Autism Schools in Illinois Offer Specialized Support

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a developmental condition that affects communication and behavior. The growing number of ASD diagnoses has increased the demand for tailored educational programs. Autism schools provide specialized services to meet the needs of students on the spectrum.

The Benefits of an Autism School Environment

Autism schools create an adapted setting that caters to the unique requirements of students with ASD. Some of the advantages of autism schools include:

  • Smaller class sizes
  • Individualized curriculum
  • Onsite occupational, speech, and ABA therapy
  • Specially trained teachers and staff
  • Social skills and life skills development
  • Vocational and transition programs
  • Sensory accommodations
  • Family education and support

Top Autism Schools in Illinois

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When it comes to finding the proper education for children on the autism spectrum, Illinois offers a variety of excellent schools with dedicated programs and resources. These schools are designed to cater to the unique needs of students with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and provide comprehensive support and specialized instruction.

One notable school in Illinois is the Sonia Shankman Orthogenic School (SSOS), located in Chicago. SSOS is renowned for its exceptional ASD program, offering a personalized approach to education that focuses on individual strengths and needs. They provide a well-rounded curriculum, therapeutic interventions, and social-emotional support to ensure the holistic development of each student.

Another notable institution in Illinois is The Cove School in Northbrook. With a strong emphasis on building social skills, communication, and independence, The Cove School offers a comprehensive program specially designed for students with autism. They provide an inclusive and supportive learning environment where students thrive academically, socially, and emotionally.

Additionally, the Hope Institute Learning Academy in Springfield is widely recognized for its exemplary services to students with autism. Their ASD program combines evidence-based practices with individualized instruction to address each student’s unique learning styles and challenges. They offer therapeutic interventions, vocational training, and community integration to prepare students for successful transitions beyond high school.

By attending these schools, students with autism in Illinois have access to specialized support from highly qualified professionals, including special education teachers, speech-language pathologists, occupational therapists, and behavior analysts. These professionals collaborate to create individualized education plans and provide ongoing evaluation and support to maximize each student’s potential.

It’s worth noting that several other commendable schools across Illinois offer exceptional ASD programs, each with its unique approach and strengths. Parents and guardians of children with autism can explore these options to find the best fit for their child’s educational needs.

Remember, choosing the right school for a child with autism is a significant decision that should be based on careful consideration of the child’s strengths, challenges, and individual requirements. It’s recommended to visit these schools, meet the staff, and gather relevant information to make an informed choice that ensures the best possible education and support for the student.

The Hope Institute for Children and Families

The Hope Institute, a renowned institution that provides specialized services and therapies for individuals with diverse needs, operates across multiple locations in Illinois. With branches in Springfield, Chicago, and Bloomington, they offer a comprehensive range of interventions and therapies, including Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA), speech therapy, and occupational therapy.

At The Hope Institute, a multidisciplinary team of highly trained professionals work tirelessly to enhance the lives of their clients. The institute’s evidence-based practices and individualized treatment plans make it a preferred choice for families seeking top-notch services for their loved ones.

While The Hope Institute strives to cater to the needs of as many individuals as possible, it is not uncommon for their services to be in high demand. This often leads to extended waitlists, which can be frustrating for families eager to access the exceptional care provided by the institute.

Despite the challenges of waitlists, The Hope Institute remains committed to ensuring that every individual receives the support they need to reach their full potential. Their dedication to ongoing research, professional development, and person-centered approach set them apart as a leading institution in special needs services.

So, whether you’re seeking early intervention for a toddler or seeking ongoing support for an adult with complex needs, The Hope Institute is dedicated to empowering individuals and families on their unique journey toward growth, development, and independence.

2609 West Washington Street, Springfield, IL 62702 Website:

The Sage School – Crystal Lake

The Sage School is an innovative educational institution that aims to provide a nurturing learning environment for students. With a remarkable 1:1 student-teacher ratio, the school ensures personalized attention and support for each student’s unique needs. In addition to academic excellence, The Sage School prioritizes the overall well-being of its students by offering over 35 hours per week of therapy sessions.

These therapy sessions address various aspects of a student’s development, including social, emotional, and behavioral needs. The school collaborates closely with highly qualified therapists working with children and adolescents, ensuring students receive the best care and support.

