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Embracing Exceptionalities – 2012 Disability Conference & Expo

August 20, 2012

On September 24th I’ll be participating in the Exceptional Ed event, Embracing Exceptionalities – 2012 Southeastern Disability Conference & Expo in Atlanta, Georgia.  This conference has 40 workshops all related to special education, disability inclusion, and resources for this target audience.  I’ll be teaching the one workshop related to religion and ministry, which is a practical “How to” breakout on the nuts and bolts of special needs ministry.  Here’s the official description of the workshop I’ll be leading:

Starting and Growing a Special Needs Ministry at Your Church

We’ll walk through a “Getting Started Checklist” to help ministry leaders develop a sustainable plan for special needs accommodation.  Several models for inclusion will be presented while also talking through space considerations, practical needs, and other logistical issues related to inclusion.  Best practices from churches already doing successful special needs inclusion will be shared including ministry forms and policies & procedures.  Volunteer recruitment, training, and retention will be addressed.  Workshop participants will leave with ideas for how to set up a special needs friendly space and with a list of various recommended resources for the ministry.

The content is shaped for churches of all sizes and budgets. This workshop was developed from in-depth interviews with more than sixty churches with thriving special needs ministries.  Churches of all sizes were interviewed for the study and related ensuing workshop content.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Setting up the logistics and finding appropriate resources for special needs ministries or inclusion programming
  2. Setting goals for the church and parent expectations so that everyone can experience success
  3. Exposing the audience to best practices from churches who have sound special needs ministries in place


I’m writing the content for this workshop right now.  And one thing I’ve decided to add is a section with pointers for parents who request better special needs accommodation or inclusion from their church.  Over the last couple of years I’ve discovered some differences in approaches that have a greater likelihood of yielding success, verses those requests that fall flat with church leadership.  We’ll talk about preparing for the meeting with church staff members and the information that may be helpful versus intimidating to a church’ executive pastor or children’s ministry leader.

The early bird rates end tomorrow night (Tuesday, 8/21/12) at midnight.  If you plan to attend this conference I’d love to meet you personally.  Please send me an email at  Hope to see you there!

For related content on this blog, see the post:  Starting a Special Neeeds Ministry

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