Options Center for Independent Living (CIL)

Options Center for Independent Living (CIL)
Non-residential, not-for-profit, community-based organization that promotes independent living for people with disabilities by providing information/referral, advocacy, peer support, and a wide variety of other services. Services are FREE for individuals with disabilities.
Kankakee & Iroquois Counties
Iroquois County Office
Therese Cardosi, Executive Director


Accessibility Information

Provides information about American's with Disabilities Act (ADA) Titles II and III compliance, Illinois Accessibility Code, and home adaptation. Options serves as a resource for information to area businesses and organizations about issues related to accessibility and the ADA.


Options provides both personal and systemic advocacy services. Personal advocacy empowers an individual with a disability to pursue the lifestyle he or she chooses. Consumers who wish to be self-advocates are given advice and support on effective means of accessing various service systems. For those consumers who need assistance in advocating for themselves, Options staff can also act as representatives. Systemic advocacy is pursued as Options strives to eliminate barriers to equal access and opportunities for all persons with disabilities. Through various public awareness activities, special events, and participation in the legislative process, Options works to promote and affect positive change on local, state, and national levels.

Amplified Phone and TTY Distribution and Training

Options is designated by the Illinois Telecommunications Access Corporation (ITAC) to demonstrate amplified phones and to distribute TTYs (teletypewriter devices) for people who are deaf or hard-of-hearing, or who have speech impairments. Options also provides training to consumers, their family members, and businesses on how to use TTYs, and arranges for exchanges and/or repairs of the equipment.

Community Reintegration Program

Works with adults with disabilities ages 18-59 whose goal is to live independently rather than in a nursing home. Qualified individuals are provided with services and support systems needed in order to move into their own residence and live independently.

Equipment Loan

People in need of small equipment for disabilities may be able to lease this equipment through an equipment loan program coordinated by Options. Such items available for loan are wheelchairs, walkers, and canes. Availability of items varies at any point in time, depending on items in use and those in inventory.

Independent Living Skills Training

Options works cooperatively with the Office of Rehabilitation Services and area schools and organizations to provide appropriate training in independent living skills through job skills, employment assistance, housing acquisition, and personal assistance programs.

Information & Referral

Options provides current information on adaptive equipment, housing, support services, employment, and other issues for persons with disabilities and the general public. Referrals are made to outside sources, including community agencies and service providers, whenever appropriate.

Peer Support

The peer-support program at Options can match a person with a disability with another person who has a similar disability or life experience. These peer counselors provide role modeling, exhibit strong coping and problem-solving skills, and share the benefit of their knowledge about community resources. Options also facilitates a support group for persons with all types of disabilities and a support group for persons with visual impairments. Call for information.

Personal Assistance Program

Options provides orientation for personal assistants for people with disabilities over the age 18. Personal assistants (PAs) are individuals who work for people with disabilities in their homes, assisting them with the tasks of daily living, such as dressing, preparing meals, shopping, or other activities. Options maintains an active registry of personal assistants for use by people with disabilities who hire and manage their Pas. Options also provides PA management training for people with disabilities to help them effectively recruit, screen, train, and manage Pas.

Vision Services

Provides vision services to individuals 55 and older who have significant vision impairments and want to maintain independent living. Individuals can try out many types of independent living aids in Options' Vision Assistive Technology Center to determine which aids will improve their ability to perform daily living tasks. Other services include free adaptive equipment, independent living skills training, Braille service, advocacy, and a vision support group. Additionally, Options CIL partners with blind/low-vision individuals over the age of 18 interested in securing or maintaining employment. The Vision Service program provider will work 1:1 with people who may benefit from Assistive Technology and/or training on the use of Assistive Technology at home or in the workplace.

Youth Transition Program

Options CIL also provides two programs for youth with disabilities ages 14-24 interested in transitioning to post-secondary life. In both Youth Transition programs, the provider may work 1:1 and/or in a group setting with youth on Job Exploration Counseling; Work-based learning experiences; Counseling on Post-Secondary Education; Workplace Readiness training and instruction in Self-Advocacy, including how to request reasonable accommodations. Peer support is also a focus.


08:30 AM - 05:00 PM
08:30 AM - 05:00 PM
08:30 AM - 05:00 PM
08:30 AM - 05:00 PM
08:30 AM - 05:00 PM
Last Updated: 07/23/2021 at 05:00 PM