Kathleen Deyer Bolduc is a nationally recognized author and speaker in the field of disability ministry, concentrating on disability’s impact on the family system, and ways in which churches can become more welcoming of families that live with disability.
Her books include The Spiritual Art of Raising Children with Disabilities (Judson Press, 2014), Autism and Alleluias (Judson Press, 2010); A Place Called Acceptance: Ministry with Families of Children with Disabilities (Bridge Resources, Louisville, KY, 2001); and His Name is Joel: Searching for God in a Son’s Disability (Bridge Resources, Louisville, KY, 1999). Her articles have appeared in Guideposts, The Cincinnati Enquirer, Family Ministry: Empowering Through Faith, The Journal of Religion, Disability and Health, Quaker Life, Youth!, DreamWeaver, and Fellowship in Prayer. Make sure to drop by and visit her blog at her website. You can also find her at her author Facebook page and her personal Facebook page.
Kathy’s speaking ministry has taken her around the United States. She is available to speak or hold workshops on the following topics: Searching for God in Autism, Making the Church a Place Called Acceptance, and Disability and the Family System. Kathy holds a master’s degree in religious studies from the College of Mount St. Joseph in Cincinnati, Ohio.
Kathy’s passions include searching for God in the everyday, sharing lessons learned in 24 years of living with Joel, spending time with family and friends, contemplative prayer, bird-watching, long walks in the park, writing fiction, and reading a good novel at bedtime.
Sarah Broady is a mother passionate about encouraging parents of special needs children. She is married to her college sweetheart, Kyle Broady, who is in ministry at their church in eastern Kentucky as the Pastor of Worship. They have three boys. Their second son was diagnosed with autism at the age of 2. It turned their world upside down, but God is using it for His glory in more ways they could have ever imagined.
Sarah advocates for children with autism within her current state of Kentucky as well as her former state of Maryland, where she spoke for government tasks groups and both State and House committees making crucial decisions for waiver benefits, in addition to lobbying on Capitol Hill for meaningful policies and laws that benefit families living with autism.
More than speaking in the political arena on behalf of families living with autism, her greatest desire is to reach the hearts of special needs parents and give them the hope that is found in Christ. Sarah participates in special needs ministry outreach at her church and also leads an encouragement group (and the group leaders) here at Key Ministry.
Sarah blogs about her life raising a son with autism at Hope in Autism. She writes about every day happenings, grief and other emotions that come with the life of a special needs parent, while seeking to show the hope they find through Jesus in any circumstance. Read more about Sarah’s writing here. Sarah can be contacted through her blog, on Facebook or on Twitter.
Hi, I’m Faith, married 20+ years to my honey, Isaiah, homeschooling mommy to 3 amazing kids. My oldest, Jaedon, was diagnosed with autism at 2 years old, and the 14 year journey from that point has been both devastating and life transforming for our family. One of the fruits of this journey is Melody of Autism, which provides caregiver training, consultations and carers for families supporting loved ones with ASD. Whenever possible, I share with faith communities about the beautiful, sacred moments encapsulated in caring for our children with special needs. God meets us in these moments, and we are changed.
Karen holds a doctoral degree in Public Health and Preventive Care. Growing up, she sensed a call to serve children with special needs and their families, but was surprised when her own daughters led her into this reality. Ironically, their collective struggles with autism, anxiety, depression and chronic illness led Karen to love God more than ever! It also spurred her work in program development, advocacy, speaking and writing.
In 2014 Karen published an award-winning book (the one she wished she could have read as a young mom) for use by parents and support groups. Persevering Parent: Finding Strength to Raise Your Child with Social, Emotional or Behavior Challenges promotes hope, joy and effective principles for special-needs parenting.
Dr. Crum also founded Successful Living with Autism through Training and Education (SLATE), she trains parents on behalf of the National Alliance on Mental Illness, and teaches graduate students online for the University of New England.
In free time, Karen loves to spend time at home with her family in Northern California. There they watch wildlife on the Sacramento River, throw balls to their dogs, and cuddle with their cats. You can join Karen’s blog at www.PerseveringParent.com.
The mother of three children, two of whom have a variety of special needs, Barbara Dittrich founded SNAPPIN’ MINISTRIES (Special Needs Parents Network) in 2002 and currently serves as its Executive Director. The organization she leads was one of three finalists for WORLD MAGAZINE’S Hope Award for Effective Compassion in October of 2009, in conjunction with the American Bible Society. With a unique vision for serving parents of children with special needs, she has led the SNAPPIN’ MINISTRIES team in developing an innovative parent mentor curriculum. She lives with her husband of 20+ years in Wisconsin and blogs at http://comfortinthemidstofchaos.blogspot.com
Joe and Cindi Ferrini
Joe and Cindi are authors of Unexpected Journey – When Special Needs Change our Course who enjoy speaking on topics that will encourage men and women to make a difference in their sphere of influence by being all they can be for the Lord, their families, and themselves. They speaking nationally for FamilyLife Weekend To Remember Get-a-Ways and are on associate staff of CRU. Make sure to check out their blog and how to connect with them on other social media at Creative Management Fundamentals.
Mike is co-founder of SoaringFamilies, an online community focused on making a difference in the lives of families impacted by a disability so they can live more freely, more fully and with more energy. SoaringFamilies is about believing in a future that is bigger than the past, creating a world where all persons are accepted and included, and where every life is of equal value. Visit https://soaringfamilies.com
Craig Johnson has served in full-time ministry for more than two decades. He is currently the Director of Ministries at Lakewood Church, the largest and fastest-growing church in America, overseeing all pastoral ministries and staff, as well as Family Ministries Pastor. Previously, he served as Co-Chair for the Los Angeles Billy Graham Children’s Crusade and as Children’s Pastor at Faith Community Church in West Covina, CA for 3 years.
