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“Go out quickly into the streetsand alleys of the town and bring  in the poor, the crippled, theblind and the lame”…Make t...
A Christian View on Disability Ministry
What exactly is a Disability        Ministry?  It is a ministry aimed at meeting  the needs of children, adolescents      ...
Why minister to people with      disabilities?  It represents one of the largest   untapped mission fields in the   world...
Awareness: Disability Statistics         in the U. S. According to the National Organization on Disability, there are 54 m...
Awareness: U. S. Children           Ages 3 - 17• 4.7 million children have learning disabilities• 1 in 90 children have au...
What does this mean      to the church? This means that one in five Americans have  a disability of some sort 95% of peo...
Why would you start a disability                 ministry?•   People with disabilities need the church    •   Children wit...
What families with children who are           disabled face•       The demands    •     Developmental timetables are usele...
The Top Ten List of Needs of Families of      Children with Disabilities1    Worrying about their child’s future. Who will...
AutismAutism Spectrum  Spectrum    Disorder   Disorder          The Growing           Epidemic
Epidemic?•Merriam-Webster defines the word “epidemic” as“affecting or tending to affect a disproportionately largenumber o...
What is autism spectrum disorder (ASD)?•Autism is currently under a family category calledpervasive development disorders ...
What should a church know about ASD?•Church volunteers should know how to support andinclude a child with ASD.•Knowing and...
What differences might you notice in a            child with ASD?Social Skills•Social interaction can be a challenge. Many...
What differences might you notice in a            child with ASD?Language•Some children with ASD develop speech at 1 to 2 ...
What differences might you notice in a            child with ASD?Ranges of Interests and Behaviors•Repetitive or restricte...
Why “differences” and not “deficits”?It is important to call these areas “differences” and not“deficits” - Why?•This area ...
The Sensory FactorFor a Person without ASD•Most of us take our senses for granted. If something is uncomfortable to us,lik...
The Sensory FactorFor a Person with ASD•A person with ASD responds differently to sensory stimuli     • A sound that is to...
Becoming a Sensory Detective      Utilizing Sensory Inventories    Implement Sensory Inventories Completed By     Parents ...
Start in positive terms!! Parents grow weary of constantly explaining what their childcannot or will not do – especially w...
The following section captures the sensory sensitivities a child may be currentlyexperiencing. This does not necessarily i...
Strategy ApproachGreen: Tactile sensitivity (sensitive to touch)Yellow: Vestibular sensitivity (sensitive to movement and/...
Behavior: What to Expect         Behavior is simply an outward form of communication. It’s ademonstration of an emotion li...
Social Inappropriateness•Invasion of Personal Space    • A student may want to stand within inches of your face or body to...
Obsessive and Repetitive Behavior Obsessive and repetitive behaviors may bring a sense of calm and control into a         ...
Expressions of Frustration, Anger or              Lack of Control                A child with disabilities may be limited ...
Triggers to Inappropriate Behavior•New situations or people•Changes in routine•Transitions from one activity to another•Se...
Hidden Messages in a Child’s Behavior       Behavior difficulties are often indicators of fear, inability tocommunicate, f...
“You   don’t understand me and                         I don’t understand you”         Students with limited verbal abilit...
“I   feel helpless; I want to be in control”          Students who lack control of their environment may feel helpless. Gi...
“I   don’t feel good”           Changes in behavior, crying, withdrawal or agitation can be indications that achild is hur...
“I’m   scared. I’m uncomfortable”          New situations, new people or changes in schedule can cause fear or anxiety.Exa...
Dealing with Meltdowns          Any disability that affects communication can lead to a state of extremefrustration for a ...
Teach a Replacement Behavior         The most effective way to lower the incidence of meltdowns is to teachan appropriate ...
Teach a Replacement Behavior         The most effective way to lower the incidence of meltdowns is to teachan appropriate ...
Teach a Replacement Behavior         The most effective way to lower the incidence of meltdowns is to teachan appropriate ...
Recognizing the Signs of a Meltdown          Recognizing the signs of a looming meltdown can help a teacher orhelper to be...
Solutions: Creating a Small, Safe Place           Most classrooms need a quiet place where students can get away. Whenchil...
Why a Safe Place is Necessary           Most of us naturally tune out a great deal of stimulation that bombardsour senses ...
How to Create a Place of Safety•   A small pop-up tent or a table draped with a blanket can create a quiet, dark    getawa...
How to Use a Safe Place• As a Break     •  Students should be allowed the option of going to the safe place whenever      ...
