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The Special Education Department provides technical assistance through the various projects below. The functions of these projects include providing information and guidance on promising practices in educating students with disabilities, operating numerous statewide training and technical assistance initiatives, administering the comprehensive system of personnel development for special education and the management of grant programs to schools for special education service delivery.​

 Autism Professional Learning and Supports (A+) Project

The Autism Professional Learning and Universal Supports (A+) project at Illinois State University assists the Illinois State Board of Education in addressing the significant behavior needs of children and youth with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and related behavior and communication disorders. The​ goals of the A+ project include:

  • Creating a professional learning community for educators, related support personnel, and families supporting children and youth with ASD;
  • Promoting positive behavior growth and increasing the functional communication of children and youth with ASD across environments;
  • Increasing the access and inclusion of children and youth with ASD in schools and communities; and
  • Supporting the meaningful involvement of families in their children’s education.

The A+ project supports school teams by using high-impact, evidence-based practices that are delivered through high-quality professional learning and individualized coaching. ​​

 Autism Training and Technical Assistance (ATTA) Project

The Autism Training and Technical Assistance Project (ATTA) website and its resources have been developed pursuant to and funded 100% through a grant from the Illinois State Board of Education. This website is maintained and updated by the Illinois Center for Specialized Professional Support, Illinois State University.

The Autism Training and Technical Assistance Project (ATTA) develops and presents resources that assist individuals with autism in their transition from secondary education to postsecondary education or employment. The ATTA also seeks to provide training and support to important stakeholders as they work to provide an equitable experience for individuals with autism.​​​​

 Behavior Assessment Training Project

​The Special Education Behavior Assessment Training (BAT)​ project will provide comprehensive, professional learning for special education personnel on culturally responsive Functional Behavior Assessment (FBA) practices and Behavior Intervention Plans (BIPs) for students across all grade levels. Districts identified with a disproportionate rate of suspension and expulsion for students with disabilities will receive training and support on FBAs and BIPs. State-level guidelines will be developed, per 105 ILCS5/14-8.05, to address culturally responsive, evidence-based behavior interventions for students across all grade levels. This project is funded by the Illinois State Board of Education through an IDEA Part B Federal Grant.

 Center for Transition and Work

The Center for Transition and Work is a​ technical assistance resource developed by the University of Illinois with federal and ISBE funding support. The Center provides statewide training and technical assistance, which will include case studies, digital research library, research briefs, and webcasts, to anyone involved in the area of transition from school to work for students with significant disabilities (e.g., intellectual disability, multiple disabilities, etc.).​

 Critical Components Tool for Special Education Programs

The Critical Components Too for Special Education Programs is available to districts, cooperatives, and schools to enhance and improve special education programming through the utilization of a district/school improvement process. In order to support school districts who must review the provision of special education programs and services, it provides an analysis of needs with identified areas for plan development. This effort is led by the Illinois Center for Specialized Professional Support (ICSPS) at Illinois State University and supported by the Illinois State Board of Education.​

 Directors Conference Resources

2023 Presentations​


Early CHOICES is an Inclusion Initiative of the Illinois State Board of Education. We promote increasing high quality inclusive early care and education for each and every child birth to age 5. Our goal is to increase the number of children with disabilities receiving specialized services in regular early care and education settings.​

 IEP Quality Project (IEPQ)

The IEP-Q Project is a resource developed by the University of Illinois with federal and ISBE funding support. It is designed to assist IEP teams in writing high quality standards-referenced IEPs that are individualized, usable, and directly relate to student needs and instruction. The IEPQ website is intended to provide best practice guidance and examples; it is not a “How-To Manual” for filling out an Illinois’ IEP. IEPQ is currently a free resource, and anyone involved in writing IEPs and currently employed in K-12 public or ISBE-approved private school in Illinois may register for an account.​

 IEP-Student Tracking and Reporting System (I-Star)

​​​Harrisburg Project​ provides support, training and professional development services to special education districts and cooperatives for maintenance and data reporting in I-Star, the Illinois State Board of Education’s (ISBE) Special Education data reporting system. Services offered include providing user guides and training tools, end-user individual and group training, phone and email support, and liaison to ISBE Funding and Disbursements Department, ISBE Special Education Department, and I-Star program developers.

