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Disability Organizations

Disability Organizations and Centers in Chicago Heading link

Access Living

Access Living is Chicago’s Center for Independent Living (CIL). They fight stereotypes and discrimination and support civil rights for people with disabilities. Access Living provides five core services: advocacy, independent living skills, transition support, peer support, and information and referrals.

  • Click the following link to navigate to Access Living’s website: Access Living

Cambiando Vidas (CV) – Changing lives

Cambiando Vidas (CV) is one of Access Living‘s community organizing groups. It was originally started for Latinx people with disabilities and now includes immigrants from other communities as well. They hold regular meetings to discuss disability issues and organize collective action.

  • Click the following link to navigate to the Cambiandos Vidas webpage: Cambiando Vidas

Disability and Immigration Task Force (DITI)

“The Disability and Immigration Taskforce of Illinois (DITI) strives to: Empower and support immigrants, refugees, and/or asylees with disabilities and their families to access culturally and linguistically appropriate services and create systems change through advocacy, education, training, and sharing resources that are inclusive of all communities.”

Equip for Equality

Equip for Equality is an independent agency dedicated to protecting the civil and human rights of people with disabilities by providing legal advice and other legal services to people with disabilities who live in Illinois.

  • Click the following link to navigate toEquip for Equality’s website: Equip for Equality

Great Lakes ADA Center

The Great Lakes ADA Center is one of 10 regional ADA Centers around the country that provide local assistance, training, and information related to the ADA.

Illinois Imagines Chicago

Illinois Imagines Chicago is dedicated to learning about the unique needs of survivors who have disabilities and/or experience sexual violence. They work to educate and empower survivors about their rights.

Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities (MOPD)

The Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities works to meet the diverse needs of people with disabilities living in Chicago through education, training, advocacy and services.

Quirky Citizens Alliance Chicago

Quirky Citizens Alliance Chicago is a cross-disability organization that promotes disability culture and meaningful interpersonal interactions.

Coalition for Autistic and Neurodivergent Students (CANS)

  • The Chicago Coalition for Autistic and Neurodivergent Students (CANS) is a peer support and social group for autistic and neurodivergent young adults, including those with ADHD, psychiatric disabilities, and cognitive disabilities and those exploring this identity, and for students from junior college through graduate and professional school and recent graduates. Meetings include check-ins, sharing about challenges, resources, and strategies, and social activities.

    Spring 2024:

  • In-person meetings
    Last Tuesday of the month (Jan 30, Feb 27, March 26, April 30), from 5pm-6pm
    At the Disability Cultural Center, BSB Room 231 
    Virtual meetings
    4th Friday of the month EXCEPT for March, which will be the last Friday of the month instead since that’s Spring Break. (Jan 26, Feb 23, Mar 29, Apr 26), from 5pm-6pm

  • Optional additional meetings during finals/dead week for body doubling or parallel working.

    If you have questions or are interested in joining:

    • Please contact Amelia-Marie Altstadt at
    • Click the following link to join the email list: Chicago CANS Email List
    • Click the following link to join the CANS Facebook page
    • Email with only the subject line “Chicago CANS Discord Server Invite” to request the link to join the Discord server.

Chicagoland Disabled People of Color Coalition (CDPOCC)

We, the Chicagoland Disabled People of Color Coalition (Chicagoland DPOCC), are a group founded by, centered around, and run by disabled, Deaf, autistic, and neurodivergent people of color in the Chicagoland area. We are an organization that:

  • Promote Disability Justice and celebrate people of color with disabilities through education, advocacy, arts & culture,
  • Educate principles of disability acceptance, accessibility, and inclusion in communities of color, and
  • Foster a safe space for disabled people of color to advocate and discover their disability pride

Allies of Chicagoland Disabled People of Color Coalition are also welcomed to attend our meetings and events, as long as they uphold our three-point mission statement and understand that the organization centers around issues and topics related to disabled people of color.

To learn more

Disability Organizations and Centers at UIC Heading link

Chancellor’s Committee on the Status of Persons with Disabilities (CCSPD)

“CCSPD is an advisory body dedicated to promoting the academic, professional, cultural and social welfare of persons with disabilities as well as providing leadership on the history, needs and resources of said population at UIC. To do this, the various subcommittees of the CCSPD focus on a variety of facets of UIC life such as representation, climate, policies, services, and practices that affect faculty, staff and students with disabilities. The CCSPD makes recommendations to the chancellor addressing these issues as well as developing, initiating and managing programs that further address the comprehensive concerns of persons with disabilities.”

The Subcommittee of Disabled Student Experiences (SDSE)

SDSE is a student-led organization focused on promoting accessibility and disability culture within classrooms and overall at UIC. SDSE offers workshops for departments and aims to go beyond compliance with ADA requirements.

Disability and Human Development Student Association (DHDSA)

DHDSA is a student voice for the Department of Disability and Human Development at UIC. DHDSA advocates for students, fosters student and community life through social events and programming, and enhances academic and professional development through workshops, lectures and resources. DHDSA is one of the primary organizers of the Chicagoland Disability Studies Conference.

Disability Resource Center (DRC)

The Disability Resource Center (DRC) is a division of the Office for Access and Equity (OAE). The DRC works to ensure “full access for all students with disabilities in all aspects of college life,” including in academics, campus culture, and the environment.

Mental Health and Disability Alliance (MHDA)

MHDA is an organization dedicated to reducing stigma and other barriers around mental health and disability through research and education, advocacy, community engagement, and raising awareness.