Co. The clinic operates as a program of the Kendall County Food Pantry. 

    Kendall County Health Department offers a variety of services including: crisis intervention, family and individual therapy, psychiatric services, substance abuse treatment. The Kendall County Health Department also has the capability to provide individual and group services on site as well as consultative and education support in community settings. 

    Kendall County Suicide Prevention/Crisis Intervention delivers crisis and suicide intervention services designed for comprehensive prevention, intervention, and post-intervention. Services are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, through the emergency crisis line: (630) 553-9100. 

    Kendall County PADS (Public Action to Deliver Shelter) provides temporary, safe shelter and nourishing food to the men, women, and children within Kendall County who are homeless or in need. 

    Mutual Ground assists victims of domestic violence and sexual assault free of charge. Their services include an emergency shelter along tools, support and services victims may need. 

    Open Door Rehabilitation Agency is located in Sandwich, IL and provides services for adults who have such disabilities as cognitive impairments, Down’s syndrome, Cerebral Palsy, and Autism. Programs promote the maximum independence of each individual. Developmental training, residential services, vocational training and supported employment. 

    PT3 is a District #115 Parent-Teacher organization whose mission is to promote excellence in Special Education by empowering family, staff, and students. PT3 meets monthly to support the ongoing communication and teamwork of stakeholders across the district. 

    Recreation Access Illinois provides information on recreation opportunities for people with disabilities of all ages. 

    Valley Education for Employment System (VALEES) is a regional delivery system established by the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) which serves 18 school districts, two area career/vocational centers, one special education cooperative and Waubonsee Community College, covering a five-county area. VALEES also collaborates with College of DuPage, Joliet Junior College, and Kishwaukee College to promote articulated Career and Technical Programs. 

    Yorkville Lions Club provides eye examinations, low vision devices, and glasses for students in need.  Scholarships to summer camps for children are also available on an annual basis

     

    ADHD

    ADD and ADHD Resource Place provides information on both child and adult attention deficit disorder and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Learn the symptoms of ADD and ADHD and how to test for them, and discover the latest natural treatments, pharmaceutical medications as well as current brain science. 

    Attention Deficit Disorder Association provides information, resources and networking opportunities to assist those with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. 

    Children and Adults with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (CHADD) is a national non-profit, tax-exempt organization providing education, advocacy and support for individuals with ADHD. CHADD also publishes a variety of printed materials to keep members and professionals current on research advances, medications and treatments affecting individuals with ADHD.

     

    Autism

    Autism National Committee (AUTCOM)  is the only autism advocacy organization dedicated to “Social Justice for All Citizens with Autism” through a shared vision and a commitment to positive approaches. The organization was founded in 1990 to protect and advance the human rights and civil rights of all persons with autism, pervasive developmental disorder and related differences of communication and behavior. 

    Autism Society states its mission is to improve the lives of all living with autism by focusing on ensuring that all individuals with autism and their families have access to the help they need. 

    Autism Speaks maintains an online Family Services Resource Guide as a service to families as a reference tool. 

    Autism Treatment Center of America provides training programs for parents and professionals caring for children challenged by autism, autism spectrum disorders, pervasive developmental disorder (PDD) and other developmental difficulties. 

    TEACCH Autism Program is a University-based system of community regional centers that offers a set of core services along with unique demonstration programs meeting the clinical, training and research needs of individuals with ASD, their families and professionals across the state of North Carolina. TEACCH conducts training nationally and internationally and provides consultation for teachers, residential care providers and other professionals from a variety of disciplines.

     

    Blindness

    The American Council for the Blind strives to increase the independence, security, equality of opportunity, and quality of life, for all blind and visually-impaired people. 

    Family Connect is designed for parents of children with visual impairments, and brought to you by American Foundation for the Blind and National Association for Parents of Children with Visual Impairments. On Family Connect you’ll find videos, personal stories, events, news and an online community that can offer tips and support from other parents of children who are blind or visually impaired.

