Programs @ ALCA

Alexander Leigh Center for Autism (ALCA) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, full day, year-round therapeutic day school approved by the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) for children 3-21 years old with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), OHI, multiple disabilities, developmental delay and/or intellectual disability. ALCA is based in McHenry, Illinois and we currently serve Cook, DuPage, Lake, Kane,  McHenry, and Will counties.


Therapeutic Day School

The Therapeutic Day School serves children 3-21 years old with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), OHI, multiple disabilities, developmental delay and/or intellectual disability. Our student to teacher ratios are 1:1 or 2:1 supported by highly qualified and licensed teaching staff and staff who all receive ongoing and specialized training. ALCA is a year round ISBE approved school. Students attend ALCA Monday thru Friday 9:00am – 3:00pm during the regular school year and 9:00am-2:00pm during the summer months

ALCA addresses these characteristics through a child-centered team approach following a therapeutic, holistic, interdisciplinary model, with emphasis on generalization of skills to home and community. Every child with autism requires an appropriate place to learn within a supportive environment where he/she can develop his/her full potential and thrive. Although children on the autism spectrum are unique, they all share several characteristics: sensory integration dysfunction, an impaired communication system and a lack of social awareness including forming peer relationships. Kids thrive in our therapeutic learning environment!


Our Philosophy

Our core focus is on sensory regulation, communication, academics/pre-academics, life skills, behavior, socialization and community. We believe that autism affects the whole family. Therefore, we address the child with autism as well as the family with autism. This includes daily communication with our families and parent support such as training, home visits, meetings, and sharing of materials. This is crucial for the success of the child…and the family.

At ALCA, we strive to enhance the lives of families touched by autism through the following initiatives:

  • Empowering children with ASD to participate fully in all aspects of life.
  • Respecting each child’s unique personality and traits.
  • Maintaining the highest level of safety, dignity, honesty and excellence in all interactions with the children, their families, staff and community.
  • Recognizing the skills of our staff, encouraging commitment and dedication while providing continuous and ongoing training and support.
  • Forming a partnership with families to promote consistency, program carryover and support across environments.
  • Accepting new ideas and approaches that are in the best interest of the child.
  • Promoting reciprocal relationships within the community.
  • Celebrating each and every achievement of the child.

Our Program is a unique solution to the challenge of teaching a child with autism within a safe and supportive environment. The program is designed and implemented by a Behavior Consultant who has more than 10 years of experience developing individual programs for children with autism. Our teaching assistants are highly trained in all methods used at ALCA. Training is provided on an ongoing basis.