October 2012


Worship is the apex of all the many things we do at Special Gathering.  Therefore, it is vitally important to us that things go smoothly but there are weeks that are beyond interesting and border on bazaar.

A couple of years ago, there was a Sunday at our Melbourne program that was “beyond interesting.”  We were celebrating a birthday.  Then some of our members with autism began to exhibit behaviors.  As I was closing the devotions for the day, Criss began to yell, “Don’t do that!  Stop it!”  Criss and her twin always sit in the back of the room.  They have a friend/volunteer who sits with them because even though Criss is high functioning she is blind and in a wheel chair.  She needs physical assistance.  Her twin is much lower functioning but with no physical disabilities.

When I looked over her way, Criss was frailing and trying to hit her friend.  Because this is totally out of character for Criss, I knew that she must be seizuring.  Without changing the tone of my voice, I said, “God wants to honor each of us.  Time it,”  However, everyone seemed to be confused about what was happening and no one began timing the seizure.

I knew I needed to get the attention of our most experienced volunteer.  David is a professional who owns and operates three group homes.  He has been on staff with Special Gathering.  “David,”  I said, “please begin to time this.”  He immediately started to time the seizure and walk toward Criss’ small group.

I closed in prayer and dismissed everyone.  The other volunteers snapped to attention and put their best plans into action.  “We have birthday cake,” Priscilla said loudly.  “Let’s go celebrate.”  After worship we normally go to the social hall for refreshments with the church body.  The other volunteers began ushering all the members out of the gym into the social hall.  David was still timing the seizure, by now it had been 1 minute and 45 seconds.  I called the girls’ caretaker.  After explaining the situation to her, I said, “We normally call 911 after three minutes.  It’s been 3 minutes and 10 seconds now.  I believe that most of the seizing has stopped but we can’t get her to respond.”

“Call 911,” the caregiver said.   “I’ll meet the ambulance at the hospital.”

After my phone call to the caregiver and while I was dialing 911, I asked David to go to the hospital with Criss.  I gave the 911 rescue personnel the exact address of the church, the details of the situation and my phone number.  The ambulance factility was close by the church.  They assured me that they would be less than two or three minutes for them to get to the church.

By now children’s church had invaded the gym with basketballs and other ball games.  They were not able to move out of the gym because there were too many of them and there was only one person to supervise them during this play time.  Therefore, I thought it would be better to move Criss out to the large hallway that is also used as a lounge.  Normally, you would never attempt to move a person in her condition.  However, she was in her chair and this would be an easy and safer situation for her.  By the time we had moved her chair the few feet into the lounge, the fire department had arrived.

Before they would take her, they wanted to see her ID and her Social Security card.  This was a new requirement from emergency personnel and Cris didn’t have any ID with her.  We again called the caregiver.  She had the needed information.  Once the ambulance arrived, she wanted to have the caregiver give her the same information.  The ambulance attendant was insistent that information regarding her medication could not be taken from our database that we carry with us accessed from the Internet but must be in writing.  I believe that this was HERrequirement, only.  We have never had anyone ask for this.

I can’t explain how extremely proud I was regarding the performance of our volunteers during this emergency situation.  To review quickly, these were the things that went smoothly and wer done right in the face of a seizure emergency.

  1. Our volunteers had been trained to know what should and should not be done in the case of an emergency.
  2. Timing of the seizure began immediately.
  3. Our staff and most experienced volunteers took control of the members and relieved me of the concern for their safety.
  4. Our senior volunteer knew that it would be expected of him/her to go to the hospital.  Before I asked, he had made plans to be at the hospital until I could arrive, after the program.
  5. Unlike the shepherd who left the 99 to seek after the one sheep, a program director doesn’t have the luxury to leave the members and rush to the hospital.  However, I can assure that my most experienced volunteer goes.  Then after I have insured that all our members have gotten on the bus and they are on their way home, I can go to the hospital.
  6. After 3 minutes of seizuring, call 911.
  7. Have medical information ready for the EMT or fire department.
  8. According to a group of experienced nurses who have worked with us, you need to have a list of medications, information regarding if there are allergies or seizures for the EMT.
  9. Be sure that you have current phone numbers, emergency numbers and cell phone numbers for the people in your program.
  10. Members should be moved from the area as quickly as possible.
  11. Do not move the person seizuring, unless they are in danger of being hurt where they are.
  12. Do not attempt to stop the fall.  However, you might cushion his/her head as s/he hits the floor.
  13. Do not attempt to pull the tongue out.
  14. Try to get the person to respond to you by asking questions.  Don’t hit or slap the person but try to get a verbal answer from him/her.
  15. When you call 911, they will need the exact address of the place where you are at.  Be sure that you have this physical address memorized to the point that it will roll off your tongue.  If the address contains an East or West, this is essential for the ambulance to know.
  16. Remain calm.  Speak in a measured and calm, quiet voice.  In this way, your members will pick up from your cue and they will remain calm.

