Breakout Sessions Available
On Feb. 25th, all of our breakout sessions will be available for you to watch on the Vimeo event page. You will have lifetime access to these sessions.
Supporting and Teaching Children who are Language Delayed, Minimally Verbal, or Nonverbal
with Evana Sandusky
Evana describes language delays and how they may impact a child’s play and interactions at church. Evana shares ways you can encourage prayer from children with these delays. The importance of visual schedules and visual supports are discussed. Finally, Evana gives ideas for alternatives to common church practices (i.e. memorizing scriptures) for children with severe langauge delays.
Ministry Sensory Tool Box
with Matt Barnett
Learn the basics of sensory differences in order to optimize Biblical Learning! Practical and useful tools to empower each special needs leader to serve in a more effective and fun way.
Welcoming My Special Needs Child to Your Church
with Nichole Huggins
In this session, Nichole shares how to cast vision for Disability Ministry within your church to create the most welcoming environment for all people. Sprinkled with the testimony of a special needs parent, Nichole hopes to offer perspective and encouragement as you seek to cultivate a heart for those who have different abilities amongst your church body. You will learn where churches are “missing it”, some of the most important ingredients in Disability Ministry, and how to best fill a special needs family.
Creating Sensory Friendly Environments for Your Church
with Javier Jimenez, OTR/L
1 in 6 children have sensory issues that make it difficult for them to participate in meaningful activities at home, at school, and in other community settings. The demand for sensory-friendly environments is increasing to meet the sensory needs of children who may be overwhelmed by common sounds, smells, touch, and lights. Now more than ever, these environments are crucial for these children and their families to have accessibility to churches and, ultimately, to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Specifically, you will learn:
– Why sensory processing is important
– What makes an environment sensory-friendly
– Where sensory-friendly environments can be located
– How to make your ministry spaces sensory-friendly
rEcess: A Holistic Model that Serves the Entire Family
with Rebecca Wall
Respite is one of the most impactful ways to support and welcome families experiencing disability. At this workshop, you’ll learn 12 steps to start a respite night at your church that serves the entire family.
The Power of Community: The Impact of Community and 99 Balloons' New Community Model for Adults Experiencing Disability
with Sarah Harriman
The “Power of Community” addresses how we were created for community, the biblical view of community, the science behind the effects of isolation and loneliness, and how 99 Balloons’ most recent initiative called bEfriend seeks to fight isolation and create community for adults experiencing disability.
Connecting and Reaching Multicultural Special Needs Families
with Joscelyn Ramos Campbell
Navigating the world of disability can be overwhelming and it can be especially difficult for those with multicultural backgrounds who often are struggling with negative ancestral cultural thinking about disability, caregiving, and special needs parenting. Cultural sensitivity is an essential concept for effective interactions and for ministering to multicultural special needs families and helps to break cultural barriers. In this session, attendees can expect the following:
– Multiculturalism and Special Needs: Learning about how some key cultures view disability and special needs children within their own families.
– Self Awareness and Understanding: Ministry volunteers and church leaders should be self-aware so they may recognize that their beliefs and behaviors are representative of only one perspective.
– Application and Empathy: When practicing cultural sensitivity, volunteers and leaders must be willing to adapt their communication strategy and be mindful of other cultural norms so that the result is empathy instead of reinforcing preconceived judgment.
Avoiding Childishness and Learning Childlikeness in Adult Special Needs Ministry
with Anthony Emerson
At Brookwood, we are emphatic that our adults are NOT “children in adult bodies”; they demand our respect, and we seek to treat them as our working colleagues. At the same time, adult special needs ministry is one of the greatest opportunities Christians have to learn the childlikeness Jesus said we need to enter His kingdom. In this session, we will seek to shed some light on how these two things – avoiding childishness and learning childlikeness – can be done simultaneously and how they impact us practically in (and through!) adult special needs ministry.
Marketing Your Ministry
with Beth Golik
Special needs ministry leaders: part of your job is to promote and market your ministry to the congregation, your fellow staff members, and to the community. In this session, you’ll learn how to engage a variety of voices in your marketing initiatives using existing channels, as well as communicating in new, creative ways. As the post-pandemic church plans for the year ahead, it is vital that you advocate for special needs ministry and its role in your church and your community.
