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Breakout Sessions 4

Including Kids on the Spectrum

Led by: Dr. Steve Grecevich

Research suggests that nearly 60% of children and teens with autism spectrum disorders are of normal or high intelligence and may not be served well by "special needs" ministries designed for individuals with intellectual disabilities. Mental health concerns commonly co-occurring with autism are often the cause of many of their social limitations. This workshop will help participants develop a strategy for including kids on the high end of the spectrum by combining mental health ministry ideas with traditional approaches for serving youth with autism. For churches with established disability ministries, this workshop will serve as a first step to expanding support for children and teens with significant mental health conditions and their families.


We're All in This Together - A Family Perspective

Led by: The Hartranft Family

Hear a family's perspective on how the church and school community can inspire to bring hope to families touched by autism and encourage them to keep on keeping on. You will leave this breakout with a better understanding of the great need for programming and services for a group of people that often feel left out or embarrassed to participate. These families face weeks that are filled with things that drain their energy and they need the filling that only the body of Christ can provide.


Creating Community Outside the Church

Led by: Stephen Taylor

Church doesn't just happen in the sanctuary. Ministry doesn't just take place on Sundays. Being the hands and feet of Jesus is something that happens all day every day. Join Stephen Taylor as he shares ideas on how you can get out of the pews and into your neighborhoods by creating community through events, small gatherings, and serving opportunities. Together, we can serve our community a few people at a time even when they aren't coming to church.


Disability is Beautiful 

Led by: Ryan Wolfe 

Have you ever struggled to find high-quality stock photography images of people with disabilities to use in your ministry? We have to! For years we recycled the same images over and over again. But now we are happy to announce to you that we have a solution for you. Come and see firsthand this brand new FREE stock photography resource called "Disability is Beautiful". We believe that beauty belongs to everyone and that there should be equal representation for online images. Be a part of the solution! Learn how you can add to this incredible library of resources.


Inclusion 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.


Promoting Autism Awareness in Your Faith Community

Led by: Tonya Nash

Do you find yourself frustrated by the fact that so many people still don't understand Autism? Are you looking for ways to show your congregation that they are incomplete without people with Autism? Learn creative ways to promote Autism Awareness in Your local community with easy-to-implement ideas. 


Creating Sensory Spaces

Led by: Jay Perkins 

With autism and other sensory processing diagnoses on the rise, places such as schools and faith communities are now needing sensory spaces for their students. Learn strategies for creating sensory spaces on a budget or finding funding to build a state of the art sensory room.


Understanding the Grief of Diagnosis

Led by: Jeanetta Bryant

God works in ways we cannot imagine and uses our weakest moments to craft some of his greatest work. An important part of partnering with parents in disability ministry is to help them recognize the obstacles before so that you can move forward and find hope


Caring Beyond Youth Ministry

Led by: Ryan Whitmire

Many churches and schools do a good job of caring for and including kids and teenagers. But what happens when the kids graduate? How are you helping families prepare for life after youth ministry? Learn about the transitional period of young adulthood and how you can connect families and already existing organizations to help them navigate the transition. 


Managing Difficult Behavior

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 in 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.

Meet the Worship Team!



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