Have Dreams, a local nonprofit that serves children, teens and young adults with autism, recently received a $5,000 grant from the Dr. Scholl Foundation to provide intervention services for financially disadvantaged children and teens with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). The grant will allow children and teens in need to attend Have Dreams’ Socia,l Communication and Independent Living Skills (SCILS) after-school programs. These autism-specific programs help individuals with ASD improve their ability to communicate their wants and needs, increase their ability to socialize appropriately with peers, and practice independence through the use of schedules and other supports. Without this grant, many children and teens would not have the opportunity to attend these programs; with 1 in 68 children diagnosed with autism, programs like this are needed more than ever.

Founded in 1996, Have Dreams was the first organization in the Midwest to develop appropriate programs, beyond the school day, for children with autism. With locations in Park Ridge and Evanston, Have Dreams offers a variety of social, communication, life skills and job training programs for children, teens and young adults with autism, as well as diagnostic and family support services and specialized training for teachers and families. For more information, see www.havedreams.org.