Events

Limitless Disability Conference 2024

Date

October 5, 2024

Time

8:00am

Once at 10/5/2024 8:00 AM

Location

Offsite

The Well Community Church

Schedule

  • Doors Open - 7:45am
  • Conference Begins - 8:30am
  • Breakout Session #1 - 10:00am
  • Breakout Session #2 - 11:30am
    • Lunch - 12:30pm (see special lunch breakout session options below)
  • Breakout #3 - 2:30pm
  • Breakout #4 - 3:45pm
  • Dismissal - 5:00 pm

 

Keynote Speaker - Heather Avis

We are thrilled to have Heather Avis as our keynote speaker this year! Heather is the founder of The Lucky Few, a New York Times best-selling author, podcaster and a Down syndrome advocate, working to create a more inclusive world where everyone belongs. For more than a decade, she has led this effort by shouting worth, shifting narratives and reimagining what it looks like when we embrace our differences.

The Lucky Few is an invitation to build a kinder, more inclusive world. We accomplish this through a combination of advocacy and activism, narrative-shifting and storytelling. The Lucky Few believes in inspiring and challenging our audiences, calling them to listen, read, share, contribute and support as we work to create a world where differences are embraced and everyone belongs

Be sure to check out her podcast called “The Lucky Few Podcast that has over one million downloads, or pick up one of her best-selling books, “The Lucky Few”, “Scoot Over and Make Some Room”,  “Everyone Belongs” and “Different - A Great Place to Be”. Don’t miss this opportunity to hear from Heather and her heart for making sure everyone feels worthy and loved. 

 

Breakout Sessions

Breakouts this year are broken down into different “tracks” to give you a better idea of which ones may be more suited for you. You can go to any of the breakouts you desire, this is only a guide.

 

TRACK - Parents/Caregivers

• IEPs and Advocating for your Child with Michelle Smith

Michelle is a proud wife and mom first, who is desiring to be led by the Lord on her journey. She has 8 children, 2 by marriage and 7 grandchildren. She has dealt with four sets of IEPs with her own children and two sets with her grandchildren. She practiced pediatric physical therapy for 40 years and has been involved with dreaming bigger for our community for many years, looking at what is missing and wanting more employment and relational opportunities for their lives. Currently she is an independent facilitator for the self-determination program helping those with disabilities advocate for themselves and the things they love doing. 

Come join Michelle as she discusses the importance of advocating for your child, not only in the school arena, but also in life. Advocating can sometimes be hard, and it is often exhausting, but your child needs you and you can do it! 

 

• Through the Lense of Trauma with Vicki Sanders

Victoria “Vicki” Sanders is returning for a second year at our Limitless Conference! She is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, licensed in the states of California and Utah, and maintains a private practice in Fresno, California. Vicki’s group has 7 other therapists on staff and also offers training for Resource Parents in Fresno County. Vicki is passionate about education and about how trauma impacts each and every one of us, particularly how it impacts the body and the future. Vicki is finishing her PhD in psychology and enjoys speaking, writing, and providing clinical treatment. 

In this breakout session, Vicki will be discussing the different causes of trauma and how its effects can show up in a variety of ways. Trauma affects many people for a variety of reasons, including those with disabilities. Be sure to check out this informative breakout session with Vicki to learn more. 

 

• From a Parent’s Perspective with Julie Rivera 

Local mom Julie Rivera was born and raised in Fresno. She is currently on the Board of Directors for 1p36 Deletion Support & Awareness. She has one son, Johnny, who was her 20th birthday present. It wasn’t until Johnny was 8 that he was diagnosed with 1p36 Deletion Syndrome. Johnny’s diagnosis opened a new world of support for Julie through the 1p36 Deletion Support & Awareness organization—both online and at annual conferences. She joined their Board of Directors in 2018. With Johnny’s diagnosis also came direction for Julie—as she learned to navigate what Johnny needed, she also learned she had a passion for talking about it to other people. Julie has been supporting the local special needs community for years by speaking with Collaborative Mentors at Kastner Middle School and by helping others with IEPs and AAC (Augmentative and Alternative Communication). She believes it is important for everyone to know that the special needs community is full of real and vibrant people and their families who are all so very worth it in God’s eyes. If you want to hear from a parent on how she has navigated the life of a special needs parent, you won’t want to miss this breakout session!