     The National Association for Parents of Children with Visual Impairments (NAPVI) is a non-profit organization of, by and for parents committed to providing support to the parents of children who have visual impairments. NAPVI is a national organization that enables parents to find information and resources for their children who are blind or visually impaired, including those with additional disabilities. 

    National Federation of the Blind (NFB) improves blind people’s lives through advocacy, education, research, technology and programs encouraging independence and self-confidence. It is the leading force in the blindness field today and the voice of the nation’s blind. 

    National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (NLS) administers a free library program of braille and audio materials circulated to eligible borrowers in the United States by postage-free mail. 

    Center for Parent Information and Resources provides a comprehensive overview of the types of visual impairments as well as how this disability can impact children in the classroom. 

    The Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired is a leading producer of resources for parents of children with visual impairments and blindness and the professionals who serve them, from birth through transition from school. The school itself serves students age 6-21through short term programs or a residential setting and also provides  outreach and technical assistance.

     

    Developmental Disabilities

    ARC is the largest national community-based organization advocating for and serving people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families. We encompass all ages and all spectrums from autism, Down syndrome, Fragile X and various other developmental disabilities.
     

    Down Syndrome

    National Down Syndrome Society is a national advocate for the value, acceptance and inclusion of people with Down syndrome.

     

    General Special Education Resources

    3 E Love (Embrace Educate Empower) is an online store that was started by siblings Annie & Stevie Hopkins in 2007 with the intent of promoting their unique symbol and social model of disability. The company's trademarked International Symbol of Acceptance (wheelchair heart logo) is the drive behind its social mission to provide the tools for others to embrace diversity, educate society about disabilities, and empower each other to love life. 

    Cincinnati Children’s offers a special need resource directory for parents of children with special needs. Browse local, regional, and national websites for support and information. 

    E-Ready Special Education Information for Parents provides parents, as well as teachers, of children with disabilities with information on specific disabilities, a glossary of special education terms, and links to helpful resources. 

    Parents Helping Parents (PHP) strives to improve the quality of life for any child with any special need of any age, through educating, supporting and training their primary caregivers. 

    Special Education News is a newspaper that provides information on issues related to special education. 

    TASH is an international leader in disability advocacy for human rights and inclusion for people with significant disabilities and support needs. TASH works to advance inclusive communities through advocacy, research, professional development, policy and information and resources for parents, families and self-advocates. 

    The University of Illinois at Chicago is home to Specialized Care for Children, a network of professionals that work with Illinois families and communities to help connect children with special needs to services and resources. 

    U.S. Department of Education provides a list of resources pertaining to the needs of children with disabilities.

     

    Hearing Impairments

    The Alexander Graham Bell Association for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (AG Bell) helps families, health care providers and education professionals understand childhood hearing loss and the importance of early diagnosis and intervention. Through advocacy, education, research and financial aid, AG Bell helps to ensure that every child and adult with hearing loss has the opportunity to listen, talk and thrive in mainstream society. 

    American Sign Language University is resource site for ASL students and teachers with information and resources to learn and/or  improve ASL signing.   

    American Society for Deaf Children (ASDC) supports and educates families of deaf and hard-of-hearing children and advocates for high-quality programs and services. We believe that these children are entitled to full communication access in their home school and community; there should be access to identification and intervention by qualified providers, family involvement and educational opportunities equal to those provided for hearing children. 

    National Association of the Deaf (NAD) is actively involved in providing information about opportunities available for educating deaf and hard of hearing children, challenges that deaf and hard of hearing people encounter with high-stakes testing and the legal obligations of public and private schools, post-secondary programs, colleges and universities. 

    The National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD) is one of the Institutes that comprise the National Institutes of Health (NIH). NIH’s mission is to uncover new knowledge that will lead to better health for everyone. Simply described, the goal of NIH research is to acquire new knowledge to help prevent, detect, diagnose and treat disease and disability.

