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Easter Seals Metropolitan Chicago

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Metropolitan Chicago honorary ambassador child Chase

Therapeutic School and Center for Autism Research


Easter Seals Metropolitan Chicago (ESMC) has built a new $42,000,000 Therapeutic School and Center for Autism Research in the Illinois Medical District (IMD) that will help meet the needs created by the explosive growth in autism.

This unique facility is the only one of its kind to combine on a single campus educational, research, training, early intervention, school-to-work transition and independent living capabilities.  Nowhere else in the USA is there located in the heart of a major medical district a campus that contains services for people with autism that provides:

  • State-of-the-art education, interventions and treatment programs
  • Clinical affiliation with a major university and hospital
  • World-class education and training seminars
  • School-to-work, vocational training and job placement
  • Independent living facilities in Phase Four of the project
  • And perhaps most importantly, cutting-edge research conducted by the finest autism researchers in the country at The University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) whose mission will be to find the causes, develop interventions and treatments for autism

A Custom-Designed Campus

The new, custom-designed center allows Easter Seals to expand its landmark autism services to meet the special needs of students with autism, emotional behavior disorders and severe learning disabilities.  Interior plans and features from special acoustic finishes and lighting fixtures to therapy and gross motor skills rooms help reduce distractions and promote more effective learning.

Phase One of the campus facility opened to students in July, 2008.  When all four phases are completed, the state-of-the-art, 87,000 square foot Therapeutic School and Center for Autism Research campus will incorporate a therapeutic school, specially designed research capabilities, administrative offices as well as independent living facilities (Phase Four of the project).

Autism Research

The location of the school campus in the Illinois Medical District facilitates a natural synergy with world-class autism researchers.  Working in concert with the researchers from the University of Illinois and others will lead to the development of breakthrough interventions and successful strategies for working with individuals with autism.  Researchers are able to unobtrusively observe students at the school in order to assess problems and create successful interventions.  Research conducted at the school will be available to other sites around the entire world via the internet.

Building on Experience

Since 1994, Easter Seals Metropolitan Chicago has been providing educational and therapeutic services to over 270 children and adolescents with autism.  The new Therapeutic School and Center for Autism Research campus greatly expands Easter Seals' Autism Therapeutic School program in Chicago and enhances our outstanding Autism Therapeutic schools which will continue to serve families in:

School districts from all around the Chicago area and its suburbs as well as in the Rockford region contract with Easter Seals to assist them in providing educational programs for children with autism who need an alternative school placement and helps them grow toward independence.  The services and programs provided in the Easter Seals schools include:

  • Small Teacher / Student Ratio
  • Education
  • Speech, Language and Communications Therapy
  • Occupational Therapy
  • Applied Behavior Therapy
  • Social Work
  • Health Related Services
  • Transitional Services from School to Work
  • Special Olympics
  • Sensory Integration

About Phase II of the Autism Campus Project

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