While The Sage School is relatively new, its commitment to individualized education and comprehensive therapy programs has garnered positive feedback from students and their families. The school continuously strives to improve its services and outcomes, though long-term student outcome data is currently limited due to its recent establishment.

Despite the limited long-term data, The Sage School’s dedication to providing a tailored educational experience and comprehensive therapeutic support makes it a promising choice for families seeking a nurturing and supportive academic environment for their children.

305 Village Parkway, Crystal Lake, IL 60014 Phone: (779) 220-7480

Giant Steps Illinois – Lisle

Giant Steps is a renowned educational institution committed to providing individualized support and exceptional learning opportunities. With a high teacher-student ratio, every student receives the attention they need to thrive academically and personally.

One of the critical strengths of Giant Steps lies in its comprehensive approach, which combines tailored instruction with a range of onsite therapies. These therapies, such as speech, language, occupational, and physical therapy, are seamlessly integrated into the student’s daily routines. By addressing the unique needs of each student, these therapies play a crucial role in maximizing their potential.

Giant Steps embraces a diverse student body, where students with various abilities and talents come together to form a vibrant community. While the institution primarily focuses on students with an IQ of at least 70, it recognizes the importance of creating an inclusive environment that fosters growth, independence, and mutual respect.

Beyond academic instruction, Giant Steps strongly emphasizes developing life skills to serve students well beyond the classroom. From fostering social interactions to promoting self-advocacy and independence, every aspect of the curriculum empowers students and prepares them for a fulfilling future.

With a team of dedicated educators and professionals, Giant Steps is committed to providing a nurturing and supportive environment where each student can reach their full potential. Giant Steps is a beacon of excellence in special education through personalized attention, comprehensive therapies, and a holistic approach to education.

2140 Illinois Route 59, Lisle, IL 60532 Website:

The Autism Program at the Illinois Center for Autism

The IFCA (Illinois Federation of Centers for Autism) is a leading organization that aims to provide comprehensive support and services to individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and their families. With centers in Fairview Heights and Chicago, the IFCA has established itself as a trusted resource within the autism community.

At the heart of their mission is the belief that early intervention and targeted therapy can significantly enhance the lives of individuals with ASD. The IFCA offers a wide range of programs and services tailored to meet the unique needs of children and young adults between the ages of 3 and 21.

One of the key offerings of the IFCA is its therapy programs. These programs are designed by licensed professionals who specialize in working with individuals on the autism spectrum. The IFCA aims to improve their students’ communication, social skills, and overall quality of life through evidence-based practices and individualized treatment plans.

In addition to therapy, the IFCA provides comprehensive training programs for educators, caregivers, and other professionals working with individuals with ASD. These training initiatives aim to increase understanding, promote inclusive practices, and ensure that individuals with autism receive the support they need to thrive in their communities.

Recognizing the importance of vocational skills for individuals with autism, the IFCA also offers vocational programs. These programs focus on teaching essential job skills, fostering independence, and empowering individuals with ASD to pursue meaningful employment opportunities as they transition into adulthood.

The IFCA’s commitment to excellence extends beyond the services they provide. They continuously strive to promote awareness, advocate for improved policies, and collaborate with other organizations in the autism community to create a more inclusive and supportive society for individuals with ASD.

Whether through therapy, training, or vocational programs, the IFCA is dedicated to positively impacting the lives of individuals with autism and their families. With their expertise, compassion, and unwavering dedication, they continue to be at the forefront of autism support and advocacy in Illinois.

Chicago: 3155 W. Harrison St. Fairview Heights: 303 W. Lincoln St. Website:

The Connections School – Lake Forest

At this exceptional school, they go above and beyond to create a nurturing and inclusive environment for children needing ABA (Applied Behavior Analysis) and speech therapy. With a dedicated team of experienced professionals, they provide personalized instruction and support to students in a small classroom setting.

The school’s mission is to empower students with the skills they need to thrive academically, socially, and emotionally. Through individualized education plans and evidence-based interventions, they tailor their approach to meet the unique needs of each student.

Not only do they focus on academic development, but they also prioritize the development of essential life skills and independence. In addition to ABA therapy, students receive comprehensive speech therapy services that target communication and language skills.

The school’s commitment to creating a holistic learning experience extends beyond the classroom. They actively involve parents and caregivers in the educational process, offering guidance and resources to support ongoing progress and growth at home.

