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NSSED Family Update 4/21

NSSED Family Weekly Update  
Wednesday, April 21, 2021

Upcoming Educational Opportunities
Parenting Your Anxious Child during Anxious Times; Tips, Strategies & Tools
When: May 5th- 6:30 pm to 8:00 pm
Where: Register online; Zoom Seminar, link will be provided after registration
Presented by Dina Scolan, LCPC - Clinical Supervisor The OCD & Anxiety Center. Dina Scolan is a licensed clinician and professional counselor with over 25 years of experience in the mental health field. She is currently a clinical supervisor at The OCD and Anxiety Center in Oakbrook and prior to that has worked in all levels of the healthcare system including inpatient, PHP and IOP. She specializes in anxiety disorders and has extensive training in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Exposure and Response prevention and works with children, teens and adults.

Did you miss the Visions April 2021 Conference?
You can now find it on our website!
Follow along with a copy of the presentation

Did you miss the Visions March 2021 Conference?
You can now find it on our website!
Follow along with a copy of the presentation

Did you miss the APS presentation on Parenting through Challenging Times?
You can now find it on our website!

Did you miss the APS presentation on Parenting Strategies to Foster Your Child’s Success in Remote Learning?
You can now find it on our website!

STARNET Family Fellowships:
Family fellowships are used to reimburse parents for the expense of attending workshops, seminars or conferences up to $200 per year. For further information follow this link: starnet/funding.html

Organization Spotlight
Please find below a draft of an Information Bulletin that is intended to clarify the PUNS categories, the process for accumulating time on PUNS and the process for moving from one category to the other. It will also provide additional guidance to assist with the transition for youth approaching 18 years of age. The New Guidance Regarding PUNS will be put into place effective January 1, 2021. 

Please send any communication to

In the fall of 2019, the Division of Developmental Disabilities (DDD) revised the PUNS guidelines to make the selection process more transparent and predictable for individuals with developmental disabilities and their families. There are now just 2 categories: Seeking Services and Planning for Services; both are defined below. In addition, PUNS selections are no longer made by selecting a number of people from each category. Instead, PUNS selections are made based on an individual's length of time in the Seeking Services category. This means that those who have been on the list the longest, in the Seeking Services category, will be selected first. 

Read the Draft Information Bulletin!

Social, Recreational & Learning Opportunities
Path to Academics, Community and Employment (P.A.C.E) Presents: Midwest Virtual Spring College Fair
When: Tuesday, April 27th at 6:30 PM (CST)
Where: Register online: paceatnlu/ midwestvirtualcollegefair? month=2021-04
More Info: A panel discussion featuring five distinguished college experience programs for young adults with disabilities. After presentations, panelist will conduct a Q & A. 

JCC Chicago has announced a number of camps open for registration and new events coming up!
See their website for more information:
Hurry! Early bird camp discount ends Sunday!

Tellin' Tales Theatre
When: March 30th to June 1st on Tuesdays & Thursdays 6:30 pm - 8:30 pm 
Where: Virtual
More Info: Calling all high school students with and without disabilities to create, write and perform your own show! Teen Tales is a program designed to give high school students with and without disabilities the opportunity to create art, write and perform. The cast will explore and create an original performance around issues of concern in their school, community, and lives. The cast will be divided into two groups. Each group will draw from their personal stories to create a 20-minute performance around a theme. The final performance will be 45 minutes to an hour. The rehearsal will end with a virtual performance for family and friends. The program will consist of twenty sessions over Zoom. The goal is to create a diverse environment of community building and respect. Rehearsals will focus on theater fundamentals, movement, voice, and writing. These are intertwined with discussions about activities that promote awareness, understanding, and acceptance. To learn more or register contact Stephen Donart at

Totallink2 Community presents: Teen Time; heART Words
When: Sundays, 1:00 pm to 2:30 pm on Zoom; March 7th through April 25, 2021
(no class on April 4)
Where: Zoom - Register by contacting contact Emily Raming at
More Info: heART Words is an inclusive community for writers of all abilities. Inspiring verbal and visual prompts encourage self-expression of emotions, courage, imagination, experience, and heart. To learn more about these programs and to register, contact Emily Raming at, or check out the Flyer!