Craig is the creator of many programming tools for children’s ministry, including a new discipleship curriculum called Extreme Kids, launched at Lakewood Church in 2009. He and his wife, Samantha, have three children. Craig is the author of Lead Vertically: Inspire People To Volunteer/Build Great Teams That Last.
Kathy McClelland is the author of Beauty in Broken Dreams: A Hopeful Handbook for the Early Years as a Special Needs Parent. Her second son was born with a rare (1 in 50,000 births) chromosomal disorder which catapulted her into the world of special needs parenting. A former marketing manager, she now blogs at kathymcclelland.com about finding beauty and hope in the midst of broken dreams. She is also a regular contributor to PreemieBabies101.com and has published on TheMighty.com, EllenStumbo.com and Sparkhouse.org.
During her free time she likes to cycle away stress, wander Target aimlessly, and camp out at coffee shops. Slowly she is learning that God makes all things beautiful in His time, even when life doesn’t turn out picture perfect as she hoped.
Stephanie and her husband are parents of all boys, one of which is a young adult with both physical and intellectual disabilities. God is teaching her big things through their trials that she probably would have never learned without them. You can find more from her at www.mostlyeandme.com and on Facebook and Twitter.
Patty Corrigan Myers is the author of Autism Is A Blessing. Mrs. Myers has a degree in Psychology from King University. Currently, she is the Principal at The First Hope of The First Academy, a ministry of First Baptist Church of Orlando and is a Board Certified Assistant Behavior Analyst.
Autism Is A Blessing is about the author’s struggle to understand Autism and the effect it has on the child and the family. Mrs. Myers has 2 children, Chelsea and Charlie. Charlie was diagnosed with autism in 2004. She has been married to her husband Tony for 27 years. One of her passions is disability awareness and working with churches, schools, and other organizations to get the word out. Mrs. Myers’ perspective is to look at the positive side of all struggles that we face and how we can learn and love through them. Make sure you check out Patty’s blog at PattyMyers.com!
Sandra Peoples lives near Houston, Texas where her husband is planting a new church. They have two sons, one with autism.. Sandra has a degree in English from Hardin-Simmons University and a Master of Divinity degree from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary.
A year after her son’s autism diagnosis, Sandra wrote a book about their experiences–Speechless: Finding God’s Grace in My Son’s Autism. Since then, they have seen the special needs ministry at their church grow, gotten involved in their local autism support group, and tried their best to keep up with their son James and all his energy (and therapy appointments, doctors visits, and school activities). Together, Lee and Sandra wrote Held: Learning to Live in God’s Grip, a Bible study for special-needs parents.
After six years in private practice as a lawyer, Sarah Parshall Perry left the workplace to stay at home with her son. That’s when the rest of her children – and her books – were born. It’s also when her very tidy life became a lot more…un-tidy. Sarah is the co-author of When the Fairy Dust Settles: A Mother and Her Daughter Discuss What Really Matters (Warner Faith 2004), the author of Sand in My Sandwich (and Other Motherhood Messes I’m Learning to Love) (Revell 2015), a contributing author to The Horse of My Heart (Revell 2015), and the author of Mommy Needs a Raise (Because Quitting’s Not an Option) (Revell 2016). Another anthology contribution is forthcoming. Her writing has appeared at Christianitytoday.com, The Stream, The Federalist, Christian Post, and the Daily Caller, among others.
Sarah has a J.D. from the University of Virginia School of Law, and a B.S. in Journalism from Liberty University. She is a consultant for the Family Research Council in Washington, D.C., and has served in youth ministry for over ten years – particularly in the area of special needs, where it’s her privilege to use her boys’ autism, OCD, and ADHD diagnoses to encourage other families living with disability.
Sarah and her husband Matt enjoy an extraordinary, ordinary life in Maryland farm country. She fights three children and way too many pets for writing time whenever she can. Follow their adventures on Facebook.
Jolene Philo is the daughter of a disabled father and the mother of a child with special needs. After a 25 years as an elementary teacher, she left education in 2003 to pursue writing and speaking. Since then her articles have appeared in regional and national publications including Focus on the Family, Home Cooking, and ParentLife. Her books, A Different Dream for My Child and Different Dream Parenting were released by Discovery House Publishers in 2009 and 2011.
She speaks throughout the United States about parenting children and adults with special needs and post-traumatic stress in children. Her blog, www.DifferentDream.com, provides resources and encouragement for parents of kids with special needs. She also blogs about life on her dusty gravel roadat www.jolenephilo.com. With their two children married and on their own, Jolene and her husband are kicking up their empty nester heels in Boone, Iowa.
Ellen Stumbo writes with gritty honesty and openness. She is passionate about sharing the real – sometimes beautiful and sometimes ugly – aspects of faith, parenting, special needs, and adoption. Ellen’s writing has appeared on Focus on the Family, LifeWay, The Mighty, MomSense., Not Alone Parents, Different Dream for My Child, the ParentLife blog, and The Huffington Post. Ellen blogs at ellenstumbo.com and you can also find her on twitter and Facebook.
Ellen’s husband is a pastor. But before you think of her as “the pastor’s wife” know that she is a broken person with much need of grace. She is a mom to three girls. Her second daughter was born with Down syndrome, leading them to adopt their third daughter with cerebral palsy.
Ellen is a speaker, often addressing women at different church settings where she invites them to find beauty in their brokenness as God’s love and compassion transform their lives.
One of Ellen’s greatest passions is to see the church embrace disability, not out of pity or out of service, but out of a genuine understanding, acceptance, and celebration of their life. This is why she founded Disability Matters, and organization that strives to encourage every church to embrace disability.