SPRINGFIELD – The Autism Program of Illinois, a collaborative effort of 4 universities and 11 organizations that provide autism services to the State of Illinois, has launched a new online referral portal, which is the first of its kind in Illinois. This brand-new tool will provide individuals and families with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) an efficient and effective collaborative platform for requesting autism-related services.
The tool, which is located on TAP’s website (www.tap-illinois.org), allows families to easily navigate the world of ASD services, as well as connect them with their nearest service provider. “This new online referral portal is a leading-edge tool for autism resources in Illinois. We are now able to connect families to service providers in areas that were vastly underserved before, thus ensuring that more children diagnosed with autism can receive the life changing services that they need. This online referral portal revolutionizes the way all families in the State of Illinois will be able to access services.,” said Clint Paul, President and CEO of Hope, TAP’s lead agency.
The portal will allow all network partners to communicate, collaborate, and track information over time. Previously, Illinois experienced “deserts of service” in more rural parts of the state, thus creating vast expanses where children with ASD lived, but were not able to easily access services. “The goal of the referral portal will be to reach even more children and families than before to ensure that any child with autism can be served no matter their location,” said Amy Martin, Director of TAP. “We are bridging the gap between Illinois families who are in urgent need of assistance and resources, and our partners who are ready to provide those transformative services.”
Prior to the introduction of the online referral portal, finding services posed a challenge to many families, especially to those who did not speak English as a first language. “Finding Autism services has been such a struggle for so many families in our community. I am encouraged to see The Autism Program of Illinois providing a resource that is so easily accessible and in Spanish; removing that barrier so many families face across Illinois,” said, Illinois State Representative Lisa Hernandez. This online tool will make it that much easier for all families struggling with an ASD diagnoses to get the help they need.