Annie Bruno, Consulting Specialist
Linda Tortorelli, Resource Specialist
Anne Pollard Hall, Resource Specialist
What I do at The Autism Program at Christopher Hall is... I am the director of The Autism Program (TAP) at the University of Illinois and an assistant teaching professor in the college of HDFS. TAP has a fully staffed and operational resource room here in the Family Resiliency Center that connects children and family with autism supports throughout the community. I also interface with Illinois students to teach courses on autism, supervise clinical experiences, and support university students on the autism spectrum through our new program, the Illinois Neurodiversity Initiative (I-N-I).
I am skilled in... teaching! Trained as a doctor of speech language pathology, I have expertise in the support and remediation of executive function difficulties. This expertise allows me to be effective teaching individuals, families, students, or classrooms about issues of neurodiversity.
TAP is family because… we come alongside families of all types to learn, grow, and support the development of each individual. Within this organization, we have each other's backs; we celebrate one another's victories and work hard to help one another be the best they can be.
My hobbies and interests outside of TAP are… my husband and four adult children, who are the main priority in my life! I love flowers, cooking, and singing in my church choir. But most of all, I love to love people.
What I do at The Autism Program at Christopher Hall is… I am the assistant director of The Autism Program (TAP) and an instructor of autism and neurodiversity in the Department of Human Development & Family Services. I oversee TAP’s Resource Room and student interns who help staff it. I also provide community support and training on autism and neurodiversity, primarily in early childhood settings.
I am skilled in… coaching and modeling best practices for helping children with autism spectrum conditions. I have training in early childhood special education as well as in PLAY (Play and Language for Autistic Youngsters). I worked as a teacher at Head Start for several years. Later, I worked in early intervention, providing evaluations and developmental therapy services. I was also the director of the Child Development Center at Parkland College. I have a brother on the spectrum, so I have worked with autism in multiple settings — parents, teachers, administrators, and providers from all over Champaign County. I love collaborating with other agencies to help support communities’ needs.
TAP is family because… you can turn to TAP when you need support. Each “family member” brings a unique background and perspective. We work together to not only support each other but to support the community.
My hobbies and interests outside of TAP are… I enjoy being outdoors, preferably surrounded by trees and/or water. I love to camp, hike, kayak, fish, and swim. I’m also a sucker for a good game night: board games, video games, card games, especially Euchre! I also enjoy cooking for friends and family with my husband and spending time watching my daughter learn and grow.