Power of Play Conference

March 20-22, 2018 

Marbles Kids Museum 

Join us at 2018 Power of Play and take your next move to building inclusive programs and communities!

Gain knowledge and resources on the latest inclusive practices, network with others in the field, and have a lot of fun! 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.


Opening Keynote

Kathie Snow is an author, public speaker, trainer, and consultant. Her interest in disability issues was born in 1987 with the birth of her son, Benjamin, who was diagnosed with cerebral palsy at four months.

Before that, she had no knowledge or experience in the disability field. Like most parents, she was bewildered and somewhat frightened; and, like most parents, she eagerly entered the world of disability services and interventions. She listened to what doctors recommended, she went along with all of the therapies.

She was convinced that if some was good, then more was better. Home became a therapy clinic. The professionals told her what a great mom she was (presumably because she was doing what they told her to do!!!)…but then, when she started saying “no” to “more therapy,” she became a non-compliant parent.

When Benjamin was three, Kathie participated in the Texas Partners in Policymaking program. That experience was life changing. She learned many valuable life lessons, especially from the self advocates. She discovered that families could enjoy regular lives. She didn’t want a “special” life anymore for her family; she just wanted an ordinary life. When Benjamin was six, he decided he didn’t want his life consumed with therapies anymore and called it quits.

The third edition of Kathie’s book, Disability is Natural, Revolutionary Common Sense for Raising Successful Children with Disabilities, has just recently been released.


Closing Keynote

Kat Holmes

There are a growing number of inclusion experts in the world. What makes Kat Holmes unique is her level of hands-on experience applying it to mass-scale consumer technology. She is the founder of Kata and design.co. These complementary ventures form a platform of people and tools for advancing inclusion in product development and digital experiences. She also advises companies on inclusive design methods that she pioneered while in her role as Director of Inclusive Design at Microsoft. This product development approach emphasizes human diversity and results in adaptive experiences, inclusive growth, and reduced customer churn.

In 2017, Kat was named one of Fast Company’s Most Creative People in Business. She led the development of Microsoft’s award-winning Inclusive Design toolkit. This toolkit is widely recognized as a “radical” evolution of design thinking and practices, including honors from the Interaction Design Association (IxDA) and Fast Company’s World Changing Ideas.

Kat’s work stems from three core values:
1. There’s no such thing as an average human being.
2. People should be in the lead, not just the center, of technology.
3. Work with people who you enjoy being around. Make something worth making. Have fun.

Learn more at LinkedIn at Kat Holmes. A full summary of experience and recognition is located at Kat Holmes Design.


Keynote Speaker 

Laura Grofer Klinger, PhD is the Director of the UNC TEACCH Autism Program, and Associate Professor in the Department of Psychiatry, and Clinical Associate Professor in the Department of School Psychology at UNC. Dr. Klinger is a licensed psychologist with 24 years of experience supervising clinical and research trainees and staff in the assessment and implementation of intervention services and research in both outpatient clinic and school settings.

Dr. Klinger consults to school systems and employment programs internationally about best practices for supporting the transition to adulthood including supports for employment and postsecondary education. She serves on a variety of community advisory boards including Sesame Street (initiative to increase ASD awareness), Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina (supporting their development of an insurance policy for individuals with ASD), Government Accountability Office (adult transition), and Extraordinary Ventures (an employment program for adults with ASD).

Her research includes the study of learning differences in individuals with ASD and the development of community-based intervention programs to promote successful adult outcomes. Specifically, she is conducting a longitudinal study examining outcomes in 25-50 year-old adults with ASD who were served by TEACCH during childhood and a school-based pilot intervention study examining the effectiveness of the TEACCH School Transition to Employment and Post-Secondary Education (T-STEP) Program. Dr. Klinger has authored or co-authored over 30 manuscripts, books, or chapters on ASD.

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

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 Power of Play 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.
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Registration fee: $265

Click here for the conference schedule and session information.

Click here for hotel and travel information.

What are people saying about the Power of Play 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!”

“It was very helpful to learn practical skills that can be directly applied in my work, ie, preventive strategies for working with children with autism (visual aids), as well as useful ice breakers that not only help in getting to know each other, but also help one in seeing how it might feel in someone else’s shoes.”

“It was so beneficial to learn that other organizations share similar challenges as we do as well as to hear from those who’ve had good success in areas where we may not have the same resources. I am amazed by the overall enthusiasm everyone had for both the conference and their own programs.”

“I came away with a better perspective of what inclusion truly is and ways to present it to my staff.”

Want to volunteer at the conference?

We’d love to have you! Email Aron Hall if you are interested in helping out.

Interested in sponsoring a conference package?

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 packages at our conference. Contact Aron Hall if you are interested in sponsoring a session!