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Breakout Sessions 1

How to Start a Special Needs Ministry

Led by: Jillian Palmiotto

Learn the "good to knows" when you are first beginning to be intentional about including people with disabilities. You will learn an overview of the facets of ministry to consider as you start envisioning a disability ministry for your church. Participants will receive a 12-month timeline to help assess where your church is now and how to move forward over the

next year.

Disability, Dignity, and the Image of God

Led by: Dr. Lamar Hardwick

All humans are made in the image of God. In this presentation, you will learn about models of disability, a Christian theology of disability, and the role of the church in defending the dignity of those with disabilities as a practice of the Christian faith. As a ministry leader or volunteer, this session will help you have the biblical foundation to be the advocate you need to be to help leaders understand the importance of disability inclusion. 

Reframing Your Perspective

Led by: Heather Croas

Through semi-guided improvisational activities, workshop participants will engage in emotional scenarios to create an interactive learning experience. The guided scenarios will illustrate how easily we can misinterpret what we see based on perceptions that have been created by our personal experiences. The presenter will lead the participants in a discussion, allowing them to share with each other what they learned from the workshop and how the lesson might be implemented in their work or personal life and how this relates to emotional regulation for people with disabilities at school and in

church settings.

Partnering with

Adult Programs

Led by: Brian Page

If you are serving 100 families with disabilities, then you have 100 different ministries. It can be intimidating to wonder how you might meet the needs of all of them. The good news is that you don't have to do it alone! There are numerous existing programs that can help you support parents. This session will help you understand how you can partner with programs like schools,  Social Security, Medicaid, respite organizations, day programs, and vocational training programs to partner with you to help you meet every need.

Journey to Joy

Through Autism

Led by: Glenn and Sandy Hartranft

Hear a parent's perspective that chronicles the highlights and lowlights
of one family's journey and how God provided just the right person at just the right time, every time. Hear about how parents struggle to teach children on the spectrum about faith, but how they were able to overcome to help their son exceed all expectations. Understand how parents can be an integral part of advocating for special needs ministries at your churches so you will be inspired and encouraged as the Lord uses you in His own way in your journey.

Inclusion in Children's Ministry

Led by: Emily Saum

This breakout session will help you understand strategies for including children with special needs in your already existing programming for Sunday morning, camps and events, and even on mission trips and in student leadership. You will gain a better understanding of how children's pastors, volunteers, and worship leaders can partner with and collaborate with the special needs team to ensure all kids are receiving the gospel. 

Transitionally Speaking 

Led by: Kim Weinreb

Learn about the difficult topics that parents have to face when they begin to transition from the teen years into young adulthood. This can be an extremely emotional process for parents. Learn how you can be a supportive partner to families as you encourage and assist them through the steps to transitioning and helping them make decisions.

Serving with

a Disability

Led by: Kyle Pease

Many people with disabilities are overlooked as active serving members of their church community and are excluded from an important part of the Christian faith of serving their neighbor. Many churches continue to do ministry "for" people with disabilities rather than doing ministry "with" people with disabilities. Kyle is a person with cerebral palsy who is actively serving as a volunteer at his church. Hear his story of his church experience and how you can invite others with disabilities to be used by God to display His glory.

Respite Care as a Preventative to Suicide

Led by: Stacy Georges

Learn about the staggering statistics and stories of unfortunate events that have happened among special needs families that have ended in homicide/suicide and how local schools and churches can be part of changing those statistics. In this breakout, you will learn the importance of respite care and how schools and churches can partner with outside organizations or find people within your school or church community to provide needed in-home respite care in the community. 

Marketing and Recruiting for Your Ministry

Led by: Elizabeth Barnett

One part of your job as a disability ministry leader is to let others know about your ministry and invite them to join you. In this session, you will learn how to successfully share your ministry with families, volunteers, and staff members. You will leave with action steps on how to effectively market your ministry and recruit new volunteers and families to join you.


Community Events

Led by: Anita Metcalf

Church was meant to be fun! Learn how to create fun events to engage the community that will draw the disability community to your church.

"Inclusion is intentional. It is about identifying and removing barriers so that everyone can participate to the best of their ability."

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