History & Mission
The Autism Program of Illinois serves and supports persons with autism spectrum disorder and their families through a coordinated network of providers, parents, and university programs while developing, utilizing, and sharing best and promising practices.
In 2001, Illinois parents, behavioral health experts, psychiatrists, and public health officials began to express concerns regarding the prevalence of autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) among children and the lack of available services.
In 2003, the Illinois General Assembly responded to the outpouring of concern by passing Public Act 93-0395 that established The Autism Program of Illinois (TAP). Together with Hope (who still serves as the lead agency), TAP became a statewide network of autism resources and services. At that time, the U. S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimated that 1 in 150 U.S. children were being diagnosed with ASD.
In 2007, it became clear that the impact of autism was greater than previously realized and the Illinois Legislature expanded TAP through Public Act 95-707 (from primarily a university-led training and research program) to become a statewide network of regional centers that would also provide comprehensive direct services to children with ASD and their families.
The timing of the Legislature’s action in 2007 was fortuitous. The CDC revised their estimate of the prevalence of autism, and in 2008 reported that 1 in 88 children were likely to have ASD.
The numbers have continuously grown and the CDC continues to publish updated findings. In 2014, they indicated that 1 in 68 children were living with ASD – a number that was alarmingly higher than that of children diagnosed with both cancer and diabetes combined.
An updated evaluation of the prevalence of ASD in the US published in April 2020, reported 1 in 54 children were diagnosed with ASD.
The most recent CDC publication from December 2021 indicated that there are now 1 in 44 children living with ASD in the US.
Research shows that the need for ASD services, research, and training will continue to grow – TAP has and will continue to lead the charge in the state of Illinois. The Autism Program of Illinois Service Network today consists of 15 partners and 20 locations throughout the state.
The Autism Program of Illinois
5220 S. 6th Street,
Springfield IL 62703