 

• Communication Options with Natalia Lopez

We are excited to have Natalia Lopez return to speak at our conference again this year! Natalia is a Russian-English bilingual Speech-Language Pathologist, and the founder of Empower Speech Therapy and Life Skills Center. Natalia believes that communication is a human right, and is core to one's ability to feel understood. Empower is the vessel for the greater mission of empowering and supporting the community at large. Natalia is passionate about helping people with complex communication needs, people with diverse cultural and linguistic backgrounds, as well as those who have been disillusioned with therapy, and believes in the power of evidence-based and strength-based treatment. 

Natalia is excited to talk about Augmentative & Alternative Communication (AAC) strategies and ways to support our non-speaking community. We will get hands-on experience with different high-tech AAC devices, low-tech (printed) AAC supports, and learn about how to effectively engage and communicate with AAC users & non-speaking individuals. We will also discuss how to leverage AAC to increase inclusion & successful participation in various community settings. We hope you’ll join her. 

 

TRACK - Ministry Leaders/Church Staff

• Developing a Special Needs Ministry in Your Church with Jan Joaquin

If you missed our conference last year, Jan will be presenting at a breakout again this year! Jan has a passion to support churches to create, develop and minister to our friends affected with the challenges that a disability can demonstrate in a church setting. She earned her BA in Organizational Leadership/Christian Ministry from Fresno Pacific University. She retired in 2019 after serving with Joni and Friends for 15 years as Church Relations Manager reaching out to hundreds of churches in the Central California region to introduce a ministry that is both rewarding to the church and a blessing to those they serve. Jan also continued to lead a special needs ministry in her church and helped with training and volunteer retention. Jan understands the need for all our families to have a place to belong while growing in God’s grace; her daughter has lived with many challenges for 43 years and continues to break barriers due to her strength and faith from Christ. Her daughter inspires her every day to help other moms thrive as they care for their children through a support group she leads monthly. 

Jan will be sharing practical tips on how to start and keep your special needs ministry growing with volunteers as well as encouraging your students living with challenges to know and grow in Jesus. If you are a church looking at starting a ministry, or growing your current one, we hope you’ll join her for this very informative time together.

 

• Theology and Disability in the Church with Quentin Kinnison

Quentin P. Kinnison, PhD, is an ordained pastor, holding over 30 years of experience in various ministry positions. Currently he is Associate Professor of Christian Ministry and an Associate Dean of the School of Arts and Sciences at Fresno Pacific University. In addition to ministry courses, Quentin has created and taught a theology of disability course for the Special Education program at Fresno Pacific University. He is married to Cynthia Kinnison, DMin, MSW and they have one child. 

Q, as his friends call him, will discuss what the Bible has to say about disability and how important it is that we are welcoming those with disabilities fully into our church families. Jesus spent much of his time on earth ministering to those with disabilities, shouldn’t we do the same?

 

• Sensory Rooms vs Buddy System with Erin Webb

Erin has over 20 years of walking alongside families and individuals living with disability in medical, social, and church contexts. She is passionate about seeing all churches welcome and include people of all abilities, allowing the church to become a place where each of our unique gifts and talents are valued and celebrated. When a person is known and valued as a child of God, then we can envision how to provide the support needed to allow every individual to use their spiritual giftings for the good of the church and in worship to God.

In this breakout session, Erin will discuss the difference between a ministry with a buddy system and a ministry with strictly a special needs classroom. One way is not necessarily better than the other, and sometimes both are needed. All churches run their ministries differently according to what their families need, and that is okay. Come hear from Erin about how to best incorporate these two options into your Sundays and leave ready to get your ministry going!

 

• ASL in the Church with Trevor Tuell

Our most talked about presenter from last year, Trevor Tuell, is returning for this year’s conference! Trevor Tuell is a CODA (Child Of Deaf Adult), and a Sign Language interpreter for over 25 years. Interpreting settings include medical, legal, college, the general community, and specializing in K-12 education. Trevor's current career goal is to be a language model for Deaf children in the earliest years of public schools, who are often deprived of Sign Language outside of the classroom and not yet introduced to the Deaf community.

