This newsletter the the best way to get updates and information about autism and autism services in the Champaign-Urbana area.
View this email in your browser

The Autism Program's September Newsletter

Our friends just call us TAP.  We focus on facilitating collaborations between agencies, schools, and individuals that enhance the community’s capacity and quality of services for individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) and their families.  Find more information about TAP on our website or follow us:
There's an App for that

Using IPADs as a Voice Output Device

There are so many apps to support children with communication it can be overwhelming. There are lots of lists trying to sort out which are best, but often there is even a bigger question that needs to be answered.  The question is "How does that app fit into your child's larger communication picture?" Does your child push buttons to try to understand the cause and effect or do they touch a picture to try to get something they want? How do you increase not only the number of vocabulary words, but also the complexity of expressions?

Whether you are just starting the Augmentative and Alternative Communication journey or you are a seasoned veteran who wants more skills and support PrAACtical AAC is a great website for you (and they're on Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, and Twitter too).

Also if you want to check out what a Voice Output App can do, here's one we like called Avaz.   
New at TAP!

Getting Back in the Swing of Things

Back to school means the resource room is in full swing and thank goodness we have new and returning interns who can answer questions, make visual supports, and so much more. Because of UIUC student interns and community support, we are able to continue fulfilling our mission.  This fall we are expanding our resource room hours and providing two programs.       

Fall Hours (starting after Labor Day)
Mondays 9:00 am - 6:00 pm 
Tuesdays 9:00 am - 5:30 pm 
Wednesdays 9:00 am - 5:00 pm 
Thursdays 9:00 am - 6:00 pm 
Fridays 9:00 am - 5:00 pm 
Saturdays 9:00 am - 12:00 pm

PEERS ® Social Skills Group
We are excited to offer PEERS ® (Program for Education and Enrichment of Relational Skills), an 8 week evidenced-based social skills intervention for teens ages 12-17 who are interested in learning ways to help them make and keep friends. Parents attend separate sessions at the same time as their teens where they are taught how to assist their teens in making and keeping friends by helping to expand their social network. The group will run again in the Spring and we hope that families can commit to both semesters.

Sibling Group
There will be a concurrent Sibling Group for children who have a brother or sister with ASD. This is an evidence-based group that focuses on learning about what ASD is (and isn’t), coping with common stressors, and teaching strategies to improve sibling relationships in a fun and engaging atmosphere. Siblings may have a brother or sister enrolled in PEERS, though this is not a requirement for sibling participation.

Call now! Enrollment is limited. Groups will begin in late September.
For more information, please contact:
Linda Tortorelli : 217.244.0928 or Joan Storey Gorsuch:
Community Calendar: Don't Miss a Thing! Activities in the C-U Area this Month

Social Thinking Groups

Starts September 13th, Champaign
Social Champaign has Social Thinking ®Groups available from first grade to adulthood for individuals with Asperger’s, HFA, Nonverbal Learning Disability, ADHD, PDD-NOS, or any Social Learning Challenge. Please email for information or an assessment and placement in a group at:

CUSR Play Group

Starts September 15th (Register by 9/8), Champaign
For ages 0 -5 with a parent. The first ever CUSR playgroup will meet on Thursdays from 10:00 - 11:15 until November 17th. Find out more about this program as well as other CUSR programs on their website.

PCP Facilitator Training

September 19th - 21st, Mahomet 
Learn the basics of person-centered planning in this intensive, active, three-day experience. Lunch is provided, as well as a kit containing all the materials you’ll need as a facilitator. Learn more here.

HCBS-ACT Training

September 28th 6:00 - 8:00 PM, Urbana
This HCBS-ACT Training will educate people receiving supports, their families and others about the HCBS Settings Rule, including what it is and the effect it will have on quality of life, choices, housing, community involvement and human services. Register here.

EIU Autism Conference

September 30th (Register by 9/26) 9:00 - 3:30, Charleston
Keynote speaker is Carol Kranowitz, writer of The Out-of-Sync Child.  Please see this flyer for more information. 
Save the Date

October 6th

The Arc of Illinois Living with Autism Conference
Featured speaker: Steve Silberman, author of Neurotribes.  Find more information here

October 25th

Champaign-Urbana Autism Network Fall Conference 
Featured speaker: Temple Grandin, self-advocate and author.  Find more information here

The ARC of Illinois has stipends available for individuals with disabilities and their families to attend conferences of their choice.  
Research Participants Needed

Seeking 3 - 8 Year Olds with Social Challenges. 

Does your child have challenges with social interactions? Looking for children age 3 - 8 with autism (or suspected autism) for a research project. Participating children will receive a free assessment from certified professionals in psychology and speech-language pathology and have a chance (1:20) to win a IPAD complete with speech-generating software. If interested contact Laura DeThorne at or 217-244-2556. Find more research participant opportunities on our website.
Great Link is a website to support parents and educators who have/work with children with learning and attention issues. You can sign up for weekly tips with themes such as "Get Organized" and "Focus on Feelings."  We think you'll be glad you checked out this link!

For more of our favorite web resources, please see our website.

Interesting Webinar

Sex Differences in Autism

We're so glad this topic is starting to get the attention it deserves!  On September 14th at 12:00 PM Central Time there is a free 50 minute webinar. Kevin Pelphrey, PhD, director of the Autism and Neurodevelopmental Disorders Institute at George Washington University, will discuss, "Listening to our Daughters (and their Sisters): Insights from the Study of Girls and Women Living with Autism." He was founding director of the Yale Center for Translational Developmental Neuroscience. He also has a daughter with autism.  To attend go to, enter 2979382 in the "Join a Meeting for PARTICIPANTS" box, and click the JOIN button. You may listen and watch on your computer. No prior registration is required.       
Area Support Groups

Which one is for you?

C-U Autism Network - September 1st at 6:30
This meeting will feature Amy Cohen, the Director of the new University of Illinois Autism Clinic. She will share information about supporting siblings of kiddos with autism. This group meets at the YMCA and childcare is available. For more information see their website or Facebook page

CU Able - September 8th at 6:30 PM
This group is intended for parents of children with disabilities and meets at the YMCA. Child care is available. For more information contact their Facebook group.

Adults on the Spectrum - September 10th at 12 pm
This group is intended for adults who identify as having high functioning autism or being high functioning autistic and will meet in the lobby outside TAP.  For more information contact their Facebook page.