The tAble (formerly the Definitely-abled Youth Leadership Event or DAYLE) empowers young people (14-18) who live with a wide range of physical, cognitive and emotional disabilities so that they might grow as faithful, wise and courageous witnesses.
Divine Access: Disability and Belonging
This issue of "Reflections" from Yale Divinity School explores how people with disabilities are making sure their presence is known and their spiritual insights honored, in churches and beyond.
83.6% of psychological professionals are white (https://www.apa.org/workforce/publications/13-demographics) and ethnic patients have historically encountered professionals with very different life experiences who lack sensitivity to cultural differences.
Northwestern Ohio Synod Special Needs Awareness Task Force - Seeing all people, regardless of ability, through the eyes of Jesus, the Special Needs Awareness Task Force of the Northwestern Ohio Synod is prepared to assist congregations with the following:
Disability awareness materials, including opportunities for experiential training.
How Can Churches and Other Organizations Be More Accessible to People With Hearing Disabilities?- Baylor University provides several tips on how to be more aware and inclusive of hearing needs in churches.
Inclusive Worship Examples:
Joyful Noise Worship - This ELCA church provides worship appropriate for children with Autism, PDD-NOS, ADHD, Down’s Syndrome and any other developmental/physical challenges. Catering to short attention spans, the service is a lively combination of music, movement, prayer, Bible stories and communion.
The Feast - At Highland Park United Methodist Church in Dallas, TX. is a welcome place for those with special needs, their families and friends, and all who have a heart for special needs, with opportunities for everyone to participate in the service: from singing and dancing to scripture reading and prayer to welcoming and greeting. For more info contact: Rev. Ramsey Patton firstname.lastname@example.org
Trinity Lutheran Church's Ministry of Inclusion - A Ministry of Inclusion Buddy is one way the church in Owatonna, MN is intentionally reaching out to those with special needs so that they feel fully welcome in the life of the church with leadership from Jessica Turnland who has a degree in special education. Check out more here.
One church's work in progress to be welcoming of folks on the autism spectrum includes: sound cancelling headphones, buddies, repetition and clear directions, plus lots more!
Mosaic - Embracing God's call to serve in the world, Mosaic advocates for people with intellectual disabilities and provides opportunities for them to enjoy a full life.
The Collaborative focuses its work on each of six topic areas:
1) Supporting people with disabilities
2) Supporting families
3) Increasing congregational supports and inclusion
4) Training clergy and deepening theological reflection
5) Building the capacity of service systems to support spirituality
6) Promoting inclusive religious education
Friendship Ministry - The purpose of the Friendship program is to nurture the spiritual growth of people with intellectual disabilities in the context of personal and meaningful relationships. (Resources in Spanish)
Christian Learning Center Network
We partner with schools, churches, and families to create inclusive communities for persons at all levels of ability and disability. As experts in inclusive education for more than twenty-five years, we come alongside your Christian community to help you include and support all of God’s people – regardless of their level of ability – so that the kingdom can be more complete. Some resources include: Inclusive Language suggestions for worship, a FREE download to survey the needs of your congregation and community and a video.
Pathways2Promise: As Companions, we act on our concern for another person offering the encouragement of five basic spiritual practices: hospitality, neighboring, journeying side-by-side, listening, and accompaniment.
Some Kids... are deaf, are blind, use wheelchairs, wear leg braces. "Colorful photos show kids with disabilities enjoying activities with their peers."
The Very Best Story Ever Told: The Gospel with American Sign Language (ASL) by ELCA Pastor Rob Currie and illustrated by David Williams. It shares the Gospel story in a unique and creative way, from God's love for the world to Jesus' life to the Spirit surrounding us today. Each line of this story includes important words reinforced with American Sign Language.
Disability Awareness Book List - From the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators comes a list where you will find a range of inspiring fiction and nonfiction stories about people who are blind, autistic, deaf, physically disabled, learning disabled and more. So grab a book and start reading!
Child by Child: Supporting Children with Learning Differences and Their Families by Susan Richardson is a how-to guide to integrate children and youth with special needs into church programs and activities, including worship. Includes how to train volunteers and staff for hands-on work with children and youth who have special needs. Provides a theological grounding for the inclusion of people with learning differences and disabilities in the life of a congregation.
Leading a Special Needs Ministry - by Amy Fenton Leeis a practical how-to guide for the family ministry team working to welcome one or 100 children with special needs. Author Amy Fenton Lee offers easily referenced guidance for:
Inclusive Language Guide - Northwestern University's The Family Institute created a through and helpful guide for discussing topics such as race, gender, and mental health for example.
Like many great things in life, our company was born of the desire for change. We started Fun and Function because we couldn’t find kid-friendly sensory tools that would fit our family’s needs. All of my expertise as an occupational therapist goes into each part of this company and our products. Improving the lives of kids with special needs is our driving mission. Everything we make is kid-friendly, affordable, and most importantly, makes a real developmental and therapeutic difference in the lives of children. WE’RE ALL PARENTSEven though we’re pediatric therapists and educators by trade, we’ve got kids too, and we’re our own customers! We’ve been there before...in fact, we’re still there. :)
The Sound of All Things written by Myron Uhlberg and illustrated by Ted Papoulas opens our understanding to the lives of the deaf. Too long for a children's sermon but could be read in a Sunday School class or read in the home.
When Charley Met Emma written by Amy Webb and illustrated by Marrilee Liddiard When Charley meets Emma he learns that different isn't bad, sad or strange--different is just different.
Awesomely Emma: A Charley and Emma StoryA Charley and Emma story about how Emma calls upon her sense of inner awesome to stand up for herself and teach everyone a lesson about the transformative power of feeling awesome in your own skin.
Not So Different: What You Really Want to Ask About Having a Disability by Shane Burcaw and Matt Carr A great introduction to young children about varied abilities. Like the cover says, "Go ahead ask me!"
Rhythms of Grace is designed to meet the spiritual needs of children and families living with autismspectrum disorders. It helps children and their families feel at the center of a worship/formation experience that is specific to their needs and circumstances, rather than merely at the margins of a more conventionally “inclusive” program of worship or faith formation. Rhythms of Grace consists of scripture-based session plans, including 12 monthly sessions (Sept. to Aug.) and 6 feast sessions, plus background material.
Autism-Positive Books These titles were carefully selected in That Au-Some Book Club – a group dedicated to discussing books about autism and neurodiversity.
Baptismal or Confirmation of Baptism Gift Ideas for a young person with Autism or other special needs...that is somehow connected to baptismal waters:
*A piece of art made with water color
*A washcloth knit/crocheted by someone in the congregation
*A soothing/calming toy with water such as a glitter wand
*A water bottle
*A watering can if you know his family has houseplants
There are card sets like We Connect and We Engage, that are conversation starters that might be a good gift and assist with social interaction at church. Especially, if everyone knows they have the cards and asks themto ask them a question.
Projector that shows stars and the ocean in a room. Reminder on difficult days that God created the stars and the seas and everything in between including them.
If the congregation has an artist, create stepping stones or painting on floor tiles with a bible verse/pictures on it. Then arrange different paths in their yard or even in their room and walk on them.
Filling a tent with games and things they can touch. Asking those that want to contribute to bring a stuffed object (animal, shape, etc) and then someone painting on the tent, their name, child of God, and the date of their baptism.
Making a table sandbox for themto draw in, they can write what they are thankful for, praying for, etc. You can decorate with bible verses.