In his breakout session, ASL in the Church, Trevor will discuss the importance of using Sign Language in all areas of the church, why closed captioning is not sufficient, and how very few Christian churches welcome the Deaf community. This topic will be explained from the point-of-view of a person privileged with the ability to hear, that was raised with Deaf people. Trevor will conduct a Q&A session with a Deaf Christian that will share the several limitations of being reached with the gospel due to the lack of communication access. He will also discuss what it would look like to launch an interpreting program in the church, the challenges therein, and the reasons why a very small percentage of these programs are able to thrive. Join Trevor as we learn how we can make the necessary changes to reach the Deaf community that we are unknowingly closing the church doors to.

 

TRACK - Community Members/Teachers

• Universal Design with Jodie Dittmar

Jodie Dittmar is experienced as a deaf education teacher and administrator. She is also an assessment specialist providing workshops on language/literacy, behavior support, universal design for learning and student engagement, as well as others. Jodie has been a foster parent, is an adoptive parent, and now a grandparent. She enjoys spending time with her children and grandchildren, and learning from them too.

Jodie will be bringing back her breakout session on Universal Design from last year’s conference. She will discuss the fact that kids come to us with varied interest, abilities, and needs. Even with the best intentions, adult leaders may struggle to respond quickly enough, fairly enough, and in ways that engage all. This session considers practical ways to be more effective and efficient, including proactive design! Tools, strategies, and future resources for attention, language, sensory and social-emotional needs will be shared. This breakout was one of the favorites from last year so you definitely don’t want to miss it this year! 

 

• Inclusion in ALL Spaces with Jorden Collins, Timery Carlson and Christy Manning of Good Dirt Pottery

Jorden, Timery and Christy are the faces of Good Dirt Pottery Studio here in Fresno and they are pioneers in including those with disabilities into the world, specifically into their pottery studio. Together they have started adapted pottery classes for those with disabilities and are seeing each person come and blossom in their studio as they create with their hands. 

We hope you will come and hear from them about what it looks like to open the doors of a business in the community to, not only those with disabilities, but their caregivers as well. You’ll hear about how doing so has opened their eyes to the need for more business to do the same and how doing so has grown and blessed each Good Dirt employee. They stepped out into the unknown for the disabled community and this breakout is sure to be a time you won’t want to miss.

 

• Dealing with Challenging Behaviors Through a Trauma Informed Lense with Alyssa Pruitt 

Alyssa Pruitt is a board certified behavior analyst (BCBA) and has been working with children for fourteen years in different capacities as a paraprofessional, early childhood teacher, registered behavior technician, and BCBA. She has experience working with children who have endured adverse childhood experiences. Alyssa’s role is helping children in a school setting learn new skills and reduce the challenging behaviors they may engage in. Currently she is working as a behavior intervention specialist serving individuals (birth-22 years old) diagnosed with moderate to severe disabilities, and individuals with emotional disturbance. 

During her session, Alyssa will discuss how to deal with challenging behaviors in the classroom while looking through a trauma informed lense. She will give some practical examples and tools to use in any setting where these behaviors may occur. Make plans to join her for this informative breakout session.

 

• Empowering Those with Disabilities to Find Their Purpose with Donna Finley

Donna Finley has served with Elementary aged kids for more than 20 years. One of her favorite sayings is, “To lead kids, you need to love God and love kids in that order. We can help you with the rest”. Donna considers helping ALL kids discover who they are in Jesus and living out the plans and purposes He has for their life a joy and a privilege. If she isn’t in a classroom with kids, you will probably find her on a hiking trail or taking a nap! 

In her breakout session Donna will discuss the importance of finding the SHAPE in each individual and helping them determine the gifts God gave them specifically, and where they can contribute and serve those around them. Every single individual, regardless of a diagnosis or not, has a unique purpose. We hope you’ll come hear from Donna about how you can help those around you on their journey to live out the life God has called them to live.

 

Lunch Breakout Sessions

During lunch we will have additional breakout sessions you have the option of attending:

 

• Welcoming Adults with Dane Dennie and Dan Speth

Dane and Dan help run the Limitless Adults program at Northpointe Community Church. They meet each week to do a Bible lesson and fellowship, and have grown from just a handful of adults to about 25 regular attenders. Many of the adults they have attend on Thursday nights are now serving at church regularly and many of them got baptized last year. The friendships and community they have made from spending time together each week is priceless. 

