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2012 Orange Conference Special Needs Track

January 18, 2012

Because The Orange Conference recognizes the need for churches to better include children with special needs, they have created a special needs ministry track for the 2012 conference.  The Orange Conference 2012 will be a gathering of leaders called to understand the changes influencing this new generation. Mark your calendars for April 25th- 27th, 2012 to be at the Gwinnett Arena  in Duluth, GA (outside Atlanta).  Below are the workshops slated to be part of the Special Needs track for OC12.  To follow the special needs track, watch for the #OC12SN hashtag on Twitter


(Preconference) HOW TO: Create a Special Needs Ministry Environment – Meaghan Wall 

In this session we will walk through the details to consider as you create a safe and sensory-rich ministry environment.   Ideas will be offered for every budget and so that you can make your existing environment more conducive to special needs inclusion or plan your future space from the ground up.  We’ll show you how to make space accessible and inviting for students with a disability, from check-in area, to classroom, to play area, bathroom, and even outdoor playgrounds.

(Preconference) HOW TO: Recruit, Train and Retain Special Needs Volunteers – Linda Martin

Special needs ministries offer a unique opportunity to create a sense of community and purpose for its lay servants.   You’ll leave with new ideas for finding, fulfilling and keeping volunteers called to serve in this ministry.  We’ll go through a sample volunteer training outline during this session as well as walk you through the basics of making teens an integral part of your church’s volunteer team.

(Preconference) HOW TO: Use Technology for Special Needs – Meaghan Wall

A growing number of apps are presenting new ways to engage children with disabilities and communication disorders.  We’ll give you ideas for ways you can use technology in the church setting for the purpose of including and even advancing the spiritual development of the child with special needs.

(Preconference) HOW TO: Create a Multi-Sensory Environment for Special Needs – Karen Pool & Amy Fenton Lee

Through specially simulated sights, sounds, and touch, multi-sensory environments (MSE’s) can calm and empower the child with moderate to severe cognitive disabilities. We’ll show you how to use technology-based products to create a relaxing, distracting, and engaging environment for the child or student with special needs. Other innovative ideas and tools will be introduced and with the budget of every size in mind. Come see what the most progressive churches are doing to create the ultimate special needs-friendly space.

Surviving to Thriving: Techniques to Engage Different Learners – Amy Fenton Lee

The success of a child is often closely tied to the success of a volunteer. In this fast-paced session we’ll equip you with tricks and tactics for keeping the most challenging child engaged. You’ll learn easy and effective communication techniques, behavior management strategies, and activity adaptations that can make Sunday mornings, Wednesday nights and VBS environments a meaningful experience for everyone involved. Lay volunteers will be prepared to teach children with various learning differences.

Accommodating & Advancing the Spiritual Development of Kids with Autism – Linda Martin

This workshop will address how the Sunday morning experience can be specially tailored to accommodate the child or student with autism.  Inclusion strategies will also be offered for typical ministry environments and self-contained settings where impacted individuals may participate.   There will be special emphasis on how to modify curriculum and use music for the purpose of helping a student with autism learn a Bible lesson and concept.

Leading a Special Needs Inclusion Initiative – Amy Fenton Lee

Accommodating a child with special needs can be a game-changer for an entire church staff.  With preparation and program parameters everyone can experience success.   We’ll walk through the various issues a church’s leadership team may need to consider as they determine their church’s unique calling and capability for disability accommodation.  We will talk about developing a job description for a special needs ministry coordinator while offering ways the church can inspire and equip lay leader champions.  Best practices will be shared for instilling a sound culture for risk management and program longevity.  This workshop is geared toward senior pastors and family ministry leaders.

Family Ministry, Spiritual Formation & Special Needs – Meaghan Wall

This workshop will have particular emphasis on the Orange approach to special needs inclusion.  We’ll share ideas to advance the spiritual development of the child with learning differences or disabilities by encouraging and equipping parents.  In addition, we’ll offer ways the ministry can facilitate learning by providing service experiences for the individual impacted by disability.

