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Individual and Family Forums

Decades ago, The Arc network was formed by parents in response to the lack of available education services or community supports for their children with disabilities. Though much has been accomplished over many years, there remains much to do to assure that individuals with disabilities in Illinois are able to live, work, learn, and play in their communities. 

In addition to the forthcoming survey of our membership to determine our public policy priorities for 2024, The Arc of Illinois is partnering with several of our chapters, organizational affiliates, and supporters to hold Individual and Family Forums for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families and share your thoughts about what The Arc of IL needs to know about your support needs to advocate on your behalf in Springfield next year.

Last week, I was delighted to meet with several family members at our first listening session, hosted by organizational affiliate, AID. This virtual listening session provided a welcome opportunity to dialogue with family members about their most pressing issues. I hope to hear from you at a Forum near you!

Registration is recommended. Register by calling 815-464-1832 or emailing at training@thearcofil.org

Upcoming Events:

Pathway Services Unlimited, Inc.

 1905 W Morton Ave, Jacksonville, IL 62650

October 4, 2023 | 6:00 - 7:30 pm 


19043 Wentworth Ave, Lansing IL, 60438

October 11, 2023 | 6:00 - 7:30 pm 

The Arc of Quad Cities

Blackhawk Special Education Center

4016 9th Street, East Moline IL, 61244

November 13, 2023 | 6:00 - 7:30 pm 

Be on the lookout for upcoming dates in Carbondale, Rockford, Peoria, and Chicago areas!


Last week in Washington, DC, the bipartisan, bicameral SSI Savings Penalty Elimination Act (S.2767/H.R.5408) was reintroduced, aiming to address financial barriers faced by individuals on Supplemental Security Income (SSI). This legislation seeks to eliminate penalties that restrict SSI recipients from saving or accumulating assets, making it easier for them to build financial security without jeopardizing their benefits. This would update SSI’s asset limits for the first time since the 1980s. You can read The Arc US’s press release here.

Feel free to write your U.S. Senator and Congressperson about the importance of supporting this legislation! Find your elected officials here.


REV UP wraps up Disability Voting Rights Week!

There was a great response to The American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD) Disability Voting Rights Week.  



The Illinois State Board of Elections collaborated with The Arc of Illinois to create awesome accessible voting resources.

For Illinois State Board of Elections Resources, click here

Self-advocates Matty Shulz and Da Wen Mei assisted with voter presentations to: Shelbyville High School, Family Matters, UCP Seguin, and Trinity – and we’re looking forward to upcoming presentations with Pui Tak and the HBSS Workgroup! If you would like us to present to your group on The 5 W’s of Voting, please contact carole@thearcofil.org

Continuing in the collaborative spirit, Advocacy Program Specialist, Carole Rosen, Family Transition Project Director, Greg Walkington, and Self Advocacy Alliance members, Tara Ahern, Krescene Beck, Chris Lenart, Adam Wiser, and Tavarus Wesley have been traveling across Illinois presenting on self-advocacy and voter registration with The Arc of Illinois’ Mentors including John Porter, Robert Rowley, and James Elliot. Presentations have taken place in Anna, Grayslake, and Chicago Heights with additional upcoming regional trainings in Vandalia, Dixon, Dwight, and Kankakee!


Image Description: A group of 5 people smiling with one person holding a sign saying ‘Register, Educate, Vote, and Use Your Power’ written in Spanish.

Carole, Greg, and the Mentors have presented on voting and voter registration, and the Operation Welcome Home program to residents at Choate Developmental Center in Anna, and Ludeman Center in Park Forest.  Next week they will continue their advocacy work at Murray Developmental Center in Centralia.

Other highlights of the week include proclamations from Governor Pritzker and Mayor Johnson declaring the week of September 11th – 15th Disability Voting Rights Week for the State of Illinois and Chicago. 

Click on the links below for information:

  • For Governor Pritzker's Proclamation, click here
  • Register to Vote, click here
  • Find Your Polling Place, click here
  • Register to Vote by Mail, click here
  • Voter Registration Lookup, click here

Going Home Coalition

Going Home Coalition’s September meeting featured Equip for Equality’s attorneys Stacey Aschemann and Laura Miller. There were so many great questions, that we agreed we need a part two.  Please contact carole@thearcofil.org to be added to the invite list for future meetings.


Image description: Greg Walkington, Sen. Laura Fine, and Carole Rosen stand smiling between an Illinois state flag and the American flag.