The fact is, kids grow up and become adults and so we should continue to offer programming for our teens and adults as well. Come hear from Dane and Dan on the importance of including the adults in your community and how you can take the steps to welcome them in your church, it’s easier than you think!

 

• Early Learning for ALL with Inclusion Learning Center

Inclusion Learning Center is a one-of-a-kind inclusive preschool program that combines enrichment and kindergarten preparation with individualized and supportive services. This program is designed by a Special Education Teacher, Speech Pathologist and Educational Psychologist to meet the multi-faceted needs of each child. Research shows that inclusive classrooms are beneficial for both children with and without disabilities. We believe that this is an important step toward a more inclusive Central Valley!


In their breakout session, they will answer the following questions:

  • My infant/toddler has a developmental delay - what now?
  • My child has a diagnosis, what are my preschool options?
  • What can I do now to set my child up for success in Kindergarten and beyond? 
  • What is the difference between inclusion and mainstreaming?

If you have asked yourself these questions, you'll want to attend our session and learn more about the process from early start to kindergarten! The ladies from Inclusion Learning Center and Services talk through all things Early Start and Early Learning!

 

• Special Needs Financial Planning with Rhett Beal

Rhett is the Vice President of Van Hulzen Financial Advisors. He initiated the Special Needs Advisory Practice at the firm, driven by his personal experience and commitment as the future caregiver for his brother-in-law, who has special needs. Rhett is also one of the founding members of Infinite Friends, A nonprofit designed to help adults with special needs build community and lifelong friendships. Rhett and his wife Jenna are longtime leaders of a local nonprofit seeking to mentor high school students in the community. In their off-time, Rhett and his wife enjoy riding horses and spending time with their daughter, Sutton.

An interesting fact: Rhett received Student Athlete Academic All-America honors while at Point Loma Nazarene University.

In his breakout session, Rhett will guide participants on a journey towards outlining where your time and efforts are best spent when developing your own, unique roadmap.  Topics covered will include:

  • When and how to identify critical financial transitions
  • Where to focus your time based on your current financial picture
  • How Social Security, ABLE accounts, and Special Needs Trusts function together
  • Setting short-term and long-term financial goals
  • Identifying potential income and saving sources


Participants will gain practical insights and actionable steps to initiate their financial planning journey with confidence.


 

FAQ - Frequently Asked Questions
 

  1. Who is the conference intended for?
    YOU! Parents, caregivers, teachers, ministry leaders, church staff, community members, the list goes on and on. There’s a topic for anyone and everyone and we hope you’ll join us. 
     
  2. Will there be childcare provided?
    While we know how hard it is to find childcare for a child with special needs, unfortunately we are unable to provide childcare at this time. We hope you can make arrangements and are still able to join us. 
     
  3. Do we have to decide which breakouts we want to attend ahead of time?
    No! When you register we will ask for the top four that interest you but you do  not have to stick to attending those, nor do you have to attend only a certain “track”. You are more than welcome to come the day of the conference and decide what you want to attend, as well as mix and match from different “tracks".
     
  4. Are there accommodations if I have a disability and need assistance or if I have dietary restrictions?
    Yes, when you register please let us know what needs you have and we will work to make sure all you need is taken care of.
     
  5. What is the registration cost and what does that cover?
    Early Bird Registration is May 15th - July 31st and is $40. Be sure to register early to get in on this deal! On August 1st the cost increases to our regular registration cost and on September 16th the cost will increase again for late registrations. The registration fee includes the all day conference, which includes a fabulous keynote speaker, four breakout sessions and a wide variety of resource vendors, plus a light breakfast and lunch are provided. Note: If you are part of a church staff, please email us at limitless@northpointe.org for a special discount code.

 

Register For The Conference

Limitless Conference 2024

It’s back for a second year! This year’s conference is going to be bigger and better than last year and we hope you’ll join us. 

Our Limitless Conference is a time of learning and equipping, designed with everyone in mind. This year it will be held on at The Well Community Church, located at 325 Nees Avenue in Clovis. See below for all the details and how to register. Seating is limited, so be sure to register today!

2024 Location

The Well Community Church

This year Limitless Conference will be held at The Well Community Church. We are excited to continue to work together to serve our community through this gathering.

The Well - Clovis Campus
325 Nees AveClovis, CA 93611

Register For Conference