What are some other things you have learned in dealing with emergencies and seizures?

Turning your back on behavior may work

What do you do when some of your members become agitated and cause confusion in your services?  That is what we faced at The Special Gathering of Melbourne on Sunday morning.  Special Gathering is a ministry within the mentally challenged community, doing evangelism and discipleship.

Over the past several weeks, Johnny has become increasingly agitated during the worship time.  He is on the autism spectrum and mentally challenged; normally, there are no problems.  He sits quietly rocking and humming.  Yesterday was different.  For some reason, he became excited and confused.  His humming was almost at the volume of yelling.

In addition, it appears that another member, Lawrence, is on a new behavioral program.  He is also on the autism spectrum.  His caregiver put him in the middle of the seating area and walked to the back of the room.  The Lawrence and his caregiver have always sat together in the back of the room because of Lawrence’s behaviors.

About every five minutes Lawrence would stand up, talking in an agitated way to no one in paticular and point repeatedly and extravagantly to his companion.  Like troopers, all the members ignored Lawrence’s behaviors trying to concentrate on the sermon.

At Special Gathering, we have several rules of thumb when dealing with disruptive behaviors.  We aren’t behaviorist and we don’t claim to be but we have found certain techniques that seem to work.

  • It is always wise to chose your battles.  Decide what behaviors should be ignored and which ones should be confronted.  When I first came to Special Gathering, I would always error on the side of confrontation.  I believed that if behaviors were allowed, it would erode the authority I needed to establish for myself as the leader of the group.  However, after years of losing battles,  I now prefer to error on the side of ignoring.  As long as you are completely and totally ignoring the person, it will be evident to everyone that you are choosing to not become a part of the scene.  Because this was a totally new behavior for Larry, I chose the totally ignore him and so did our members
  • Behaviors that are best ignored are those that are part of a person’s disability.  I would never stop Johnny’s quiet humming and rocking.  It gives him comfort; and he only does it on the days that he is deeply disturbed.  When he becomes loud, there is one volunteer who is able to calm him immediately, with only a gentle touch on the shoulder.  She has trained herself to be acutely aware of his moods and to move quietly to Johnny when the noise level gets to a certain point and gently touch his shoulder.
  • I also find that our members monitor each other.  As long as it is done without condemnation and in a polite and appropriate manner, allow the members of the class to do the correction.  A simple “that’s not appropriate behavior” from a peer is almost always enough to get someone who is acting out to cease.
  • Try to determine if the behavior is an attention-getting devise.  If you believe it is, then totally ignore the person or put the person in a place where they will not get the attention they crave.
  • Asking the person to sit in the back of the room may be the worst kind ofpunishment for an attention-starved individual.  Charles has starting echoing my sermons.  Because it’s his tenth year as a member and he has never done this before, I felt it was an attention-getting behavior.  When I saw him looking at me, trying to get my attention, I knew that it was.
  • Try giving the offending person a small amount of added attention.  Charles loves sitting on the front row.  Each week Charles and I have a short talk.  “Charles, if you are going to repeat me during the devotions, you need to sit in the back of the room,”  I tell him.  “I’ll be good” is always his answer.  I assume he just needs that few minutes on undivided attention to reassure him of his place in the program.
  • Become sensitive to your volunteers. If there is one volunteer who seems to have a good repore with a certain member, casually pair them and encourage them to hang out together.  This will help to eliminate some, if not most, of the concerns.
  • Prayer works wonders.  After asking permission, you may find it effective to gently lay your hands on the agitated person.  If the person is autistic, ask him/her if s/he would like to hold your hand.  Hold your hand out in space but don’t touch.  Allow her/him to reach over and take your hand, don’t initiate the touching.
  • Should the situation really get out of hand and there appears to be danger, the volunteers must remove the members from the room or area of danger.  You may also want to remove yourself from the room.  Allow the person to work through his agitations and be sure the room is quiet before returning in to the room.  Remember you can replace furniture.  You can’t replace a person.
  • It is best to have one person (the person who holds the highest position in the organization) deal with the problems while all the volunteers and staff offer assistance and comfort to the rest of the members.
  • Calling 911 should be an option.  Before a person is allowed to hurt someone or themselves, calling in professional help may save a broken bone.

