Mon - Thurs: 9:00am - 5:00pm | Fri: 9:00am - 4:00pm



9:00 – 9:15 a.m. WELCOME: Sherri Schneider, Board President, The Arc of Illinois

9:15 – 9:30 a.m. TAP Presentation

9:30 – 10:45 a.m. KEYNOTE: “Phase 2 of Ligas – PUNS, Compliance and Implementation Planning”

presented by Ronnie Cohn and Barry Taylor, J.D.

The Ligas Consent Decree is providing opportunities for people with I/DD to receive community services. Phase 1 of the Decree (2011-2017) gave all ICF-DD residents the opportunity to move into the community and 3,000 people living at home on the PUNS (Prioritization for Urgency of Need for Services) list to receive services. In this session, Ligas Court Monitor Ronnie Cohn and Ligas lead counsel Barry Taylor of Equip for Equality will discuss Phase 2 of the Ligas Decree, with a major focus on people moving off the PUNS list, the reasonable pace aspect of the Decree, and how people currently receiving some services (such as home-based) will be able to get different/additional community services (such as CILA). Additionally, Ms. Cohn will review the findings of her recent survey of services provided to Ligas class members.

11:15 a.m. – 12:15 p.m. PLENARY SESSION: Allison Stark, Director, Division of Developmental Disabilities, DHS

12:45 – 1:30 p.m. Breakout Sessions (choose one)

  • Stephanie Behlke Leigh, Samantha Stockman – Trinity Services“Empowerment through Employment: Helping People with I/DD Gain a Sense of Autonomy through Competitive Community Employment” This presentation will focus on employment related initiatives and the positive impact employment has on the lives of people with developmental and intellectual disabilities.
  • Sherri Schneider – Family Benefit Solutions“SSI, SSDI, DHS, HFS: Understanding the Alphabet Soup of Government Benefits” This interactive   informative session will address the four major government benefit programs with a strong emphasis on Medicaid – which is needed like oxygen for waiver programs. Ending in a game of BINGO, you will not believe how much you have learned!
  • Diana Braun, Tavarus Wesley – Self Advocates; Kathy Carmody – Institute on Public Policy; Teresa Parks – IGAC; Linda Sandman – Blue Tower Solutions; Kathy Ward – DDD/DHS“House Bill 3299: Providing Sex Education to People with I/DD” HB3299 ensures that individuals with developmental disabilities admitted to a DD facility receiving habitation have access to sexual education. Learn about the issue, hear self-advocates testimonials, implementation updates, and what providers,  advocates and families can expect.

1:45 – 2:30 p.m. Breakout Sessions (choose one)

  • Shannon Benaitis – Albatross Training Solutions; Leanne Mull – Blue Tower Solutions“Disability Education for First Responders: It’s on Us!” Panelists will give an overview of their respective initiatives, each aimed at increasing first responders’ awareness of people with disabilities and decreasing negative-outcome encounters such as trauma, injury, and even death. 
  • Sharon Anderson, Caren Musembi, Kelly Stumme, Kim Zoeller – Ray Graham Association“Cultural Transformation: You Can’t Make a Fish Climb a Tree and Other Things We’ve Learned” Quality is directly affected by       organizational  culture. Believing that feedback is a gift and effective communication is vital, learn how Team RGA is transforming its culture to One RGA.  
  • Nafia Lee, Bob Peterson – The Arc of Illinois; Ryan McGraw – Access Living; Barb Pritchard – ICDD; Amber Smock – Access Living “Going Home Coalition: Putting Community First” Going Home Coalition is putting community first. Coalition representatives talk about proposals to foster community inclusion, barriers encountered, and why inclusion for all is more important than ever.

