SESSION 4 fri 9:45 - 11:00AM M=MINISTRY; F=FAMILY; P=PROFESSIONAL
Mental Health Inclusion Ministry any Church can Do - 3 hr workshop - Part 1 - M; Steve Grcevich - Europsychiatric disorders are the leading cause of disability among persons of all ages in the U.S., and common mental health conditions such as depression, anxiety disorders and ADHD have been demonstrated to significantly impact church attendance. This workshop is designed for any church, pastor, ministry leader, staff member or volunteer interested in becoming more intentional in their outreach to and inclusion of families impacted by mental illness. Participants will be taught to recognize common barriers to church participation for children and adults with common mental health conditions, introduced to a series of strategies for including persons with mental illness into the full range of ministry activities offered by the local church and provided with the resources necessary to initiate a mental health ministry planning process. This is a 3 hour workshop divided into 2 parts.
How to get Senior Leadership on Board with Special Needs Ministry - M; Doc Hunsley - Are you trying to start a Special Needs Ministry at your church but having difficulty in getting your senior leadership to understand your vision? This workshop will help give you the tools to have effective conversations with church senior leadership to promote the initiation of a Special Needs Ministry - even in adverse situations.
Building Better Relationships between Parents and Ministry Leaders: Effective Communication - F/M; Sarah Broady - Our children should all have a place at church, and both parents and ministry leaders have a responsibility to ensure the inclusion of any child with disabilities in the body of Christ. In order to accomplish this, parents must both prepare our children for Sunday school or youth group, as well as preparing church leaders for our children; ministry leaders must prepare their leaders and do what they can to help prepare families coming into their ministries to be as welcoming as possible. This can be especially difficult for parents who are used to having to fight for services in school and therapy, so how can we adjust our mindset and responses in a church environment with brothers and sisters in Christ? How can ministry leaders better understand families they are serving? This session will focus on how to build better relationships between families and ministry leaders for the glory of God. We will address the commonalities between parents and ministry leaders, steps each side can take to better understand each other, and best communication practices that will encourage grace even while standing firm in the advocacy for the child's best interests. We will also talk through different strategies parents and ministry leaders can take to address a variety of problems or potential issues with each other. Both parents and ministry leaders will leave encouraged and equipped with ideas to take home with them in order to enable all children to be included in church ministries.
Amplifying Your Child's Special Interest - F/P; Andrea & Reid Moriarty - Driven by her intense journey parenting a child with special needs, Andrea Moriarty relays life-changing inspiration and practical ways to help other parents maximize the potential of their unique learner from her first book. This talk includes many stories about the power of music and innovative extensions of music therapy. Time will be spent specifically applying principles from the book to attendees’ students using questions from the book and brainstorming together.
Bundle of Joy: How to Regain the Promise in the Midst of a Diagnosis - F; Melanie Gomez - What if your “bundle of joy” is wrapped in a diagnosis that seems anything but joyful? Melanie Gomez has been there herself, and in this workshop she will lead you through some Biblical truths to find peace, hope and yes, even joy, within the storm. Let Melanie’s story and encouragement bring you to a place of strength and courage to face the future, and regain your joy!
Training Volunteers and Helping Kids Volunteers be Inclusive - M; Amanda Fessehazion - Most children with special needs will likely be integrated into classrooms in church with their typically developing peers. This talk will help you train your kids ministry volunteers to feel confident serving kids with all needs.
Helping Families Navigate Decisions about Life, Disability, and Aging - M; Lisa Jamieson - Caregivers, special needs parents and people with disabilities face questions and decisions with moral and ethical implications. We don’t need to become like theologians but we can help each other make decisions that are God honoring and peace giving. We will explore the opportunities and responsibilities of the Church in showing compassion while fostering a biblical worldview.
The 5 Love Languages® for Special Needs Families - F/M/P; Jolene Philo - This workshop presents strategies for identifying the primary language of a child with special needs and ideas for adapting how to use the love languages to kids with a wide variety of abilities and disabilities, including typical siblings. Those attending will learn inexpensive and easy ways caregiving spouses can use the love languages with one another. The content is based upon the recently released "Sharing Love Abundantly in Special Needs Families: The 5 Love Languages® for Parents Raising Children with Disabilities" by Dr. Gary Chapman and Jolene Philo.
We All have Skills and Abilities - P; Bunny Higgins & Derek Crocker - Do you want to explore unique employment opportunities? Heartstrings Community Foundation might be the answer for you! Attend our presentation and find out the options available.
SESSION 5 fri 11:15 - 12:30pm M=MINISTRY; F=FAMILY; P=PROFESSIONAL
Mental Health Inclusion Ministry any Church can Do - 3 hr workshop - Part 2 - M; Steve Grcevich - Europsychiatric disorders are the leading cause of disability among persons of all ages in the U.S., and common mental health conditions such as depression, anxiety disorders and ADHD have been demonstrated to significantly impact church attendance. This workshop is designed for any church, pastor, ministry leader, staff member or volunteer interested in becoming more intentional in their outreach to and inclusion of families impacted by mental illness. Participants will be taught to recognize common barriers to church participation for children and adults with common mental health conditions, introduced to a series of strategies for including persons with mental illness into the full range of ministry activities offered by the local church and provided with the resources necessary to initiate a mental health ministry planning process. This is a 3 hour workshop divided into 2 parts.
Transitioning During Adulthood - F; Scott Adams - This workshop will cover the stages of planning often necessary to help transition a loved one during adulthood.As parents we may need to establish plans for our loved ones in the areas of housing, public benefit maintenance, personal care, managing finances and organizing family support. We will discuss how Special Needs Trusts can address some of these needs, the importance of developing a continuity of care plan and other considerations a family must consider.