Again, we aren’t trained behaviorist; and we don’t claim to be.  However, these are some helpful techniques that we have found that work.  What are some of the things that you have found which work to calm down a person who has become agitated?

Birth, Birthdays and Death are important times of blessing

Birth, birthdays and even death are important times of blessing

Some weeks you wonder how everything comes in bunches.  “Amazing” is the only word I find appropriate to describe the events of many Saturdays and Sundays at Special Gathering.  We had such a time several years ago. So much happened–good and bad–during our chapel services on Saturday and Sunday that it will take a week to chronicle.  However, I’ll begin with God’s providence in our daily lives and in the lives of our members.

Special Gathering is a ministry within the mentally challenged community.  We are a community based ministry with the mission to evangelize and disciple people who are developmentally disabled.  Combined, our eight programs are sponsored by approximately 110 local churches in five counties from two states.  We draw our material from a variety of places.  Currently, we are using the Southern Baptist material, Access, because overall we have found that it is the most convenient to us that is continually updated.  It is also consistently faithful to the scriptures.

I have been told that the series of lessons that are used in the Unified Lesson that most denominations use as their text for each Sunday is planned four years in advance.  Which means that the text for our July lesson was planned in 2004.  I know that the Southern BaptistAccess curriculum plans and writes their material a year in advance.  Therefore, the lesson for July 25 was written in 2007.  Once I received that material, I take the scripture text and the lesson material and do my sermons about a month ahead of time.

Our lesson for July 25 was taken from Genesis 47 when Jacob blessed Joseph on his death bed.  My lesson centered around that event.  I spoke that it was a great blessing of God to be able to have our family and friends with us for important events in our lives.  (The Bible tells us that Jacob’s greatest desire was to have Joseph close his eyes in death.) I talked about how our family and friends should bless us with prayer during these important events in our lives.  I highlighted three events that I felt are important in every person’s life:  birth, birthdays and death.

I planned as my attention-getting device to have a balloon from my husband’s recent birthday party.  But I forgot to put it into the car while preparing to go to the Saturday program.  As I was traveling to Vero (a 50 mile trip from my SpG office), I was aggravated with myself that I’d forgotten such an important part of my sermon.  Then I realized that I didn’t need a balloon from a party that happened a couple of weeks ago because we had planned a small birthday celebration for one of our volunteers.  We had also planned a birthday celebration for her on Sunday because she is our supervisor in Melbourne.  We would have a birthday cake for each service and we could sing Happy Birthday and honor Joanne.

Reflecting on God’s guidance in our lives was overwhelming to me as I traveled in my car to our Saturday program.  Four years ago, God planned to surprise this wonderful Christian with a birthday surprise.  And he planned to bless our members by giving them a tangible, up-to-date example for the lesson.

What an amazing God we serve.  What detail.  What intricate planning and bringing together of circumstances to be able to show His love for a servant who desires no recognition but only to be able to go about doing her job with excellence.   Of course, we know that he is constantly working our these kinds of events, adventures and misadventures for us.  However, it is marvelous when God graciously opens heaven’s doors and lets us see his hand moving in our lives.

Happy Birthday, Joann.  You are greatly loved by God and by us!

What was one time in your life that you knew that God had divinely worked out circumstances to bless someone you know?

God can give us the power to go

Acts 1:8–Teacher Appreciation

Central Theme:  God wants us to tell people about Jesus not matter where we are.

Introduction–I can tell where I have been last week by the receipts in my pocketbook.  Pull out a couple of receipts and tell about where you were.  Even if I did not have these receipts to remind me and as a record, God knows what I was doing.  He has a record.  Every place I go I need to realize that God was with me and there were people there who are hurting.

                  Have a member read Acts 1:8.

I.     Tell the story of Paul and Barnabus

A. They were missionaries who went from place to place starting churches and telling people about Jesus.

B.  There are several books written by Henry Nowen, a Catholic priest who went to live with mentally challenged people.

1.  Everyone loves these books.

2.  But there are not many people who are like our teachers, Sam, Danielle, and Dan.

3.  They have gone to live and work with people who are mentally challenged.  Then they come each Sunday to teach you about the Lord.  All of our teachers are people who take your well-being seriously.  Doing what our teachers do will change people‘s lives.

