ASSIST Training Program

Transitioning from school-based to adult service systems is challenging for many families of youth on the autism spectrum.  Additionally, the adult service system can be complicated and difficult to navigate for many. The Autism Program of Illinois (TAP)’s ASSIST Training program aims to improve parents’ ability to advocate for adult services on behalf of their child or young adult on the autism spectrum.


ASSIST stands for Advocating for Supports to Improve Service Transitions and is a modulized advocacy training program for parents of youth with autism covering multiple topics related to transitioning to adulthood.  ASSIST was piloted as a multi-site research project with TAP network partner, the University of Illinois being one of the initial sites participating.  Other sites included: Vanderbilt Kennedy Center, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, and the Waisman Center at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.  Now the ASSIST Training is part of the statewide training curriculum for TAP.


There are twelve modules in the training program. Each module features an expert-led presentation on a relevant transition topic and includes time for parent discussion and questions.  Some of the topics include:

  • Person-centered planning
  • Guardianship and alternatives to guardianship
  • Medicaid waiver services
  • Social Security benefits
  • Health insurance
  • Special needs trusts
  • Post-secondary education
  • Employment


TAP initiated the first statewide ASSIST Training program in 2023 with a small group of dedicated parents who attended twelve virtual sessions weekly from February to May.  In the coming fiscal year, TAP will hold virtual ASSIST sessions throughout the year so that more parents and guardians in Illinois can benefit from the expert content.  The ASSIST Training is free to all Illinois parents/guardians who have a child with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) ages fourteen to twenty-two.


Watch this page for new training dates to be released soon!
Location: Virtual
Cost: Free

Training materials will be sent to registered participants via email approximately one week in advance of the first training session.

If you have questions, please contact Mary Kelly at

About us

The Autism Program of Illinois (TAP) Service Network is a collaboration of 5 universities and 10 organizations that together operate 20 centers across the state. As a network, TAP is able to offer services that respond to the unique needs of different communities across Illinois.


The Autism Program of Illinois

Hope Pavilion
5220 S. 6th Street,
Suite 2300B

Springfield IL 62703