Growing in Grace & Gratitude supports an environment that helps children of all abilities experience God’s grace.
The Children with Disabilities and Special Needs Support Map helps leaders become familiar with developmental terms and descriptions and provides ideas for enabling all children to participate in various activities. Icons from the map and notes about specific needs are incorporated into each session.
Transition times provide a challenge to children. Clear expectations, follow-through, and routine help with those times.
TD Tactile Defensiveness
Sometimes children struggle with textured objects such as glue, clay, finger paint, and chalk. Allow and encourage children to explore textures without pressure, and provide opportunities to wash or wipe hands right away.
A Adapting Activities
You can adapt an activity by process, product, or environment—the way that something is done, what is done, or the setting in which it is done.
Children’s behavior can challenge us, disrupt the group, and lead to unsafe situations. Be clear about what you expect before you do the activity. Clear expectations let children know what the rules are.
C Supporting Children Who Have Difficulty Communicating
Give children time to respond and share; for some children, listening and speaking may take longer. Reach out to parents and caregivers about alternative forms of communication used by children, such as American Sign Language or Picture Exchange Communication.
FA Food Allergies
Remove all food products containing allergens. Post signs to help people remember the allergy. Have all children wash their hands and faces to avoid triggering a reaction.
Supporting children who struggle with attention requires consistency, clear expectation, and organization. Clearly communicate expectations before an activity, check for understanding, provide visual support as well as verbal instructions, build movement into activities, and support transitions.
LG Leadership and Generosity
Focus on the strengths of the children, and learn to see them as gifted members of your community. Offer them ways to practice leadership and look for opportunities for them to express generosity.
MS Supporting Children with Mobility Supports
As you set up, think about ample space between furniture to maneuver a wheelchair or walker. Think about materials and how they are positioned. Doing a roll-through in a wheelchair or walker can be a helpful way to make sure that your room set up is accessible.
VI Visual Impairment/Blindness
Talk with parents, caregivers, and children about the strengths and abilities of the child as well as the best ways to offer support. Large print or special lightning may allow full access to the materials.
D Deaf/Hard of Hearing
To create a welcoming environment for children who are deaf or have difficulty hearing, provide visual supports, such as written instructions and copies of the stories told. Limit background noise. Face the child before speaking. Employ an interpreter, and encourage children and adults in the community to learn to communication through American Sign Language.
To make every child feel welcome and successful, think about fairness in a different light. Fairness is not every child getting the same thing; it is every child getting what she or he needs.
LD Supporting Children Who Have Difficulty with Reading and Writing
Whenever children read aloud, ask for volunteers. Calling on a child who does not read at grade level may make him or her feel embarrassed and unwelcome. Always encourage children to write or draw pictures as part of their response. Children can share their drawings.
Some children need to move more than others. Setting boundaries for appropriate movement can allow the leader to meet the needs of the group while also meeting the needs of the child.
Click on an icon above for information regarding leading children with specific needs
The Visual Schedule helps children move through the session by providing clear expectations and a visual cue for the group.
By consistently and lovingly using these tools, leaders will help their faith communities discover and practice grace-filled ways to be the body of Christ with and for all Children.
Ask for Help
A team approach to including people with disabilities in your congregation helps build understanding and knowledge in the congregation, provides support for the child and family, and makes including all of God’s children in church school an attainable goal.
Ages 5-7, 8-10 and Multiage (Ages 5-10)