4.  It will change the people they serve and their own lives.

II.     God wants us to reach to others and help them.

A. We can reach out to our family.

B.  We can reach out to our friends and people we know on the bus or the van.

C. We can reach out to the professionals who work with us.

A. They have lives and they hurt sometimes too.

B.  Pray for them.

III.     We may not be able to go to foreign countries; but we can pray for the people who are working with us.

A.  Sometimes they are giving up much to help us.

Conclusion      We should be willing to go and willing to pray for those who are ministering to us.


October 2012


*Please feel free to forward this message to colleagues and other interested parties.
Sign-up for AAIDD F.Y.I at this link:
 http://www.responsetrack.net/aaidd/sign_up


AAIDD Membership

Join AAIDD Today
AAIDD is the definitive membership organization and the authoritative source of information for those in the intellectual disability profession. Our membership is over 5,000 professionals strong, in over 55 countries around the world. Joining AAIDD lets you tap into a network of top professionals who can help you find a job, show you the ropes, and deepen your involvement in your profession.

Members receive our journals, discounts at our online bookstore, conferences, webinars and receive the latest news and activities in weekly, monthly and quarterly reports directly to your email box. All Members Have Online Journal Access!
Printable Membership Application

AAIDD News

Follow Executive Director Maggie Nygren’s Blog Who Will Report Live From Brazil on the 2012 AAIDD Delegation to Brazil, October 20-29, 2012

AAIDD Announces New Journal and Seeks Editor

AAIDD Educational Opportunities

AAIDD Members Receive a 10% Discount on Over 300 Accredited Courses Online!
Email Danielle Webber or call 202-387-1968, ext. 203 for access 

Consent, Alternatives to Guardianship, and Supported Decision Making – AAIDD Aspire Forum
October 15-19, 2012

Nuts & Bolts: Writing Outstanding Journal Articles – AAIDD Webinar
October 17, 2012, 4:30pm Eastern

Providing Supports to Parents with Learning Differences – AAIDD Webinar
October 25, 2012, 3pm Eastern

Postsecondary Education for Students with Intellectual Disability – AAIDD Webinar
November 7, 2012, 1p Eastern

AAIDD Publications

Browse the AAIDD Bookstore by Clicking Here.
AAIDD Members Enjoy a 15% Discount on ALL Books

Now Available: Nuts & Bolts: Writing Outstanding Journal Articles and Good Blood, Bad Blood: Science, Nature, and the Myth of the Kallikaks at the AAIDD bookstore!

Intellectual Disability: Definition, Classification, and Systems of Supports, User Guide, 11thEdition 
This practical new guide informs clinicians, educators, policy makers, and program managers how to implement the various components of the AAIDD definition system in their specific job settings. The authors discuss the contemporary relevance of support-based definition in special education, IDEA mandates, diagnosis and other important issues.

Trauma-Informed Behavioral Interventions: What Works and What Doesn’t
This book gives the professionals and paraprofessionals who have dedicated themselves to the field and to the welfare of individuals with intellectual disability a trauma-informed paradigm within which to support their clients psychologically and to establish the critical elements needed for treatment and recovery.

UPCOMING EVENTS

The Arc 2012 Convention: Achieving Inclusion: Across the Globe – AAIDD Exhibiting
October 25-28, 2012, Washington, DC 

12th Annual Coleman Institute Conference on Cognitive Disability and Technology – AAIDD co-sponsored
November 2, 2012, Westminster, CO

2012 ANCOR Technology Summit: Implementing Innovative Solutions – AAIDD co-sponsored
November 3, 2012 in Westminster CO 

2012 State of the Art Conference on Postsecondary Education and Individuals with ID -AAIDD co-sponsored
November 29-30, 2012, Fairfax, VA

AUCD 2012: Innovating Today, Shaping Tomorrow – AAIDD Exhibiting
December 2-5, 2012 in Washington, DC

National Leadership Consortium on Developmental Disabilities – University of Delaware Leadership Institute – AAIDD co-sponsored
January 13-18, 2012 in Newark, DE

AAIDD on Facebook and Twitter!

AAIDD on Twitter!
Follow us on Twitter (@_aaidd).
AAIDD on Facebook
“Like” our page today!
AAIDD on Pinterest
Follow us Today!

