2023 Webinar Series

Pathways to Belonging: Supporting the Spiritual and Faith-Community Interests of People with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities

Dates: Wednesday February 15, March 15, April 19, and May 17
Time: 2 p.m. ET / 1 p.m. CT / 12 p.m. MT / 11 a.m. PT

The Religion and Spirituality Interest Network of the American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (AAIDD) and RespectAbility, a diverse, disability-led nonprofit that works to create systemic change in how society views and values people with disabilities, are launching a new four-part webinar series. In collaboration with AAIDD’s Community and Technology Interest Networks, the series will explore:

  • Home and Community Based Services (HCBS) language to support the community engagement process of supporting people to belong to their chosen spiritual or faith community.
  • Why spiritual health and wellness is important to many people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD).
  • Practical considerations including questions to ask to learn about an individual’s spiritual health and wellness needs and preferences to find a spiritual home, how to advocate for inclusion and belonging, and what to expect when you accompany someone to a house of worship or other faith-based entity.
  • How technology can support meaningful participation, and the implications of technology for belonging.

Direct Support Professionals – Accompanying People in their Spiritual Journeys

February 15, 2023

02:00 PM (East)

Helping adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities discover and find belonging in a faith community of their choice can be daunting. Support staff come from different traditions or may have no religious background. Discovering the “right fit” can be tricky. Accompanying someone on their spiritual journey is about more than attending. The Direct Support Professional (DSP) may need to be a guide, coach, and community builder! The work can be meaningful and rewarding, calling on DSPs to acknowledge their own spiritual biases as they help people find a community of belonging. This session provides practical tips for support teams, from making initial contacts and introductions to helping build relationships between the people you support and members of a church, synagogue, or mosque.

Bill Gaventa Headshot: Grey-haired man with glasses smiles in front of a beach.William (Bill) Gaventa, MDiv
author, speaker, trainer, and consultant
Keith Dow, PhD
Mgr Organizational and Spiritual Life, Christian Horizons
Jasmine Duckworth
Community Development Manager, Christian Horizons.
Learn more and read full bios at https://www.respectability.org/2023/01/aaidd-february-2023-webinar/

From Assessment to Participation – Supporting Individual Preferences to Find Their Faith Community

March 15, 2023
02:00 PM (East)

How do you determine ways to support individual spiritual and religious preferences? Evergreen Life Services has developed its own spiritual assessment practice. This presentation describes how Evergreen utilizes its successful approach to support an individual’s preferences and participation in their chosen spiritual and religious expressions. The assessments include targeted questions that help create a pathway for providers to support individual religious and spiritual preferences and practices. The presenters from Evergreen will share the stories of peoples’ journeys to belong to their chosen faith communities.

Sharon Gomez
Chief Compliance and Privacy Officer, Evergreen Life Services
Yvonne A. Miller-Nixon
Quality Enhancement Director at Evergreen Life Services
Jarrod Adams
State Executive Director for Tenessee, Evergreen Life Services
Karen Towery
Executive Director for North Central Texas, Evergreen Life Services
Learn more and read full bios at https://www.respectability.org/2023/01/aaidd-march-2023-webinar/

Building Relationships and Collaborating with Faith Communities

April 19, 2023
02:00 PM (East)

In the I/DD provider world we often see faith communities as merely the places our clients go for religious services. Faith communities have so much to offer, both to the people we support and to our own organizations. In collaborating with faith communities, our organizations have engaged in mutually beneficial and enriching opportunities to better serve individuals’ spiritual needs. We will discuss multiple methods of engagement and provide examples of service, volunteer, employment, and social opportunities.

Sarah VanderZee McKenney, MDiv
Spiritual Support Coordinator @Stone Belt
Tammy Besser, LCSW, NCG
Jewish Child and Family Services, Chicago
Learn more and read full bios at https://www.respectability.org/2023/01/aaidd-april-2023-webinar/

Community Connectedness and technology

May 17, 2023
02:00 PM (East)

Throughout the pandemic, technology solutions provided opportunities for people with I/DD and their families to participate in what used to be inaccessible activities and environments. Today, tools such as virtual platforms, communication technologies, connected communities, and cognitively accessible solutions are applied in innovative ways to decrease loneliness and provide ways for individuals to access religious and spiritual environments. Our presenters will discuss the utilization of technology solutions across domains and innovative approaches spiritual leaders are using to reach new audiences and allow greater participation from people with I/DD.

Emily Shea Tanis, PhD
Associate Research Professor, Kansas U Center in Developmental Disabilities
Anne Masters, PhD, FAAIDD
Director, Office for Pastoral Ministry with PWD for Archdiocese of Newark
Learn more and read full bios at https://www.respectability.org/2023/01/aaidd-may-2023-webinar/