Illinois Families Leaders Collaboration 15th Annual Family Conference

A Free Virtual Conference for Families of Children with Disabilities

The Power of Families: Using Your Voice to Make a Difference

Saturday, April 23, 2022

This free virtual conference is presented in three different sessions throughout the day. Register separately for each session you would like to attend. Registration with requests for participation accommodations must be made by 04/08/2022. Accommodation requests received after that date cannot be guaranteed.

Program Schedule

9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.

Resiliency is Also Contagious: How to Protect Our Families from the Impact of Adversity and Trauma

Dr. Matt Buckman, Stress & Trauma Treatment Center

12:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.

Inclusive Education for Families of Young Children

Tammy Wrobbel & Talin Tokat , Early CHOICES

6:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.

Mindfulness for Families

Karla Belzer, University of Illinois

Resiliency is Also Contagious: How to Protect Our Families from the Impact of Adversity and Trauma

by Dr. Matt Buckman

Dr. Buckman will provide an uplifting keynote highlighting the balance between protective factors and risk factors for promoting resilience. He will share research based and proven strategies to create protection against the impact of adversity or trauma in children. He will provide concrete examples of how to promote resiliency within our families during the pandemic or other stressful life events. 

Inclusive Education for Families of Young Children

by Tammy Wrobbel & Talin Tokat

Today’s education system is overwhelming. Many times, it is difficult to keep up with the latest technology, teaching methods, best practices, and early learning outcomes. Parents of young children with disabilities have even more to maneuver. Parents need to understand Individual Family Service Plans, Individual Education Plans, special education acronyms, different types of services, available placements, parent rights, special education laws, and much more.

Inclusive placements is a term that is used in special education, and it is considered to be the ideal situation for educating young children with disabilities. However, the concept of inclusive placement is often misunderstood. It is important to know the facts about what makes inclusion work.

This professional development will include exploring the Understanding Inclusion modules. Key ideas about what makes inclusion work in early childhood education will be presented. The modules cover a range of topics from defining inclusion, to understanding the benefits, to advocating for inclusion. Attendees will have unlimited access to these modules, topic guides and resources to reflect and apply what is learned.

Mindfulness for Families

by Karla Belzer

Children reflect the nervous systems of adults around them – including parents, caregivers, teachers, and others. To create mindful environments and mindful interactions, we must first focus on our own experience. Mindfulness means maintaining a moment-by-moment awareness of our thoughts, emotions, bodily sensations, and surrounding environment with openness and curiosity. It has a variety of research-backed impacts including reduction in stress, emotional regulation, enhanced parent-child interactions, and increased focus. In this session, we will explore techniques, practices, and activities to implement mindfulness for yourself and your children.

Click on the organizations below to learn more about our sponsors


Project Reach

The Arc of Illinois


Family Matters

Illinois State Board of Education

Combined Logos.png