Job Opportunities and Posting

The AAIDD Career Center offers the opportunity for employers to post job opportunities and for those in the disability community to apply. A 90 day posting costs $75 and is added to our weekly emails to members. Recent postings are below:

Assistant Professor, University of Kansas
Lawrence, KS

Assistant Professor, Special Education, Boston College
Boston, MA

Community Job Coach, The Menta Group
Chicago, IL

Psychology Postions, Full And Part time, Masters and Doctoral Level, Richmond Community Services
Westchester, NY

Recent Research Published in AAIDD Journals 

Measuring Physical Activity With Pedometers in Older Adults With Intellectual Disability: Reactivity and Number of Days
A paper in the August issue of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities by researchers affiliated with Erasmus Medical Center (Netherlands) and University of Gronigen (Netherlands) describes a study to indentify the minimum number of days of pedometer wear required to secure a valid estimate of average weekly step counts. Authors report that any four days of pedometer wear is sufficient to validly estimate physical activity in older adults with intellectual disability. (Full text access available at no cost with member subscription to IDD)

Social Interactions of Students with Disabilities Who Use Augmentative and Alternative Communication in Inclusive Classrooms
A paper in the September issue of American Journal on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities by researchers affiliated with Illinois State University, Vanderbilt University, and University of Wisconsin explored the extent to which ACC-using students in a general education setting engaged in social interactions. Authors report that few interactions were initiated by students using ACC, and that such students relied more heavily on facial expressions and gestures than their devices. (Full text access available at no cost withmember subscription to AJIDD)


For any questions and comments, contact Jason Epstein at jepstein@aaidd.org

For me, one of the best things that happened at the Disability Leadership Gathering that I attended this week at Sonrise Retreat Center in Anderson, Indiana, was that I was griped with the amount of passion shared by the leaders who have a genuine concern for the Church.  They have a consuming desire to help the Church to understand the great gifts that the intellectually disabled community brings to local congregations.

In honesty, this is not my passion nor the prevailing passion of Special Gathering.  Our one goal is to evangelize and disciple people who are mentally challenged.  All our efforts and passion revolve around that concern.  I am deeply grateful, however, for the many ministries around the US who feel an equal passion for educating the church regarding the needs of this important culture.

However, Special Gathering does feel the need to communicate with the local churches or with congregations.  The divide–as I see it–comes with the people with whom we communicate. Most of the disability leadership attending the gathering in Indiana desire to communicate with the people in the congregations as individuals.  On the other hand, The Special Gathering purposely does not communicate with the individual members.  We speak at local churches when we are invited.  We bring our choir to sing.   But we don’t solicit finances from the individual congregants.  We solicit funding from the missions committees or pastors.  We desire to become a part of a church’s budget.

Over the years, this has proven to be a consistently stable way to raise funds.  It may not, however, be the most financially beneficial way to raise a ministry budget.  In addition, there was a great passion for the Church communicated by these men and women who have a more direct contact with individual members that was extremely appealing.

Perhaps this is a discussion that needs to be held by pastors and ministry leaders.  Which method benefits the local congregations most in raising a budget for para-church ministries?  Does it seem best to by-pass the church’s budgeting process and make appeals to individuals?  Or does it make sense to seek out pastors and missions committees for funding? Or should a parachurch ministry–such as a ministry to people with intellectual disabilities–seek to do both?

It’s only the beginning of fall in Central Florida.  The temperatures remain in the 80’s. I cannot even find a sweater, much less an insulated jacket.  Tomorrow, I’m headed for Indiana for a disability meeting.  The tempertures there are in the 40’s and 50’s.  It won’t be that cold until January or February where I live.  Then the cold will only last a day or two; and we complain bitterly.

For me, cold is a great distraction.  Over the years in meetings, I’ve learned to concentrate during sermons, teachings and presentations, unless I’m cold.  That is why I constantly take a sweater with me during the winter.  Even in the summer, air conditioning can m some rooms too cold for me.

Face it.  We all fight distractions.  Ministering to the mentally challenged community, we work exceptionally hard to minimize distractions.  There are most many things we do to try to eliminate or downplay distraction.

1.  We try to be sure that  the room is clear of visual distraction.  It’s important to move equipment, books and all other objects out of the view of our members.

2.  If  there are things that cannot be moved out of site, we will try to make them as attractive as possible.  Meeting in an attractive room isn’t always an options.  Therefore, we use barriers to cut away from the starkness of an exposed and empty area.

3.  Try to minimize the distracting effect of the things you cannot hide.  I not only do the praise and worship; I also operate the sound system.  This means that I need to have the sound equipment close to me.  In Vero, I can hide the equipment and still have it in an accessible place.  That isn’t true about Melbourne.  Therefore, I must have the sound board behind me.  Each week I try to set up the equipment in an orderly manner.  Everything is put in the same place.  Routine can give us the illusion of order.

