Circles of Life Conference

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Circles of Life is Wisconsin’s annual conference for families who have children with disabilities and the professionals who support them.

2024’s Theme

This year’s theme is building community. This includes learning strategies to build a community, as well as programs and services that support families to create an inclusive community for children, teens and adult family members with disabilities.


Children’s Long-Term Supports and Children’s Community Options Program

Families who have children enrolled in the Children’s Long-Term Support (CLTS) and Children’s Community Options Program (CCOP) may be able to use these programs to pay for conference registration, travel and hotel costs.  


Your child’s Support and Service Coordinator (SSC) will need to know what you would like to learn from attending and the goals and outcomes it supports for your family. If your SSC has questions, contact Tara at DHS,


Parent Scholarships  

Families who need financial assistance to attend the conference but are not able to access CLTS or county CCOP funding, can apply for a parent scholarship. Applications will be reviewed as they are received.  Deadline April 1 


Questions: Contact John at the Elsie Shaw Parent Scholarship Fund at or call (608) 846-3530.


Room blocks have been reserved at these locations. Please make your reservation as soon as possible by contacting one of these hotels tell them you want a room in the ”Circles of Life Block.” 


  • Holiday Inn – Convention Center: Rooms for May 15 and 16. Room blocks are being held until Monday, April 15, or until they fill. The rate is $98 a night plus tax for single rooms. Reserve by phone as soon as possible at (888) 465-4329 and tell them you’re with Circles of Life. 
  • Holiday Inn Express: Rooms for May 15 and 16. Room blocks are being held until Monday, April 15, or until they fill. The rate is $98 a night plus tax for single rooms. Reserve by phone as soon as possible at (888) 465-4329 and tell them you’re with Circles of Life. 
  • Fairfield Inn and Suites for May 15 and 16. Room blocks are being held until Wednesday, April 24, or until they fill. The rate is $120 a night plus tax for groups up to 4 people. Reserve by phone as soon as possible at (715) 342-9300 and tell them you’re with Circles of Life.



In 2023 Circles of Life had over 40 resource vendors! Conference goers met with these vendors on scheduled breaks throughout both days to learn about their valuable resources. And we provide ambassadors who are available to assist with set-up, monitor your traffic flow, make the rounds with refreshments, and offer support as needed.


Set up

Wednesday, May 15  6:00pm – 8:00pm

Thursday, May 16  7:00am – 8:30am



Conference sponsors reach hundreds of families and professionals over the 2-day event. Sponsors receive an exhibitor booth, an ad in the Conference Program, and recognition prior to the event on social media, our website and on conference signage.

Sponsorship Levels:

PLATINUM Featured Sponsor ($5,001 and Up) A Platinum Sponsorship includes: Featured exhibitor location in exhibition hall | Featured signage during plenary sessions | Appreciation on the conference website | Frequent recognition on social media | 1 full-page color ad in Conference Program | 3 conference registrations.

GOLD Special Sponsor ($3,001 – $5,000) Special Sponsorship includes: Special exhibitor in exhibition hall | Highlighted signage during plenary sessions | Listing on conference website | Frequent recognition on social media | 1/2-page color ad in Conference Program | 2 conference registrations.

*SILVER Sponsor ($1,500 – $3,000) Silver sponsor receive Booth in exhibition hall | Listing on conference website | Recognition on social media| 1/4-page color ad in Conference Program | 1 conference registration.

*Early Bird Rate for SILVER Sponsor ($1,250) Register by February 15.

To register as a sponsor: 2024 Sponsor Registration

For assistance with the online form, email UW-Stevens Point Continuing Education at For general sponsorship questions, contact Lynn at

or (608) 512-0217.


Attendees receive a free Conference Program so you will be sure reach hundreds of individuals. It contains all the details needed to enjoy the event.

This year’s Program is available in print and online as a phone-friendly guide. Attendee favorites are included: Schedule at a glance | Keynote and workshop descriptions | Exhibitor listing | Links to sponsors | A listing of resource organizations for families who have children with disabilities.

