“Thank you for all yours and everyone at the Bridges' support! Little Friends has been AMAZING to our family since Javi started attending in 1st grade.” I truly believe Little Friends saved his and our families life! I could not imagine where we would be otherwise!"

Joy, Parent


_Stories_andrea.png

“What a privilege to work for 35 years with a team of such amazing students, parents, and staff! Our students enter with hopes and dreams, yet barriers to overcome. Then I watch them graduate as confident adults with real options. I truly have seen ‘lives fulfilled’. ”

Andrea, Program Coordinator, Bridge High School


“Thank you for arranging the Teen Scene Program for our son Phillip this summer. He enjoyed the program and wouldn’t mind if it continued.  The signup and interview beforehand gave all a great idea what to expect, in a compassionate environment.

_Stories_TeenScene.png

The life skills he was taught including cooking, shopping, home cares were great and carried over after the program.  He was excited to demonstrate what he did in class.   He showed new initiative, even insisted he wash my car one evening (and did a good job).  Our son needs structured instruction, and this program was a home run.  Phillip was more interactive afterwards and actually said was the best activity of the summer.  He did make a friend in class.

This is an outstanding program and we are grateful it was available for our son.  We hope it continues and is available to other families.”

Sean, Parent


_Stories_Lisa.png

“Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) is science of human behavior. ABA is the process of applying systematic intervention to improve behaviors of social significance. As a clinician who uses these principles every day to treat the 2.5 year old, the 9  year old, the 13 year old or the 20 year old out of my desire to make a difference. This evidence is seen in the 2.5 year old who emitting ear piercing tantrum with mom overlooking with despair, however, over time the young girl begins to cooperate and follow directions. Or the 9 year old who advocated for himself and asked, “Miss Lisa can you teach me how to tie, tie shoes?” I said, “sure” and he replied “good, because third graders don’t wear Velcro shoes. He worked all summer on tying shoes and was able to tie his new gym shoes when school started in August. Or the 13 year old with autism and cerebral palsy who wore 3 pairs of depends at night because she would soil through her clothes and sheets who learned to use the toilet. Or I’ll never forget the 20 year with autism, cerebral palsy, intellectual disability and low muscle tone who’s mom did not lose hope in getting her daughter toilet trained. She said, “I was told it’s too late, she’s too old,. Thank goodness she did not lose hope but she found a place and a methodology that would TEACH her daughter to use the bathroom. I’ve been in this field for 22 years and LOVE to see my clients acquire life long skills. Sure to some these may not seem like anything big, but let me tell you that for my clients, their families and myself these accomplishments are HUGE!  Nelson Mandela said, “What counts in life is not the mere fact that we lived, it’s the difference we have made to the lives of others that will determine the significance of life we lived.”

Lisa, Coordinator of Behavior Services, Little Friends Center for Autism


_Stories_Will (2).png

“Our son’s prognosis on the Autism Spectrum has been completely altered, a boy who did not speak, is now proofreading computer code thanks to Little Friends. Will’s ability to communicate with the outside world was very limited.  He was completely isolated by his autism symptoms, with the help of Little Friends…he now wants to push his boundaries. If it wasn’t for Little Friends amazing administration, faculty and staff our son Will would never be capable of experiencing things like an indoor flying experience.”

 Eric and Julie, Parents of Will


Stories_Dan.png

“My name is Dan and I have been receiving services through Little Friends for a little over eighteen years. I grew up in the Chicagoland area, but in the later years, I have been living in my own apartment in Downers Grove. At my apartment, I was able to get out into the community by calling for a cab, but I did not socialize with my neighbors. I was interested in moving to a group home situation, but wasn’t sure that I wanted to give up the independence I had in my own apartment. It was important to me to live close enough to my current workshop, so that I didn’t have to change where I went to work. In the spring of 2017 I moved into a townhome owned by Little Friends and now I couldn’t be happier. This was a lovely opportunity for me to continue living on my own with a roommate, but also be closer to where staff is available should I need assistance.

At my townhouse, I have friends on my block who invite me over for meals and parties. I am even getting ready to host a birthday party at my house. I have to make sure it is a calm party because I don’t want to jeopardize my living situation with Little Friends. No one else in the world would give me such a nice place to live, and I want to do everything I can to make sure I can stay there forever. My roommate is a great guy. He is quiet and friendly, and he loves to cook. I love to eat so we make a good pair. I hope he never moves. Occasionally my roommate will pick up sandwiches for us on his way home from work; but I pay him for mine. We split the rest of the bills right down the middle so that each of us pay our part. One of the best things about living in my town house is that someone is always around; if not staff, than a peer who is always willing to help me out or offer companionship. I go to work four days a week, and on the fifth day, I spend the day with staff shopping and preparing meals. My staff is like a second mom to me, she is a great cook. I can’t live without her.

