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


8:00 – 9:00 a.m. In Person Only: Registration, Continental Breakfast, Visit with Exhibitors

9:00 – 9:15 a.m. Welcome

9:15 – 10:30 a.m. Keynote“Supporting Routines – Best Practices for a Fulfilling Life” Presented by Dr. Thomas Pomeranz

This lively and informative session brings home the point that “habilitation is not a goal it is a result.” People grow, develop, and become more independent as a result of participating in meaningful life activities. The session details how supports should be delivered to allow individuals with significant cognitive, physical and/or behavioral challenges to participate in all aspects of their life. The session provides the participants with insight as to how our perceptions and expectations serve as barriers in providing support. The four supported routine outcomes (facilitating connections, maximizing independence, enhancing self-worth, and producing self-determination) are detailed and their life enhancing effects are reviewed. The maxim that “without a presence, there is no future” serves as the foundation for this session.

10:45 – 11:45 a.m. Breakout Sessions (choose one, Sessions #1 and #5 will be livestreamed)

  • Session #1 (Live Streamed): Dr. Thomas PomeranzUniversal LifeStiles “Family-Provider Relationships” Dr. Tom Pomeranz in this how to presentation provides attendees with new sensitivities and insights as to what factors undermine these essential relationships on both sides. Tom details the core beliefs that are the foundation in successfully working with families. The session discusses potential family and provider barriers that may impair these relationships and strategies to overcome the barriers.
  • Session #2 Samantha AllowayLittle City Foundation “Beyond the Spectrum, The Ripple Effects of an I/DD and Autism Diagnosis” Samantha’s poignant journey with her Autistic child sparks dialogue, fostering empathy. Let’s unite, share struggles, and empower each other in advocating for person-centered services in Illinois and beyond.
  • Session #3 Kelly Griffon and Jill ReffettMapHabit, Inc. “MapHabit” A transformative journey of a self-advocate with Down Syndrome, autism, and medical challenges. Discover the evolution of support strategies through the MapHabit system, leading to remarkable gains in daily living skills and independence over 24 months.
  • Session #4 Suzanne Aaron, CRS-A/D, Ruth Aguilar, QIDP, and Tiffany Steinhauser, M.Ed., CRS-A/DThe Arc of Illinois “Answers to Transition Questions and PUNS Benefits & Resources” The Illinois Life Span Program and the Ligas Family Advocate Program receive numerous calls each year with questions about transitioning to adulthood.  We will discuss those top questions and topics, and will also share information about the services available once pulled from the PUNS database.
  • Sesión #5 En Español (Transmisión en Vivo) Oscar Gonzalez and Mariana Garcia Torres“ADA: Ley Para Personal Con Discapacidad y El Empleo” Esta presentacion explora la Ley de Personas con Discapacidades, enfocandose en el empleo. Empodera a los latinos con discapacidades, a los empleadores y a los lideres para una Sociedad equitative.

12:45 – 1:15 p.m. Plenary Session – State Legislative Update

1:30 – 2:30 p.m. Plenary Session – Susan Agrawal, PhD, Rocio Perez, MSW, LCSW, CRS-A/D, Shirley Perez, and Greg WalkingtonThe Arc of Illinois “The Programs of The Arc: How Can We Support You?” The programs of The Arc of IL can provide robust supports including education, advocacy, resource connections, and funding for technology and training. Participants will be  introduced to the program components, mission, and key resources.

2:45 – 3:45 p.m. Breakout Sessions (choose one, Sessions #6 and #10 will be live streamed)

  • Session #6 (Live Streamed) Claire Cook Courtney KerfootUIC:  Division of Specialized Care for Children “The Transition to Adulthood for Youth and Young Adults with Special Healthcare Needs”   We will share tools youth with special healthcare needs and other disabilities can use for a successful transition to adult healthcare, programs, and benefits, developing self-management and advocacy skills.
  • Session #7 Megan Forristall – Social Security Administration “Overview of  Social Security Disability and Supplemental Security Income”   Presentation will provide an overview of Social Security Disability and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) including eligibility requirements and application process. Presentation will also highlight Social Security online services.
  • Session #8 Rachel Pavesich and Heather RichardsonWestern DuPage Special Recreation Association (WDSRA) “Accessing Your Community: The Benefits of Therapeutic Recreation in a Community Based  Setting”   During this session, we explore Therapeutic Recreation and the benefits of community recreation for individuals with special needs.
  • Session #9 Dr. Thomas PomeranzUniversal LifeStiles “Supporting People with Co-Occurring Diagnoses to Have a Quality of Life: A Provider Challenge ”   As the closure and downsizing of State Operated Facilities continues, community based providers are challenged in supporting individuals who have intellectual and develop mental disabilities with co-occurring conditions. In this “how to” presentation, Dr. Pomeranz explains the process for identifying and diagnosing individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities who experience co-occurring conditions. He will also provide participants with strategies for implementing programs that have proven to be successful.
  • Session #10 En Español (Transmisión en Vivo) Celeste Nava – Illinois Respite Coalition “Relevo y Su Importancia para Familias” Conozca el significado, la importancia y las ayudas de relevo disponibles para las familas que cuidan de un ser querido con discapacidades, con la Coalicion de Relevo de Illinois.

