Bringing you inspiration and education
Erik Carter, Ph.D.
Cornelius Vanderbilt Professor of Special Education at Vanderbilt University
Erik Carter, Ph.D., is Cornelius Vanderbilt Professor of Special Education at Vanderbilt University. His passion is helping schools, churches, and communities become places of membership and belonging for individuals with developmental disabilities and their families. As co-director of the Vanderbilt Kennedy Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities, he is invested in research that breaks down barriers to inclusion and equips communities to widen their welcome. He has published widely on effective services and supports, including more than 250 articles and chapters as well as 7 books. Learn more about his work at https://www.erikwcarter.com.
CEO of The Brookwood Community and of Brookwood’s Center for Learning
Vivian Streit Shudde is merely a mom on a mission to “Change the way the world thinks about adults with disabilities”. Her passion for people with disabilities was originally driven by her sister, Vicki, who became severely brain damaged from encephalitis and then by her son, Wilson, who was born with special needs. Her life’s journey has led her to an unwavering pursuit to “speak for those who have no voice”. Vivian desires to help all who are willing, experience the fullness of humanity, beautifully unveiled, in the authentic and transparent lives of people with disabilities. Her faith and steadfast belief that God does not make mistakes, is the foundation for her life and gives her the ability to celebrate neuro-diversity!
Vivian has a degree in special education and psychology from the University of Texas, but this is not where she was truly educated. She attributes much of what she knows to her mother, Yvonne Tuttle Streit, who founded Briarwood School, and Brookwood Community, and pioneered educational techniques “to cure Vicki”. Thousands of people with disabilities are now living lives filled with meaning and purpose, because of these educational techniques.
Vivian is currently the CEO of The Brookwood Community and of Brookwood’s Center for Learning.
Chief Inspiration Officer for Special Olympics, Inc.
Loretta, a Special Olympics athlete, is a gifted motivational speaker who shares her life story that carries a
heart-felt message of acceptance and hope worldwide for all people with different abilities. Loretta was born
in 1953 with physical and intellectual disabilities and did not walk or talk until four years old. Doctors told her
mother that Loretta belonged in an institution because she would never survive in the “regular” world. Her
mother refused and chose to raise her the same as her other children. Despite her [different] abilities, which
led to years of being bullied, teased, and hostile retaliation, she credits Special Olympics as her positive force
that turned her life around. Early on, Loretta discovered a passion for running and has completed 26
marathons; her PB is 3:03 in the 1982 Boston Marathon. She was awarded the ESPY Arthur Ashe Award for
Courage. Her life’s contributions are immeasurable. Loretta has shared her message of inclusion with many
world leaders and influencers like Nelson Mandela, Pope Francis, The Royal Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi,
United Nations leaders, Presidents Reagan, George HW Bush, Clinton, George W Bush, and Obama, Warren
Buffett, and Oprah Winfrey, to name a few. Read more at www.lorettaclaiborne.com.
Stephen “Doc” Hunsley, M.D.
Executive Director and founder of SOAR Special Needs
Stephen “Doc” Hunsley, M.D. is the Executive Director and founder of SOAR Special Needs in Overland Park, Kansas. SOAR (Special Opportunities, Abilities, and Relationships) serves over 900 individuals with special needs through regular respite events and a Special Needs Day Camp. Doc is currently assisting over 500 churches locally, nationally, and globally in starting a Disability Ministry. Doc also organizes the Wonderfully Made Conference held annually every October in Kansas City. Doc is a retired pediatrician while his wife, Kay, continues practicing pediatrics. They are proud parents to three beautiful children: Luke, Mark, and Sarah. The Hunsley’s middle child, Mark, is presently running the halls of heaven. During Mark’s five-year earthly stay, he gave his family the opportunity to learn from and love a child with autism. You can follow SOAR on Facebook or Connect with Doc on Twitter: @DocHunsley SOARSpecialNeeds.org.
Breakout Session Speakers
McGovern "Meg" Bergner, J.D.
Melissa Hardin, CECC
Jimmy and Lisa Hill
Dan and Stephanie Holmes
Stephen "Doc" Hunsley, MD
Tom and Julie Meekins
Other Speakers Include:
Dr. Steve, Grcevich, M.D.
Todd and Kristin, Evans