HOME > Press Release > Little City Foundation to Open Leading-Edge Therapeutic Day School Advancing Students with Autism

Little City Foundation to Open Leading-Edge Therapeutic Day School Advancing Students with Autism

The ChildBridge Center for Education, Little City’s therapeutic day school, will provide services for students with severe and profound needs on the autism spectrum beginning August 24; Enrollment now open

With the aim of complementing the educational offerings currently available to children and families through the public and private school system, the ChildBridge Center for Education, a therapeutic day school, will provide tailored services for students with severe and profound needs on the autism spectrum.

This day school, accredited by the Illinois State Board of Education, will bridge education and each child’s developmental abilities enabling them to reach their fullest potential.  Collaborating with each child’s home school district, the ChildBridge Center for Education , will develop an individual educational plan (IEP) providing personalized therapies for those with autism, pervasive developmental delays and other intellectual and developmental disabilities.

“Our goal is to focus on the educational, therapeutic and life skills areas that most directly affect the student,” commented Executive Director Shawn E. Jeffers. “We look forward to collaborating with principals, parents and caseworkers to provide the best learning environment for our at-risk children and young adults.”

Little City’s educational program is uniquely designed to provide an environment that concentrates on enhancing communication abilities, social skills and developmentally appropriate life skills of each individual.

Located on Little City’s therapeutic 56-acre campus, students will also benefit from computer-based training, assistive technology apparatuses and augmentative communication therapies and devices. In addition to a specialized playground, a recreation center with a Fitness Center and swimming pool, a specialized on-site medical and dental center as well other leading-edge services each designed specifically for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

A summary of offerings include (but are not limited to):

  • Occupational Therapy
  • Speech and Language Therapy
  • Play Therapy
  • Social Recreation Therapy
  • Social Skills Training
  • Vocational Services
  • Music Therapy
  • Physical Education
  • Computer Resources
  • Community Inclusion and Integration
  • Career Training
  • Independent Living Skills
  • After-school Programming
  • Transition Programming

The ChildBridge Center for Education will offer a primary program (grades 1 to 3), intermediate (grades 4 to 6), junior high (grades 7 and 8) and several high school classes (grades 9 to 12). Classrooms are small and students are grouped in age appropriate classes with no more than a four-year span in any one group.

“Providing children with a practical, learning experience is something that is near and dear to my heart, and I am truly excited to help create such an environment with Little City’s new ChildBridge Center for Education,” added Lead Teacher Andrea Heim. “I’m confident we will provide a place that will positively impact our children and help prepare them for the future.” 

Offering a broad range of more than 35 years of experience in the teaching field, Heim has worked with children and teenagers with intellectual, developmental and behavioral disabilities. She has served as a teacher in elementary education and the college level, developed curriculum for various educational levels, and served as a principal at both Maryville Scott Nolan Academy and the Stateville Correctional Center. Heim also initiated and implemented a therapeutic support program for emotionally disturbed adolescents in DuPage County when she was with School Association for Special Education (SASED).

For referrals, please contact Admissions at school@littlecity.org or 847-221-7859.

About Little City
Being a leader for 60 years, Little City continues to be inspirational and transformational in developing its 56-acre therapeutic community in Palatine. From a modest beginning of three homes and 16 residents primarily with Down syndrome, Little City has grown into a recognized leader offering a wide array of innovative services to more than 1,000 clients weekly. In addition to the Palatine location, Little City has a Community Services Office in Chicago’s Humboldt Park neighborhood, adult service centers in Palatine and Waukegan, and 15 adult community homes and one children’s group home located throughout suburban Cook and DuPage Counties.

Today, Little City’s comprehensive program portfolio includes vocational training and employment placement, foster care and adoption, home-based family support, health and wellness, recreation and therapeutic activities, disability awareness and community education, a day school and an award-winning arts program. Visit www.littlecity.org.


Tina Maraccini, Director of Communications & Marketing
Phone: (847) 221-7855

“Little City uses an affirming message – that it’s a good world, there’s a place for my kids in the world and Little City will help them find it.”

Rachel, mother of children receiving home-based support services