If your child has been diagnosed with special needs or has a developmental 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 are fortunate to have so many support systems in place in our community.
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 and professionals that work with individuals with differing diagnoses. The resources in no particular order are listed below:
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., 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 (201 W. Springfield Ave., 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 (800) 877-1152.
Community Choices (44 E. Main St., Suite 419, 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 more than 400 members who share their challenges, questions and resources to help support one another. For more information, contact email@example.com.
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., 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 for Children (510 Devonshire, Suite A, 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., 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., 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, social groups, handwriting groups, and play groups. For more information, call 217-359-9622.
TAP (904 W. Nevada Ave., 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.
Ambucs is an organization of local community members dedicated to helping individuals with disabilities enhance their mobility. With the referral of a therapist, Ambucs assists children and adults with disabilities to be fitted with an AmTryke, which is a therapeutic tricycle designed to help achieve optimal positioning, mobility, and independence. They also help to build ramps for family members requiring support for their home and help maintain Ambucs Park in East Urbana. It features a wheelchair accessible playground. For more information, visit www.thegccambucs.org.
Tom Jones Challenger League is an organization that allows children with disabilities the opportunity to play baseball. All games and practices are held at Ambucs Park in East Urbana featuring a handicap accessible park and ball diamond. Volunteers and buddies are present on the field to allow for parents to spectate and enjoy the experience of their child participating on a sporting team. For more information, email or call (217) 239-1152.
The Place for Children with Autism (301 S. Vine St, Unit 10, Urbana) offers ABA (applied behavioral analysis) therapy in a preschool-like setting for children ages 2-6. For more information, call (224)-436-0788.
Special Olympics (902 N Country Fair Dr #7, Champaign) provides specialized recreation and fitness activities for individuals with disabilities in Kankakee, Iroquois, Ford, Piatt, Champaign, and Vermillion counties. Call 217 355-1750.
CASE (Central Affiliation for Special Education) Audiology (809 N. Neil St., Champaign): Provides hearing evaluations for children from birth through high school graduation for families in Champaign and Ford counties. There is no direct charge to families for this service. For more information, call 217-355-1214.
University of Illinois Speech-Language Pathology Clinic (2001 S. Oak St. Suite B, Champaign): Individual and group therapy for children and adults conducted by graduate students and overseen by certified speech language pathologists. For more information, call 217-333-2205.
University of Illinois Autism Clinic (505 E. Green Street, Champaign): Housed within the University of Illinois Department of Psychology Psychological Services Center, it is an autism clinic headed up by Amy Cohen focusing on diagnosing and treating autism and other developmental disabilities. For more information, call 217-333-0041 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Champaign County Metcad 9-1-1: This service allows for parents and caregivers to provide first responders with important information regarding family members or loved ones with special needs. Telecommunicators have access to special information to provide to first responders en route to a medical emergency. Information must be updated annually!
Transportation: DASH Pass through Champaign Mass Transit District (MTD) — The DASH Card is issued at no cost and provides unlimited access to a fixed route service for individuals with disabilities qualifying for the service. Applications for DASH passes must be presented at the Illinois Terminal building and must include certification from a MTD authorized agency.
Illinois Assistive Technology Program (1020 South Spring St., Springfield): Not for profit organization that helps access assistive technology devices for trial, loan, etc. Assistance is available for financing for assistive technology and also for buying and selling equipment. For more information call 217- 522-7985 or email.
Prairie Wind Speech Therapy (1803 Woodfield Dr., Suite C, Savoy): Offering speech language therapy services; free consultation before beginning therapy services. For more information, call 217- 355-5905, or email.