Trainings & Workshops

Trainings & Workshops

For Professionals Who Work with Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)
Have Dreams provides a number of autism–related interactive trainings and workshops for families and professionals across the state of Illinois including one, two and five-day seminars. These trainings and workshops provide comprehensive instruction regarding structured teaching for children on the autism spectrum. All Have Dreams trainings based on the TEACCH methodology of Structured Teaching.

Over the past several years, we have trained over 7,000 educators, parents and professionals in best practice autism methodology.


Training Presenters

Caroline McCarthy, M.A.
Lead Trainer
Caroline McCarthy is a special education teacher with 15 years experience. Caroline has provided trainings for Have Dreams for eight years. She provides expert ASD consultation to families and schools.

Christine Bellosa, M.A., LCPC
Christine Bellosa is a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor (LCPC) and has been a trainer at Have Dreams since 2010.
She has had experience working with individuals and families affected by ASD across various settings such as Have Dreams, schools, residential, hospitals and in-home.  Currently, she is working in private practice in addition to training.


Training Participant Testimonials:

“The training was extremely informative, and I learned more (in one day) about Autism and how to work with children who are on the spectrum than I have in years!”

“Hands on make and take was great, especially since we could choose an activity that was most helpful for us. OUTSTANDING training that I think would be great on an ongoing basis.”

“This was an excellent training. The examples provided and the videos helped us understand how it works in action. It is clear that you are dedicated to increasing knowledge of best practices for students with autism, given that you provide/share materials for us.”

“Thank you for an amazing day! The information you provided was useful, practical and easy to understand and apply to my work. You also injected much inspiration into my practice – I went back to my classrooms with a renewed sense of enthusiasm! Thanks again!”

“The training was excellent and so specific to what social workers are asked to do with children on the spectrum. The information was very useful and highly relevant to what I do each day and I found it invaluable since I have very little experience working with younger children with autism (I had more experience working with older students diagnosed with Asperger’s). I would find follow up consultation and/or training to be very helpful.”

Over the past decade, Have Dreams has trained over 6,000 professionals and parents. Our trainings have been recognized for their quality, interactive components and impact. In fact, research related to our trainings has been presented many times from 2010-2017 at the International Meeting for Autism Research (IMFAR) and The British Psychological Society. Research papers that were selected for presentation include: Training Teachers, Implementing Reading Skills & Literacy Programming within Schools, The Role of Self-Efficacy When Preparing Teachers in Autism Spectrum Disorders, and Social Skills Programming for Individuals on the Autism Spectrum: Training Social Workers. We are also proud to have been chosen to lead the statewide TAP autism training initiative. Research supports the value of the content and practical application of our trainings to your important work with students with Autism Spectrum Disorder.

For further information, to schedule a training or to register for our upcoming trainings, please contact or send the appropriate forms to Lydia Wissing at

Have Dreams Training
Practical trainings for parents and professionals, offering basic information to adapting learning materials for home and the classroom.

Basic Elements of Structured Teaching (BEST)

  • Overview of Autism Spectrum Disorders
  • Basics of Structured Teaching
  • Practical Application and Interventions
  • Interactive lectures and instruction

A two-day interactive workshop providing an overview of Structured Teaching and its application for moderately to severely challenged children with autism spectrum disorder. Video presentations of three students (beginning level, mid- and higher-functioning) enhance the lectures and provide information for the hands-on activities.

Autism 411

This autism training session includes basic information on autism, including, characteristics, diagnosis and treatment. Participants will receive information on the learning, communication and social deficits that affect individuals with autism. Structured Teaching strategies covered in this training have been shown to reduce challenging behaviors. Video segments are included.

Reading, Math & Social Skills

Reading: Dozens of ideas for adapting books and increasing literacy. Skill levels range from matching concepts through advanced reading comprehension and even ideas for book groups.

Math: Tutorial on creating activities for beginning level Math

Social Skills: various ways to adapt commercially available independent and social leisure materials to make them accessible and enjoyable to children with autism.

Current Topics in Autism

Topics presented could include:

  • Administrator Panel Discussion (Elementary, High School and Therapeutic Day School
  • Females on the Autism Spectrum
  • Current Research in Communication
  • Effects of Social Media, Gaming & Internet on Individuals with ASD
  • Sexuality, Safety & ASD
  • Business Perspective of Hiring Individuals with ASD
  • And more

This is an annual seminar designed to bring together professionals from various disciplines who are experts in the field of Autism Research and practice.


Topics include:

  • Characteristics and classroom assessments of students with autism
  • Principles and implementation of Structured Teaching
  • Working with families of children with autism
  • Communication and socialization strategies
  • Proactive behavioral strategies promoting independent, vocational and social skills


Register for Workshop or Training

To register for a workshop please contact or send the appropriate forms to Lydia Wissing at If a schedule training is full, please call Lydia Wissing at 847.685.0250 ext. 111 to have your name put on a waiting list.

Questions? Contact Lydia Wissing at or 847-685-0250, ext. 111.