As a Sunday School teacher, it is important that you include everyone in your activities and lesson plans. That includes children with disabilities. While you may have never had experience with a disabled child, you should take some time to learn what you can do to make sure these children are included each week. Here are some tips that may help you in the classroom.
Get to know the child and parents:
One of the best things you can do when you have a disabled child in your class is to get to know the child and the parents. You might have an opportunity to meet with the family before they come to class. In this case, it is a good idea to find out what the child can and cannot do and the expectations of the parents. The parents may like to challenge the child to do things on his or her own. You can also get to know what the child enjoys. The parents will also be able to give you a good idea of how to best help the child.
Talk to the other children:
The next thing you will want to do is to talk to the children in your classroom about the child. It is a good idea to explain the disability to the other children and point out that while the other child may be different, he or she will still want to participate in the classroom activities. Be open and honest and allow the children to express their questions and concerns. They may have questions about why the child is disabled or want to focus on how the child’s walker or wheelchair works. These are important questions to the children, so answer them as best as you can.
Find alternate activities:
When you have children with disabilities in your Sunday School classroom, you will want to have several alternate activities for the child. Think about creative ways to allow the child to participate. For example, if you are playing a game of Duck, Duck, Goose, think about ways of including the child. Focus on what the child can do and his or her unique abilities and not what he or she cannot do. This will make the class run smoothly for everyone.
Get a helper:
In most cases, children are very accepting to differences and this is a great opportunity for you to teach your child how to help out. Assign a helper for each class. This child can help the disabled child with tasks such as reaching items, cutting out shapes or putting together puzzles. Both children will be delighted at making new friends and you will find that everyone will learn to be very accepting.
With a little planning and creativity, you can find ways to include any child in your Sunday school plans. Parents of disabled children will be thankful to you for making their child feel special.