How to Avoid Constant Retreat• As a Break     •  Students should be allowed the option of going to the safe place whenever...
Other Options for Avoiding Meltdown• Forget Eye Contact     •  It is a mistake to insist on eye contact when a person is c...
Solutions: Using Visual Behavior Plans           A formal behavior plan, which offers children immediate tangiblerewards f...
Choosing a Visual Plan                              The Color-Level System•   In a color level system, a teacher assigns a...
Choosing a Visual Plan                               The Visual Schedule•   The Visual Schedule uses graphic symbols or ic...
“Whoever welcomes this little child inmy name welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me. For he wh...
Disability Ministry
Disability Ministry
Disability Ministry
Disability Ministry
Disability Ministry
Disability Ministry
Disability Ministry
Disability Ministry
Disability Ministry
Disability Ministry
Disability Ministry
Disability Ministry
Disability Ministry
Disability Ministry
Disability Ministry
Disability Ministry
Disability Ministry
Disability Ministry
Disability Ministry
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Disability Ministry

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Disability Ministry

  1. 1. “Go out quickly into the streetsand alleys of the town and bring in the poor, the crippled, theblind and the lame”…Make themcome in, so that my house will be full….. Luke 14:21-23 NIV
  2. 2. A Christian View on Disability Ministry
  3. 3. What exactly is a Disability Ministry? It is a ministry aimed at meeting the needs of children, adolescents and adults who have disabilities….those who often find that the church does not truly welcome or value them.
  4. 4. Why minister to people with disabilities?  It represents one of the largest untapped mission fields in the world today – and it is next door
  5. 5. Awareness: Disability Statistics in the U. S. According to the National Organization on Disability, there are 54 million people in the US with disabilities – of these 26 million have a severe disability • About 9 million people of all ages need personal assistance for everyday activities • About 1.6 million Americans use wheelchairs • Over 8 million have visual impairments • Over 34 million have hearing impairments
  6. 6. Awareness: U. S. Children Ages 3 - 17• 4.7 million children have learning disabilities• 1 in 90 children have autism• 4.7 million have AD/HD• 1 in 800 children born have Down syndrome• 3 children per 1,000 have cerebral palsy• 55,200 children are legally blind• 5.4 million children receive special education
  7. 7. What does this mean to the church? This means that one in five Americans have a disability of some sort 95% of people with disabilities do not attend church. Why?  Only 10% of churches provide programming for disabilities
  8. 8. Why would you start a disability ministry?• People with disabilities need the church • Children with disabilities and their families need to have their spiritual needs met. Their disabilities should not be a hindrance to being involved in the church.• Student with disabilities are showing up more frequently in Christian Education • Christian education is far behind the public school system in awareness of providing appropriate education for every child
  9. 9. What families with children who are disabled face• The demands • Developmental timetables are useless • Siblings• The stress • Divorce • Public situations • Isolation
  10. 10. The Top Ten List of Needs of Families of Children with Disabilities1 Worrying about their child’s future. Who will love their children when the parents die?2 Worrying about their child’s future. Will their children be safe?3 Worrying about their child’s future. Will their children have jobs?4 Dealing with the effects on their marriage5 Worrying about siblings not getting enough time or attention6 Wondering if they’ve done enough to help their children7 Understanding what they did wrong to have a disabled child8 Coping with friends reactions9 Coping with family members’ reactions10 Sleep
  11. 11. AutismAutism Spectrum Spectrum Disorder Disorder The Growing Epidemic
  12. 12. Epidemic?•Merriam-Webster defines the word “epidemic” as“affecting or tending to affect a disproportionately largenumber of individuals within a population, community orregion at that same time.”•According to the CDC’s report in 2007, “autism is themost common of the Pervasive Development Disorders”•25 years ago approximate 1 child in 10,000 was diagnosedwith autism – it was rare. A church would not expect tohave a a child with autism in their Sunday School•Today, a church should expect to have multiple childrenwith ASD in their children’s programs.
  13. 13. What is autism spectrum disorder (ASD)?•Autism is currently under a family category calledpervasive development disorders (PDD)•Autism is one of five relatives in this category that alsoincludes Rett syndrome, childhood disintegrative disorder,autistic disorder, Asperger’s syndrome, and pervasivedevelopment disorder – not otherwise specified (PDD-NOS) • The current heading for these disorders is PDD, many professionals suggest using ASD. What is the cause of ASD? •Researchers can describe ASD and note the neurological differences, but vast amounts of study still have not shown what causes the development of ASD •Without a cause, a cure is difficult •Professionals have developed many techniques and strategies to support children with ASD
  14. 14. What should a church know about ASD?•Church volunteers should know how to support andinclude a child with ASD.•Knowing and understanding will allow the leader tosupport that child’s needs while also understanding theirstrengths However…….. •Knowing basic information about ASD is helpful but you must remember that each child is uniquely crafted by God. No two children are alike. It is far more important to become an expert on Johnny or Sue that it is to become an expert on ASD!!
