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Breakout Sessions 1

Take your time reading about each session and so you can customize your conference experience! You will be able to choose one (1) session from this group.

Everyone Needs

a Spiritual IEP


Led by: Lynn Wilkerson

What is the ultimate goal for each individual in your ministry? Do you have a plan to reach that goal? All special needs families know the term IEP. We will take that concept to a whole new level. By developing a plan that takes the unique abilities, interests, and needs of that person, parents and volunteers will know how to reach and disciple each individual. Through this method, everyone will know the best strategies for that person to grow in their relationship with Jesus. Practical ideas and resources will be shared in this interactive session. You will leave with a unique program to help people with special needs and disabilities understand their role as a child of God.

The Power

of Community

Led by: John Felageller

In this session, John will share a personal account of how finding and building a community around him helped to support him as a special needs father and navigate the various personal challenges related to that experience. He will share the ways in which he intentionally developed relationships that, in turn, became a support structure for him, and the practical ways the church can help a parent build those for themselves within their own churches, neighborhoods, and among their friends.

Getting a Senior

Leadership on Board

Led by: Doc Hunsley

Are you trying to start a Disability Ministry at your church but having difficulty getting your senior leadership to understand your vision? Or are you part of the senior leadership and have concerns about starting another ministry? We will debunk many of the myths about why one can’t do a Disability Ministry! We will provide you the tools to have effective conversations with senior church leadership to promote the initiation of a Disability Ministry - even in adverse situations.


for Your

Disability Ministry

Led by: Mary Tatum

It’s time to promote! You’ve done your research. You have a ministry plan. The calming lights are installed, the sensory-friendly seating has been ordered, and the visual schedules are posted.  Then you wait. You know people will come. But how will they know? This workshop will walk through various ways to promote both within the walls of your church and to the disability community.

Creating a Community Through Adapted Sports

Led by: John Griffith

"Sports" is a universal language. You will often find missions teams using sports as a tool to break down barriers and create relationships. We have a mission field right in our local community of people who are craving relationships.  Special needs families are looking for truth and a sense of belonging. Learn how your church can use sports to open the door to building relationships that will bridge the faith and disability communities.  

Inclusion in

Youth Ministry



Led by: Ken Chatham & Hailey Polson

The adolescent stage of life presents a unique set of social and emotional circumstances. Kids are awkward, they are trying to discover their identity, and they have difficulty socializing in our technology-driven society. This presentation will help you learn ways to navigate disability inclusion in youth ministry and understand how youth pastors and special needs ministry volunteers can collaborate to provide an inclusive worship experience and opportunities for teens with disabilities to have a leadership role in youth ministry. 

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 the story of his church experience and how you can invite others with disabilities to be used by God to display His glory.

Equipping Individuals with Disabilities for Ministry  

Led by: Ron Sandison

During the persecution of the early church, Lawrence, a deacon in Rome, was ordered to bring the church's treasures before the emperor. He gathered the poor and disabled and took them to the emperor, and said, “Here are the treasures of the church!” In this session, you will learn practical insight to empower God’s treasures for ministry. Sandison, a theologian and author, shares his own struggles with autism and the challenges he experienced in ministry. He also shares ten practical ways to empower individuals with disabilities for ministry and leadership. 


with Adult


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.

Strengthening & Supporting Marriages Impacted by Disability


Led by: Rachael Chisholm

Learn the negative cycle that threatens marriages and how that cycle is intensified by having one or more children with a disability. This session will give you tools for combatting the beliefs and behaviors that lead to this negative marriage cycle, as well as strategies for helping spouses feel loved, valued, secure, respected, and connected. Finally, receive practical tips on how the church can support and aid these marriages within their church body.


Difficult Behavior


Led by: Stephen Culver & 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 having 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.

Training Your Children’s Ministry Volunteers for Disability Inclusion


Led by: Beth Golik

Your volunteers are vital in creating a culture where students of all learning styles are fully engaged and growing in their faith. Equip your volunteers with the tools and strategies to meet the needs of every student you are likely to have in your Sunday School classroom, including kids with hidden disabilities and behavior challenges. This session will have hands-on activities and case-based training that you can experience first-hand and then return to your church to share with your volunteers.

Private School Accreditation for Serving Children With Exceptional Needs

Led by: Dr. Althea Penn

Implementing the best practices is critical for the success of interventions for students with special needs who are placed in private schools. Accreditation standards provide a framework for evidence-based, measurable indicators of quality instruction, supervision, and collaboration that ensures effective interventions for students. This session will include practical strategies for the organization and professional development of administration teams and faculty in light of undiagnosed pandemic-related development delays. 

"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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