Our Services

Northwestern Illinois Center for Independent Living (NICIL) offers five (5) core focus areas:


In addition to our five (5) core focus areas we offer services that include:  Personal Assistance (PA Services), Community Reintegration Program, and Education/Outreach programs.

Not sure what services you need?  Call us at 815-625-7860 or 888-886-4245.  We will ask some questions, listen to you, and help you find the resources that will match your needs, even if that isn’t NICIL.  We want you to be empowered and encouraged to live independently in our communities.  Let’s talk.

Individual and Systemic Advocacy

NICIL will advocate for the implementation of current laws, promotion of needed legislation and improvement of existing systems for people with disabilities while working to diminish negative attitudes that may threaten to impede equal access.


  • Helping individuals find appropriate resources to solve problem
  • Assisting people with disabilities in dealing with conflicts
  • Helping them find ways to negotiate with various support systems


  • Working with community at large to remove both physical and attitudinal barriers that prevent people with disabilities from accessing and participating in our community
  • Working with local authorities to improve the enforcement of ADA and other relevant laws
  • Building strong relationships with local, state and federal elected officials.
Information and Referrals

Northwestern Illinois Center for Independent Living (NICIL) responds to inquiries from people with disabilities, family members, other service providers, the business community and the general public on programs, resources and other issues related to disabilities.

The questions cover a broad range of disabilities – related topics include, but are not limited to:

  • Accessibility Requirement
  • Personal Assistive Technology
  • Employment Services
  • Accessibility Housing
  • Transportation
  • Community resources
Transition Services

NICIL offers transition services to a variety of consumers.  Transition services are available for adults who wish to live independently in their homes, in the community of their choice, and youth who seek a fully productive, independent life as they transition into adulthood. Programs include:

  • Community Reintegration Program -assists individuals, 59 and younger to transition out of nursing homes into their own homes in the community.
  • Pre-Employment Transition Services –a variety of curriculum taught in schools to prepare youth for transition into adulthood. Topics include: job exploration, counseling in post-secondary education, workplace readiness training, and instruction in self-advocacy. This curriculum can be tailored to fit the class size and abilities of the students.
  • Youth Transition Services — youth who have completed or are no longer enrolled in secondary education learn key concepts to prepare for success in adulthood. Topics include employment, independent living skills training, accessing community resources, financial literacy, access to public transportation, and more

Peer Support

NICIL has a deep understanding of the needs and solutions to advance the lives of people with disabilities. A majority of NICIL staff and board of directors have a disability. NICIL is a team of determined and caring individuals prepared to arm consumers with the tools and expectations necessary for them to guide their life now and in the future.

Peer support is an integral part of the independent living philosophy. There are times when people with disabilities simply need the assistance of someone who has faced similar barriers and successfully achieved their goals. Who better to help you deal with everyday struggles than someone who has “been there and done that?” NICIL believes it is not necessary for people to have the same disability to understand one another’s struggles. Peer support is not designed to replace professional counseling but it can serve as an additional support in improving the lives of people with disabilities. Support can come from one-on-one peer support with NICIL staff, board members, consumers or community support groups.

Our Peer to Peer Mentoring program matches people with disabilities together to share experiences and develop a friendship while navigating through challenges one might face. For details on how to become a mentor, find out about the next training session, or to find a mentor contact our team at frontdesk@nicil.org.

Support Groups-Are you interested in a specific support group?  Contact us at frontdesk@nicil.org


  • Peer to Peer Mentoring
  • Peer Support Groups
Independent Living Skills Training

NICIL’s Independent Living Skills Training empowers people with disabilities to attain new skills and techniques so they are able to participate in daily living, recreational/social opportunities, and vocational/volunteering activities. We adapt to and address the individual needs of those we serve.

NICIL assists people with disabilities in mastering skills they need to live independently including but not limited to:

  • Managing a personal budget
  • Teaching home-making skills
  • Promoting self-advocacy
  • Obtaining assistive devices and medical equipment
  • Utilizing community services
  • Accessing public transportation