     

    IEP Resources

    Educational Rights and Responsibilities: Understanding Special Education in Illinois (English) 

    Educational Rights and Responsibilities: Understanding Special Education in Illinois (Spanish)

    Illinois Legal Aid provides free information to support parents and students with disabilities in the State of Illinois. The website outlines key concepts in special education, meeting purposes and procedures, as well as common areas of concern to parents/guardians. 

    Wright’s Law provides practical and legal guidance for parents about laws and regulations as well as what should be in their child’s IEP.

     

    Learning Disabilities

    International Dyslexia Association (IDA) pursues and provides the most comprehensive range of information and services that address the full scope of dyslexia and related difficulties in learning to read and write. 

    LD OnLine.org is the world’s leading website on learning disabilities and ADHD, serving more than 200,000 parents, teachers and other professionals each month. 

    Learning Disabilities Association of America (LDA) provides support to people with learning disabilities, their parents, teachers and other professionals. Today, the LDA is the largest non-profit volunteer organization advocating for individuals with disabilities, and provides cutting-edge information on learning disabilities, practical solutions and a comprehensive network of resources. 

    National Center for Learning Disabilities (NCLD) is committed to ensuring that all students with learning disabilities graduate from high school with a standard diploma—prepared for college and the workplace. 

    Resource Room provides tools, strategies and structured explorations for interesting learners, including lessons, ideas, articles and links for multisensory learning for people of all ages. The site also offers resources for people who learn differently, or have learning difficulties or learning disabilities such as dyslexia, dysgraphia or dyscalculia.

     

    Mental Health

    American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP) developed Facts for Families to provide concise and up-to-date information on psychiatric issues that affect children, teenagers and their families. The AACAP provides this important information as a public service. 

    Aunt Martha’s Youth Service Center provides crisis intervention, delinquency prevention and counseling resources for children, youth and families. Crisis intervention services are available 24 hours per day in Joliet and Elgin. 

    Behavioral Health Services of Provena Mercy Medical Center provides comprehensive behavioral health hospital providing inpatient, partial hospitalization and intensive outpatient mental health and substance abuse treatment programs for children, adolescents, adults. Free mental health assessments available 24/7. 

    Breaking Free provides adult, adolescent and family services for mental health counseling, mainly geared toward substance abuse issues. Prevention services for school and communities, family support services are also available. 

    Centennial Counseling Center is located in Yorkville and provides comprehensive mental health care for individuals, children, couples and families provided by psychologists, clinical professional counselors, marriage and family therapists, and clinical social workers. Confidential counseling services and psychological assessments are provided for a wide range of issues, including: anxiety, depression, trauma, recovery, behavioral disorders, ADD/ADHD, eating disorders, relationship difficulties, anger management, domestic abuse and substance abuse. Spanish speaking counselors are available. Most insurance contracts are accepted. Sliding fee services are also available. 

    Kendall County Health Department offers a variety of services including: crisis intervention, family and individual therapy, psychiatric services, substance abuse treatment. The Kendall County Health Department also has the capability to provide individual and group services on site as well as consultative and education support in community settings.

     Kendall County Suicide Prevention/Crisis Intervention delivers crisis and suicide intervention services designed for comprehensive prevention, intervention, and post-intervention. Services are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, through the emergency crisis line: (630) 553-9100. 

    The National Federation of Families for Children’s Mental Health is a national family-run organization linking more than 120 chapters and state organizations focused on the issues of children and youth with emotional, behavioral or mental health needs and their families. 

    StopBullying.gov provides information from various government agencies on what bullying is, what cyberbullying is, who is at risk and how you can prevent and respond to bullying.

     

    Physical Disabilities

    Cerebral Palsy online is a resource for information, support and unlimited inspiration to all those touched by Cerebral Palsy, and other neurological conditions. 

    Cerebral Palsy Guide provides information about how to obtain resources such as financial, medical and legal support. 

    My Child Without Limits provides resources for families of children with physical disabilities. 

    National Spinal Cord Injury Association’s (NSCIA) mission is to improve the quality of life of all people living with spinal cord injuries and disorders. They provide active-lifestyle information, peer support and advocacy that empower individuals to achieve their highest potential in all facets of life.

