Adult Day Services
Little Friends Adult Day Services program seeks to provide adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities meaningful ways to spend their days. Our three programs: Community Day Services, Supported Employment Program, and Inklude Art Studio provide individuals with opportunities to pursue a variety of personal goals and lead empowered lives.
Community Day Services Program, Spectrum Vocational Services, has provided individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities the opportunity to achieve personal goals for nearly 50 years. Spectrum’s Community Based Program provides a variety of programing opportunities that allow individuals to choose from activities that they consider meaningful to develop an individualized experience that best meets their needs.
Services are based on each individual’s preferences and support needs. This can include subcontract work, as well as group and individual programming designed to address personal and social needs through skill acquisition and participation in a variety of experiences. Individuals are supported in accessing all of the amenities of their community, through community engagement opportunities that are offered on a regular basis.
Group and individual programing can take the form of daily living skills instruction, recreational activities, and educational groups that include fitness groups, music appreciation groups, or self-directed discrete skills tasks. Spectrum provides paid work options for the individuals in our program in the form of subcontract work, such as light assembly or packaging jobs that we contract from businesses in our community. In addition to specific job skills, each person develops an understanding of appropriate work habits, attitudes, behaviors, and social skills required by community employers.
Spectrum participants can also take advantage of our Occupational Therapy and Behavior Analyst services, along with the Therapeutic Art services provided at Inklude Art Studio.
Little Friends Supported Employment Program helps adults with disabilities find jobs in businesses throughout their community and provides training, in the form of job coaching, to assist the individual to learn the skills to become independent at their job. Our staff helps individuals identify suitable employment opportunities, looking at a range of factors such as interests, skills, past work experience, and available transportation. Each person is then assisted in finding a job that suits their interests and abilities. Services may include:
- Career counseling
- Job search and application assistance
- Job interview preparation
- Job coaching and follow up services
- Trial job assessments
- Vocational advocacy and counseling
- Transportation training
Once an individual is hired, staff work closely with employers so that they can comfortably and efficiently train their new hire. Individuals in our Supported Employment Program work in a variety of settings, including restaurants, hotels, retail stores, manufacturing plants, offices, and more.
The Division of Rehabilitation Services (DRS) funds these types of services. To obtain a referral to our supported employment program, contact your local DRS office or visit www.dhs.state.il.us/drs. Under the referral source, chose community provider and list our contact information.
Art is an important outlet for many of the people we support. It’s how they express themselves to our community in a way words never could. At Inklude, our adult artists flourish in an open, collaborative studio environment, where they make decisions regarding exhibitions and sales opportunities. It’s empowering. And as the artists manage studio operations and create original artwork, they develop a sense of purpose and belonging only possible through art.
Inklude Studio is a non-profit 501(c)(3), community based, art and design studio. We provide an open, creative, and collaborative studio environment for adult artists with autism and other developmental disabilities. Artists who participate in our studio program have the opportunity to earn income from the sale of their creative work. Our studio program is artist directed. Artists develop their own projects and make decisions regarding exhibition and sales opportunities. Our goal is to have studio artists included in as much of the studio’s operations as possible – so they may develop practical business skills; as well as, develop their creative skills.
Meet the Staff
Our adult services staff is comprised of experienced professionals, including Developmental Trainers and Direct Support Staff, as well as Activity / Program Coordinators, Board Certified Behavior Analysts, and Occupational Therapists to support those we serve each day.
Adult Day Services
Josh’s experience with Little Friends started as a volunteer with his family for the Agency’s various fund-raising events. As an adult, Josh returned to Little Friends as an employee and has spent the intervening years working in the Supported Employment Program and Community Day Service before becoming the Director of Adult Day Services. Josh received his bachelor’s degree in Philosophy and Christian Theology from Seattle Pacific University. In his current role, Josh endeavors to foster a supportive environment with an engaged team that provides opportunities for the individuals we serve to develop their autonomy and engage with activities that constitute meaningful experiences for their daily lives.
Spectrum Vocational Services
Shawn has been working for Little Friends for over a decade, starting off as a Direct Support Staff at the day program. She has also worked at the Center for Autism. Shawn attended University of St. Francis and received a Bachelors in Recreation Administration and has been working for Little Friends ever since! Shawn’s focus at the day program is Work Services and is passionate about engaging those she supports in meaningful programming and giving everyone a chance to earn a paycheck and be proud of the work they complete.
Spectrum Community Day Services
Heather has worked with Little Friends for 10 years, serving adults with disabilities in various settings. She graduated from DePauw University with a BA in Psychology in 2010, became a QIDP in 2013, and a Certified QIDP Trainer in the state of Illinois in 2021. Heather works to build programming designed to teach, empower, and strengthen a person to live and connect to others in the world today.
Spectrum Vocational Services
Chris has been working for Spectrum since June 2019. Chris has 45 years of business experience, 30 years as a business owner. Chris firmly believes in promoting Little Friend’s mission to all Spectrum’s customers that will empower Individuals with work experiences, helping to develop their life skills and achieve their goals. He is always canvassing customers for new and different types of work to keep the Individuals interested, challenged, an engaged.
Little Friends Supported Employment Program
Gale has been the program manager of Little Friends Supported Employment program for 33 years. Prior to that, she worked in various roles throughout Spectrum’s community day program. Gale has extensive experience helping adults with Autism and other developmental disabilities achieve their employment goal of working in their communities.
Nikki has been working at Little Friends for over 7 years. After receiving her undergraduate degree from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Nikki went on to pursue her master’s degree in Art Therapy. Since then, she has proudly been an employee of Little Friends and strongly believes in our mission to empower children, adults, and their families.