A Letter from the Chief of the Autism Program

The holidays are a time of celebration, love, laughter, and, for most of our families, stress: the stress of travel, of decorating our homes, of gift giving and receiving, of not having our typical schedules, and, sometimes most of all, parties. The children and families of The Autism Program of Illinois (TAP) may experience even more holiday stress and anxiety as they face disruptions in their daily routines that may cause challenges, other families may not understand.

I invite you to explore the great resources we have included in this issue of TAPPED In, to help with holidays.

The holidays are also a time for us to reflect on the past year and to make goals and sometimes even resolutions for the coming new year. As I hold my cup of hot cocoa on this cold November day and reflect on the work the TAP network has done this past year, I can take a sip with a smile. This year the TAP Network has screened and diagnosed over 1,500 children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), trained over 10,000 professionals and families and served over 4,000 visitors in our resource rooms in FY 2013. This is only a small piece of what the network has done to help children and their families. During the month of April I had a chance to meet many of the families served by TAP statewide. Some of these families drove several hours to come to Springfield and share their stories of how our partners have helped their children and their entire family with our state legislators. The words were not only just compliments, but stories of challenges, sometimes defeat, but always, and most importantly, hope. They had hope that things would be better, easier, because of the work that TAP does. Whether it was diagnosing their child early and enabling them to get the services their family needed, a social skills class that their child was enrolled in, or a training that their child’s teacher was able to attend, the work of the TAP network gave them hope for the future. Those stories are what can make each of us smile. Our goals for the next year need to be large and grand, larger and grander than in years past, but with enough dedication, hard work and love for all the professionals and families in our network I know that no aspiration will go unfulfilled.

Thank you to each of you for being a part of this wonderful network. The strength and success of TAP is due to all you reading this. You are part of a network of TAP Partners, TAP Families, and TAP Friends – individuals who support children with ASD and their families in your personal and professional lives. We are thankful that you are part of our Network. I am very thankful that Illinois has each of you and a network to bring us all together.

Happy holidays to you and your family.

Tara Glavin-Javaid-Cheif of the Autism Program (TAP)

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