The TAP Center at Charleston Transitional Facility (CTF) provides services to a diverse and wide-spread number of Illinoisians on the eastern side of the state. Services are limited in this region, and CTF is constantly trying to come up with new ways to accommodate those who need TAP supports and cast the net wider. The Center has a number of programs including social skills and play groups, Sibshop, a young adult club, and parent support groups.
Social Skills and Play Groups:
In addition to social skills groups, from time to time we also offer informal play groups for children. While the social skills groups are highly structured and follow a set curriculum, the play groups are more casual and offer children a chance to interact with peers in a more casual recreational setting.
Sibshop is an exciting support, information, and recreation opportunity for kids ages 7-13 who are the sibling of someone with special needs. At Sibshop, they will have a chance to meet other kids whose brothers and sisters have special needs and talk about the good and not-so-good parts of having a sibling with a disability. Most important, they’ll have fun! It meets once a month, typically on a Saturday.
This program is just for teenagers and young adults. Members of YAC are ages 14-25 and have an autism diagnosis. We have two chapters of the club: one in the Champaign-Urbana area, and another in the Charleston-Mattoon area. Each club hosts one or more events each month that are designed to improve social, friendship, and relational skills, and to provide support to young adults who may be isolated from their peers or who have few opportunities for social interaction.
- Champaign-Urbana area YAC: Contact Cathy Testory at (217) 722-4482 or firstname.lastname@example.org
- Charleston-Mattoon area YAC: Contact Meagan Matthews at (217) 348-3869 or email@example.com
This support group is for parents, grandparents, or any other adult who has a loved one on the autism spectrum. The group meets on the last Tuesday of the month in the evening at the TAP office located at 689 Castle Drive in Charleston, IL. Free childcare is available during support group to those who preregister for childcare by calling (217) 348-3869, x10. Attending support group not only provides an opportunity for parents to share their experiences and ask for advice, but also to obtain valuable input from guest speakers who are local professionals.
We are also expanding our support group to the Effingham area. We have recently began joining the “mommie meet up” group and offer support to area families. This has been a great opportunity to bring resources and topics of interest to surrounding communities that may have difficulties making it to our center.
We are developing a group called “Autism Connection” to serve the Autism community. We meet on a quarterly basis to discuss Autism in our community, as well as area services. We have developed a webpage to highlight area autism events for families and providers in East Central Illinois. We are hoping this will assist in building a more cohesive network within Charleston and surrounding communities. We see this as a positive asset to our community.
TAP at CTF hosts multiple special events throughout the year. Typically these are free, family-oriented events that are open to the public and geared toward providing children with fun activities. Examples of past events include a Fall Festival, movie matinee, Christmas Celebration, Parents night out ice cream social, Easter Extraveganza, and more.