Ad Dimensions:

  • Full page: 7.7 inches (width) x 10.2 inches (height)
  • Half-page: Horizontal Ad: 7.7 inches (width) x 4.5 inches (height)
  • Half-page: Vertical Ad: 3.6 inches (width) x 9.5 inches (height)
  • Quarter page: 3.6 inches (width) x 4.5 inches (height)

Email ads to Lynn, Family Voices of Wisconsin, at

Ad Deadline: March 24, 2024

Advertising Prices

Color Ad
Color Ad
Color Ad


Contact Brian Kenney, Gathering of Youth Facilitator, at or (608)448-9034.

To Register:

Registration is required to take part in Gathering of Youth. This lets staff get to know your teen and ensures they have the needed health and safety information. To register, first, register yourself for the conference and indicate that your young adult will participate in Gathering of Youth. Then a separate link to register your young adult will be emailed to you. You can use this link, 2024 Gathering of Youth Registration, if you have already registered.

Activities for Children

Gathering of Youth

Gathering of Youth is a unique conference track for teens and young adults, ages 13 to 22, who have disabilities. These are supervised sessions that run while parents take part in the keynote and workshops.

Participants eat meals with their families or join tables with other youth. Check-in with your teen before meals and make sure they return to the Gathering of Youth room before going to your workshops.



Sibshops are celebrations of the contributions made by sisters and brothers of kids with special health needs. As a registere Sibshop of WisconSibs, Inc., this workshop for “typical” siblings, ages 8-13, provides lively, age-appropriate activities and relaxed discussions about the challenges and joys of having a sibling with disabilities.

Please Note:

To participate in Sibshop, you must register for the conference and then separately register your child for Sibshop. There is no additional fee for this program, but the sibling must be registered for the conference ($100) and a parent or guardian must be onsite at the Holiday Inn conference center.

Sibshop Registration


To learn more about Sibshop, please contact Tessa at

Family Fun Night

This year’s building community theme will bring out your love of construction. Stop by Thursday night after dinner–Everyone is Welcome!

We’ll have: Games, Crafts, a Puppet Show, Activities and LOTS of candy!

Porcupine Auction

Find a treasure or just something handy to have around the house. Our auction has it all. Bidding starts at the conference opening on Thursday morning and winners are announced that evening at Family Fun night.


All proceeds go to the Elsie Shaw Parent Scholarship Fund, created to offset the cost of attending the Circles of Life Conference for Wisconsin families.


The complete 2024 Program will be released shortly before the conference in May 2024.

Thursday Sessions

Thursday, May 16

7:45 am – 9:00 am → Check-In and Breakfast


9:00 am – 11:45 am → SibShop


9:00 am – 4:30 pm → Gathering of Youth (break from 11:45 – 1:30)


9:00 am – 10:15 am → Welcome and Keynote Address


10:15 am – 10:30 am → Break and Exhibitor Visits


10:30 am – 11:45 am → Session A Workshops


11:45 am – 1:15 pm → Lunch and Awards


1:30 pm – 2:45 pm → Session B Workshops


2:45 pm – 3:15 pm → Break and Exhibitor Visits


3:15 pm – 4:30 pm → Session C Workshops


4:45 pm – 6:30 pm → Dinner and Family Voices Listening Session


6:30 pm – 8:00 pm → Family Fun Night


Friday, May 17

7:45 am – 8:45 am → Breakfast


9:00 am – 11:45 am → Gathering of Youth


9:00 am – 12:00 pm → Birth to 3 Program ICC Town Hall


9:00 am – 10:15 am → Session D Workshops


10:15 am – 10:30 am → Break and Exhibitor Visits


10:30 am – 11:45 am → Session E Workshops


11:45 am – 1:00 pm → Lunch with Slide Show, Door Prizes and Closing

Keynote Speaker


Cathy Ficker Terrill, MS

Cathy is a mother, disability advocate, national speaker and consultant. She is an educator at the university-level with leadership positions in  government and nonprofit organizations. Cathy and her adult daughter, Beth, speak nationally about the importance of social capitalꟷa key part of building  a communityꟷin the lives of those with intellectual and developmental disabilities from an early age, and all life-long.


Presenter Information

The Circles of Life Conference is in our 39th year as the annual, statewide conference for families of children and youth wit disabilities and the professionals who support them. In 2023, over 700 families and professionals attended Circles of Life. This is a unique opportunity for families to develop new skills, learn about resources and form lasting relationships. The conference includes a keynote, over 25 breakout sessions and evening events.

Coming Soon:  You will be able to find the information you need to plan a successful presentation in this section. Keep checking in! 


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