4:00 – 5:00 p.m. Breakout Sessions (choose one, Sessions #11 and #15 will be live streamed)

  • Session #11 (Live Streamed) Laura HartIL Guardianship and Advocacy Commission, Elizabeth CamposFamily Resource Center on Disabilities, Emily WilsonEquip for Equality, Diane ComptonParent, and Erin ComptonSelf-Advocate “What to Do When the IEP Meetings Go Wrong” Learn about the IEP resources available through the IL State School Board, the IL Guardianship and Advocacy Commission, and Equip for Equality in ensuring students receive the education and opportunities to build their future.
  • Session #12 Illinois State Treasurer OfficePresented by a Panel of Self-AdvocatesMe and My IL ABLE Account: Self-Advocates’ Perspectives” Self-advocates/IL ABLE Account Owners will share how life has been made better with an IL ABLE Account, from having greater control over their money to building self-determination and making independent decisions.
  • Session #13 Jon Rutter and Marella McMurrayCommunity Choices What’s holding you back?  Community Coaching and using micro-skills to support adults with I/DD in building meaningful connection in a community-based setting” This presentation introduces the community Coaching program and its focus on micro-skills.  We will discuss the need for programs that support connections and relationships along with successes and continued frustrations.
  • Session #14 Courtney LittlejohnAID, Jesus “Chuy” Campuzano, Tavarus Wesley, and Leanne MullBlue Tower Solutions “Including People Served in DEI Conversation” In this interactive session learn the importance of including people receiving services in DEI initiatives. Get ideas how to start or ramp up your DEI initiatives and take aways for including people receiving services right away.    
  • Sesión #15 En Español (Transmisión en Vivo) Elida Elizondo and Megan ForristallAdministración del Seguro Social “Descripción General del Seguro Social por Discapacidad Social y la Seguridad de Ingreso Suplementario” La presentación brindará una descripción general del Seguro Social por Discapacidad y la Seguridad de Ingreso Suplementario (SSI), incluidos los requisitos de elegibilidad y el proceso de solicitud. La presentación también destacará los servicios en línea del Seguro Social.

5:30 – 7:00 p.m. In Person Only: Awards Reception

Stay and enjoy light appetizers, watch a performance, and meet other Convention attendees.  The Arc of Illinois Annual Convention Awards will be presented to the winners.

8:00 – 9:00 a.m. In Person Only: Registration, Continental Breakfast, Visit with Exhibitors

9:00 – 9:15 a.m. Welcome

9:15 – 10:30 a.m. Keynote“Advocacy from a Parent’s Perspective” Presented by a Panel of Parents – Diane Compton, Sandra Heidt, Sonia Reynoso, and Mary Wyman

Services for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities in Illinois seem like they are in a constant state of change.  Keeping up with new developments can seem exhausting but it is as important now as it was in the 1960’s when parents led the charge to make sure their children with disabilities were allowed to attend public school. Join this panel of parent advocates who are working for better lives for their children with disabilities as adults and children and learn how you can join with them to improve services in Illinois.

10:45 – 11:45 a.m. Breakout Sessions (choose one, Sessions #16 and #20 will be live streamed)

  • Session #16 (Live Streamed) Bob Peterson and Sabrina WymanThe Arc of Illinois  Legislative Advocacy Across Disabilities” Bob and Sabrina are experienced legislative advocates who’s goal is to encourage and empower individuals with disabilities to actively participate in the democratic process, including the importance of talking with your elected officials and the power of voting.
  • Session #17 Brian Rubin, JD and Benji Rubin, JDRubin Law, A Professional Corporation “Special Needs Trusts, ABLE Accounts, Letters of Intent, and Related Topics” Brian Rubin, a parent, and Benji Rubin, a sibling, of Mitchell Rubin who has Autism, will present the basics of special needs’ planning, including special needs trusts, ABLE accounts, selecting the future team of trustees and guardians, impact of divorce and law-suit settlements, educating the extended family, letters of intent, and many related topics.  
  • Session #18 Anna Cronin, MS, BCBAFern Leaf ABA and Tobias MerrimanSIUC’s Center for Virtual Expression   “Artificial Intelligence: Affordable, Accessible, Adaptive” Explore the potential of AI to empower individuals with disabilities. Our interactive session demonstrates practical AI applications, from enhancing communication skills to simplifying complex  information, ensuring technology’s accessibility and adaptability for all.
  • Session #19 Kori Folkerts and Ashley RoguckiHeartland Community College “Understanding the value of Post-Secondary Opportunities for Individuals with IDD” Describing Heartland Community College HALO Program.  Both the initial 2-Year program and the Pilot Expansion/Transition Year.  Sharing the value/results of the HALO program from the perspective of past students.
  • Sesión #20 En Español (Transmisión en Vivo) Consuelo Puente Family Matters Obtenga La Pala:  Leyes que Pueden” En esta presentacion los participantes aprenderán sobre las leyes y regulaciones recientes que pueden afectar la vida de las Personas con Discapacidades y sus familias.