  15. 15. What differences might you notice in a child with ASD?Social Skills•Social interaction can be a challenge. Many simple social decisions thatyou make are often laborious and mystifying for a child with ASD.•Typical children understand when to be quiet and when to speak, but achild with ASD might need instruction in this area.•Reading facial expressions, understanding others and evaluating othersemotions can be difficult Example: Instead of knowing when to ask a question,a child with ASD might interrupt a large group to say something. This is not intended to be rude; it is justunknown territory for this child.
  16. 16. What differences might you notice in a child with ASD?Language•Some children with ASD develop speech at 1 to 2 years of age and thenspeech disappears. They may never regain speech.•Some children will develop speech in later childhood•Some children will use pictures to communicate (PECS System)• Others will communicate using some sign language•Some children who are unable to crack the speaking code will borrowspeech from books or movies. The may not be able to answer aquestion, but can recite large amounts of text from memory effortlessly.•Their interpretation of speech tends to be very literal Example: Singing a song about Jesus “living in my heart” could be confusing and even terrifying for a child with ASD becausethey interpret the words literally.
  17. 17. What differences might you notice in a child with ASD?Ranges of Interests and Behaviors•Repetitive or restricted themes and behaviors can also be a unique areafor a child with ASD. • Example – a child may have a phrase that they repeat frequently or a topic that consumes their thoughts and conversations. • Even though this looks like an obsession it often calms and bring pleasure to a child with ASD.•Rocking, lining up toys, talking about trains or reciting portions ofmovies can make life more comfortable and predictable.
  18. 18. Why “differences” and not “deficits”?It is important to call these areas “differences” and not“deficits” - Why?•This area of difference is actually an area of strength•A child who can focus on one area often becomes very proficient in thatarea. Examples •If a child with ASD thinks exclusively about computers, they can develop amazing technology skills
  19. 19. The Sensory FactorFor a Person without ASD•Most of us take our senses for granted. If something is uncomfortable to us,like radio volume, we turn it down.•But, beyond our five senses, we have other systems at work. You get feedbackfrom your fingers, you know when to shift positions, and without arms on a chairyou can maintain balance. These sensory systems are know as vestibular andproprioceptive.•Different sights, sounds, tastes, smells and feelings often interrupt our day.Usually, our body compensates and sometimes we even learn from them.•We walk without thinking about it and adjust to changes (such as a movingsidewalk in an airport) quickly.
  20. 20. The Sensory FactorFor a Person with ASD•A person with ASD responds differently to sensory stimuli • A sound that is too loud may be truly painful and they may cover their ears, avoid situations and even become aggressive • A light touch may be painful. • A smell you would barely notice may create a horrible environment for a person with ASD Understanding the differences in sensory response is the key in setting up a comfortable classroom environment
  21. 21. Becoming a Sensory Detective Utilizing Sensory Inventories Implement Sensory Inventories Completed By Parents As Part Of The Registration Process•These inventories: • Capture the quickest picture of what is behind the behaviors you might see • Are helpful for a variety of disabilities • Are useful for knowing “typically functioning” children better • Are non-threatening for parents of diagnosed AND pre-diagnosed children • Make it easier to train volunteer to serve children through their disability (NOT in spite of!)
