Champaign-Urbana Special Recreation is sponsoring Tiny Tots Playgroup this spring. Ages 0-5 with a parent can get together on Thursdays (9-10:15 a.m.) from March 2 to April 27 at the Spalding Recreation Center. Register by Feb. 23.
If your child has been diagnosed as having a special need or disability, it can be difficult to know where to turn for help. But there are many organizations in the Champaign-Urbana area that offer resources to help guide you along the way.
We’ve included a list of some of the most important resources for young children with special needs in the area. Many of the organizations were recommended by local families who have children with special needs.
Champaign County Down Syndrome Network The Champaign County Down Syndrome Network operates as a not-for-profit organization serving families who have members with Down syndrome in Central Illinois. The DSN offers support to families by providing current information for parents, professionals, and the general public. They also reach out to new parents and try to raise awareness of Down syndrome in the community.
Champaign-Urbana Special Recreation (1311 W. Church St. in Champaign) Champaign-Urbana Special Recreation (CUSR) was formed through a cooperative agreement with the Champaign and Urbana Park Districts to provide recreation programs and leisure services for residents with disabilities. Inclusion and specialized programs are available. For more information, call 217-239-1152.
Child and Family Connections of Central Illinois (103 S. Country Fair Dr. in Champaign) Serving children and their families living in Champaign, Ford, Iroquois, Livingston, McLean and Vermilion counties, CFC is the regional intake agency for children ages birth to 3 to enter the Illinois Early Intervention System. Early Intervention credentialed service coordinators work with families to develop an individualized family service plan and select service providers to meet the individualized needs of the child. For more information, call 217-693-7958.
Community Choices (44 E. Main, Suite 206 in Champaign) Its mission is to partner with people with disabilities in Champaign County in pursuit of independence, opportunity, and choice by offering quality, self-directed supports and services in order to assist in community living. For more information, call 217-621-1090.
CU Able is for families that have children with special needs that was started by four local moms on Facebook to connect families with one another. The closed group has over 400 members who share their challenges, questions and resources to help support one another. For more information, about CU Able contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
CU Autism Network The Champaign-Urbana Autism Network is a special project of the Autism Society of Illinois, providing a network of information sharing and support for anyone living or working with persons on the Autism Spectrum. For more information, call 217-621-8429.
Developmental Services Center (1304 W. Bradley Ave. in Champaign) DSC serves approximately 1,100 children and adults with developmental disabilities, such as epilepsy, cerebral palsy, autism, cognitive disabilities, Down syndrome, or other conditions. Services include case management and family support, an early intervention program, and developmental training. For more information, call 217-356-9176.
Division of Specialized Care (510 Devonshire, Suite A in Champaign) University of Illinois at Chicago’s Division of Specialized Care for Children (DSCC) has assisted thousands of families and children in Illinois with special health care needs connect to services and resources. There is a regional office located in Champaign. The office is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Call 217-333-6528 for more information.
Illinois Early Intervention Clearinghouse (51 Gerty Dr. in Champaign) The EI Clearinghouse is a lending library of videos, books, manuals, and journals related to the development of young children with special needs and their families. The librarians are information specialists who can help find resources for you and your service provider. The Illinois Early Intervention Clearinghouse is operated by the Early Childhood and Parenting (ECAP) Collaborative at the University of Illinois. The EI Clearinghouse is funded by the Illinois Department of Human Services. For more information, call 217-333-1386.
Larkin’s Place (2501 Fields South Dr. in Champaign) The Stephens Family YMCA is specifically designed to support and integrate children and families at all developmental levels, encouraging acceptance, play and growth for everyone. While the philosophy and spirit of Larkin’s Place permeates every aspect of the Y from design to programming, classes designated as “Larkin’s Place Programming” incorporate additional therapeutic, developmental and social goals, actively seeking to bring together typically and atypically developing participants in an effort to cross social barriers and enact positive personal and societal change. Larkin’s Place offers a variety of programs, including music therapy, occupational therapy, social groups, handwriting groups, and play groups. For more information, call 217-359-9622.
TAP (904 W. Nevada Ave. in Urbana) The Autism Program at the University of Illinois was scheduled to close on June 30 but thanks to significant donations, TAP received the funds it needed to keep its door open. TAP is part of a statewide network of resources for Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) in the state of Illinois and is one of five regional training centers. It is a joint program of the Department of Human and Community Development and the Department of Special Education. The Resource Room is housed in the Family Resiliency Center and provides a place where families and professionals can find information or preview materials that might be helpful to them. For more information, call 217-244-1395.
Do you know of another resource in the Champaign-Urbana area we should add to the list? Let us know!