Illinois Stakeholders

Illinois has been a state with few inclusive postsecondary education (PSE) opportunities for students with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD). In 2006-2007, the Illinois Community College Board (ICCB) convened the "Essential Skills Workgroup", looking at models for inclusive education and how community colleges could be encouraged to reach out to this group of students. The Illinois Council on Developmental Disabilities' (ICDD) 5-year plan from 2011-2016 has a goal to increase the number of fully inclusive postsecondary educational opportunities for students with I/DD. As of November 2012, the Illinois Council on Developmental Disabilities (ICDD) has sent out a call for investment (CFI) for Illinois to develop more inclusive postsecondary options for students with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD).

The 2008 Illinois Roundtable
In 2008, the Illinois Council on Developmental Disabilities (ICDD) and Illinois Community College Board (ICCB) reached out to logical partners - those who were in a position to assist institutions which would dovetail with ICDD's goal for developing more inclusive programs. Leaders agreed to meet in a roundtable format to discuss initiatives already in place and to seek a means of cooperatively moving forward. Attendees at this roundtable included representatives from the following Illinois governmental entities:
  • Illinois Community College Board (ICCB)
  • Illinois Council on Developmental Disabilities (ICDD)
  • Illinois Board of Higher Education (IBHE)
  • Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE)
  • Illinois Department of Human Services: Division of Rehabilitation Services (IDHS: DRS)
The convening of the roundtable and ensuing discussions were timely in that the Higher Education Opportunity Act (HEOA) was reauthorized in 2008 and became the focus of interest. The HEOA would open new avenues with its increased access to financial assistance for students and systems level support for developing programs through the technical assistance center and demonstration project grants (i.e. the Think College National Coordinating Center, and the Transition and Postsecondary Programs for Students with Intellectual/developmental disabilities (TPSID) grants).
The Roundtable partners felt that it was important to educate leadership of postsecondary institutions and those who were in decision making positions on the resources and opportunities brought by the Higher Education Opportunity Act (HEOA) which would encourage and support developing programs. The Roundtable discussions highlighted the fact that many postsecondary institutions were too busy and concerned over finances to have this on their radar. It was determined that a one day Summit to educate leaders in the state on the provisions of the HEOA was needed and planning was initiated.
The 2010 Illinois Summit
On March 3rd, 2010, about 100 postsecondary education Presidents, Provosts, and Transition Planning Committee leaders came to the Governor's Mansion for the Governor's Post-Secondary Education Summit - Positioning Illinois for Federal Demonstration Grants. Featured speakers included representatives from the National Down Syndrome Society (NDSS), the national Think College initiative, an inclusive program faculty administrator from the College of New Jersey, and a student with an intellectual disability from an inclusive program at Elmhurst College in Illinois.
Summit attendees were able to network with peers and meet the Roundtable members representing statewide agencies who could potentially support them in developing new opportunities. Several Roundtable members have stayed involved in the issues through the Steering Committee and sub-committee Work Groups associated with Think College Illinois. This has facilitated collaborative efforts during the review of options persons with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) have in Illinois for postsecondary education (PSE) and identifying information to assist in the development of additional programs.
Programs for Students in Illinois
As of fall 2012, eight Illinois postsecondary education (PSE) programs for students with intellectual/developmental disabilities (I/DD) have been identified through the national Think College program database. Both Illinois and national programs can be searched in this database. The programs in Illinois are concentrated in the northeast, with one program in central Illinois and two more in southern Illinois. Several of these programs have been operating for many years, long before "inclusive" PSE opportunities for students with I/DD was part of a national conversation. Inclusive programs vary greatly in infrastructure and methods for including students with I/DD in college life. For more information about some of the programs here in Illinois, refer to the "Illinois Program Profiles" on this website.
Illinois's Vision
