The maze of services, supports, and therapies for children with special needs can be challenging, but Champaign-Urbana has a multitude of options
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’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.
Thanks to Stephens Family YMCA with Larkin’s Place for presenting this information.
Larkin’s Place is not really a “place” but a philosophy of inclusion embedded within the Stepehns Family YMCA. The Y was built with a universal design, to be a place where all could find meaningful and accessible recreational experiences. Larkin’s Place at the Y offers inclusive camps, individualized programming, and therapy services. It has highly trained and supportive staff, to help meet all of your family’s needs. Learn more by visiting Larkin’s Place at www.sf-ymca.net, Facebook, or by phone at (217) 239-2849.
Supports are listed in alphabetical order:
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. It also helps 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 the website.
Behavioral Perspective, Inc. Apple Academy (4112 Fieldstone Road, Suite B, Champaign) offers an intensive ABA program for learners ages 2-7. It offers in-home, in-clinic, and in-school services and supports as well as speech and occupational therapy. For more information, call (888) 308-3728 or visit Facebook, and Instagram.
Carle Therapy Services: Carle provides numerous therapy and rehabilitative services and supports such as speech therapy, occupational therapy, and physical therapy. Outpatient services are provided at various Carle locations around Champaign-Urbana and the surrounding communities.
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.
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. It also reaches out to new parents to raise awareness of Down syndrome in the community.
Champaign County Home Visiting Consortium: The Home Visiting Consortium is a group of eight home visiting programs that work together to serve expectant families and children birth to 3 in Champaign County in a home visiting option. A few of the home visiting programs can also serve children up to age 5. The home visiting programs partner with families to provide support and help nurture the parent/child relationship. They also provide developmental screenings and connect families to Early Intervention services if a delay is suspected. Home visitors also assist families with community resources including connecting families to pre-k programming. If parents/caregivers are interested in enrolling in a home visiting program, call any of the numbers listed below to get connected to a home visiting program to best fit each family’s unique needs.
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.
Champaign-Urbana Mass Transit District (MTD) ADA Paratransit Services: This service provides rides for passengers with disabilities. It exists to make sure that all community members have access to the same level of service that they would on traditional buses from MTD. There is an application process involved for this service, and passengers are required to call and schedule a trip at least a day in advance. For more information, call (217) 384.8188.
Champaign-Urbana Special Recreation (1311 W. Church St., Champaign): 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) 819-3980.
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 needs of the child. For more information, call (800) 877-1152.
Community Choices (44 E. Main St., Suite 210, 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 and 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
CU Autism Network: The Champaign-Urbana Autism Network is a local non-profit agency. Its mission is to support persons on the autism spectrum, their families, caregivers, educators, other professionals, and the public by providing opportunities for support and networking, education, training, and advocacy, along with promoting awareness and acceptance. For more information, visit the website or Facebook.
DASH Pass through Champaign Mass Transit District (MTD): Used for transportation, 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.
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.
Excel Prep Schools: Excel Prep is an educational private day school for students who are neurodiverse. They provide two programs, a specialized instructional program for learners grades K-3 and an academic ABA program for students ages 5-11. Excel Prep is committed to the education and social success of children who learn differently.
Illinois Assistive Technology Program (701 North Walnut Street., 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.
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 Clearinghouse is operated by the Early Childhood and Parenting (ECAP) Collaborative at the University of Illinois and 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. Friday Night Fun groups are available for young teens and older. These feature recreational opportunities for members and non-members. For more information, call (217) 359-9622.
Learn Play Live Occupational Therapy: Learn Play Live Occupational Therapy provides services for toddler through school-aged children. Telehealth and direct occupational therapy services are available.
LIFE Clinic (Learning Information For Everyday),1309 N. Mattis Ave., Champaign: Operated by students in Parkland College’s Occupational Therapy Assistant Program, its mission is to maximize independence and quality of life for people with chronic conditions or disabilities. It offers strategies to maximize health and wellness, information on how to live with chronic health problems, education and consultation on chronic disease and strategies or adaptive equipment to enhance participation in daily tasks, strategies to return to former daily living activities (grooming, dressing, cooking, home care, back to work, community participation), and an extension of previous OT services after discharge to manage or improve function. All services are FREE to its clients, and carried out by both graduating OTA Students and OTA Faculty.
Lighthouse Autism Center, (2301 W. Bradley Ave., Champaign): Known for clinical and operational excellence, Lighthouse Autism Center is now offering center-based ABA therapy in Champaign. With an innovative clinical model called Lighthouse Fusion, therapy at Lighthouse combines the sciences of ABA therapy and speech therapy into one transformative treatment for children with autism. Lighthouse Autism Center in Champaign is now enrolling. Call (217) 295-2491 to learn more.
Prairie Wind Speech Therapy (1803 Woodfield Dr., Suite C, Savoy): Offering speech language services; free consultation before beginning therapy services. For more information, call (217) 355-5905 or email.
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 Vermilion counties. Call (217) 355-1750.
TAP (The Autism Program) (904 W. Nevada Ave., Urbana): 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. TAP provides training, support, and visuals/communication strategies for children on the autism spectrum and their families. For more information, call (217) 244-1395.
The Nest Postpartum is a nonprofit organization providing take-home meals, transportation, lodging, and other local resources for families facing a NICU stay at Carle Foundation Hospital. Its goal is to help change the narrative about the NICU experience — from a story that’s too often about struggle and isolation to one that focuses on community and support. Find out more information on Facebook or Instagram.
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. The goal of programming is to increase communication skills, social skills, independent living skills and reduce challenging behaviors that interfere with learning. For more information, call (224) 436-0788.
The Reading Group, 3011A Village Office Place, Suite A, Champaign: The Reading Group offers support for individuals with dyslexia or other learning challenges. It also offers gifted learning classes for students who may have challenges in math, science, reading or writing. All courses are taught by certified instructors with an additional 10 hours of training in Orton-Gillingham dyslexia training. Parents may call (217) 351-9144 to register for the courses but will need to complete an intake process prior to any sessions. Email email@example.com for details related to cost, procedures and classes.
Tom Jones Challenger League is an organization that provides children with disabilities the opportunity to play baseball. All games and practices are held at Ambucs Park in Urbana featuring a handicap accessible park and ball diamond. Volunteers and buddies are present on the field to allow parents to spectate and enjoy the experience of their child participating on a sporting team. For more information, email or call (217) 239-1152.
Total Spectrum (517 W. Town Center Blvd., Champaign) offers ABA therapy at its Champaign location. Programs are developed to help children learn to communicate and develop friendships. For more information, call
UIC Specialized Care for Children (510 Devonshire Dr., 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 in Champaign, open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Call (800) 322-3722 for more information.
University of Illinois Autism Clinic (505 E. Green St., 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 or to schedule a phone screening, call (217) 333-6773 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
Did we miss your facility or organization? Email us here so that we can provide a comprehensive listing of resources available to parents of children with special needs in our community.