Special Needs Ministry Networking Event –  Various Special Needs Ministry Champions

We’ll meet at Chocolate Perks in downtown Duluth from 7:30 to 9:30 pm on Thursday, April 26th.  Come join a team of special needs ministry experts as we share common challenges and blessings in special needs ministry.  Chocolate Perks is about 5 miles from The Orange Conference site (Arena at Gwinnett).  The restaurant has been gracious to offer us their facility and stay open past their normal hours of operation to accommodate our group.  Chocolate Perks has wonderful menu and you are welcome to order dinner during our gathering.  This is an “official” Orange Conference gathering.  For more information or questions, email


Workshop Speakers:

Meaghan Wall is the special needs ministry coordinator for Stonebriar Church in Frisco, Texas where she has served for the past five years.   Stonebriar currently  welcomes 80 students with special needs, many impacted by autism.   Since college Meaghan has worked in several roles that shaped her for eventual ministry at Stonebriar, such as serving on staff at a church in Lubbok, Texas and Easter Seals Colorado.   Meaghan is a licensed and experienced social worker with a degree from Texas Tech University.   Meaghan regularly participates in professional and ministry-related training for those serving individuals with various disabilities.

Linda Martin MME, MT-BC is a board certified music therapist with a Masters degree in music therapy.  Monday through Friday Linda writes music curriculum for and provides music therapy consultation to California public schools, aiding in the educational development of students with autism.  On the weekends, Linda leads the Miracle 139 Special Needs Ministry at The Rock Church in San Diego, CA.   Martin frequently consults California area churches looking to start or grow a special needs ministry.

Karen Pool is the sales manager for multi-sensory products with TFH USA, the company behind  Karen designs spaces that serve individuals with neurological disabilities and sensory needs.

Amy Fenton Lee is the special needs columnist for Children’s Ministry Magazine and the special needs consultant to Orange.  She is also the writer behind The Inclusive Church Blog.   Amy is an active children’s ministry volunteer in her home church.  While Amy teaches in typical children’s ministry environments, she is always prepared to include a child with special needs.

From → Conferences

  1. Amy, do you know if the conference audio will be available at some point for those who can’t attend?

  2. Brenda –

    Thanks for asking this here because I have received several private emails asking the same question.

    I believe the plan is to tape the audio of every workshop. Depending on the quality of the taping (which does vary), some workshops may be available for audio download and resale several weeks after OC12. At least four of the special needs workshops rely heavily on visual pictures and aids, and so being present in-person is going to be the best way to receive notable benefit from the content. We may have a better option for one workshop for later resale, TBD – but I won’t know until closer to the conference.

    Thanks Brenda!

  3. This is great! We have a ministry where we teach churches in Central Florida how to include those with disability. Wish we could make it for the conference! Please know that for those of us standing in the gap, this means the world to us! Keep on pushing forward!

  4. Thank you for this information! We are getting ready to hold a Spaghetti Luncheon for Autism and other special needs. Our endeavor as a church here in Ponce Inlet, Florida is to meet the needs of these families! I am so thankful to have found your blog for help and resources! Thank you again.

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. Win a FREE Pass to the 2012 Orange Conference « The Inclusive Church
  2. Kidmin Thoughts » Blog Archive » Orange 2012 – Special Needs Track
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  4. iPads, Apps, & Technology in Special Needs Ministry « The Inclusive Church
  5. Creating a Multi Sensory Environment (MSE) for Special Needs « The Inclusive Church
  6. 2011 Orange Conference – Special Needs Workshops & Presenters « The Inclusive Church
  7. Behavior Management & Conveying Jesus’ Love in Correction « The Inclusive Church
  8. OC12 Special Needs Extra Curricular Event « The Inclusive Church
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  12. Follow OC12 on The Inclusive Church Blog « The Inclusive Church
  13. Win a Free Registration to The Orange Conference 2013 « The Inclusive Church

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