Jackson County Hosts 16th Annual International Conference

KANSAS CITY, MISSOURI. – August 7, 2015 – (RealEstateRama) — Eitas the Developmental Disability Services of Jackson County welcomes the 16th Annual Gentle Teaching International 2015 Conference attendees and speakers September 9-11, at the Westin Crown Center Hotel. The conference offers ongoing dialogue in a global community, building on the momentum of previous years while seeking new ways to cultivate a spirit of gentleness in the lives of marginalized individuals.

Gentle Teaching is a concept founded by John McGee. Its central focus is to express unconditional love. It is the framework around a psychology of human interdependence. The main idea of gentleness is not to get rid of someone else’s behaviors, but to deepen our own inner feelings of gentleness in the face of violence or disregard. It has four initial teaching purposes—to teach others to feel safe, loved, loving, and engaged. These are taught through repeated acts of love. Gentle caregivers learn to use their presence, hands, words, and eyes as their primary teaching tools to uplift and honor others.

Eitas’ mission is to support individuals with developmental disabilities and their families with services that respect their choices, increase their opportunities, encourage their independence, and assist their inclusion in all aspects of the community. It is thankful to the late Dr. John McGee for his years of mentoring, friendship and support. John’s home in Omaha, Nebraska was only a short drive from Kansas City. John would frequently drive to the Kansas City area to mentor and train.

“It is an honor to be held in Kansas City,” said Nancy Nicolaus, Agency Relations Supervisor at Eitas. “It speaks to the impact that we have had in the Midwest in promoting gentle cultures.” This year’s theme is “Sharing Stories – Creating Connections.” The conference seeks to highlight the importance of the stories of both caregivers and people supported in creating gentle cultures that develop community, companionship and connections. It will also portray the many ways in which Gentle Teaching has touched the lives of people practicing it as well as ways to ensure the continuation of uninterrupted support for both participants and caregivers.

There are several local agencies that can speak to the outcomes after creating gentle cultures in their organizations. Agencies report reductions in staff turnover and training costs, reductions in worker’s compensation claims, reductions of injuries to supported people and staff, reductions in sick leave of staff, reductions in the use of PRN medications, increase in measured satisfaction of supported individuals and their families and overall increase in staff morale.

“Here is an exciting opportunity to meet some interesting, gentle, fun people from all over the world – the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Denmark, the Netherlands, Iceland, Portugal, Mexico, Puerto Rico and many other places,” said Nancy Nicolaus.

The conference is open to the public and for beginners new to the philosophy and for those with an advanced knowledge of the principles and practices. The three-day conference opens Wednesday, September 9, 2015, with a keynote address by John McGee’s daughter, Dr. Monalisa McGee. Thursday’s keynote speaker is John Williams, CEO of Progressive Lifestyles, Inc. Single day registrations are available for only $100 or registration for the entire conference is $375. Additional networking options include a banquet Thursday evening and the choices of two trolley tours Wednesday evening.

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