TDI for Access’ annual Communication Access Scholarship Program recognizes graduating high school students who are deaf, hard of hearing, late-deafened, and deafblind (DHH). The scholarship program is open to graduating DHH high school seniors anywhere in the United States who plan to attend post-secondary school at either a technical college or university.
The scholarship recognizes students for their passion and capacity to lead and serve as well as their commitment to making a significant impact on accessible communication technologies. The application window is from March to May every year.
Through The Arc@School initiative, The Arc provides training and resources to help families and others navigate the special education system.
Arc@School offers information on the supports, services and rights for students with disabilities. It also includes information on advocating for students with disabilities during the COVID-19 pandemic as well as a nationwide directory of special education advocacy resources.
Arc@School materials are also available in Spanish.
The Autism Program of Illinois (TAP) Service Network is a collaboration of five universities and 10 organizations that together operate 20 centers across the state to provide services to children, families, educators, childcare providers, and medical professionals.
Illinois residents can participate in TAP’s Advocating for Supports to Improve Service Transitions (ASSIST) Training Program. The training features twelve modules focused on helping families advocate for adult services on behalf of their child or young adult on the autism spectrum. Each module features an expert-led presentation and time for discussion.
- Guardianship and alternatives to guardianship
- Medicaid waiver services
- Social Security benefits
- Health insurance
- Special needs trusts
- Post-secondary education and employment
Offers exciting social enrichment and educational programs for people of all ages and with varying levels of ability.
280 Saunders Road
Riverwoods, IL 60015
The Odyssey Project offers free University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign courses in the humanities to income-eligible adults in east-central Illinois. Odyssey students can earn up to eight transferable college credits in an environment designed to support non-traditional students, especially those whose education has been interrupted for whatever reason.
The courses include free textbooks and course materials, access to computers, bus fare to and from class and more.
Visit the Odyssey Project website for more details and program fact sheets in Spanish, French and Simplified Chinese.
The Parent Advocacy app is a free application for families of children who are deaf or hard of hearing attending Individualized Education Program meetings, 504 Plan meetings and more.
The app aims to help you understand your child’s rights and prepare to work with the school in the best interest of your child.
The Penguin Project provides a supportive environment for children with a wide range of disabilities to explore the performing arts. The program encourages children and young adults ages 10 to 24 to discover their creative talents, build self-confidence and make new friends by rehearsing and performing a modified version of a well-known Broadway musical. The young artists work side-by-side with age-level “peer mentors” through four months of rehearsals and the final performance.
The project has several chapters in Illinois. Visit The Penguin Project website for more details.
Think College provides resources, technical assistance and training related to college options for students with intellectual disabilities. It also manages a national listing of college programs for students with intellectual disabilities in the United States.
See the Think College fact sheet in English or Spanish for more details. Think College resources also include:
- Learning modules for families on exploring college options, how to pay for college and more
- The “Student Corner” and Emerging Advocates Student Group
- A searchable list of colleges nationwide and what they offer
- Recursos para Familias (Family resources in Spanish)
The UIC Co-Operative Career Experience Certificate program (Co-Op Program) from the Department of Disability and Human Development is designed to support students with intellectual and developmental disabilities who may not be able to access post-secondary education in traditional ways. Co-Op students take classes alongside other UIC students as they work towards career opportunities in:
- Arts and culture
- Social justice and advocacy
- Health and care across the lifespan
To be eligible for the Co-Op Program, applicants must be:
- A high school graduate
- Age 18 or older
- Have an intellectual and/or developmental disability
Visit the Co-Op Program website for more details.
Urban Autism Solutions (UAS) is a Chicago non-profit organization serving young adults with autism and other learning differences. Their person-centered programming focuses on building life skills, community integration, social interaction, an integrated community life, and social and vocational opportunities. UAS programs include:
- The West Side Transition Academy
- Growing Solutions Farm
- Life Lab
- Network 1212 social meet-ups and outings for young adults