While their expertise is serving students up to 14, they ensure that each student receives the necessary tools to transition smoothly into their next educational journey.

With a warm and inclusive community, experienced professionals, and a child-centered approach, this school provides a nurturing and empowering environment for children to thrive and reach their full potential.

295 E Westminster Ave, Lake Forest, IL 60045 Phone: (847) 615-8878

AJ Katzenmaier Academy – North Chicago

Katzenmaier is renowned for its exceptional educational approach, providing students with a highly individualized learning experience. With a remarkable student-teacher ratio of 5:1, every student receives personalized attention and support, ensuring their unique educational needs are met.

One of the key features that sets Katzenmaier apart is its comprehensive assessment system. The school recognizes the importance of assessing student progress to tailor instruction effectively. Through ongoing assessments, educators can gain valuable insights into each student’s strengths and areas for improvement, enabling them to design targeted learning plans.

In addition to its commitment to academic excellence, Katzenmaier also offers a specialized vocational program. This program is designed to empower students and equip them with essential skills for their future careers. To be eligible for the vocational program, students must have an IQ of 55 or above. By providing opportunities for vocational training, Katzenmaier prepares students for a successful transition into the workforce, fostering independence and self-sufficiency.

With its dedication to individualized education and comprehensive support, Katzenmaier is undoubtedly a leading institution that prioritizes the holistic development of each student.

24647 W. Lockwood Rd, North Chicago, IL 60064 Phone: (847) 578-9040

Have Dreams – Naperville

Have Dreams is a non-profit organization serving individuals and families affected by Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). With a vision of opportunities and support for individuals with ASD, Have Dreams provides a wide range of programs and services to enhance their quality of life.

One of the core offerings of Have Dreams is therapy, where individuals with ASD receive personalized, evidence-based treatments to address their unique needs and challenges. These therapies are tailored to promote social, communication, and cognitive skills development, enabling individuals to reach their full potential.

In addition to therapy, Have Dreams also offers various camps and classes throughout the year. These camps provide a safe and inclusive environment for individuals with ASD to engage in recreational activities, build social connections, and develop new skills. The classes focus on various subjects, including art, music, sports, and life skills, empowering individuals with ASD to explore their interests and nurture their talents.

To further support individuals with ASD and their families, Have Dreams facilitates support groups where parents, caregivers, and siblings can share experiences, seek advice, and find mutual support. These groups provide a sense of community and understanding, creating a space where individuals can navigate the challenges of ASD with a robust support system.

It is important to note that while Have Dreams provides a range of valuable services, some of their offerings may be part-time only, depending on the specific program or availability. Nevertheless, their dedication to improving the lives of individuals with ASD is unwavering, and they continue to impact the community positively.

Whether through therapy, camps, classes, or support groups, Have Dreams remains committed to helping individuals with ASD thrive and lead fulfilling lives. Their efforts are guided by the belief that every individual deserves the opportunity to reach their full potential, and they work tirelessly to make that belief a reality.

If you or someone you know is affected by ASD, Have Dreams is a valuable resource that provides a comprehensive support system and a nurturing environment for growth and development.

1028 S Washington St Suite 102, Naperville, IL 60540 Phone: (630) 800-9473

Q.E.D. Foundation – Chicago

We are committed to supporting our students’ academic pursuits at this esteemed institution. We understand that pursuing a quality education can sometimes come with financial challenges. That’s why we offer a range of financial aid options and scholarships to eligible students.

Our dedicated financial aid department works diligently to ensure that eligible students have access to the resources they need to succeed. From grants and loans to work-study programs, we strive to make education affordable and accessible for all. We believe that finances should never be a barrier to achieving your educational goals.

Students must meet specific criteria to be considered for financial aid and scholarships. While we value the importance of education and strive to cater to a diverse student population, students need to be at least 14 years old to be eligible. This age requirement ensures that students are prepared to handle the responsibilities and challenges of higher education.

We encourage all eligible students to utilize our school’s financial aid and scholarship opportunities. By providing support and assistance, we aim to create a nurturing learning environment where every student can thrive academically and personally.

So, if you’re ready to embark on a journey of knowledge and growth, know that we are here to support you every step of the way. Don’t let financial constraints hold you back from pursuing your dreams – explore the available financial aid options and scholarships and make the most of this opportunity to invest in your future.