How Special-Needs Ministry Cares for the Entire Family
with Annalee Anderson
Special-Needs Ministry is much more than just Sunday mornings and fun events for our special friends. It is also about loving on the entire family as a whole. This presentation will discuss ways Special-Needs Ministries can minister to the entire family.
Responding to COVID: Creating At-Home Curriculum and Virtual Engagement for Your Special Needs Ministry
with Lyn Pollard
While 2020 threw everyone for a loop, God was at work in amazing ways, including Special Needs ministry! When our church doors closed temporarily, our Kaleidoscope Special Needs Ministry team partnered with Watermark Kids to develop an online curriculum, virtual engagement and printable tools to serve our children and students with special needs and their families during the COVID-19 season.
We’ll share highlights from our Special Needs Kids Kit curriculum development process and showcase our new virtual “SKope” Students Sunday morning experience. Learn about fun and effective ways you can help parents teach the Bible at home to kids and students with special and additional needs!
Why Your Church Needs a Mental Health Inclusion Strategy
with Dr. Steve Grcevich
Neuropsychiatric disorders are the leading cause of disability among persons of all ages in the U.S., and recent research demonstrates that families of children and adolescents with common mental health conditions are less likely to attend church services than unaffected families. Depression is associated with a 73% reduction in the likelihood of attending services, while the presence of disruptive behavior disorders, anxiety disorders or Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder are associated with 55%, 45% and 19% reductions, respectively. In this presentation Dr. Grcevich will discuss why church attendance and engagement is difficult for persons with mental health concerns and introduce a model for mental health inclusion sufficiently flexible for churches of all sizes and denominational affiliations.
Curriculum Options and Tips for Teaching
with Ryan Wolfe
Whether you are writing your own curriculum or searching for one that works for your ministry this session is designed for you. You will learn how curriculum should be built based on retention rates and the Learning Pyramid. You will also learn six teaching tips to use every time you step in front of your group. You want easy practical applications you can use in your ministry next week, and this session has it!
Volunteer Weekend Buddy Training & Volunteer Recruitment
with Stephen "Doc" Hunsley
Learn how to recruit and train your volunteers to last for the long haul in any sized church! We will give you a toolbox filled with crisis prevention techniques and walk you through some real-life scenarios to help you feel confident and prepared to handle any situation that may arise in a special needs setting. You will also learn the four most important letters in the alphabet for volunteer recruitment and how they will help you recruit volunteers at over a 90% success rate with longevity!
Replicating Leaders- Setting Your Ministry up for Longevity
with Lauren Greer
Disability ministry is often permitted within the church, rather than supported. Our goal is to transition from “that room at the end of the hall,” to “this is the culture of our church.” To do this, we must build our ministry in layers rather than on the shoulders of one volunteer. In this breakout session, we will discuss ways to remove barriers within your ministry, learn how to structure your leadership and volunteers, and identify your next step toward a culture shift in your church.
Stop Behavior Before It Starts
with Tiffany Crow
Unwanted behaviors happens. Let’s plan for it so you can stop those behaviors before they start! As a participant you will learn strategies to keep unwanted behavior from occurring with tools that already exist within your ministry. Don’t let your content be missed because your learner couldn’t sit!
What does it mean to be a special needs welcoming church?
with Sandra Peoples
In a study released in 2020 by LifeWay, 99% of pastors agreed with the statement: a person with disabilities would feel welcome at our church. But people with disabilities and parents of children/teens with disabilities disagreed with the results. Clearly we all had different expectations and experiences with what “welcome at our church” actually means. In this session, Sandra will share the four qualities she believes are essential for a church to truly be welcoming of people with disabilities and their families.
Empathetic & Effective Communication with Special Needs Parents
with Sandra Peoples
In order to communicate with care and compassion, ministry leaders need to understand the five phases of special-needs parenting. In this session, Sandra will give an overview of the phases, share what families need from their church in each phase, and give communication tips that are effective no matter what phase parents are in.
Strategies for Small Churches
with Sandra Peoples
50% of all churches in America average less than 100 in worship attendance. 40% of all churches in America average between 100 and 350 in attendance. If we left special needs ministry to the big churches, thousands of families would not be able to attend church! In this session, Sandra will share what’s holding back smaller churches, how they can overcome the challenges they face, how small churches are uniquely equipped to have thriving special needs ministries, and the steps she has taken at small churches to start and grow a ministry.