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PARENT Saturday

at the IAGC Conference

NOVEMBER  2,  2024


Registration Now OPEN!

Talent Scouts and Opportunity Bridges

Are you looking for the full conference experience?  

Register for the Two-Day Conference here.



    • SATURDAY Keynote with Dr. Matt Zakreski
    • Attend up to 5 Parent Focused Strands
    • Featured Speaker offering multiple sessions: Jen Merrill 
    • Optional Box Lunch
    • Network with our Exhibitors to learn about Resources, Services, and Opportunities for gifted children
    • Student Talent Showcase 
    • Learn about Policy and Advocacy needs and opportunities for kids with advanced learning needs in Illinois. 

Parent Saturday 

Parent Saturday is a one-day event especially for parents, grandparents and caregivers to learn about the resources, opportunities, and support for gifted and advanced learners and their families.  As part of the IAGC Annual Conference, you are invited to attend engaging speakers, network with other parents and professionals, and connect with  exhibitor resources. 

WHEN:      Saturday November 22024

TIME:         8:30 am - 3:30 pm

WHERE:    NIU Naperville Conference Center,  1120 E. Diehl Road, Naperville IL  60563

WHO:    Parents, grandparents, and caregivers of Gifted Children, Advanced Learners, Twice Exceptional Students as well as PTA members, Gifted Support Group members, and parents who are curious about the policies that impact advanced learning opportunities and how to advocate for their children throughout their education journey. 

Note:  This is an adult-only event.  No childcare or children's activities are available.

Keynote Presenter:   Dr. Matt Zakreski    Co-founder of the Neurodiversity Collective   Visit :  The Neurodiversity Collective 

Featured Presenter  Jen Merrill     Author of "If This is a Gift, Can I Send it Back?"     Visit:  Laughing at Chaos

New this year:

    • gourmet box-lunch option, provided by NIU catering, is available to purchase when you register.  In addition, we are scheduling two lunch sessions into each day.  We hope this will allow for a  comfortable lunchtime experience for everyone.
    • An Exhibitor Adventure Map with specific exhibitor visiting times to allow our attendees to benefit from the many resources and experts who support gifted children and their families and teachers. 
    • Saturday Student Talent Showcase to inspire and entertain guests throughout the conference! 

Speaker Profiles:


The Children Shall Lead Us: A Guide to Interest-Based Learning

Matthew “Dr. Matt” Zakreski, PsyD is a high energy, creative clinical psychologist and professional speaker who utilizes an eclectic approach to meet the specific needs of his neurodivergent clients. He is proud to serve the Gifted community as a consultant, a professor, an author, and a researcher. He has spoken over 400 times all over the world about supporting neurodivergent kids. He is the co-founder of The Neurodiversity Collective.

Visit The Neurodiversity Collective          


What I Want the World to Know About Parenting Twice-Exceptional Kids

Jen Merrill is an Illinois-based writer, musician, marketing project  manager, and gifted family advocate. The mom of two, she  homeschooled one twice-exceptional son through high school while  happily sending his younger brother off to school every morning. Those  days now in the past, she is settling into the somewhat quieter life of an  empty-nester. She is a music educator by trade, with degrees in music  education and flute performance. Long before she picked up a flute as a  child, however, Jen wanted to be a writer, something that didn’t happen  until she opened a Blogger account in 2006 and never looked back. Her  writing focused mostly on gifted families and advocacy until the  pandemic hit and instead of writing she took up staring into space. Her  book, “If This is a Gift, Can I Send It Back?”, struck a nerve with families  who suspected Jen was living in their closet. Her second book, on the  needs of gifted parents and self-care, is in progress; it is taking  significantly longer than anticipated because of the aforementioned  staring into space, complicated by living as the gooey center of the  sandwich generation. In addition to writing on her long-time blog,  Laughing at Chaos, she is the creative editor of the GHF Learners  Journey newsletter and has published articles in the Understanding Our  Gifted Journal, the 2e Newsletter, the Huffington Post.  

Jen brings both her acquired wisdom and her experience as a teacher  and mentor to her work in the service of parents, teaching them  techniques and mentoring them into their own versions of success. Her goal is to support parents of gifted and twice-exceptional kids, because  they are the ones doing the heavy lifting and are too often ignored,  patronized, and discredited. It is her hope that her sons never have to  deal with these issues when they raise their own likely gifted children.


Please review the schedule offerings and additional add-ons to plan your attendance. 

Membership Registrations may not be combined with Conference Registrations. 


 Parent IAGC Member
 Parent Non-Member
 Plus 1 Guest 

Online Registration CLOSES October 25, 2024.

Walk-In Registrations accepted as space allows.

No refunds will be issued after October 15, 2024.  Tickets may be transferred, with approval from IAGC office. 

Unpaid registrations will be cancelled and removed from the attendee list by October 25 unless previous arrangements have been made (

Contact to arrange for  group registrations . 

Contact Us:

Illinois Association for Gifted Children

1500 Sullivan Road
Aurora, IL 60506

Ph: 630-907-5047
Fax: 630-907-5976

email us:

The Illinois Association for Gifted Children is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.

© Illinois Association for Gifted Children

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