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Breakout Sessions 2


Health Inclusion

Led by: Dr. Steve Grecevich

One in five Americans have an identified mental health disorder, and the presence of a child with depression, disruptive behavior disorder, anxiety disorder, or ADHD reduces family church attendance by 73%, 55%, 45%, and 19%, respectively. Disability ministry leaders are becoming increasingly aware of the struggles and barriers to participation in church life for individuals and families impacted by mental illness. Attendees will be introduced to a model for including children and adults with mental health-related disabilities across all the ministries of the church. An updated version of Key Ministry's mental health ministry planning tool will be made available, along with checklists for implementing an “inclusion mindset” within each ministry department of the church.

Creating a Parents' 
Night Out Event
Led by: Stacy Georges

Are you ready to create a parents' night out event to give your special needs parents a much-needed break? Because of the demands on parents to raise a special needs child, the divorce rate among special needs families is 80%! In this session, you will learn a step-by-step plan for creating a respite night for your families - a night to give kids with special needs and disabilities a fun evening while giving couples an opportunity for a date night or a single parent a night off from caregiving. 

Special Education Programs for Private Schools

Led by: Jillian Palmiotto

In her years as a Disability Pastor, Jillian Palmiotto discovered 3 spaces from which the special needs community is still excluded - faith communities, Christian private schools, and mental health counseling centers. This session will assist school leaders, parents, volunteers, and teachers learn how to start building special needs programming in high-achieving private schools. Get the tools and vision you need to welcome everyone into your Christ-centered school environment. 

Discipling People
with Disabilities

Led by: Lynn Wilkerson

For decades, many churches have had what they refer to as a "special needs and disability ministry". Many times, what this looks like in reality is not ministry. It can be a room where people are welcome to go, but not a place where the Word is being taught. This session will give you the strategies to help you disciple people with disabilities so that they have the opportunity to grow in their relationship with Christ and then go out into all of the world to tell the good news of the gospel message. 

Difficult Behavior

Led by: Stephen Culver and Kent Wright, Jr.

One fear that people have when wanting to promote disability inclusion is disruptive behavior....the "what ifs" or unknowns of yelling out, invading space, or full on meltdowns. How do you handle that in a group setting, especially a learning environment like church or school? This session will equip you with simple strategies for understanding how to prevent the behaviors before they happen and what to do in the event that they do occur.

Creating Places Where
People with Disabilities Belong

Led by: Kyle Pease

Understand the lived experience of attending church and school as a person with a disability. Kyle will share his experience of living with cerebral palsy and the joys and struggles of finding a community to belong to. Kyle will challenge church leaders to find ways to create places where people with disabilities are not just welcomed, but who belong to a faith community and are missed when they aren't there. 

Never Let Go 
of Your Dreams
Led by: Ben Hartranft

“Never Let go of Your Dreams” details Ben’s journey through the maze of Autism.  This presentation features Ben’s resilience in working through diagnosis, finding appropriate services, academic struggles, and social understanding to become a strong advocate for Autism awareness and action. Navigating the “adult cliff” of transition to adulthood has been the most recent challenge and a work in progress. Ben’s dream of becoming a full-time speaker came true last year when Benergy1 Presentations was founded.  His “Benergy” for life is contagious and this humorous and passion-filled presentation will inspire and encourage those who attend. Learn how you can be part of the individuals' stories at your church to help them fulfill their dreams.

Proof Curriculum

Led by: Ryan Wolfe

Finding a curriculum that works for your disability ministry is difficult enough. Add a global pandemic to the mix and it becomes even harder to find a curriculum that is versatile enough for both in-person and online gatherings. Ability Ministry has the curriculum that you need! Come and see first-hand curriculum samples that are perfect for teens, young adults, and adults in disability ministry. Attendees will also receive a discount code to purchase the curriculum.

Creating a Biblical Community for Adults with Disabilities

Led by: Elizabeth Barnett

Adults with disabilities rarely have the opportunity to develop a biblical community. The four marks of the biblical community in Acts 2 are described as devotion, compassion, frequency, and growth. In this talk, Elizabeth will walk through how churches can help welcome adults with disabilities into their congregations and facilitate opportunities to develop meaningful relationships. This talk will give examples of ministry models, service opportunities, events, and discipleship classes that include individuals with disabilities.

Facility Tour

Led by: Jeff Jansma

Take a tour of Church on Main to help you have a vision for how to create an inclusive ministry. Tour their children's and youth space to discover ways to make your church more inviting to kids with special needs. You will also have an opportunity to see their sensory room and modified classroom.

Post-Secondary Programming for Adults with Disabilities

Led by: Brian Page

Ministry leaders often forget to consider what happens to families when students transition from one ministry area to the next. For students with disabilities, these transitions can look drastically different from a neurotypical student. Learn what post-secondary programs exist for students with disabilities in order to help parents continue to dream about their child's future. There is life after high school for young adults with disabilities!



Look back at our event schedule to customize and plan your breakout session experience! Our speakers are eager to teach, share, and get to know you.

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