Advocacy Moment

Last week, Carole Rosen and Greg Walkington met with Senator Laura Fine (D – 9th) to discuss the importance of robust support and investment in community systems to sustain a full life in the community for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Would you like to meet with your legislators and need support to get your meeting set up? Please reach out to Carole at carole@thearcofil.org.

Alliance and The Arc of Illinois Fall 2023 Regional Training 

“Self-Advocacy, Rights, and YOU!”

Self-Advocates, allies/professionals, and family members are invited to join the Illinois Self-Advocacy Alliance (The Alliance) and The Arc of Illinois for a day of learning and advocacy. Trainings are free and will begin promptly at 10am and end at 2pm; lunch is included.

Click here for flyer.


Be a Part of Something Larger.

As an Individual or Family Member, discover all the benefits, training opportunities, and networking with other families, members and professionals.

As a Chapter or Organization Sponsor, partner with us to receive many benefits, training, and support of our mission through ongoing advocacy efforts. 


Your Donation Matters.

Whether you choose to donate monthly or one time, your donation helps The Arc bring together advocates, connect people and families, train and educate, and provide resources and support. 





Registration for the IDD & Mental Health Conference is opening soon!

November 15, 2023

This virtual conference focuses on the intersection of intellectual and developmental disabilities and mental health. 

The Arc of Illinois Virtual Events

  • Seminario Web en Espanol | Centro Great Lake ADA | September 25, 2023 | 5:30 - 6:30 pm | Register
  • The Role of a Developmental Pediatrician | September 27 | 12:00 - 1:00 pm | Register NOW!
  • Ligas Advocate Program Special Topic Webinar| Derek R. Hedges, Wavier Unit, Manager from Division of Developmental Disabilities will be our “Special” guest.  | October 5 | 12:00 - 2:30 pm | Register 
  • Transition Resources through Shirley Ryan Ability Lab | October 18, 2023 | 12:00 - 1:00 pm | Register
  • Seminario Web en Espanol | La Tutela y Las Otras Opciones | October 23, 2023 | 5:30 - 6:30 pm | Register
  • Seminario Web en Espanol | Enfoque en los Hermanos de Personas con Discapacidades del Desarrollo | November 13, 2023 | 5:30 - 6:30 pm | Register
  • Work Incentives Planning & Assistance (WIPA) program and More | November 14, 2023 | 12:00 - 1:00 pm | Register
  • Adapting The Holidays to Your Child with IDD | December 12, 2023 | 12:00 - 1:00 pm | Register

Ray Graham Association (RGA) is pleased to present a learning opportunity for families, educators and 
others in the community

This year, Ray Graham is resuming in person, and all are free of charge. Although geared towards families, they are also great learning opportunities for educators and other professionals. This year, the remaining dates are October 19 and November 16. Click here for the flyer.

We have also applied to DHS for CE approval (2 per session) for:

  • Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor
  • Licensed Clinical Social Worker
  • Licensed Nursing Home Administrator
  • Licensed Occupational Therapist & Occupational Therapy Assistant
  • Licensed Physical Therapist & Physical Therapy Assistant
  • Licensed Professional Counselor
  • Licensed Social Worker
  • QIDP


TAP ASSIST Launches Free Parent Training Program for Parents and Caregivers of Transition-Aged Youth

There are twelve modules in the training program. Each module features an expert-led presentation on a relevant transition topic and includes time for parent discussion and questions. Click here to register.
Topics include:
Person-Centered Planning
Guardianship and Alternatives
PUNS and Medicaid waiver services
Social Security Benefits
Health Insurance
and more!

Parents can also sign up for our TAP Newsletter at the bottom of our home page here Home - The Autism Program of Illinois - TAP (tap-illinois.org) to be notified of future training opportunities or follow us on Facebook for updates!


The Illinois Autism Task Force (IATF) Transition sub-committee is seeking 
parents/guardians’ feedback on their understanding of the high school (Secondary) transition process. The survey is designed for parents/guardians of children with autism (all ages-young adults) who have an IEP.

The Autism Transition Subcommittee is conducting this survey to assess parent/family knowledge when it comes to understanding services available for the autism population leading up to and during their high school transition years. By gaining understanding of this, the IATF as well as autism-based service entities and schools can target their messaging and parent education to better guide parents, students, and families with the 
goal of improving student success after high school.

