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Breakout Sessions 4

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.

Our Autism Family Journey

Led by: Dr. Stephanie & Rev. Dan Holmes

1

Dr. Stephanie & Rev Dan Hindsight Learning from our Autism Family Journey. Stephanie and Dan share as husband/wife and mom and dad lessons learned from their autism journey mistakes, despair, joy, and hope. 

Teaching Decision-Making Skills

Led by: Ron Sandison

2

For people with autism, decision-making is overwhelming and anxiety-provoking. Attendees will gain insight to evaluate choices and take healthy risks to achieve goals. This session will demonstrate ways to teach the seven steps of the decision-making process and embed this in your existing Sunday programming. Ron shares his struggles with executive function and how he learned to make decisions.

How to LEAD Leadership in the Quest of Starting a Disability Ministry

Led by: Ryan Wolfe

3

Most disability ministries are started by a parent or relative of someone with a disability and not by a passionate staff member. The question that always comes up is how to convince leadership that disability ministry is not only needed but necessary. In this session, you will find out exactly how!

Connect: Faith-Based Curriculum

Led by: Pamela Vandewalker

4

Looking for a time-tested, ready-to-go, concise, easy-to-prep, flexible curriculum? Encounter Connect - a Special Needs faith-based curriculum using scripture, prayers, music, story, and movement. This tool fosters understanding, belonging, and involvement in children's ministry.

Training Volunteers to

Include Individuals with Disabilities

(FULL)

Led by: Stephen “Doc” Hunsley, M.D.

5

This workshop is for any volunteer who might work with an individual with disabilities from birth to adulthood in a ministry setting. You will learn how to be successful in working with them and will receive a toolbox filled with techniques that walk you through several real-life scenarios to help you handle any situation that may arise.

Processes for Sunday Morning

(FULL)

Led by: Valeria Lobo

6

This session will explain the systems and processes of a Sunday morning in a Special Needs Ministry. Participants will consider various environments, how to use them for ministry effectively, intakes for new families, new volunteer processes, and what an effective Sunday looks like to reduce Sunday stress and increase joy for families and volunteer teams. 

Winning While Including

Led by: Taylor Duncan 

7

This presentation focuses on the collective embracement of inclusion and positive integration in the church setting. When we are called to utilize our strengths and talents in ways that please Him, we create a positive church culture. God's Winning Team requires the congregation to work together for the advancement and encouragement of creating relationships with Christ.

Caring for the Caregiver

Led by: Catherine Boyle

8

Caregivers of children with special needs or aging parents experience a level of stress that is unparalleled to the typical person. This session will provide strategies to church leaders about how to prevent and repair mental health burnout from caregiving. Learn what caregivers go through and how the church community can love and support them through their seasons. 

Building a Leadership Team

Led by: Jillian Palmiotto

9

Whether you are a children's pastor, youth pastor, young adult pastor, or senior pastor, you need a leadership team for your special needs ministry. You don't have to try to figure out how to include people with special needs and disabilities all alone. Recruit a volunteer team for that! In this session, you will learn what type of person you are looking for, where to find the people, how to delegate responsibilities, and how to pour into the team to protect them from burnout. 

Transition to Adulthood

Led by: Kim Weinreb

10

Many families are unprepared for the transition into adulthood for their child with special needs. Learn the things that parents must consider that are different from raising a typical child through the young adult transition stage and how their church community can help them through this transition by being the community that never leaves them. 

Meaningful Employment: What It Is

and How Does My Child Get It?

Led by: John Felageller

11

In this presentation, John looks at the different approaches and strategies involved in not only finding a meaningful job placement for your special needs adult but also how to work with the employer to help craft and shape the particular position. John will share from his own experience as a customized employment specialist to describe what a comprehensive job placement approach looks like, the strategies involved and how it differs from other philosophies. John will provide examples from his own work experience and demonstrate how having the right perspectives and attitudes about your young adult finding work matters as much as the actual job placement.

Second Wind for the Second Half: How to Walk Alongside the Families of Adults with ID

Led by: Stephanie Hubach

12

In the post-transition world of adulthood (the years after graduation), many families find themselves in very uncharted territory. Not only do support systems change, but so do the energy levels of parents, in addition to the practical needs of adult children with ID. How can parents who are parenting adults with intellectual disabilities find a "second wind for the second half" that builds on a biblical foundation for a life well-lived for everyone in the family?

Partnering with Community

Organizations to Help Serve Families

Led by: Natalie Page, Ed.D and H. Brian Page, MBA

13

Brian and Natalie have navigated ministry as ministry leaders and special needs parents. Learn about organizations that have been instrumental in helping them get their son to an independent level and how your church can create local partnerships that can serve families well through each season of life.

Helping Our Kids See

Light In Their Differences (FULL)

Led by: Rion Paige

14

Our children with disabilities are equipped and called. They understand that they might do some things a bit differently than their peers. What happens when our children start to notice that they live in a world not made for them? How do we offer the hope of Jesus in a situation that can feel hopeless? Explore this narrative with Rion Paige, who was born with Arthrogryposis affecting her hands and joints. She is no stranger to advocating for our children with differences to be seen as competent and understanding. From a young age, Rion learned that there was something different about her while standing on her kindergarten playground. That moment was foundational, earth-crushing, and hopeful all at the same time. We take the time to equip our kids and teach them that it's okay to be themselves. That's when understanding God's image comes to fruition for those we care for, making this inviting for all. 

Watching Church from the Sidelines

Led by: Luke Arduino

15

There is a difference between being welcomed or tolerated and belonging to a community. In a place of belonging, people have opportunities to fully experience the fullness of the spiritual walk, which includes serving the body. Many churches offer ministry "to" people with disabilities, but not ministry "with" people with disabilities. Learn how to become a church that creates opportunities for leadership and service for people with disabilities.

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