Power of Play Conference

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The Power of Play!

April 9-10, 2014

Raleigh, NC

Marbles Kids Museum

Come gain knowledge and resources on the latest inclusive practices and network with others in the field! The conference will include training on serving families effectively, building lifelong friendships for children, achieving positive behaviors, preventing and handling bullying, and creating accessible activities among other topics. This inspiring event is for all people who desire to ensure no child sits on the sidelines.


Click here to register for the 2014 Power of Play conference!

CEUs are available through a partnership with UMass-Boston and the Educational Endorsement of the American Camp Association.



The 2014 Power of Play Conference will feature:

Tim Harris headshot

Opening Keynote Speaker: Tim Harris, Owner of Tim’s Place

The famous quote from Walt Disney, “If you can dream it, you can do it” has been the driving force behind the life of Tim Harris.  Born in 1986 with Down Syndrome, Tim’s life has been defined by exceeding expectations. In high school, Tim was elected Homecoming King by the highest margin of votes in school history. During graduation week, Tim was also voted Student of the Year by the administration, faculty and staff. During college, he lived in the dorms and earned certificates in Food Service Office Skills and Restaurant Hosting.

Tim’s Place opened in October of 2010. This restaurant in Albuquerque serves breakfast, lunch, and hugs, seven days a week. We are pleased to have Tim Harris here to talk about the power of inclusion, and how he was empowered to follow his dream to open his own restaurant.


Kathy HearseyDay 2 Kick-off Keynote: Kathy Hearsey, Assistant Director of Training, TEACCH

To kick off Day 2, we will get to hear about Structuring Play from a representative of the University of North Carolina TEACCH Autism Program. The TEACCH Autism Program uses a technique they call “Structured TEACCHing” to help make the environment more predictable for individuals with autism, helping them thrive. More information on Kathy’s background to come!


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Closing Keynote Speaker: Dwayne Ballen, Author of Journey with Julian

Dwayne Ballen is the author of the recently released book, “Journey With Julian”, about his family’s life with his eldest son (Julian) who has autism. Told from the rarely heard father’s perspective, “Journey With Julian” has received praise since its release. A review in the New York Journal of Books says the book will “enlighten and educate” the reader as it “conveys the importance of family, the necessity of acceptance, and the pure joy of unconditional love.”  The book, published by Simon & Schuster/Strebor books, has now gone into its second printing.

Ballen, an award winning television sports journalist has a resume that includes; The Golf Channel, CBS Sports, Fox Sports and the ESPN Networks. He has been recognized for his outstanding skills as an interviewer and anchor. He is host of the upcoming talkshow “Sportsthought” which focuses on the more substantive issues that revolve around sport.

Ballen also dedicates a good deal of his time to raising awareness about autism. He’s delivered keynote addresses to the Autism Society of America’s annual conference, the National Inclusion Project’s tenth year celebration and the CDC’s national autism awareness day. He travels the country speaking about autism and his family’s experience. He and his son appeared on a special episode of the Katie Couric show, which dealt with autism.

Click here to register for the 2014 Power of Play conference!


Make your plans to attend the 2014 Power of Play Conference!

Will I benefit from the Conference?

The National Inclusion Project opens doors for all kids to be included together and experience all that life has to offer. We conduct programs with community partners to teach others how to be inclusive so that kids with and without disabilities can experience lifelong benefits. We believe that no one should sit on the sidelines.

Our goal with the National Inclusion Project Conference and Let’s ALL Play is to provide a framework and resources for program providers to implement successful inclusion in their programs.

The conference will have information that will be beneficial for the program provider who is brand new to inclusion and the inclusion veteran who wants to do more and/or better to serve in an inclusive setting. The conference will feature sessions for recreational professionals, specialists (i.e. Speech-Language Pathologists, Occupational Therapists, Physical Therapists, etc.), educators, students, parents, managers of play-based facilities (like museums and zoos), and many more! Not only will the sessions be beneficial for professional development, attendees have various networking opportunities throughout the conference. Supporters of the National Inclusion Project will also benefit as we communicate our mission and message.

What are people saying about the National Inclusion Project Conference?

“As a professional who has been attending conferences for over 20 years, I must say that I received more relevant information during this conference than any other I’ve been to. I returned feeling enthusiastic and empowered!”

“Staff responses about the conference were extremely positive. I asked what was the one thing that they returned with and the all responded that they hope to remember each and every day that EVERY child is unique and has something to share. They LOVED every aspect of the conference.”

Want to volunteer at the conference?

We’d love to have you! Email elisehopkins@inclusionproject.org if you are interested in helping out.

Interested in sponsoring a conference session?

We are excited to offer opportunities for local and national businesses to engage with our conference material. We are looking for businesses to sponsor different sessions at our conference, including our three keynotes, breaks during each day, the networking and fun night, and our “fidget boxes”, full of various activities to help our attendees learn in the ways that suit them individually. Contact Elise Hopkins at elisehopkins@inclusionproject.org if you are interested in sponsoring a session!

Click here to register for the 2014 Power of Play conference!

Registration fee: $200

Are you a full-time high school or college student? Students get a reduced rate of $75. Please email Aron Hall at aronhall@inclusionproject.org if you would like to learn more about this rate!