3:00 – 4:00 p.m. KEYNOTE: “The Richest Man in Town”

presented by V.J. Smith

This is the true story on how a letter of praise changed two lives – for both the receiver and the sender.  One held a high position at a mid-sized university; the other was an older cashier at a local big box store.  Given their positions in life, one might imagine that the university official taught lessons to the cashier.  The exact opposite happened.  The older cashier schooled the “college boy” on relationships, being a good listener, taking extra steps to demonstrate care, and being grateful.  All you give you get back and more.  Audience members will go on an emotional roller coaster ride … guaranteed.

4:15 – 5:00 p.m. Breakout Sessions (choose one)

  • Sarah Blackledge, Teresa Parks – IGAC; Kish Pisani – IAMC; Cindi Swanson – The Arc of Illinois; Bob Taylor – Trinity Services “Circles at Work: Real Stories, Real Lives” Gather around and let’s talk Circles of Support. Hear from parents and self-advocates how they foster relationships resulting in a full and inclusive life for themselves and their focus person.   
  • Brian Rubin, J.D., Benji Rubin, J.D. – Rubin Law, A Professional Corporation“Special Needs Legal & Future Planning” This session will cover the many legal tools families can use to maintain assets and reserve funds for individuals who receive SSI and/or Medicaid, such as third party special needs trusts, first party or OBRA special needs trusts, Pooled special needs trusts, ABLE Accounts, including “how much is needed to leave, how divorce impacts benefits, among other related topics.”
  • Noel Ann King – Sibling; Melissa Regan – Self-Advocate; Monica Regan – Sibling; Leanne Mull – Blue Tower Solutions“Grief: Something We All Have in Common” We will explore ways to support people with intellectual and developmental  disabilities when they are experiencing grief, ways to encourage inclusion of family members with   disabilities in traditions around grief.

FRIDAY, JUNE 12, 2020

8:45 – 9:00 a.m. WELCOME: Meg Cooch, Executive Director, The Arc of Illinois

9:00 – 10:30 a.m. KEYNOTE: “The Hats We Wear”

presented by Darcy Chamberlin, Nora Fox Handler, Leanne Mull, Melissa Regan, Brian Rubin, and Sherri Schneider

Every person wears many hats. Learn about the roles and rules people have in the world of Intellectual/Developmental Disabilities!

10:45 – 11:15 a.m. PLENARY SESSION: How to Develop a Micro Business

presented by Scott Nixon, Consuelo Puente, and Matt Koupal

11:30 a.m. – 12:15 p.m. Breakout Sessions (choose one)

  • Matt Cohen, Brad Dembs – Matt Cohen and Associates, LLC “How to Ensure School Districts Provide Appropriate Transition Services to Students with Disabilities” This session will describe legal standards surrounding school districts’ provision of transition services to young adults with disabilities to prepare them for work and independent living in their communities.
  • Mariel Hamer – ICDD; Caitlin Crabb – UIC “Council Investments, Impact and Goals for Illinois” In this presentation participants will receive a comprehensive overview of the Council and learn about past and current Council investments, individual and family advocacy and systems change impact, and Council goals for Illinois. Some time will also be dedicated to offering participants the opportunity to share ideas on the Council’s next 5-Year State Plan.
  • Susy Woods – IATP; Phil Milsk – Attorney “Why Legislation and Advocacy are Important to Changing Things for People with Disabilities” This session will look at how legislation both state and federal have changed things for people with disabilities in the past and how legislation continues to do this as we move into the future in areas such as independent living, education, transition, employment, aging and assistive technology. It will also look at how everyone can be involved in educating legislators on the needs of people with disabilities.