     

    Post-secondary/Vocational Resources

    DHS's Division of Rehabilitation Services is the state's lead agency serving individuals with disabilities. DRS works in partnership with people with disabilities and their families to assist them in making informed choices to achieve full community participation through employment, education, and independent living opportunities. 

    Open Door Rehabilitation Agency is located in Sandwich, IL and provides services for adults who have such disabilities as cognitive impairments, Down’s syndrome, Cerebral Palsy, and Autism. Programs promote the maximum independence of each individual. Developmental training, residential services, vocational training and supported employment. 

    Prioritization of Urgency of Need for Services (PUNS) Registering 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. The State of Illinois does have a system for providing funding through the Department of Human Services.  The first step toward getting services in Illinois is filling out the PUNS survey.   In order to be eligible for PUNS funding you must register your child as a person in need of support and update it annually.  Registration is a two-step process where paperwork is completed and a face-to-face meeting with an Independent Service Coordination Agent is held.  These meetings can be arranged through Day One Network in Geneva, IL.  They can be contacted at 630-879-2277. 

    Team of Advocates for Special Kids (TASK) is a nonprofit charitable organization whose mission is to enable individuals with disabilities to reach their maximum potential. 

    Valley Education for Employment System (VALEES) is a regional delivery system established by the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) which serves 18 school districts, two area career/vocational centers, one special education cooperative and Waubonsee Community College, covering a five-county area. VALEES also collaborates with College of DuPage, Joliet Junior College, and Kishwaukee College to promote articulated Career and Technical Programs. 

    Waubonsee Community Collegeoffers academic support for students with disabilities. The Student Support Services program offers tutoring, college visits, workshops and cultural field trips to first-generation college students, low-income students and/or students with disabilities. Students with disabilities are also encouraged to work with the Access Center for Disability Resources to secure accommodations, technology or other support. 

    We Grow Dreams Greenhouse and Garden Center, located in West Chicago, provides people with disabilities the opportunity to lead fulfilling lives and to train and work in a supportive, safe and caring environment while producing and providing products and services to the community.

     

    Recreation

    Federation for Children with Special Needs provides information, support and assistance to parents of children with disabilities, their professional partners and their communities. We are committed to listening to and learning from families, and encouraging full participation in community life by all people, especially those with disabilities. 

    Fox Valley Special Recreation Association (FVSRA) was formed in 1976 and is an extension of the Batavia, Fox Valley, Geneva, Oswegoland, St. Charles, Sugar Grove Park Districts, and South Elgin Parks and Recreation Department to provide a diverse range of year round recreational activities to enable residents with disabilities to experience active, healthy and playful lifestyles. Programs are designed to include opportunities that will enhance skill development and socialization, encourage self-awareness and community exploration, promote independence through personal choice of least restrictive environments, and provide a sense of enjoyment, satisfaction and fulfillment. 

    Gigi’s Playhouse serves children and adults of all ages in the Fox Valley area. Playhouses offer 30 educational and therapeutic programs at no charge to families. All programs aim to maximize self-confidence and empower individuals to achieve their greatest potential. 

    Horse Power Therapeutic Riding in Elburn, IL provides creative, inspiring, and challenging therapeutic horseback riding lessons to children and adults with disabilities. Individualized lesson programs include intake and assessment sessions, groom  and tack, groundwork, and  horseback riding instruction.  

    Sky High Sports offers special needs jump time on the first Tuesday of every month. Sky High Sports turns off the music, dims the lights and dials down the distractions for the comfort of our guests.

     

    Traumatic Brain Injury

    Epilepsy Foundation’s mission is to stop seizures and SUDEP (Sudden Unexpected Death in Epilepsy), find a cure and overcome the challenges created by epilepsy through efforts including education, advocacy and research to accelerate ideas into therapies. 

    Traumatic Brain Injury website serves to educate and empower caregivers and survivors of traumatic brain injuries. This site aims to ease the transition from shock and despair at the time of a brain injury to coping and problem solving.