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

TAP's December 2015 Newsletter
Happy Holidays from TAP
We hope you all have a wonderful holiday season filled with warmth, light, and happiness. We are happy to support you throughout the holiday season with any resources you may need. You can download a pdf version of this social story and learn more about our resources on our website.

Happenings at TAP
In three hours we made over 100 visual supports at our make-it take-it event.  Big thank you to our interns, Anne Hall and Dr. DeThorne's students for making it a success.  Also, we had fun talking to the Alpha Pi Sigma Sorority about autism.  We are very grateful for their donation to TAP. We are so lucky to be on the University of Illinois campus and engage a new generation of young (soon to be) professionals and introduce them to the world of autism. Whether they become speech and language pathologists, business leaders, teachers, child life specialists, doctors, or engineers, we want them to see autism in their futures. 

Spotlight on Community Resources
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.

This winter break will be here before we know it.  Do you need additional childcare? CUSR is offering a winter break camp for 7 year olds through high school graduates.  The cost is $114 for residents and $171 for non-residents. The camp is held from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm December 21-23 and 28-30 at Spalding Recreation center.  Activities include playing games, cooking, creative projects, and a field trip.  You can register here.

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.

Advancing the Social-communication and Play of Children with Developmental Disabilities:  Why Assessment Matters
This last month, the Special Education Department at the University of Illinois hosted a Goldstick Family Lecture featuring Dr. Brian A. Boyd.  Dr. Boyd's research highlights how many social skill programs fail to target the specific impairments of individuals and the unique contexts in which they live. In order for the needs of children to be met, it is important to assess their social behavior, understand the function, and tailor interventions around this analysis.  

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,

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!


December 1 - 10
Mon, Wed, & Fri 9 am - 5 pm
Tues & Thurs 9 am - 6 pm
Sat 9 am - 12 pm
December 10 - 18
Mon - Fri 10 am - 3pm
Closed 12/21/15- 1/3/16
January 4 - January 18

Mon - Fri  10 am - 3 pm
Regular Hours begin 1/9/16
904 W. Nevada Ave. Urbana

Community Support Groups &
Parent Meetings

C-U Autism Network

Thursday, December 3rd
6:30 - 8:00 pm

Stephen's Family YMCA
Topic: Social Thinking

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

CU Able: The Larkin's Place Parent Network

Thursday, December 10th
6:30pm - 7:30 pm
Stephen's Family YMCA

The Larkin's Place Parent network is a parent to parent meeting.  Childcare is provided by the YMCA child watch at no charge. You can also connect with them through the CU Able Facebook page.

Events, Workshops & Conferences

For Parents

StarNet Moms Retreat Save the Date

Saturday, December 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. Contact Mary Smith at or 217-602-0124.

For Parents & Professionals

Safety & Autism: Helping Caregivers and Providers talk about Sexual Abuse and Prevention

Monday, December 7th
12:00 pm - 1:30 pm
Free Webinar

This webinar will cover the basics of sexual abuse, strategies to keep children safe, and ways to make conversations about sex and safety easier for children with disabilities.  Register here.


FREE Special Education Webinar Series:
From Newbie to Ninja
Join Family Matters for one or all and increase your special education skills:

December 3, 2015 Evaluations and Components of an IEP
Learn about the evaluation process, eligibility categories and what an IEP document contains.
To Register:…/6083802715990861057

 January 7, 2016  
S.M.A.R.T. IEP Goals
Discover how to write meaningful goals that are specific; measurable; use action words; realistic and relevant; and time specific.
To Register:…/1320331316373155585

For Families

Sensory Santa- Danville

Saturday, December 5th
11:00 am - 4:00 pm

Immanuel Lutheran Church
1930 N. Bowman Ave.

This free event is for children on the autism spectrum and children with sensory processing disorders who cannot see a regular mall Santa. Santa will see children on an appointment only basis, and a professional photographer will be on hand to capture the moment-free! Call 217-840-5627 or email to schedule an appointment.

DSO Holiday Party Open House

Saturday, December 12th
1:00 pm - 3:30 pm
Leonhard Recreation Center
2307 W. Sangamon Dr., Champaign

This party is for children with a disability and their family. They have a number of fun-filled activities, games, and make-it/take-it crafts planned for the children. Please allow one hour to complete activities and see Santa! Children must be registered in order to receive a gift from Santa.   Register here.
Save the Date

Transition Planning Committee

Friday, February 16th
6:30 pm - 8:30 pm
Champaign Public Library
200 W. Green St., Champaign

Learn about the key elements of transition, including a transition timeline, and how to put together a good transition plan.  Hear about what happens at “age of majority,” and learn how you can work with the school and other organizations to support the student’s transition to adult life. Contact Jim Mayer at 217-892-8877 with questions.

Check out our website for more information about community events. 

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