The vision in Illinois is to provide inclusive postsecondary (PSE) opportunities for citizens with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) all over the state, based on individual needs, desires and goals. The existing programs for students with I/DD in Illinois provide a good starting point for the important work of inclusion at the postsecondary education level. The Illinois programs Elmhurst Learning and Success Academy (ELSA)at Elmhurst College and Heartland Academy for Learning Opportunities (HALO) at Heartland Community College have already become eligible for federal funding through the Comprehensive Transition and Postsecondary Program (CTPP) designation. Students with I/DD remain an underserved population in Illinois PSE. Increasing the number of inclusive programs available in Illinois will require greater awareness and a further commitment by Illinois PSE institutions. The information contained on this website is aimed at continuing the dialog and providing resources that can be used by institutions, students with I/DD, parents and advocates in making changes towards inclusive PSE in their communities.
Work Groups and Steering Committee
For information about the Think College Illinois website, please contact the Think College Illinois Staff:
Principle Investigator: Robin Jones
Organization/Program: University of Illinois at Chicago: Institute on Disability and Human Development; Great Lakes Americans with Disabilities Act Center
Phone: 312-413-1407
TTY: 312-413-1407
The contacts below are people who have been involved with the creation of this online Think College Illinois Blueprint/Toolkit through fall of 2011 as Work Group and Steering Committee members. While this is not a list of everyone who has been involved, it offers starting points of contact for finding answers to particular questions, and gives a sense of the breadth of involvement in the topic of inclusive postsecondary education (PSE) here in Illinois.
Buck, Martie
Organization/Program: Lewis and Clark Community College; College for Life (CFL) and Supported College Transition (SCT) program
Title/Position: Coordinator, Student Development and Counseling
Address: 5800 Godfrey Road, Godfrey, Illinois 62035
Phone: 618- 468-4211
TTY: 618-468-2270
Burns, Carol
Organization/Program: National-Louis University, Professional Assistance Center for Education, (PACE) program for young adults with multiple learning disabilities
Title/Position: Program Director
Address: 5202 Old Orchard Rd., Skokie, IL 60077
Phone: 224-233-2670
Day, Brian
Organization/Program: Coalition of Citizens with Disabilities in Illinois (CCDI)
Title/Position: Outreach Specialist
Phone: 800-433-8848 and 217-522-7016
TTY: 800-433-8848 and 217-522-7016
Doty, LuEllen
Organization/Program: Elmhurst College, Elmhurst Learning and Success Academy (ELSA)
Title/Position: Director
Address: 190 Prospect Avenue, Elmhurst, IL 60126
Phone: 630- 617-3752
Einhorn, Debbie
Organization/Program: Family Matters, Illinois Parent Training and Information Center (PTIC)
Title/Position: Executive Director
Address: Information Center 1901 S. 4th St., Ste. 209 Effingham, Illinois 62401
Phone: 866-436-7842 and 217-347-5428
TTY: 217-347-5428
Haberer, Kathy
Organization/Program: Lewis and Clark Community College; College for Life program (CFL) and Supported College Transition (SCT) program
Title/Position: Director, Student Development and Counseling
Address: Student Development office 5800 Godfrey Road Godfrey, Illinois 62035
Phone: 618-468-4126
TTY: 618-468-2270
Harkness, Margaret
Organization/Program: Illinois Council on Developmental Disabilities (ICDD)
Title/Position: Program Specialist
Hoeck, Linda
Organization/Program: Harper College, Career Foundations program
Title/Position: Coordinator
Address: 1200 W. Algonquin Road Palatine, IL 60067
Phone: 847-925-6266
Video Phone: 866-327-1630
Moore, Anita
Organization/Program: Heartland Community College, Heartland Academy for Learning Opportunities (HALO)
Title/Position: Director of Disability Support Services
Address: 1500 West Raab Road Normal, Illinois 61761
Phone: 309- 268-8255
Niswander, Vicki
Organization/Program: Illinois Association of Microboards and Cooperatives
Title/Position: Executive Director
Phone: 217-586-4552
Romano, Sheila
Organization/Program: Illinois Council on Developmental Disabilities (ICDD)
Title/Position: Executive Director
Slover, Sharon
Organization/Program: McHenry County College, Education and Career Pathways: A Transition Educational Program
Title/Position: Director of Continuing Education
Address: 8900 US Hwy 14 Crystal Lake, IL 60012-2738
Phone: 815-455-3700
Thompson, Tom
Organization/Program: Former director of Harper College's Access and Disability Services; Association on Higher Education and Disability (AHEAD) member
Title/Position: Educational Consultant
Timmons, Jennifer
Organization/Program: Illinois Community College Board (ICCB)
Title/Position: Senior Director for Student Development
Address: 401 East Capitol Avenue Springfield, IL 62701-1711
Phone: 217-785-0123
TTY: 217-782-5645
Unger, Darlene
Organization/Program: DePaul University
Title/Position: Associate Professor of Special Education
Phone: 773-325-4694
Walter, Sue
Organization/Program: Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE), Special Education Services
Title/Position: Statewide Transition Consultant
Phone: 618-651-9028

Picture of a young Asian American man with an intellectual disability at college in front of a computer.

In my free time at college, I like to use the computers to read my emails, check sports scores and look for a job." - Wilson