The survey will be available beginning September 1, 2023, ending December 1, 2023: The IATF: Transition Sub-Committee Survey 2023

If you are a parent/guardian of a child with Autism, please follow the above link and complete the survey. The survey should take 15 minutes and your responses are completely anonymous. We genuinely appreciate your participation and hope our results will help us in our work to prepare families and improve services in Illinois as students transition from school to adulthood.


PIP Class 5 Informational Brochure and Application in both English and Spanish are Available

Please note there has been a few changes: The Informational Brochure and the Application as two free-standing documents, plus there are added Siblings to the list of participants eligible to apply.

The deadline for all applications is Saturday, October 7, 2023, by 5:00pm.

  • IL PIP Class 5 Application- English, click here
  • IL PIP Class 5 Brochure - English, click here
  • IL PIP Class 5 Application - Spanish, click here
  • IL PIP Class 5 Brochure - Spanish, click here


University of Chicago Financial Security Study

A team of researchers from the University of Chicago is conducting a study to help people with disabilities and their families' overcome barriers to financial security.

They are excited to offer you the opportunity to participate in this study, which would involve opening an IL ABLE Account. To help you get your savings started, a University of Chicago research team will deposit $100 in “seeding” funds into your account and email you a $10 electronic gift card if you open an IL ABLE account after taking this 10-minute survey.  You do not have to contribute any money to the IL ABLE account to receive the seeding funds.  Click the survey link to learn more and get started!



University of Illinois Adults with Autism and Health Services Research Study

This project is supported by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) under the Autism Intervention Research Network on Physical Health (AIR‐P) grant, UT2MC39440. 

University of Illinois is currently recruiting adults with autism between the ages of 18-65 to participate in a research study. By participating in this study, adults with autism can help us understand their experiences in accessing health services, as well as support the adaptation of an app that could support or improve access to health services for adults with autism.

Participants will be asked to complete a short demographic questionnaire and participate in three interviews over Zoom or phone. The interview format, date, and time will take place whenever is convenient for the participant. The questionnaire should take 5 minutes and each interview will take between 30-60 minutes. In appreciation for your time, you will receive up to $75 for participating in this study.

Click here for the flyer. If you or someone you know would be interested in participating in this study, please email at mebest2@illinois.edu or phone at (312) 627-9536


Virtual Future is Now (VFIN) Research Study

Online future planning for adults with intellectual or developmental disabilities (IDD) & their families for Illinois

Are you worried about what will happen to your loved one as you get older? Do you find the process of planning for the future overwhelming?

If yes, you might be eligible to join the VFIN research study, which is testing the effectiveness of an online future planning training at the University of Illinois Chicago for adults with IDD & their families in Illinois.

The VFIN research study will randomly assign families to be part of the intervention or control group. All family caregivers and adults with IDD will complete pre- and post- tests.

  • Families assigned to the intervention group will receive a 6-week training with weekly 1.5 hour Zoom classes from October 3 - November 6 on Mondays and two Wednesdays from 7-8:30 pm CT.
  • Families assigned to the control group will receive access to the self-paced materials after the post-test is completed.

Learn more by visiting our website: https://sites.google.com/view/vfin-uic 

View Flyer here

To participate, please fill out the form: https://uic.ca1.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_5dukbZuT2l43TZs or contact Katie at: 312-996-1002 or kkeiling@uic.edu


Are you, or do you know, a Spanish-speaking
family member of a person who uses AAC?/¿Usted es o conoce a un familiar hispanohablante de alguien que usa la CAA?

Researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago are conducting a study
to learn about the experiences and perspectives of Spanish-speaking family
members of people who use augmentative-alternative communication (AAC).
Participants will be asked to complete a questionnaire and a remote interview. Family participants will receive a $75 Visa gift card upon completion of both. Please contact Ellyn McNamara, (312) 343-6348 or emcnam3@uic.edu to participate in the research.

Investigadores de la Universidad de Illinois en Chicago están realizando un
estudio para conocer las experiencias y perspectivas de los familiares
hispanohablantes de personas que utilizan la comunicación aumentativa y
alternativa (CAA). Se les pedirá a los participantes completar un cuestionario y una entrevista remota. Los participantes familiares recibirán una tarjeta de regalo Visa de $75 al finalizar ambos. Para participar en esta investigación, por favor póngase en contacto con Ellyn McNamara al
(312) 343-6348 o emcnam3@uic.edu.

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