This newsletter the the best way to get updates and information about autism and autism services in the Champaign-Urbana area.

TAP's November 2015 Newsletter
For many families, Thanksgiving marks the beginning of a stressful time of year. Changes in routine, difficult weather, heightened expectations, and social gatherings can make this a hard time.  Hopefully, you'll find a minute to take a moment to yourself, eat some good food, and enjoy extra time together.

Whether or not a child can participate in the mealtime celebration, there are many ways to contribute like through cooking. This is one of our favorite simple recipes.  Adapting instructions with pictures or by putting each step on it's own index card are easy ways to make cooking more accessible.  Cooking is a great time to talk about the social significance of Thanksgiving - that we share food as a way of telling each other that we think about others even when we're not together.

At TAP, we're thankful for all the lives we touch. Whether you're a practitioner looking for resources, a parent needing support, or a child who wants to find a friend, being on this journey with you is a gift!

TAP Funding Crisis Update
The Champaign-Urbana services (including consultations, training, and resources) will stay open at least into May 30, 2016.  We were out reminding people that we're still here at the disAbility Expo in October. We are exploring options that could continue operations locally into the future. If funding for autism programs is included in the budget it will be much easier to bring that money into our community if we do not have to shut our doors.

On a similar note, early intervention funding has been restored albeit after many providers had to stop providing services due to lack of funding. Some budget proposals have tried to reduce funding for early intervention by raising the bar of who can receive services.  We will keep you updated on any changes.

Help policy makers understand the experiences of Illinois families with a child with an autism spectrum disorder! If you are the parent of a child 18 years or younger who was diagnosed with ASD in the state of Illinois and would like to participate in the survey, please use the following link to begin:

Spotlight on Research
We are excited to share cutting edge research with our community so you can better know what is being done to understand autism and better serve individuals and families.

Autism and Girls
Spectrum is an online source for research on autism. They recently did a special report on sex/gender and autism.  Some of the articles include how research largely studies males with autism thus giving autism a male slant, how girls with autism may stop eating to blunt social pain, efforts to understand how autism manifests differently in girls, and genetic factors that may shield girls from autism or cause different brain pathways.

Research Participant Opportunities
At TAP, we are excited to support research from the University of Illinois.  These are the projects that are currently recruiting participants.

Understanding Mealtimes on the Spectrum
This study targets parents of elementary and middle school children with autism and has two parts: (1) we record a family meal in the home and (2) we interview one parent and the child with autism. Families receive a $25 after the dinnertime observation and a $50 after the interviews.  For more information call Sarah Curtiss at 217-300-5994 or go to the registration website.

I-Pics is...
A research project that teaches parents of young children (ages 2- 6) with autism or developmental delays to use naturalistic communication strategies to improve their children's communication skills .
5 online training modules
Receive one-on-one coaching
You receive $100 when you complete the project!
Contact Hedda: 217.333.0260

 Writing Practices Research
A graduate student in the Dept. of English is researching the writing practices of U of I students with an ASD. This project involves conducting interviews with students who self-identify as having an ASD and are interested in sharing their experiences with writing both in and outside of the classroom. Participants must be 18 or older, have an official ASD diagnosis and be a current or recent U of I graduate.
Contact: Pamela Saunders,

Ball State ABA Study
There are 2 Training Projects.  One for children 3 - 10 years of age - and one for children 6 - 12 years of age. Both involve web-based ABA training. For more information, visit us at
Contact: Lorena Giselbach at (765)285-5260 or

Community Calendar

Don't miss a thing!  Activities in the C-U area this month.

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TAP at The University of Illinois will remain open until May 30, 2016!


Mondays, Wednesdays, & Fridays
9 am - 5 pm
Tuesdays & Thursdays
9 am - 6 pm
Saturdays (after Labor Day)
9 am - 12 pm
904 W. Nevada Ave. Urbana
TAP Programs

Make It Take It

Saturday, November 7th
9:00 am - 12:00 pm
The Autism Program

Get stocked up and visual supports and structured teaching materials for your classroom with this fun, hands on workshop.  Space is limited (15 teachers) so make sure to RSVP to Linda Tortorelli at or (217)244.0928

Community Support Groups &
Parent Meetings

C-U Autism Network

Thursday, Nov. 5th
6:30 - 8:00 pm

Stephen's Family YMCA

For more information or to register for child care, please go to their website.

Larkin's Place

Thursday, Nov. 12th
6:30 - 7:30 pm

Stephen's Family YMCA

The Larkin's Place Parent network is a parent to parent meeting.  You can also connect with them through the CU Able Facebook page.

Events, Workshops & Conferences

For Professionals

Youth Mental Health First Aid

Wed. & Thurs., Nov. 3rd & 4th
4:00 - 8:00 pm
Family Information Center (Columbia) Room 33, 1103 N. Neil St., Champaign

This event is sponsored by the special education department of Unit 4 schools. Youth Mental Health First Aid teaches a 5-step action plan to offer initial help to young people showing signs of a mental illness or in a crisis, and connect them with the appropriate professional, peer, social, or self help care. Registration is required by emailing or calling 217-351-3841. If you can not make this day, it is being offered again throughout the academic year.

For Parents

StarNet Moms Retreat Save the Date

Saturday, Dec. 5th & 6th
9:30 am - 11:30 am
Villa Maria Catholic Life Conference and Retreat Center, 1903 E Lake Shore Dr, Springfield, Illinois 62712

Cost: $50
This retreat is designed for moms of children with disabilities. Relax and rejuvenate with other moms who share common experiences raising children with special needs. There will be opportunities to get information, network, relax, enjoy activities, and simply have some peace and quiet on your own. All meals and overnight accommodations included. Deadline to register is Nov. 25th. Contact Mary Smith at or 217-602-0124.
iPad Grants

Applications are Open

Due by Nov. 7th
10:59 pm Central Time

Autism Speaks will award 1,045 iPad Airs to financially disadvantaged individuals with autism. Eligible applications are individuals who:
  • Have been diagnosed with ASD by a licensed professional
  • Reside in the US
  • Have a limited income and cannot afford to purchase an iPad
Applications may be submitted by the person with autism, an immediate family member, a licensed teacher, social worker, or therapist.  You can apply here.
Spotlight on Community Programs
Part of the mission of TAP is to help spread word to the autism community about the resources and programming that is available in the area.  We try to feature at least one program each month.

Parents Night Out
Champaign-Urbana Special Recreation offers Friday night parties for children age 7-13 so parents can have night out. The next one is November 13th from 6:00 - 9:30 pm. The fee is $16 for residents and $24 for non-residents (cheaper than most babysitters we know).

Check out our website for more information about community events. 

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