4.  We try to keep our appearance or mannerisms from becoming a distraction.  Each week, I dress in a professional manner–suits and good shoes.  Black suits are always a good choice for a woman Our executive director, Richard Stimson wears a white robe or a business suit when he preaches on Sunday.  He will dress down a bit for our programs during the week.

Whatever you do and no matter how much you “minister” recognizing distractions are important.  Keeping yourself focused is equally vital.  Christianity is building a relationship with the Lord.  All of our lives are filled with distraction.  You may not need to carry a sweater; but we all need to recognize what keeps us from concentrating on the things of the Lord and do our best to minimize or eliminate it.

Often, as I’m preparing for bed, I listen to the Bible.  Last evening, as I put away some shirts and listened to II Corinthians 3, I was struck by the last verses.  When I say struck, I mean it.  It was as though the Holy Spirit whacked me on the back and said, “Girl, did you hear what I just said to you?”

Sitting down the clothes that were destined for the closet, I quickly, picked up the iPad to hear the verses again…then again and again.  I’m not sure how many times I listened. Fascinated, I wanted to grasped what the Lord desired for me to understand.

17 The Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 18 Our faces, then, are not covered. We all show the Lord’s glory, and we are being changed to be like him. This change in us brings ever greater glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.

Remember the Old Testament story regarding Moses’ transformation when He was on the mountain with the Lord.  He face glowed.  Moses put a veil over his face so that the people could not see the glory of the Lord.  Later, he kept the veil because he didn’t want the people to see the glory as it faded.  I was transfixed by verse 18.  It was clear that God was saying that the Lord’s glory now shines through us.

However, He goes further.  He says that we are being changed to be like him, and these changes bring ever greater glory.  My mother was a dynamic Christian.  As a young mother, I realized that people weren’t in her presence long before you recognized that there was something very different about this person.  Because Frances was my mother, it was difficult to see that she was any different than another person.  But it was never hard to recognize the remarkable effect she had on others during her later years.

I see the same glow in Christy who is blind and does not walk.  The radiance of the Lord is evident on tall and lanky Eric as he ambles into the room eager to begin Special Gathering choir or anxious to help set up the sound equipment.  This glow cannot be faked or imitated.  It cannot be earned because it is a reflection of God’s glory shining through the eyes and actions of his people.

While this great promise has been taught, I must confess that I never took it personally until I was almost physically struck down by the Lord.  “This is your promise,” I understood the Father to say to me.  His reasurance was particularly comforting to me because I’ve recently found it necessary to face some ugly flaws in my character.  Almost overcome by the accusations coming from the enemy of our souls, I’ve wondered how I could have known the Lord all these decades and still miss the blatant contractions in my character.

The Holy Spirit wasn’t excusing bad behavior; but He was not leaving me hanging on a clothes line being beaten by the wind, either.  I knew He was say, Yeah, there is a lot of work to be done but as you look to me, I will continue to change you into my image.  You are becoming more like me.  I praise God that He is doing the transforming work and my job is simply to obey and seek his face.

Several people have asked where I’ve been.  This is really encouraging because sending an entry into the Internet atmosphere, you cannot help but wonder if anyone will actually read what you write.

This has been an extremely busy time for me and The Special Gathering of Indian River.  Fall is a time of the year that many things come together and consume massive amounts of time for us.  Additionally, I find that I’ve become a person of routine and as long as I stick to my routine, I can usually accomplish all the things needed.  One of my greatest joys is having people visit our home; and for almost a month, our home has been filled with joy and company.  As a result, I’ve been thrown out of my routine.

Thanks for the inquiries and questions.  I’m here.  You will find me under a large pile of papers, trying to sort through the mess.

For the past few days, I spent time with a young man who was on vacation.  He and his companion stayed near my home.  Part of his disability is that he is unable to be satisfied with what he has.  His life revolves around what he desires to eat or have.  Because he comes from an affluent family, at his vacation, he was able to spend over $300.  During much of his vacation, Tony was shopping.

As he and his companion were heading home, she asked him, “Tony, what did you buy on your vacation?”

Tony replied, “I didn’t get the first or second season of the Muppet Show.  I didn’t get the Harry Potter DVD’s.  I didn’t get…”

His companion interrupted, “No.  I asked you what did you get.  Not what you didn’t get.  What did you get on your vacation?”

“I didn’t get season two of the Little Einsteins or…”

“Tony, tell me what you did get.”

