Our Facility

Merlin Day Academy’s facility is designed to maximize student engagement and participation in educational instruction, therapeutic intervention, and peer socialization. Our state-of-the-art facility includes: 

  • Sensory Friendly, Student-Centered Classrooms

    • Our classrooms are designed with sensory friendly learning and engagement in mind. Visually clean spaces remove unnecessary distractions, and theme-based decorations help children generalize their growth and learning across environments. 
  • Interactive Sensorimotor Gyms  

    • Our sensorimotor gyms include a variety of suspended swings, crash pads, obstacle course materials, balance balls, and other equipment to get children moving, encourage gross motor development, and target areas of needed growth such as core development.  
  • Innovative Sensory Retreat Rooms  

    • Sensory retreat rooms provide a quiet and comfortable space for children to take a break from the classroom and process dysregulation. These quiet, comfortable rooms are designed with a sensory aurora to encourage self-regulation and include sensory supports, swings, and lightboards. 
  • Quiet Rooms for Breaks  

    • Quiet rooms allow children to take breaks between lessons and engage in solo activities to support regulation and participationOur highly trained teachers and paraprofessionals engage children with their favorite activities and subjects to make learning and socializing fun! 
  • Total Communication Supports

    • Our team provides a wide range of communication supports for children including verbal communication, visual schedules, visual supports, high tech Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) devices, Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS), and sign language 
  • Theme-based Instructional Materials  

    • The Merlin Approach to Learning© is a theme-based curriculum that aligns with the Illinois State Board of Education’s learning standards for all students. Weekly and monthly themes are aligned with holidays, seasons, and other topics that children will engage with in their daily life to help them generalize the skills they learn in the classroom in their home and community.  
  • Culturally Relevant and Leveled Reading Books  

    • Our literacy instruction utilizes culturally relevant books that align with our weekly and monthly themes to help children continue to generalize their skills across classroom subjects and environments. Children are provided with books at and above their current reading level to promote growth, and our data collection ensures children are continually progressing towards their goals.  
  • Social, Emotional, and Behavioral Visual Supports 

    • A wide variety of evidence-based visual supports are utilized by our staff to promote sensory regulation, communication, feelings identification, and learning. Our staff utilize visual schedules, first-then charts, Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS), social stories, and create custom visuals to better support children in their learning. 

Our Education Team

The Merlin Day Academy Education team works collaboratively to provide special education services for Chicago area families. Our highly trained and compassionate team cultivates relationship-based, family-centered care to nurture and sustain childrens’ self-efficacy skills to become active, successful participants in their community. Interdisciplinary Team Members Include:

Merlin Day Program Therapy Case Managers
Merlin Day Academy Special Education Teachers
Merlin Day Academy Social Workers

Our Therapy Team

Eyas Landing, our outpatient multidisciplinary therapy clinic, provides occupational therapy, applied behavior analysis (ABA), developmental therapy, physical therapy, speech therapy, language therapy, nutrition, and feeding therapy services to Chicago area families and Merlin Day Academy students. Eyas Landing therapists join Merlin Day Academy students in their classroom to reduce transitions and provide Individualized Education Plan (IEP) identified services and additional supports as identified by our therapeutic team evaluations. Our goal is to provide Merlin Day Academy students with the therapeutic supports they need to succeed in the classroom and empower them to engage in activities that are meaningful to them in the classroom and their home and community.

Merlin Day Academy Occupational Therapists
Merlin Day Academy Physical Therapists
Merlin Day Academy Board Certified Behavior Analysts
Merlin Day Academy Registered Behavior Technicians
Merlin Day Academy Neuropsychologists

Getting Started

At Merlin Day Academy, we strive to tailor our special education with multidisciplinary therapeutic supports to meet each child’s individual needs. In order to achieve this, we require all our families to follow a pre-registration procedure which includes completing the enrollment packet, then our billing department runs the family’s insurance/benefits to determine what services are approved/covered for the child. Here are more details about this process:

Step One


Receive a tour of Merlin Day Academy with our Director where you can view our sensory friendly and student-centered classrooms, interactive sensorimotor gyms, innovative sensory retreat rooms, quiet rooms for breaks, and more. You will also receive an information packet and general pricing overview.

Merlin Day Academy Therapeutic Gym

Step Two

Meet and Greet

Come on-site with your child and their potential teacher for an informal screening to support classroom placement. We strive to tailor our multidisciplinary approach to meet each child’s individual needs and our staff love what they do, going above and beyond to make your child’s growth and progress their number one priority by working collaboratively to cultivate relationship-based, family-centered care.

Merlin Day Academy Meet and Greet

Step Three

Individual Evaluations As Needed

An initial evaluation is conducted with your child to identify needs, level of support, and set goals, including an Occupational Therapist, Speech Therapist, Physical Therapist, Social Worker, if needed, and Board-Certified Behavior Analyst.

Merlin Day Academy Evaluation

Step Four

Behavior Evaluation

An assessment using observation, interview, and contrived environmental contingencies to determine base-line levels of problem behavior and under what conditions problem behavior is likely to occur in order to select, design, and implement behavioral strategies to decrease the problem behavior. 

Merlin Day Academy Behavior Therapy Evaluation

Step Five

Schedule Created by Administrative Team

Based on team and family recommendations, an individualized schedule is created for each child and sent to the family.

Merlin Day Academy Administration Team

Step Six

Initial Intensive Therapeutic Service Plan Meeting

Meet with your child’s treatment team to review evaluation results and develop individualized, goal-oriented treatment plan.

Merlin Day Academy Administration Team 2

Step Seven

Progress Report and Team Meeting

Semi-annual progress report and meeting between therapists and families, incorporating multi-disciplinary data review to evaluate current program effectiveness and appropriateness of treatment goals and supports.

Merlin Day Academy Progress Report and Team Meeting