 Illinois Assistive Technology Program (IATP)

​​​A technical assistance resource that offers free training opportunities for community members, organizations, and professionals. Trainings can be provided in-person or through video conferencing and can be customized based on the needs of the requesting group. Training topics may include Introduction to AT; AT and accommodations for education, transition, and employment; Specific AT categories; Accessibility options for mobile devices; AT policies and advocacy; Accessible educational materials and resources; or Implementing best practices.

 Illinois Assistive Technology Support

​​​A technical assistance resource that provides state of the art assistive technology, information, training, equipment services and technical assistance. ISBE Infinitec Training addresses priority areas such as: AT Consideration and Service Delivery, AT supporting Executive Function, Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC), Reading, Writing, Transition and Access for Students with Significant Disabilities, and Universal Design for Learning. The menu of training services provided by Infinitec includes webinars, seminars, online courses, and blended learning opportunities delivered by national, regional, and local trainers.​

 Illinois Elevating Special Educators Network (IESE)

The IESE Network is a SPDG initiative of ISBE and is administered under a multi-year grant awarded to Champaign-Ford Regional Office of Education 9 in 2021. ROE 9 will work collaboratively with ROE 21, 47, 51, and 54 to design and implement professional learning activities, including training, technical assistance, mentoring, and coaching. The overarching goals of this initiative are to:

  1. ​Build capacity of staff who support students with disabilities through research-based professional development, 
  2. Deliver mentoring to increase the retention of early career special education teachers and professional learning to address the special education teacher shortage, 
  3. Increase the capacity of families as partners in the educational process of students with disabilities, and 
  4. Deliver professional learning and technical assistance to build seamless and sustainable delivery systems.

Additional collaborative efforts with the Illinois Association of Regional School Superintendents, Institutes of Higher Education, Illinois New Teacher Collaborative and Parent Training and Information Centers will assist in creating a further impact of this project. ​

 Illinois Service Resource Center

The Illinois Service Resource Center is the coordination center for a wide variety of services tailored specifically for children who are deaf or hard of hearing and exhibit behavioral, emotional or mental health challenges.​​

 Illinois Special Education Leadership Academy (SELA)

The Illinois Special Education Leadership Academy (SELA) is a federally funded grant project that assists the Illinois State Board of Education in providing opportunities for advanced professional development aligned to the needs of leaders of special services. SELA aims to provide 1:1 mentoring, coaching and resources to support new and current leaders navigating the ongoing changes in the field of education. Leadership research promotes ongoing professional learning grounded in four pillars: Decision-making, Communication, Continuous Improvement Process, and Resources/Technical Supports. SELA is dedicated to create and facilitate learning and networking opportunities to enhance professional learning and leadership growth that can be applied to the important work of special education leadership Applying the four pillars to our work requires specialized professional learning opportunities that allow for dialogue and application to current needs in our focus on specialized services within the broader context of education.​

 Project Reach

Project Reach provides technical assistance, information, and training to address the early intervention, special education, related services, and transitional services needs of children with deaf-blindness and enhance state capacity to improve services and outcomes for children and their families.​​​​​

 Specific Learning Disabilities Support Project

The Specific Learning Disability Support Project​ is a new federally funded grant project through the Illinois State Board of Education in partnership with Eastern Illinois University and Eastern Illinois Area of Special Education. The Specific Learning Disability Support Project aligns with IDEA’s purpose “…by supporting system improvement activities, coordinated research, personnel preparation, coordinated technical assistance, technology development and media services to ensure the effectiveness of efforts to educate children with disabilities.” This project aims to reduce the achievement gap and offer training and resources to meet the educational needs of all students with specific learning disabilities. It also aims to increase reading and math skills and decrease achievement gaps by expanding upon the development of previous training materials to address “specially designed instruction” for students with specific learning disabilities, including, but not limited to, dyslexia. ​


Illinois STAR NET envisions a future where early childhood professionals and families have the supports needed to provide all children with a high quality, equitable education in inclusive environments. STAR NET’s mission is to promote:​

  • evidence-based inclusive practices for young children with disabilities.
  • professional development to support educators and families.
  • meaningful child outcomes through innovative and engaging learning experiences.​​

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