12:45 – 1:30 p.m. Breakout Sessions (choose one)

  • Reagan Carey – CTF Illinois; Kathy Haberer – Inclusive Learning & Living; Dawn Lamp – Coleman Tri-County; Craig Lawkowski – Human Support Services; Susan Walter – ICDD“Southern Illinois Transition Project: Transforming Outcomes for Youth with I/DD” Join this panel presentation to learn about the first year of progress and lessons learned at the SITP sites as they implement evidence-based transition practices for youth with I/DD; enhance community   partnerships and interagency collaboration; and what the coming year will bring.
  • Brian Rubin, J.D., Benji Rubin, J.D. – Rubin Law, A Professional Corporation“Guardianship and the many Alternatives to Guardianship” No two individuals with special needs are the same. This session will cover forms of guardianship (Limited vs. Plenary; Person vs. Estate), as well as the many options to guardianship.
  • Connie Melvin, Richard Harrington – Trinity Services“Using Technology to Promote Independence, Break Down Barriers, and Foster Inclusion” In this session, we will explore a     variety of low and high tech products that address    challenges commonly faced by people who have disabilities.

1:45 – 2:30 p.m. Breakout Sessions (choose one)

  • Tara Conley, Amy Halm, Nora Fox Handler – S.I.B.S“Sibling Support and Future Planning” A panel of adult siblings and SIBS Leaders will discuss the importance of parents and professionals working with siblings to prepare them for the future and strategies for successfully     planning for the future together. They will also discuss additional support needs of   siblings of people with disabilities throughout the lifespan.
  • Laura Fine – NSSEO“Transition Planning and Parent Empowerment…It’s Never Too Soon to Start” Participants will learn the components of the NSSEO transition planning process and the role of both the family and the educational team. The presenter will share their Transition Action Planning meeting tools to help guide the conversation in developing meaningful post-secondary outcomes. 
  • Sherri Schneider – Family Benefit Solutions“You Had Me at SGA: Benefits 102” Having a basic knowledge of government benefits, this session will delve deeper to discuss: DAC, 1619, CDR, 18 year olds, HBWD, QMB types, TPL, Spend-down, IRWE, PASS, Ticket to Work, TWP. Case scenarios will be reviewed.

2:45 – 3:30 p.m. Breakout Sessions (choose one)

  • Lisa Fegert – PACTT; Matt Koupal – Parent Advocate; Kathy Lyons – Center for Independent Futures; Kelly Stumme – Ray Graham Association“Creative Living Options” This panel presentation will explore different living options and how One Size Does NOT Fit All! Hear from one family and RGA on how they partnered to meet Luke’s vision while navigating through various state and local rules and regulations!Learn how other families are working together to create new options.
  • Vivian Villers – Sage Planning“Are You Prepared? Planning for the Future” Important issues in planning for the future: Social   Security claiming and the family max, beneficiary designations,  funding options for special needs trusts, ABLE    accounts, successor trustees, crisis planning and more.
  • Susan Gardner, Trevell Jordan, Kristen Noonan – Envision Unlimited“Step Aside: I’ve Got This Envision Unlimited members have assumed many responsibilities of their community day services program. Through video examples and sharing personal experiences you’ll hear how it can be done in your program.

3:45 – 4:30 p.m. Breakout Sessions (choose one)

  • Tammy Bedford, Janet Larson – Quality Lives; Kish Pisani – IAMC“PUNS Limbo: Solutions for While You Wait” Create a self-directed life while waiting for PUNS selection. Organic person-centered planning, Circles of Support, Microboards or Cooperatives can improve life now and prepare for success when the letter arrives.
  • Kathy Carmody – Institute on Public Policy for People with Disabilities; Kim Zoeller – Ray Graham Association“Alternate Payer Models in I/DD Services: An Overview for Families and Provider Organizations” This session is intended to inform and educate families and providers on basic tenets of a managed care system so they can be strong and impactful voices in shaping any changes that may be proposed for the Illinois I/DD system.
  • Darcy Chamberlin, Sara Riechert – Chamberlin Law Group“The SNT Trustee Goes to School” The presentation will cover the general responsibilities of the family member SNT Trustee as well as the specific responsibilities, including guidance on what the Trustee can buy and how to buy it.

Thank you to our Sponsors!

Rubin Law
Life's Plan

Advocate Sponsors:

Family Benefit Solution
Mutual of America
Sage Planning