Remember, education is the key that can unlock countless doors of possibilities, and we are here to help you turn your aspirations into reality. Join our community of passionate learners, and let us empower you on your path to success.

4130 N Ravenswood Ave Suite 103, Chicago, IL 60613 Phone: (773) 549-5979 – Chicago

At this school, they prioritize holistic development and support for students. They believe in going beyond academics and focusing on the overall well-being of each child. They offer various services, including academic coaching, social groups, and family counseling.

Academic coaching is designed to help students enhance their study skills, improve time management, and develop effective learning strategies. The professional coaches work closely with students to identify their strengths and weaknesses, tailor their learning approach, and foster a positive academic attitude.

In addition to academic support, the school recognizes the importance of social interaction and peer connections. They offer various social groups where students can engage in recreational activities, collaborate on projects, and cultivate friendships. These groups provide a safe and inclusive environment for students to develop social skills, build self-confidence, and foster a sense of belonging within the school community.

Understanding that family plays a crucial role in a student’s development, the school also offers family counseling services. This allows parents and guardians to receive guidance and support in navigating their child’s challenges. The counselors work collaboratively with families to address concerns, strengthen communication, and promote a harmonious home-school partnership.

While the school offers a wide range of support services, it’s important to note that they do not provide Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) therapy. ABA therapy is a specialized intervention often used for individuals on the autism spectrum. However, the school remains committed to providing comprehensive support and creating an inclusive student environment.

With its holistic approach and dedication to individual growth, this school strives to empower students to reach their full potential academically, socially, and emotionally.

1701 W Higgins Rd, Hoffman Estates, IL 60169 Phone: (224) 293-6450

The Therapeutic School – Chicago

This school has vocational certificate programs and 1:1 support. But they only serve students ages 14-22.

3022 W Carroll Ave, Chicago, IL 60612 Phone: (773) 577-4300

School NameLocationKey Features
Sonia Shankman Orthogenic SchoolChicagoPersonalized education plans, therapeutic interventions, social-emotional support
The Cove SchoolNorthbrookStrong emphasis on social skills, communication, and independence
Hope Institute Learning AcademySpringfieldEvidence-based practices, vocational training, community integration
The Hope Institute for Children and FamiliesSpringfield/Chicago/BloomingtonComprehensive range of interventions and therapies, vocational programs
The Sage SchoolCrystal Lake1:1 student-teacher ratio, over 35 hours per week of therapy sessions
Giant Steps IllinoisLisleHigh teacher-student ratio, integration of onsite therapies
Autism Program at Illinois Center for AutismFairview Heights/ChicagoTherapy programs, vocational training, comprehensive training programs
Connections SchoolLake ForestABA and speech therapy, focus on life skills and independence
AJ Katzenmaier AcademyNorth ChicagoIndividualized learning, vocational program
Have DreamsNapervilleTherapy, camps and classes, support groups
Q.E.D. FoundationChicagoFinancial aid and scholarships, personalized instruction
options.educationChicagoAcademic coaching, social groups, family counseling
The Therapeutic SchoolChicagoVocational certificate programs, 1:1 support

Please note that the information provided in this table is a general summary of the key features of each school. It is recommended to contact the schools for more detailed and up-to-date information directly.

Autism schools in Illinois provide dedicated support and resources to help students on the spectrum reach their full potential. The schools listed in this post sample the ASD-focused programs available across the state. When researching schools, consider your child’s specific needs and priorities. Schedule visits, consult with experts, and evaluate costs. With the right educational environment, children with autism can thrive academically, socially, and behaviorally. The growing awareness of ASD means more schools are emerging to serve this exceptional population. Don’t hesitate to contact these specialized schools directly to learn how they can help your family.


My name is Adi, and I am the proud parent of Saar, a lively 17-year-old who happens to have autism. I have created a blog,, with the aim to share our family's journey and offer guidance to those who may be going through similar experiences.Saar, much like any other teenager, has a passion for football, cycling, and music. He is also a budding pianist and enjoys painting. However, his world is somewhat distinct. Loud sounds can be overwhelming, sudden changes can be unsettling, and understanding emotions can be challenging. Nevertheless, Saar is constantly learning and growing, and his unwavering resilience is truly remarkable.

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