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State of Illinois - Governor Blagojevich 

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For Immediate Release
November 9, 2004

Illinois to pilot parent involvement model
for students with autism
Illinois only state selected

Springfield, Ill. – Illinois was the only state selected for a pilot program for supporting students with autism. The Autism Training Center in Huntington, West Virginia, selected Illinois because of its innovative initiatives, including the Illinois Autism Pervasive Developmental Disabilities Training and Technical Assistance Project (IATTP), Wraparound School, community services for students with emotional disorders, and the State Board of Education’s Positive Behavior Intervention Supports (PBIS) Network. The Center invited representatives from the Illinois State Board of Education, Illinois State University (ISU) Autism Spectrum Institute, and the IATTP to study and pilot a support model for students with autism.

“The new State Board’s work with ISU on this pilot is a great partnership,” says Gov. Rod Blagojevich. “It’s just the kind of innovation and creative thinking we need to help schools, students and families in Illinois.”

Autism is a developmental disability that typically appears during the first three years of life. It occurs in approximately fifteen out of every 10,000 births. The symptoms are caused by physical disorders of the brain. They include disturbances in the rate of appearance of physical, social, and language skills; abnormal responses to sensations; absence or delay of speech; and language development.

The new support model places a project consultant for six to nine months with the family and school staff of a student with autism. The consultant combines on-site PBIS consultation, functional assessment, behavioral intervention training, and person-centered planning to develop a long-term plan for the student. At the end of the six months, the project consultant transitions out, with one of the team members taking over as facilitator. Follow-up contacts with the project consultant are scheduled on an ongoing basis. This strength of this project is its integration of the PBIS Network, autism specific technical assistance, and a strong emphasis on parental participation.

Regional IATTP Coordinators will identify students from throughout Illinois for participation in the pilot, which is set to begin in January, 2005. As part of Illinois' commitment, Illinois State University has agreed to develop web-based training for paraprofessionals working with students with autism.

Illinois State Board of Education
100 North First Street
Springfield, IL 62777