12:45 – 1:30 p.m. Plenary Session – DHS/DDD Update

1:45 – 2:45 p.m. Breakout Sessions (choose one, Sessions #21 and #25 will be live streamed)

  • Session #21 (Live Streamed) Gary Arnold, Mariel Hamer-Sinclair, and Curtis Harris, ICDD “Dignity in Pay” Join us for an overview of the Dignity in Pay Act moving through the legislature now.  Learn about this 5-year plan to increase employment supports while supporting organizations to eliminate paying sub-minimum wage.      
  • Session #22 Brian Rubin, JD and Benji Rubin, JDRubin Law, A Professional Corporation “Alternatives, One Size Does NOT Fit All: Supported Decision Making (new Illinois law), Powers of  Attorney, and Guardianship (Plenary and Limited)”  Brian Rubin, a parent, and Benji Rubin, a sibling, of Mitchell Rubin who has Autism, will explain Guardianship (Limited and Plenary), and the alternatives, including Supported Decision Making (new law), Powers of Attorney, and related matters.
  • Session #23 Elyssa Newman and Amy PetersonEP!C “Community Options with EP!C” EP!C is comprised of families, staff, volunteers, and community members working together to support individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families with unique educational, residential, employment, and clinical programs tailored to each individual’s abilities and needs.
  • Session #24 Amanda TeachoutHanover Township MHB “Transportation for Individuals with Disabilities for Employment”  TIDE is a program that provides a discounted taxi voucher to get to work for residents of Hanover Township who have a intellectual or developmental disability.
  • Sesión #25 En Español (Transmisión en Vivo) Consuelo PuenteFamily Matters “Tutela Y Opciones Alternativas” Los participantes aprenderán información básica sobre el proceso de tutela y obtendran información sobre las alternativas disponibles a la tutela.

3:00 – 4:00 p.m. Breakout Sessions (choose one, Sessions #26 and #30 will be live streamed)

  • Session #26 (Live Streamed) Susan Agrawal, PhDThe Arc of Illinois “It’s About Living! Palliative Care Services for People with Disabilities” This presentation introduces palliative care for people with disabilities, describes pediatric palliative care initiatives in Illinois, and discusses how advocacy is needed to bring palliative care to adults with disabilities.
  • Session #27 Alisha Babu and Sophia AzimSibshops UIUC “SIBSHOPS UIUC:  Bringing Support for Siblings of Individuals with Disabilities” Sibshops UIUC, a university chapter representing the Sibling Support Project, empowers siblings of individuals with disabilities in Champaign-Urbana and neighboring small counties in Illinois. Join us in our mission to extend understanding and support.
  • Session #28 Sabrina WymanThe Arc of Illinois “Fostering Inclusive Communities: Bridging Gaps Between Individuals with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities and the Criminal Justice System” Consider the intersection of intellectual and developmental disabilities with the criminal justice system, delving into an Illinois task force report and exploring what other states have done to foster collaborations for inclusive reform.
  • Session #29 Kimberly Haynes and Kristin HadleyFamily to Family “Everyone wants to be Seen, Heard, Involved And Thanked” “Everyone wants to be Seen, Heard, Involved and Thanked”  will cover 5 fun ways that social and emotional learning inspires, empowers and strengthens self advocacy.
  • Sesión #30 En Español (Transmisión en Vivo) Vanessa AcevesEquip for Equality and Alexis AyalaStudent “Dispositivos de comunicacion en educacion especial” Conozca el proceso de obtener dispositivos de comunicacion en educacion especial.  Escuche al camino personal de un estudiante con su dispositive de comunicacion y consejos importantes para obtener un dispositivo de communication en la escuela.

Annual Convention Main Page

Thank you to our Sponsors!

VIP Sponsor
Keynote Sponsor
Rubin Law
Champion Sponsors
Lifes Plan
Inclusion Sponsors