by Amy Fenton Lee
The official workshop titles, descriptions, speakers, and times for all OC13 breakouts are now up on The Orange Conference website! Check out what the Special Needs Track offers:
Creating a Special Needs Ministry Space on a Budget – Denise Briley
In this session we’ll offer ideas to create an engaging, sensory rich ministry environment and on any budget. Together, we’ll go through a list of favorite products and resources to help make your existing environment more conducive to accommodating kids with disabilities. We’ll also give ideas for churches considering a more comprehensive space plans for their special needs ministry. Tips for creating or modifying space will be offered related the check-in area, classrooms, play areas, and bathrooms. A portion of the content will be specifically devoted to helping churches with small budgets.
How to Use Technology in the Special Needs Setting – Meaghan Wall and Stacy Hodge
Technology is offering new ways to engage kids with special needs as well as manage our ministry environments. In this fast-paced session experienced special needs ministry leaders will share their favorite tools, apps, websites, and technology resources for the special needs ministry setting. Check out Stacy Hodge’s post on Orange Leaders: Apps for the Special Needs Ministry Setting.
Accepting and Supporting the Family Impacted by Special Needs – Amy Fenton Lee
Most of us struggle to find the right words to effectively minister to a family affected by special needs. In this breakout we’ll offer guidance for pastors, children’s ministers, and caring volunteers for relational etiquette when reaching out to special needs parents. This session will provide guidance for church greeters and host teams, who may be the first faces to welcome the family affected by disability. We’ll also talk about why many parents do not reveal their child’s special needs diagnosis and how to the church can encourage families to approach them with a partnership mindset.
Including Teens and Pre-Teens with Special Needs – Meaghan Wall and Panel
As kids with special needs age, the church experience begins to look different. We’ll offer ideas for ways to better engage students with learning differences among their typical peers. Together, we’ll also talk about setting up a ministry environment designed for the young person with intellectual disabilities. Experienced ministry leaders who have created and led teen ministry settings will share their best practices in this workshop.
Making Bible Stories Come Alive for Kids with Learning Differences – Amy Fenton Lee
In this session we’ll arm you with new ideas to help your church’s Small Group Leaders foster the spiritual development of all participants. We’ll show you how to create a ministry environment that engages children and students with learning differences. Tips for adapting activities and modifying curriculum will be offered.
How to: Create an Irresistible Opportunity for Special NeedsVolunteers – Meaghan Wall
In this session we’ll learn how to build a volunteer base that leads to a waiting list for ministry servants. You’ll leave with new ideas for cultivating a sense of community for ministry servants. We’ll offer ideas and pointers to create a fun and informative training event and to equip energized special needs volunteers. We’ll also walk through the basics of making teens an integral part of your church’s volunteer team.
Events and Ideas to Encourage Families Impacted by Special Needs – Meaghan Wall and Panel
A panel of experienced ministry leaders will run through pictures and stories of the most successful events their special needs ministry has hosted, participated in, and benefited from. Specific ideas will be offered for how to engage and minister to the family as well as how to create disability visibility inside the entire church.
Special Needs Ministry FAQ’s – Amy Fenton Lee
This session will address the most common questions and challenges posed by church leaders new to accommodating children with special needs. Together, we’ll talk about the following issues: including a wide range of ages in a single setting, behavior concerns, meeting parent expectations, parent support groups, and respite. We’ll also talk about establishing a culture and setting up policies and procedures to protect every ministry stakeholder, including volunteers!