Flexibility

The most important aspect of successful inclusion is flexibility.  Children and youth with special needs should never have to adapt to the curricula, the curricula needs to be adapted to the needs of the children and youth.  What works for one child may not work for another child.  I try in my book to give suggestions for accommodations and teaching strategies for a range of disabilities, but they are only suggestions.  Other people may have other ideas.  The key is the attitude on the part of everyone involved that inclusion can work and we will do all we can to figure out how to make it work.

One of the best ways to minister to a family with a special needs child is to form a support group or circle for the family.  The purpose of the support circle is to find ways to weave the family and child into the life of the church community. Too often it is just the religious educator and sometimes the minister who tries to make sure a child with special needs is successfully included in religious education.  Sometimes this works, but many times the child and family need the effort of many people to be welcomed into the church.  A support circle is a necessary step toward involving the entire congregation in the inclusion effort.

Inclusion is a spiritual practice.  It is a practice of the heart.  You have to do it to get it.  I am realizing more and more that inclusion is not primarily something learned through the mind but something discovered through intentionally putting oneself in structures that foster the experience of valuing differences. Mike Green quoted in From Behind the Piano by Judith Snow

Categories Tips for Inclusion for Churches | Tags: | Posted on January 10, 2007

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