“I don’t remember what I got; but I didn’t get…”

“Wait, Tony.  Think about it.  Tell me what you did get.  Surely, you remember something.”

As I heard about the conversation, I could not help but think about my own needs and desires.  The Apostle Paul stated that whatever condition he found himself, he was able to be content.  Obviously, I’m a lot more like Tony than Paul.

Several days ago, I found a shopping bag that contained a wireless keyboard that I’ve wanted for about five years.  While I was on vacation, I bought it in leu of a souvenir.  That was two or three months ago.  I haven’t used this keyboard in the months I’ve had it. Obviously, I didn’t need it nearly as much as I thought I did.  As I listened to what Tony said, my thoughts were drawn to the shopping bag I found with that all-important keyboard that I had forgotten.

In this time of great affluence, needs and desires get complicated, mashed together and confused, even in those who desire to follow Jesus with all of our hearts. Even as a teenager, I heard that the Church was never hurt from without.  Under persecution, the Church thrives.  It is from within that we are destroyed.  Today is a day of much-needed prayer.

This is a daily email I receive from TGIF by Os Hillman.  This businessman often touches areas that I feel are important for everyone.  All of us have had someone say something to us that snaps our insecurities.  Our reactions are vital to our growth in ministry and in our life in Christ.  If you would like to receive this daily email, there is a link below.

When Insecurity Turns Evil
TGIF Today God Is First Volume 1, by Os Hillman

Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Romans 12:15

Saul was the King of Israel. David was in Saul’s army and beginning to build a reputation as a great warrior. One day when David came back from a battle, the women danced and sang: ” ‘Saul has slain his thousands, and David his tens of thousands’ ” (1 Sam. 18:7).

Saul was very angry; this refrain galled him. “They have credited David with tens of thousands,” he thought, “but me with only thousands. What more can he get but the kingdom?” (1 Samuel 18:8)

This statement caused something to snap in King Saul. From this point on, Saul was never the leader God intended him to be. He allowed insecurity to drive his every decision. Insecurity leads to the need to control people and circumstances. The need to control leads to anger once we realize we are unable to control the circumstance. King Saul could not accept, much less rejoice, over David’s success. David’s life would never be the same, because Saul sought to kill David every chance he had. Saul had a choice; he could have seen David as an up-and-coming general in his army who could have become an important part of his team and made the kingdom of Israel even stronger. Instead, he looked at him as a threat. When you hear good news about fellow workers or associates, do you rejoice with them? If you find yourself comparing your life’s circumstances to others and don’t feel you measure up, recognize that this is one of satan’s greatest ploys to destroy you.

Christ has given you all things in Him. He has a unique plan for you that cannot be compared to another. He alone is your security. Trust in the purposes He has for your life. And remember, “My God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus” (Phil. 4:19 KJV). 

Today God Is First (TGIF) devotional message, Copyright by Os Hillman, Marketplace Leaders.

 Share Prime Time With A Friend

God will give us the power to confront

Acts 17:30

Central Theme:  We are able to confront others because God gives us that power.

 Introduction–Have your label out of your dress and have someone come up and tell you about it.  Ask:  Has this ever happened to you?  Paper caught on you shoe?  Tell about the woman who had toliet paper hanging from her dress as she walked through the airport.  No one told her.  Telling people bad things is hard but Paul contronted people when they were wrong.  Have a member read Acts 17:30.

I.     Tell about how Paul went to Athens and told the people they were wrong.

A. They had all kinds of gods.

B.  Paul said, I want to tell you about the Unknown God–Jesus.

II.     Being able to confront is hard but it will help us grow.

A. Bring a pearl and a shell.

B.  A piece of sand gets in the shell and the little oyster trys to get it out.

C. When we have the courage to confront we help others.

III.     Sometimes we take liberties that we should not take–other times we are shy.

A. Don’t talk to strangers.

B.  Don’t be too quick to criticize others–that is not confronting.

C. Learn how to take criticism.

D. Reach out in love and tell people when they are wrong

Conclusion      Paul had the courage to confront.  We need to take a stand against wrong and be willing to be confronted when we are wrong.

.


 

ABOUT THE CONFERENCE
June 3-6, 2013

The 137th AAIDD Annual Meeting, Race to Catch the Future, will provide researchers, clinicians, practitioners, educators, policymakers, local, state and federal agencies, and advocates with cutting edge research, effective practices, and valuable information on important policy initiatives. The conference will have thought-provoking plenary sessions concerning emerging issues in the field of intellectual and developmental disabilities and ways in which professionals can prepare themselves and their organizations to thrive in a field that is in transition. Additionally, the conference will feature panel presentations, poster presentations, taskforce and special interest group meetings, and multiple networking opportunities. Select pre- and post-conference workshops will address relevant topics of interest in greater detail.

