Family Clinic Provides Community Based Programs

The Developmental Disability Family Clinic has been a part of the Institute on Disability and Human Development at the University of Illinois at Chicago since 1992.  The Clinic has offered a range of services for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families over the years, all with a deep commitment to providing quality services and supports to unserved and underserved families throughout Illinois. Though this commitment has been tested in the last few years due to funding cuts, the Clinic has continued to offer services across the lifespan for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) and their families.

At the Family Clinic, the work does not end at the clinic door. Instead, clinicians are active in community-based programs and projects, providing their unique and experience-tested insights in a variety of contexts.

For example, clinicians have provided comprehensive special education consultations for multiple school districts, drawing on observation, interviews and chart review to facilitate solutions that benefit students, families and schools. Clinicians have also provided consultations for investigators at the State’s Attorney’s office, the Department of Children and Family Services, forensic interviewers, and the Children’s Advocacy Center.  In addition, clinicians provide support on clinical issues for a variety of research and training projects. For example, Susan Kahan, LCPC, provides mental health consultations for individuals that are a part of the state’s Short Term Stabilization Homes demonstration project, and Irma Hernandez and Jessica Schultz have served as mentors in a stakeholder education and leadership development training grant about the HCBS final settings rule. Clinicians including Mati Ovalle provide the educational portion of a community-based group of families called Grupo Salto.  Over 500 strong, this Latino family support group for families with children with IDD provides social support, education about policies and services that impact them, and ongoing advocacy efforts.

“We offer more than just therapy. Our goal is to maximize independence and individuality, and we provide resources for families as well. As we work with families to accept a diagnosis, we try to overcome myths and misperceptions about autism and developmental disability.”
Susan Kahan  |  DD Family Clinic Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor

The Family Clinic aims to extend its influence by training students to be outstanding clinicians in their work with individuals with IDD and their families. Many clinic staff are also LEND faculty, and the Family Clinic
is a primary training and observation site for Illinois LEND, an advanced interdisciplinary leadership training program. This year, clinicians will teach LEND trainees to do autism screenings. The ethos of the Family Clinic, anchored in bringing hope to families through counseling, support and education, has left an indelible mark on its clients, and will continue to do so as the Family Clinic becomes better integrated into the UI Health system in FY18.