ABC Conferences

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8th Annual ABC Conference

“Lives in the Balance: Caring for Children with Special Needs, Their Families, Their Communities, And Ourselves in These Precarious Times”

Friday, November 17, 2017

Moraine Business and Conference Center (Building M)
9000 W College Pkwy
Palos Hills, IL 60465



ABC Conference participants can expect to learn about the broad landscape of services and programs that are available to support children with special needs from birth through adolescence, and develop skills to make effective referrals and partner with other agencies and systems. Each track (A,B, and C) features sessions that converge with different systems, developmental services, medical interventions, and innovative partnerships that benefit children served across interprofessional groups. The keynote sessions address the overall theme of the conference.


Despite rhetoric at the federal level, Illinois’ struggles are a reality that will not end in the foreseeable future. Illinois had been without a state budget for over two years. Vital organizations that serve our children, families, and communities have either scaled services back dramatically or have disappeared. Yet the basic needs for attention to health for children with special needs, their families, and the communities in which they live are still very visible. From the perspective of a statewide organization, the uncertainty we have been living with here in Illinois has contributed trauma and toxic stress for so long, many of us are stunned, frustrated, and angry. While we may be in a unique position to help, we are also vulnerable to the stress and challenges of working with children with special needs who suffer their own psychological and physical realities. We endure compassion fatigue—the cost of caring.

All of these factors impact the physical, mental, and behavioral health of children and families.  They also impact our ability, as those who serve the community, to be empathetic and emotionally effective in our work. Therefore, there is a greater need for sharing tools and supports that enable providers to recognize and address some new truths about the realities of health from children’s social, economic, physical, and educational environments.

The 8th Annual ABC Conference will deliver valuable information about navigating the current realities of service delivery, advocating for those we serve, and professional self-care, family self-care, and community self-care in order to enable providers across many disciplines to recognize and address these realities when caring for children and families with special healthcare needs, including those impacted by trauma and adverse childhood experiences.


The target audience for the ABC conference includes primary care providers and their teams, including pediatricians, family physicians, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, and allied health care professionals including nurses, therapists, and social workers. In addition, providers from other settings including (early) care and education, special education, home visiting, community service providers, legal aid, and more are encouraged to attend. The conference will offer ample opportunity for attendees to network with like-hearted and like-minded professionals from multiple child-serving systems that have a stake in the lives of children with special needs, including those that have been impacted by trauma.

Continuing Education Available!

Community Health Education Specialist (CHES)
Continuing Medical Education (ISMS)
Illinois Dental Hygienist Association
Illinois Department of Human Services (DDD)
Illinois Early Intervention Program
Illinois Education Association
Illinois Occupational Therapy Association
Gateways to Opportunity
Medical Assistant (AMT)
Registered Nurse Pre-Approved Sponsor

Learn more about available sessions, credit designations, and other information: Conference brochure

Register Now!


For more information about the ABC Conferences, please contact:

Elise Groenewegen
Manager, Child Development Initiatives
1400 W Hubbard, Suite 100
Chicago, IL 60642
312/733-1026, ext. 204
Fax: 312/733-1791