My mom is happy that I am happy, and she comes by my townhouse every Sunday to take me out to lunch. Next year, I would like to go on a vacation where I can swim in a lake and a pool; maybe at a resort.

 Thank you to everyone who gives to Little Friends and makes it possible for me to live in such an awesome place.”

 Dan, Residential Services


Stories_Malcolm.png

“Krejci Academy has given our son the tools and confidence to grow and develop into a wonderful person. Since Malcolm has attended Little Friends, he has developed skills that he may not have mastered as easily without the encouragement and support of the Krejci family. To all the staff at Krejci Academy, our family thanks you for recognizing Malcolm's unique personality and his limitless potential.  Your dedication in providing a safe, accepting space in which anyone with special needs can grow into a promising individual has been immeasurable.”

Anthony & Jeanine, Parents of Malcom


Stories_Olivia.png

“We’ve seen a lot of great progress this year. The conversational speech is unbelievable. She engages, even with strangers. She will answer their questions. She will follow up with natural, original questions and it’s really nice to see. When you see your child come out of their shell a little bit, and you see what you know is going on in their head, it’s like oh my gosh. There is it. I knew it! . You’re so much more hopeful for all the things you know that they can achieve.”

Francesca, Mom of Olivia


“Katie was asked to become a member of the cleaning crew at the Little Friends Administrative building.  The hours are 7am – 9am.  Keep in mind that Katie was a difficult person to wake up in the morning, so now she would have to get up at 5:30 am in order to get her “morning routine” accomplished.  My husband and I explained all this to her and she was insistent that she “could do it”.

Stories_Katie (1).png

Well, it’s been approximately a year since Katie began cleaning at the Admin Building and we can honestly say she has “blossomed”.  She rarely complains about getting up (we’re down to some minor grumbling), she loves working with her teammates, and has a sense of confidence about herself that we feel is attributed to the extra responsibilities she has been tasked with.  Katie truly LOVES her job.  She does not like missing work. As her parents, both Larry and I feel truly thankful and blessed for the opportunities that Little Friends has provided and offered to Katie.   Little Friends staff are remarkable people who are dedicated to what they do and to their clients. On a final note, we only wish Katie would keep her own bathroom and bedroom clean!”

Gloria & Larry, Parents of Katie


Additional Stories

“Thank you for arranging the Teen Scene Program for our son Phillip this summer. He enjoyed the program and wouldn’t mind if it continued.  The signup and interview beforehand gave all a great idea what to expect, in a compassionate environment.

The life skills he was taught including cooking, shopping, home cares were great and carried over after the program.  He was excited to demonstrate what he did in class.   He showed new initiative, even insisted he wash my car one evening (and did a good job).  Our son needs structured instruction, and this program was a home run.  Phillip was more interactive afterwards and actually said was the best activity of the summer.  He did make a friend in class.

This is an outstanding program and we are grateful it was available for our son.  We hope it continues and is available to other families.”

Sean, Parent


“The parent training I received at PIP (now Parent Toddler Social Groups) has been the foundation for the way I’ve been teaching my children social skills and communication for the past decade. PIP allowed us both to learn together in a fun and structured learning environment with really knowledgeable professionals, that we both looked forward to seeing multiple days of the week.  I so appreciated the parent support that PIP staff provided.....being able to learn alongside other parents with children with special needs was a great comfort.” 

Aimee, Parent


“Little Friends is a lifespan program serving children, adolescents and adults. In addition, Little Friends is multi-modal, offering center-based, school-based and community-based services so as to meet the individual needs of all who come to Little Friends for care.

Little Friends is a reliable and valuable community resource for individuals and families facing the challenges of Autism Spectrum Disorder.

The Little Friends Autism Program provides a full spectrum of evidenced-based services. They have completed hundreds of evaluations using the gold-standard instruments in the field; the ADI and the ADOS. They also provide other diagnostic services for individuals with cognitive impairment and learning problems, as well as other co-morbid psychopathology. The team has the capacity to provide structured behavioral assessments. Then, based on these comprehensive assessments, the Little Friends team develops individualized treatment plans that include both services at Little Friends, schools, home and in the community. Among the treatment services are individual and group social skills training, speech and language therapy, and behavior therapy, including ABA.

With Little Friends extensive experience, they have also been able to develop special training programs for parents and professionals. More than a thousand individuals have benefited from these services, allowing them to return to their communities and their homes to provide services and extend the reach of the Little Friends programs.”

Bennett L. Leventhal, MD
Professor
Department of Psychiatry
Langley Porter Psychiatric Institute
University of California San Francisco