Request for Session Proposals ABCD 4

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The ABC Conference Planning Committee is seeking breakout session proposals for the  4th Annual ABC-D Conference, “Lives in the Balance: Caring for Children with Special Needs, Their Families, Their Communities, And Ourselves in These Precarious Times,” scheduled for Friday, May 4th, 2018, at the Regency Conference Center in O’Fallon, IL. The conference theme has been determined by current American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) priorities and past participant feedback.

About the 4th Annual ABC-D Conference

Despite rhetoric at the federal level, Illinois’ struggles are a reality that will not end in the foreseeable future. For 3 years, Illinois was without a state budget. Vital organizations that serve our children, families, and communities either scaled services back dramatically or disappeared completely. 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–especially in downstate Illinois where services and resources were already sparse.

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. These vulnerabilities, coupled with the lack of self-care, oftentimes lead to 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 4th Annual ABC-D 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 deadline for proposals is Monday, December 4th, 2017 at 5pm. The link to complete the RFP can be found here:

For more information, contact Elise Groenewegen at or 312/733-1026 x 204.


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