Developmental Differences - Must-Have Chicago Resources

Written by: Lorell Marin, Erika Larson

The idea for the NPN Developmental Differences Resource Fair began over a simple cup of coffee.  After participating in the October 2011 NPN school fair, our LEEP Forward team couldn’t help but realize a significant gap in resources available to Chicago parents who were perhaps most in need: those caring for children with developmental differences. While Chicago does, in fact, have a beautiful pool of resources that are available, it became clear that locating proper resources was far more difficult than it should be for families.

With these thoughts and realizations in mind, that simple coffeehouse idea began to blossom.  We hoped to reach out to the Chicago community and create a fair that would bring dozens of valuable resources to one location accessible to parents.  We first reached out to NPN and they immediately responded with open arms, and so began the journey of the first developmental differences resource fair.

So many supporters helped bring the fair to life including Bellybum Sensory Kids Store, Chicago Parent, Whole Foods, Viacord, and Marmalade Photography.  The final Feb. 4, 2012 NPN Developmental Differences Resource Fair included nearly fifty vendors and free, educational workshops on topics that families struggle with most.  This year, topics included: Understanding and Dealing with Health Insurance by Gail Borgerd of MedicClaim, Setting Your Child up for Success by Lorell Marin, LEEP Forward, and Navigating the IEP Process by Susan R. Singerman, MA. We are so thrilled to say the day was a complete success!  Check out the great photos from Marmalade Photography.  If you missed it, please download the event program for some great tips and resource listings.

Next steps!

We are excited and looking forward to making this an annual event and we want your feedback!  Tell us who else should be there and ideas for everything from great sponsors to product vendors. What would you like to see added to the next fair?  Are there any topics you would like to be added to the free workshops?  We hope to see a variety of exhibitors including schools, equipment, toys, doctors, holistic methods, and more! We are always open to fresh ideas!  Contact us at or NPN at

Thank you to everyone who helped make this event such a big success. So many families were able to connect with service providers who are able to support their child and/or family. Many service providers were able to make connections and learn about additional referral resources to help support their clients. It is a great feeling to see an idea come to life that can really make a difference in so many lives.

Posted on March 02, 2012 at 1:05 PM