The Road to Wellness - F, Laurisa Ballew - A conversation about how we move beyond the vastly popular yet very impractical ideas of self care. And adopt a lifestyle of wellness to support living a life as a caregiver of someone with special needs.
Teamwork Makes the Dream Work - M; Donna Bunce; Karissa Klyn; Caitlyn Kroll; & Katelyn Parker - We have all the heard the phrase "there is no 'I' in the word team! Building a solid team that works together is the foundation to any good program. In this session, the staff from Compassionate Heart Ministries, located in Zeeland, Michigan, will provide the tools to help you build your team and make your vision a reality. Whether you work with volunteers and families, plan the events and activities, or set the vision, we will present the important pieces to make your dream come true!
Pastoral Care for Special Needs Families - M; Lamar Hardwick - The Bible provides vivid imagery of the role of a pastor in the local church. Among all of the images used, the image of pastor as shepherd paints a beautiful picture of the importance of the pastoral relationship in the life of the Christ follower. This is especially true for the special-needs community, but often pastors and church leaders are uncertain of just how to be pastors to the special-needs community. In this session, Dr. Lamar Hardwick will use his experience as an adult with autism and as a pastor of eighteen years to share biblical principles on how pastors can best serve the special-needs families in their church.
Aging in Place: Home Changes to Make Life Safer and Easier - F/P; Debbie Hartzler - Needs change as we grow and age. Learn ways to take stock of your current living situation and identify potential safety issues. From technology to simple modifications, identify solutions to personalize home changes to keep you and your family member’s safe and comfortable. The result is a home that is easier to live in and offers you more control now and in the future.
Transition2Adult: No Age Limit on Belonging - F/M; Andrea & Reid Moriarty - Using a strength-based, relational approach, Moriarty will suggest ways to build a framework for radical inclusion of all abilities and ages in your church body, so no one “falls off a cliff” at 16 or 22 or 65. You will leave with examples, tools, and ideas of how to simplify, remove barriers, and build the kingdom.Focusing on people rather than programs, you will hear motivating stories that stimulate you to cultivate passion, customize discipleship, and create places of belonging for individuals with and without disabilities. Drawing on research from her new book, Radical Inclusion, she challenges the church to take the lead in modeling risk, humility and kindness that bring heaven here and now.
Supporting and Teaching Children who are Language Delayed, Minimally Verbal, or Nonverbal - M/P; Evana Sandusky - This session will help you understand problem areas for those with language delays (ranging from mild to severe) and offer ideas to support these children in churches. Different types of visual aids will be discussed as well as the rationale behind them. Ideas for accommodations for these children for common church practices (i.e. memorizing a Scripture) will be offered.
Reframing: Regaining Freedom and Renewing Your Passion Regardless of Life's Challenges - F/M/P; Colleen Swindoll-Thompson - Everyone encounters circumstances that leave us wondering how to move forward. Most of us get stuck, questioning God and wondering WHAT NOW? In this session, Colleen outlines fundamental principles that, when applied, give us freedom to pursue our hearts truest passions.
Sensationally Adaptive: How to Provide Sensory Supports Across Environments - F/M/P; Jean Wetherilt - All created beings integrate sensory input through the nervous system giving relevance and meaning to daily experiences. Healthy sensory systems can filter information, select what is most important and respond adaptively. In this workshop you will learn how to use this wonderfully made system to facilitate child development, relationships and behavior management.
SESSION 6 fri 1:45-3:00pm M=MINISTRY; F=FAMILY; P=PROFESSIONAL
Parent/Caregiver Panel - Answering Your Questions - F; Host: Sarah Broady; Panelists: Evana Sandusky; John Felageller; Laurisa Ballew; Lisa Jamieson, Melanie Gomez - Have questions about a specific aspect of parenting a special needs child that wasn't covered in another talk? Join this talk to hear from a panel of experienced parents as they share wisdom they've gathered from walking the path of a special needs parent.
Ministry Leader Panel - Answering Your Questions - M; Host: Tessa Black; Panelists: Ryan Wolfe; Bronwyn Murphy; Amy Kendall; Beth Golik; & Susan Pannell: Have questions about a specific aspect of ministry not covered in another talk? Join this talk to ask a panel of experienced ministry leaders about aspects of doing ministry well, and glean off their knowledge to grow your own program!
Living Blind in an Eye-Centered World - F/M/P; Judy Redlich - Judy Redlich will share her personal pioneer story, including the unique social challenges people with vision issues face. She'll also share tips for helping blind children succeed, and how to be a friend to those losing their vision later in life as they adapt to their new world.
Secondary Trauma & Chronic Stress - F; Jonathan & Sarah McGuire - Hopeless? Helpless? Anxious? Chronically exhausted? If you can answer “yes” to a couple of these, you might be experiencing secondary trauma. Through this workshop you will be able to identify secondary trauma in you and your family member’s lives and be equipped with tools to combat its effects in the midst of life’s challenges.
The Effect of Processing Disorders on Learning and Behavior - M/P; Ken Schmidt - Does your child struggle with learning problems or with behaviors that just don’t make sense, or that don’t seem to respond to anything that you do? Perhaps he or she is struggling with processing difficulties that make it difficult to interpret or understand the world around them. Learn about these processing issues, and how they can be identified and treated.
What is the Church's Response to Childhood Trauma - M; Michelle Maris - During this session, we will discuss being trauma informed looking at several trauma terms. We will define & discuss the Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) questionnaire and Trust Base Relational Intervention (TBRI) sharing possible outcome for children's ministry. We will wrap-up the session with several practical implications for your ministry.
Enabling Faith Life Advocacy - F/M/P; David Sukolics - A walk through of materials available to enable people living with a disability to identify and express their individual faith life goals. Once completed, these goals can be incorporated into each person's support plan, and used by congregations to determine and provide these supports.