Parent Connection PROGRAM
When: Third Thursday of the month at 7pm: February 25, March 25, April 29, May 27, June 24
Where: Zoom - Register by contacting contact Emily Raming at
More Info: Founded by six moms, TotalLink knows how important parent connections can be. This five-part series is aimed at connecting parents of children with disabilities ages 14 to 22 with other parents of young adults with disabilities. For questions or registration, please contact Emily Raming at, or check out the Flyer!

Purchase of Assistive Technology Consumer Stipend Program
The Arc of Illinois, through a grant from the Illinois Council on Developmental Disabilities, administers the Consumer Stipend Program and distributes consumer stipend funds to enable people with developmental disabilities and their family members to attend conferences of their choice that are directly related to developmental disability issues. Due to the pandemic, there is a need for trainings, important meetings and conferences to be virtual. This program will now allow stipends to pay for the assistive technology needed to attend virtual events. The application is for individuals with developmental disabilities and families to apply for technology needed to stay connected in these difficult and unprecedented times.  For more information check out the Flyer, the application is attached to the flyer.

Access Living: COVID-19 Resources for the Disability Community
Access Living is the Center for Independent Living (CIL) that serves the City of Chicago. They have created and are maintaining a list of COVID-19 Resources for the Disability Community.

The Illinois State Board of Education is proud to announce a new program to increase mental health supports for Illinois students and educators. They have partnered with the Center for Childhood Resilience (CCR) at Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital and Peoria County Regional Office of Education 48 to bring you the CCR Virtual Learning Community. This online portal features universal trainings on the impact of trauma on children and adolescents, the intersection between race and trauma, crisis response strategies, and schoolwide trauma-responsive policies and classroom practices to build resilience among students. Critically, the virtual trainings also support educators’ own personal and professional well-being and self-care during COVID-19 and beyond. 

In addition to these new virtual trainings, ISBE has compiled resources to support students’ and educators’ mental health 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The list includes the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (call 1-800-273-8255 for free and confidential support for people in distress and best practices for professionals), the Crisis Text Line (text HOME to 741741 to connect with a crisis counselor), Call4Calm (text TALK or HABLAR to 552020 to get connected to a counselor in your area), and Safe2Help Illinois (a 24/7 tip line that gives students a safe and confidential way to share information that might help prevent suicides, bullying, school violence, or other threats to school safety). 

NCEO and TIES Center are jointly developing a series of videos for parents on various aspects of supporting the learning of children with significant cognitive disabilities at home. (Videos are linked in each organization’s name)  The first four videos are now published. In addition to parents, educators and other audiences may find the videos useful as they work with parents and families. Each video focuses on three key questions: Why is it important to focus on this with my child at home? How can I do this at home? What support can I ask for from my child’s school?  These videos help families learn ways to support the learning of their children with significant cognitive disabilities at home and have conversations with teachers to link home- schools supports. Additional videos will be added to the series over the next several months The future videos will be on supporting the learning of reading, writing, and math at home, as well as one on monitoring progress. 

The Arc of Illinois has created a list of resource topics for parents and professionals: https://www.illinoislifespan. org/fact-sheets-from-the-arc- of-illinois/

Illinois Respite Coalition Virtual Care Package
Use these free resources to take time for yourself. Whether it's 10 minutes or a 45-minute podcast, use these to give yourself minibreathers throughout the day. See the Flyer for all resources!

CTF Illinois & Southern Illinois Transition Project Present: Online Financial Wellness Trainings
For transition-age self-advocates, parents, teachers, support workers and anyone interested in learning how and why money is key for building financial wellness and a full and inclusive life. Contact to register. See the whole list of trainings in the Flyer

Looking for other resources? Check out the NSSED Parent Support & Education Page: