INVOLVE Conference 
Fully embracing all intellectual abilities

Tuesday, February 11th, 2020 | 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Northwestern College, Orange City IA 
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$60 | Full Day Conference | lunch included |  Credit Available: 1 License Renewal credit $50 
$30 | Half Day Conference (11:00 am - 4:00 pm) | lunch included 
$20 | Lunch and Learn Session | Noon - 1:00 pm 

The  INVOLVE conference offers fresh insight into fully embracing individuals with disabilities in your community. How can you recognize their gifts and abilities, promote flourishing and foster their unique contributions? Learn how to create a pattern of inclusion in your classroom, church or work-place. Educators, school administrators, social workers, church leaders and anyone who works with differently-abled individuals will be inspired and equipped with practical application.

Hear from author and Professor of Practical Theology, Dr. Benjamin Conner as he shares his 20-year youth ministry career which included working with young adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

Breakout session topics

  • Universal Design in Learning
  • Behavior Strategies
  • Person First Language
  • Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities at Church
  • Enhancing Service Delivery to Individuals with Autism
  • Transitions and Adult Resources

Additional activities

  • Virtual Autism-Reality Simulation 
  • Resource Fair
  • NEXT parent/student panel

Register individual      Register group



Benjamin Conner, Ph.D.

Benjamin Conner, Ph.D., is Professor of Practical Theology, Director of the Center for Disability and Ministry, and creator and Director of the Graduate Certificate in Disability and Ministry at Western Theological Seminary in Holland, MI.  He worked in youth ministry for 20 years, several of those ministering to and with young adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities, and currently serves on the Mission-Wide Board of Young Life Capernaum.  His writings include  Practicing Witness: A Missional Vision of Christian Practices (Eerdmans, 2011),  Amplifying Our Witness: Giving Voice to Adolescents with Developmental Disabilities (Eerdmans, 2012) the only book on youth ministry and disability, and  Disabling Mission, Enabling Witness: Exploring Missiology through the Lens of Disability

Studies (IVP Academic, 2018).  He is also an occasional horse-leader, side-walker, stall-mucker, and general support for his wife, Melissa, who runs Renew Therapeutic Riding Center. 

Breakout Session Options

Jeff Barker Pam Woelber 
Parent Educator Connection Coordinator 
Transition planning, resources and adult services 
Session Description Needed
Martha Draayer Alex Vasquez Miranda Smalley 
Clinical Director 
The Pier Center for Autism 

Behavior strategies and management 
Session Description Needed
Julie Elliott Jodi Sears and Trudy Weber
Hope Haven
Behavior strategies for teens 
Session Description Needed
Rahn Franklin Samantha Martin
NEXT Program 
Northwestern College
Person First Language 
Session Description Needed
Chris Godfredson Josh Cobbs
Rehabilitation Counselor
Iowa Vocational Rehabilitation
Transition - It Starts at Diagnosis 
Iowa Vocational Rehabilitation Services will discuss transition planning and services that can be utilized for differently-abled youth when accessing our services. Vocational Rehabilitation will also discuss inclusion strategies that we are utilizing with employers to aid in successful employment outcomes. 
Amy Keahi Dan DeVries 
Religious Services Coordinator
Hope Haven
Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities at Church 
Session Description Needed
Brian Keepers Dr. Benjamin Conner 
Professor of Practical Theology
Western Theological Seminary
Universal Design for Learning (UDL) Toolbox 
Come to consider some simple ways to begin incorporating UDL in your context.
Cy McMahon Kelly Van Gelder ??? 
Special Education Strategist 
*** Still working on filling this session ***
Session Description Needed



8:00 a.m.
DeWitt Learning Commons
Full-day Check-in
8:30 a.m.
Vogel Community Room
 8:45 a.m. 
Vogel Community Room
Opening keynote -  Disabling Education: A First Step toward Universal Design in Learning
Dr. Benjamin Conner
10:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.
Virtual Autism-Reality Simulation created by Northwestern College faculty and students
10:10 a.m.
Breakout Sessions  
Transition planning, resources and adult services with Pam Woelber, Vogel Community Room
Behavior Management and Strategies with Miranda Smalley, Ramaker Center, Fireside Room
11:10 a.m.
Breakout Sessions
Behavior Strategies for Teens with Trudy Weber and Jodi Sears, Vogel Community Room
Person First Language with Samantha Martin, Ramaker Center, Fireside Room
Ways We Witness, join NWC students, faculty and staff in chapel for a message from Dr. Benjamin Conner
11:30 a.m. Check-in for lunch and learn and half day conference 
Vogel Community Room
Lunch and Learn - Disabling Mission, Enabling Witness
Dr. Benjamin Conner
Noon - 3:00 p.m.
Ramaker Center Lobby
Resource Fair
1:00 p.m. - 1:50 p.m.
Breakout Sessions
Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities at Church with Dan DeVries, Vogel Community Room
Enhancing Service Delivery to Individuals with Autism with Josh Cobbs, Ramaker Center, Fireside Room
2:00 p.m. - 2:50 p.m.
Breakout Sessions
Universal Design for Learning (UDL) Toolbox with Dr. Benjamin Conner, Vogel Community Room
3:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.
Vogel Community Room
NEXT parent/student panel
led by John Menning and Samantha Martin
4:00 p.m. Closing Remarks