October 20-21, 2017

Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum | Chicago, IL

2017 Featured Keynote Speakers


Ron Suskind

Ron Suskind is a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, best-selling author, teacher essayist and speaker whose impassioned presentations mix monologue with reportage, pathos with humor and global politics. 

He is the author of six bestselling books, including Life, Animated: A Story of Sidekicks, Heroes and Autism, which was turned into an Oscar Nominated documentary, examining his own family’s two-decade struggle to help one of its members emerge from the shadows of autism through a unique, and wildly creative, form of therapy.  

Ron joins the NPDDF conference this year to speak about his personal journey, as NPDDF explores how technology and new research advancements are helping to redefine how we look at autism.

Watch the Life Animated Trailer

Alexandra Samuel

Alexandra Samuel is an independent technology researcher and writer, and the author of Work Smarter with Social Media from the Harvard Business Review Press. The former Vice-President of Social Media for market research software company Vision Critical, Alex has conducted extensive research on the way parents navigate the digital world. She has written about family tech use as part of her regular contributions to The Wall Street Journal, The Atlantic, The Harvard Business ReviewThe Christian Science Monitor’s Passcode, Oprah.com and JSTOR Daily. Alex is also the former director of The Social & Interactive Media Centre at Emily Carr University, and co-founded Social Signal, one of the world’s first social media agencies. She holds a Ph.D. in Political Science from Harvard University. She has two children, one of whom is autistic; you can follow his journey in The Peanut Diaries.

Alexandra joins us to talk about Hacking Parenthood: The Three Worlds of Digital Parenting: Today’s biggest educational and parenting battles are over screen time: how much tech access kids should have & what they should be doing online. This challenges are particularly acute when working with (or parenting) autistic kids, who may be particularly susceptible to compulsive technology use — and also, especially likely to find technology essential to their education, social life or emotional self- regulation.

Alix Generous

Miss Generous (born 1992) is a professional speaker, neuroscientist, author, tech consultant, and observational comedian. Her TED talk “My Inner Life…” has received over 1.4 million views. Her works have been featured on NPR, Bloomberg Businessweek, TEDx, and the Sydney Opera House. Through high impact media, comedy, and creative storytelling, she advocates for scientific literacy, child welfare, and for the advancement of Mental Diversity in STEM and the entertainment industry.  At 17, She attended the College of Charleston where she studied Psychology, Molecular Biology, and Neuroscience.

From 2013 to September 2016, she was the co-founder for Podium (formerly AutismSees), a social impact company that creates technology to help high functioning autistic millennials improve their presentation skills. In her 2015 TED talk, she comically shares how tech improved her public speaking skills. When she’s not speaking at conferences, she lives in Los Angeles where she works on media production and social impact technology.

Watch her TEDx Talk




oin us for the 2016 National Pediatric Developmental Differences Forum (NPDDF), Connecting the Dots, in Chicago, Illinois. Learn from an impressive collection of speakers and hear about the cutting-edge current interventions for children with developmental disabilities, as well as what future supports are on the horizon.

The mission of the NPDDF is to raise awareness, communication and utilization of relationship-based therapeutic models with children challenged by developmental differences. Participants will join colleagues from the following disciplines:


Pediatric Medicine

Occupational Therapy

Speech Language Pathology

Social Work


Participants can expect to gather knowledge from keynote speakers and in breakout sessions to better understand how evidence-based research and information gathered through case studies are proving the efficacy of relationship-based therapies in the development of children with developmental differences.

If you are a professional working with or a parent of a child with Autism, Sensory Processing Disorder or Executive Functioning Challenges, this conference must not be missed!

More information on our keynote and breakout session topics and speakers is coming soon.  Participants attending will gain knowledge about::

  • How developmental relationship-based therapies impact intervention and a child’s individual developmental progress
  • The DIR-FCD Model
  • Practical applications for clinic, home and school
  • What the future holds for adults with developmental challenges
  • Research and efficacy-based interventions for children with developmental differences
  • How to tailor interactions and strategies based upon individual sensory-motor profiles
  • Executive functions of the brain and strategies for home and school to assist with challenges

A “Certificate of Attendance” will be issued for all attendees. CEUS are available for the following disciplines: Speech Language Pathology, Occupational Therapy, Education, Social Work and Illinois Early Intervention. Additional information will be shared soon.

Sponsorship Opportunities

Attention PARENTS: If you require financial assistance to attend the NPDDF, funds may be available through the Consumer Stipend program. It is funded by the Illinois Council on Developmental Disabilities administered by The Arc of Illinois. Here is the link for more information: http://www.thearcofil.org/consumer-involvement-program-consumer-stipend-funds/.