Disability Plan: Beginning Guidelines and Resources
Things to be Aware of as You Get Started
Your Space Matters
Creating a safe, welcoming space in your church is of the upmost important in making a child with special needs feel comfortable. Many children with special needs have sensory issues that can make entering a new room or space hard. Make sure your classrooms are clean and uncluttered. Have fun, gentle colors that create a calm and inviting space. Also, look to see that the church and classrooms are accessible. Are they wheelchair friendly? Are materials easy to use? Are handles low and easy to reach? Are there coat hangers at a child’s level?
Creating an Informed and Welcoming Community
This takes time. It also takes talking about it. In sermons, committees, and prayer circles. As Joni Eareckson Tada, a known advocate for people with special needs and a woman with special needs herself states, “There needs to be a clear congregational-sized effort to recognize inclusion as a highly valuable goal for your church body. Each member and attendee needs to see that God blesses and enriches your church family by bringing in those with varied gifts and needs. Each person God sends will be considered an honored gift to the community- no exceptions. This message must be shared repeatedly in different ways. Sermons, written materials, newcomer training, volunteer training, children’s lessons and paid-staff training need to include clear instructions on the intent and practices of your church.”
Be Set Up to Succeed
The more a church has people in place and the more conversations the church has had, the more they will be ready to welcome and include children with special needs and their families.
Having trained teachers
Talking to church members who would be willing to be an aide in the Sunday school room or in church.
Having a blank profile questionnaire to give to parents to help the Director and parents create an Individual Spiritual Formation Plan
Having a clean, welcoming atmosphere
Having lesson plans that you know are adaptable or talking with parents to learn how the lessons can be adapted to include their child and his or her specific needs.
This will look different for different children.
Having welcoming greeters when people come through the door
Sample Spiritual Formation Plans
This page was last updated by OU 8/14