Although new to the State of Illinois, Amy is no stranger to early intervention. She brings to us a wealth of knowledge and experience from her home state of New Jersey. As an executive board member of the New Jersey Intervention Coalitions, her responsibilities included service on Governor's New Jersey Early Intervention System Stakeholder Task Force/Steering Committee, the Governor's NJEIS Quality Assurance Task Force and the Governor's NJEIS Autism Task Force.
Having attended Trenton State College in Trenton, New Jersey, Amy received her bachelor's degree in Early Childhood Special Education with a Nursery Certificate. Her 10 years of experience at the JFK Medical Center, Johnson Rehabilitation Institute, Pediatric Rehabilitation Department in Edison, New Jersey in addition to her two years experience as Regional Trainer and Technical Assistance Coordinator for the New Jersey Department of Health make Amy a welcome addition to the Illinois El Training Team. Her `hands-on' approach to learning is recommended for any early intervention service provider desiring to spark their creativity.
With a. B.S. in journalism and experience working for a major Chicago newspaper combined with a Masters in Social Work, Joan brings diverse insights to the El Training Team. Her involvement in El began when her, now 16-year old daughter, began receiving El services. A Family Resource Specialist for Starnet since 1994, Joan has been involved in system development supporting families. Having worked with Local Interagency Councils providing technical support and assistance in Cook, Kankakee, LaSalle and Will counties, Joan's is a familiar face among early intervention leaders in the state of Illinois.
She continues to advocate for and support families of children with special needs through the Early Intervention Parents As Leaders (EIPALS) Program as one of the program's codirectors. Joan also serves on the board of directors for the fiscal agent of CFC #12, one of the largest Child and Family Connections offices in the state.
Chelsea began her work in early intervention in a small, home-based program in rural Southern Illinois. Her experiences as a college intern shaped her future schooling and, inevitably, her career path. Her undergraduate training in psychology led her to seek work in a community-based agency for people with developmental disabilities, but her experiences in their early intervention program are what led her to graduate work focused specifically on developmental psychology.
In addition to her formal training, Chelsea credits much of what she knows about families and children with developmental differences to her experiences as a nanny for a family whose daughter had multiple medical and developmental needs. She witnessed on a daily basis the struggles that this family encountered as they attempted to find a diagnosis and maneuver through medical and state systems. This firsthand knowledge of the obstacles many families face made her determined to improve the way that early intervention providers address and support families
For nearly ten years now, Chelsea has served as the director of Oak Leyden Developmental Services’ early intervention program, playing an active part in the switch from a child-centered, grant-funded center-based provider to a family-centered program that is primarily delivered in families’ homes. She has been active member of her LIC and was appointed as a family representative to the Illinois Interagency Council on Early Intervention in 2004. She has trained early intervention providers on a variety of topics over the past four years and has recently been providing training to daycare providers to help them expand their ability to serve children with developmental differences. In 2005, her interest in the family’s role in early intervention led her to the role of project coordinator for Illinois’ general supervision enhancement grant. In this capacity, she has helped develop a survey designed to measure early intervention family outcomes. This role has grown and she is now assisting the Bureau of Early Intervention in their examination of both child and family outcomes.
Sarah Nichols became a team member of the Illinois Early Intervention Training program in August 2002. Sarah is a trainer for the program and has spent much of the last year developing the Online Service Coordination/Cornerstone Training in collaboration with other members of the training team. Sarah also was a Service Coordinator at Child and Family Connections of DuPage County where she has served children and their families for seven years. Sarah is very dedicated and demonstrates great passion in her service to families participating in the EI program. She is a strong proponent of the team approach and is enthusiastic about sharing this belief with all other providers and coordinators that are reaching children and families on a day to day basis.
Benton Johnson II
Benton Johnson II is a native of the Quad Cities, IL who specializes in working with children, birth to five years old, and their families on issues connected to their social emotional development, typical/atypical development, trauma & loss, and attachment. He is currently a Licensed Professional Counselor, National Certified Counselor, Social Emotional Consultant (CFC #14), Certified Trauma and Loss Specialist, and Developmental Therapist with extensive training in Early Intervention, Theraplay, and Play Therapy modalities as well as two years of advanced counseling training at the doctoral level. He teaches as an adjunct professor at Western Illinois University and is a published author. His experience includes research evaluator with Healthy Families of Illinois, Case Coordination and Counseling at Safe from the Start program of the Child Abuse Council, Educational Interpreter for the Deaf, Drug and Alcohol Counseling, and Program Management. He has trained and provided presentations to professionals, families, and agencies at the local, state, and national level.
Susan Connor, M.Ed.
Susan Connor is a Child Development Specialist and has been working with families and children ages birth-3 for over 10 years. Currently, Susan is a consultant with the Illinois Early Intervention Training Program and is a Regional Training Coordinator providing support for the Training Program's consultants statewide. Susan frequently presents at confererences both nationally and internationally. She is also currently the Director of Square One Kids, LLC, a pediatric early intervention program providing Speech and Developmental therapies to families throughout the Chicagoland area. Susan’s prior experience includes working as a Service Coordinator and as the Program Manager for a Child & Family Connections office. In addition, she worked as the coordinator for the Fussy Baby Network at Erikson Institute and provided internship supervision to graduate students at Erikson Institute. Susan continues to work directly with families, providing evaluations and ongoing developmental therapy to children enrolled in the Early Intervention system.
A student of nursing, Maria graduated from St. John's Hospital School of Nursing and Sangamon State University and has also attended numerous conferences and workshops relative to children with special needs as both presenter and participant. Employed as a nursing consultant with the IL Department of Human Services Bureau of Early Intervention Services, Maria assists with policy review and development, consults on issues requiring a medical perspective and serves as the Assistive Technology Coordinator providing technical assistance to CFC's , service providers and families dealing with a variety of issues.
Prior to her current position as a nursing consultant with the Illinois Department of Human Services Bureau of Early Intervention Maria was employed as a nursing consultant for an El agency performing a variety of duties including screenings, intakes, assessments, nursing and nutrition services as well as quality assurance duties.
Maria's personal experiences provide her with a unique perspective on early intervention and a deeper commitment to better serve the children assisted by early intervention services. As a parent of identical twin boys, born 10 weeks prematurely, Maria and her husband received early intervention services for their sons. Now 11 years old, one son demonstrates minimal residual effect of his prematurely, but Trevor, a child of sweet disposition is nonverbal and dependent on others for all self care needs, including feeding and diapering. Maria and her family deal frequently with equipment and medical needs, insurance requirements and the additional time and attention her son requires.
Lucy’s work experiences in Illinois Special Education, her personal experiences as a mother of six, and her desire to positively influence the world of education, particularly in the processes of early learning, make her ‘right-at-home’ in the offices of the EI Training Program.
Prior to joining Ted Burke and the EI Training Team in July, 2002, Lucy spent five years with The Lockport Area Special Education Cooperative. She began her LASEC career as the Child Find Program Secretary and for the out-of-district, tuition-placement caseload. Lucy also served as the School Secretary to North Star Academy, the Cooperative’s alternative school program for students in grades 1-12 and ended her years with LASEC as Executive Secretary to the Board of Directors, Assistant to the Executive Director, and as Co-Manager of Human Resources.
An ‘at-home’ mom of six for several years, Lucy was active in her local school and church communities serving as Secretary of the District’s School Board, various PTO committees, church Elder, Christian Education Program Chair, Youth Leader, and Sunday School Teacher of her church. Other volunteer services include two years in the Education Department of Brookfield Zoo.
Program Director - The Illinois Early Intervention Training Program
Originally from New York, Ted received his B.S. in Political Science from the State University of New York at Brockport. While in still in New York Ted's experiences with public policy began while he worked for the New York State Assembly. Two years of the best social services training anyone can receive was obtained while working at Charles Settlement House in Rochester, New York. His interests in Early Intervention began in Rockford, Illinois when he attended his first LIC meeting while serving as the Assistant Director of the Head Start Program there.
Since then, Ted has worked as the Early Intervention Systems Resource Specialist for StarNet, a service coordinator, a Local Interagency Council Coordinator, and a Program Manager for Child and Family Connections #7 and #12.
Ted has consulted for a number of agencies including UCP, Easter Seals, Blue Cap and the Illinois State Board of Education in the area of early intervention. Ted is a frequent guest lecturer at various Illinois Colleges and Universities. He also sits on a number of local and state advisory boards which focus on providing services for children and their families. Ted is Past President of the Board of Directors for Service Incorporated. When not tending to the day to day activities of the El Training Program, you are apt to find him out in the field, at the training sites, presenting workshops in Systems Overview, Evaluation and Assessment, Service Coordination, Transition, Child Outcomes or Teaming (to name a few).
In his spare time Ted likes to spend time travelling with his wife Christy and son Gordy. At leisure Ted is usually found on his boat fishing, or lost in a good book.