RACE TO CATCH THE FUTURE

AAIDD has been the leading interdisciplinary professional organization in intellectual and developmental disabilities for more than a century. Our leaders and members have been at the cutting edge of ground breaking research, practices, and policies in the field of intellectual and developmental disabilities. This annual meeting will continue that long-established tradition. Our plenary sessions will focus on emerging issues and challenges facing professionals from multiple disciplines whose work is centered on improving the lives of persons with intellectual and developmental disabilities. The conference will create a forum for sharing expertise in the areas of research, practice, and policy relevant to promoting improved outcomes and quality of life for persons with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

We invite you to submit your quality proposal to share your ideas and findings with your colleagues at the 2013 AAIDD Annual Meeting in Pittsburgh, PA, June 3-6, 2013.

STUDENTS AND EARLY CAREER PROFESSIONALS

The AAIDD Annual Meeting provides a unique opportunity to become involved in the field, develop leadership skills, and network. We encourage students and early career professionals to come present and take the opportunity of this meeting to promote their work. A limited number of student and early career professional scholarships will be available on a competitive basis—to be considered for a scholarship, a student/early career professional must be the first author on a paper or poster proposal and indicate that they would like to be considered for a scholarship on the proposal submission form.

PROPOSALS SOUGHT

High quality proposals are sought that present original research or synthesize research findings, report on innovative practices, and/or analyze public policies. We strongly encourage authors of proposals to consider the theme of the conference by indicating ways in which their proposal addresses a contemporary or future issue of relevance to the field of intellectual and developmental disabilities. Proposals will be competitively reviewed—not all proposals will be accepted. Due to the limited number of concurrent session slots, no individual author will be permitted to present more than two paper presentations on which s/he is first author. Also because of the limited number of paper presentation opportunities, the review panel may determine it necessary to offer a presentation format different from that initially proposed by the author(s) (e.g., poster presentation instead of paper presentation). A specific block of time will be dedicated solely to poster sessions to assure that poster presentations have a high level of visibility at the 2013 conference.

PROPOSAL FORMATS

Paper Presentation: Individuals or small groups of authors are encouraged to submit proposals for paper presentation whose content could be conveyed in 30 minutes (including question period). Among the paper presentation proposals accepted for inclusion in the program, AAIDD will group 3 paper presentations that are on a common topic or theme into one 90-minute concurrent session. AAIDD will assign a moderator to the paper presentations that will be combined into a concurrent session.

Panel Presentation: Individuals or small groups of authors are encouraged to submit 3 distinct but thematically linked presentation proposals of 30 minutes each (including question period). We will not accept submitted panel presentations where there is only one presenter or the 1st presenter is an author on all three presentations in the panel presentation. Panel presentations will be reviewed as a group presentation. AAIDD will assign a moderator to each concurrent session.

Poster Presentations: Individuals or groups of authors are encouraged to submit proposals for interactive poster presentations in which they can to discuss their work with conference participants. Poster proposals will also be peer-reviewed but there is no limit on the number of poster presentations accepted by the same author.

Pre and Post-Conference Sessions: These sessions are held either the day before (6/3) or the day after the conference (6/6). These sessions are a half or full-day session addressing an important issue and generally have a practical focus. Individuals wishing to offer this type of session should follow the same submission guidelines for proposals. AAIDD will be seeking CEUs for pre and post conference sessions, authors of sessions selected for pre and post conference presentation will be required to provide a copy of their CV and provide 4 learning objectives. All pre and post conference sessions will require an additional fee from the attendees.

Guidelines for Submitting a Proposal: All proposals will be peer-reviewed and authors will be notified of the decision on their submission by February 1, 2013. The expectation is that the lead author will communicate to the co-presenters on their proposal all relevant conference information. At least the lead author of each accepted proposal is expected to attend and present at the conference.

Presentations Link: http://aaidd.org/content_3018.cfm?navID=326
All presenters who attend the conference must pay the conference registration fee.

A complete proposal consists of the following:
1. Completed Presentation Submission Form
2. 500-word Summary: detailed description of presentation that will evaluated by reviewers
3. 50-75 word Abstract: brief summary of presentation used for the conference program

AAIDD will be seeking CEUs for pre and post conference sessions.