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Nominations due May 15th, must be fully completed

Do you know a child or youth ages 2-21 who has gone above and beyond?

Consider nominating them to receive the ICEC “Yes I Can!” Award!

Click Here for Digital “Yes I Can!” Award Form

About the ICEC “Yes I Can!” Award

Deadline: All nomination materials must be submitted by May 15th of the calendar year. Incomplete nominations will not be considered for selection.

Overview and Purpose

As a unit of CEC, the Illinois Council for Exceptional Children advocates, celebrates and helps to advance the success of children with exceptionalities.

The “Yes I Can” awards program honors and celebrates the achievements of children and youth (ages 2-21) with exceptionalities. The primary purpose of this award is to encourage individuals to seek their highest potential. The secondary goal is to increase public awareness of the abilities, aspirations, and personal qualities of those with exceptionalities.

In addition to being recognized and applauded for their efforts, Each Yes I Can Award recipient will:

  • Be invited to attend the ICEC Fall Convention awards ceremony luncheon to receive their award.
  • Receive a “Yes I Can” Award Certificate.
  • Have their nomination submitted to the National CEC award review committee

Eligibility Requirements

  • Candidates must be 2–21 years of age when they are nominated.
  • The nominee must have an identified disability.
  • Past “Yes I Can” Award recipients are not eligible for re-nomination for the same category.

Eligible Nomination Categories

(May be nominated for one area only)

  • Academics: Achievement in a particular subject area such as math, science, reading, social studies, language arts, or foreign language; overall academic achievement; or a high level of achievement on standardized tests.
  • Arts: Achievement in a particular medium such as music, art, drama, dance, or written expression.
  • School & Community Activities: Achievement in organized activities at the school or community level through groups such as school-based clubs/activities (yearbook, theater, debate, tutoring, peer mentoring, social, service) or community-based clubs/activities (volunteer work, Boy/Girl Scouts, places of worship, service, cleanup campaigns).
  • Self-Advocacy: Achievement in assuming practical responsibility for oneself, using knowledge of legal rights, advancing one’s goals, or effectively obtaining appropriate accommodations for oneself or others.
  • Technology: Achievement through the use of assistive and adaptive technology devices and equipment (computerized or otherwise).
  • Transition: Achievement in mastering activities that leads to successful experiences in the areas of work, vocational training, or independent living.

Nomination Procedures

Deadline: May 15th / incomplete applications submitted will not be considered.

Nominations may be submitted by anyone (including: the nominee themselves, teachers, principals, related service providers, friends, and parents).

  • Each candidate may be nominated in only one category.
  • Nominations may be submitted electronically via the online form, e-mailed attachment of the downloadable form, or by mail.
  • All materials submitted become the property of the ICEC and will not be returned.
  • All nominations and recipients will be notified by August of the committee’s decision.

How to Complete and Submit the Nomination Form

The nomination form is divided into three (3) sections:

  • Section A: Nomination Information
  • Section B: Statement of Achievement
  • Section C: Video Documentation

Please note that if the nominee is selected as a recipient, the responses to the questions below may be used by ICEC for the awards and publicity purposes.

Section A: Nomination Information

Double-check that the nominee’s name is spelled correctly on ALL materials, as it will be printed on his/her Certificate of Accomplishment.

Section B: Statement of Achievement

In 1,000 words or less, describe why the nominee deserves to receive this award. Include information such as the challenges the student encountered prior to his or her accomplishments, his or her exceptionality/exceptionalities, the type of special education services provided to the nominee, the student’s achievements in his or her category of nomination, the setting in which these accomplishments occurred, and the impact these accomplishments have had on the student or others.

Section C: Video Documentation

Videos should support the Statement of Achievement (Section B) indicating why the nominee deserves this award. This video should highlight the nominee’s work/achievements, his or her daily life, or a statement from the nominee about the impact that his/her accomplishments have had.

  • Videos should be no more than 5 minutes in length.
  • Videos should be uploaded to YouTube or another video sharing service, and the link should be provided with the nomination

Suggestions for nominee video content for each category:

  • Academics—display/discussion of school transcripts, report cards, accelerated programs, academic awards, work samples, statement of change in student’s academic achievement.
  • Arts—copies of artwork, event programs, recordings of student’s musical performances, dance performances, drama performances, and so on.
  • School & Community Activities—record of activities, statements from activity leaders, visual display of certificates, awards.
  • Self-Advocacy—statement of how the student educates others (teachers, students, community) on their needs or the needs of others with disabilities; examples of the accommodations the student has requested to enhance learning and accessibility.
  • Technology—nominee using their technology in everyday situations, record of technology used, how it has impacted the student or others, skills the student has learned through technology use.
  • Transition—employment history, performance reviews, certificates, awards, statement of achievement from employers/co‐workers/teachers/coaches/transition officers, record of progress made in acquiring work, vocational, or independent living skills.


For additional information, Contact Us.
Thank you for considering nominating a child/youth to receive the ICEC “Yes I Can” Award!