  22. 22. Start in positive terms!! Parents grow weary of constantly explaining what their childcannot or will not do – especially when they have no explanation for the behavior.What kind of things does your child enjoy? (Activities, cartoons, toys, etc.)__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________These will let you know what you can do to provide a positive environment forthis child. It also gives you a quick plan for what can calm an overwhelmedchild.Please check activities your child enjoys:☐ Drawing & coloring ☐ Looking at books☐ Finger painting ☐ Gaming (ipad, Nintendo, etc)☐ Jumping & running ☐ Board Games☐ Swinging ☐ Dress up☐ Spinning ☐ Music & singing☐ Climbing ☐ Other: ________________☐ Legos or blocks
  23. 23. The following section captures the sensory sensitivities a child may be currentlyexperiencing. This does not necessarily indicate a disability or disorder, but rather is apicture of how they are developing. This will help you think ahead about areas/activities achild might avoid as well as situations that would easily overwhelm a child.Which of the following would your child find UNPLEASANT:☐ Messy activities ☐ Bright lights☐ Crowded places ☐ Reading aloud☐ Circle Time ☐ School work☐ Water activities ☐ Loud, sudden noises☐ Games with lots of movement ☐ Music & singing☐ Swings, slides, merry-go-rounds ☐ Conversation☐ Hats or masks ☐ Smells☐ Climbing stairs ☐ Team sports☐ Taking shoes off ☐ Writing and/or drawing☐ Other:_____________Please share anything else you think would help us provide the best environment for yourchild.________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
  24. 24. Strategy ApproachGreen: Tactile sensitivity (sensitive to touch)Yellow: Vestibular sensitivity (sensitive to movement and/or balance)Orange: Proprioceptive sensitivity (sensitive in situations involving body movement)Pink: Visual sensitivity (sensitive to visual stimuli, visual discrimination)Blue: Auditory sensitivity (difficulties interpreting and integrating sounds)Purple: Olfactory sensitive (difficulty processing smells)Grey: Motor planning (both fine and gross)Which of the following would your child find UNPLEASANT:☐ Messy activities ☐ Bright lights☐ Crowded places ☐ Reading aloud☐ Circle Time ☐ School work☐ Water activities ☐ Loud, sudden noises☐ Games with lots of movement ☐ Music & singing☐ Swings, slides, merry-go-rounds ☐ Conversation☐ Hats or masks ☐ Smells☐ Climbing stairs ☐ Team sports☐ Taking shoes off ☐ Writing and/or drawing☐ Other:_____________
  25. 25. Behavior: What to Expect Behavior is simply an outward form of communication. It’s ademonstration of an emotion like: • Happiness • Sadness • Pleasure • Fear • Confusion • Frustration • Angerand can also be a symptom or characteristic of some disabilities. Forexample, to shut out sensory overload a child with ASD might cover theirears and scream. This demonstrates symptomatic behavior. Hittinganother student to get attention is inappropriate behavior. It is essentialto be able to distinguish the difference between the two.
  26. 26. Social Inappropriateness•Invasion of Personal Space • A student may want to stand within inches of your face or body to talk to you, not realizing that the nearness makes you feel awkward or uncomfortable.•Inappropriate Conversations • A students conversation may be repetitive, simple or bluntly honest. This can be refreshing at times, but the lack of ability to know which conversations are appropriate in public situations can cause problems. • Ex: a child may say exactly what on their mind, “that man is fat. He eats too much and should go on a diet”.•Inability to Read Social Clues • Students with ASD are often unable to pick up facial, physical or emotional messages. • Ex: a student always laughing when someone gets hurt • Ex: Unable to interpret a teacher’s facial expression to stop a behavior.
  27. 27. Obsessive and Repetitive Behavior Obsessive and repetitive behaviors may bring a sense of calm and control into a child’s life, or they may be uncontrollable compulsions.•Physical Behaviors • These may include spinning, rocking, tapping or repetitive routines. • Ex: Before Joey eats he has to touch the plate and cup, pick them up and put them down, touch each utensil, and make sure they are perfectly straight and in the proper location. Then he can proceed.•Vocal Repetitions • These may include animal sounds, clicking or one topic conversations. • Ex: Brian will talk about trains for hours using one word descriptive sentences over and over.
  28. 28. Expressions of Frustration, Anger or Lack of Control A child with disabilities may be limited in his or her ability to appropriately express feelings. A sense of being out of control or frustrated may result in inappropriate or dangerous behaviors.•Emotional Outbursts • Students may cry excessively or suddenly start screaming•Hurt Others • Students may hit, bite, pinch, push, kick or spit•Self Injuries • Students may bang their head or hit or bite themselves•Noncompliance • Students may refuse to comply with a request or completely withdraw from an activity.
  29. 29. Triggers to Inappropriate Behavior•New situations or people•Changes in routine•Transitions from one activity to another•Sensory overload•Pain or sickness•Inability to communicate•Changes in medication Get to know each of your students. Learning what triggers a student’s behavior and giving the student effective ways to communicate needs, wants and desires will help the student, teacher and class have a successful experience.
  30. 30. Hidden Messages in a Child’s Behavior Behavior difficulties are often indicators of fear, inability tocommunicate, frustration, hunger or pain.“My senses are overloaded” For children with sensory processing issues, a simple touch,sound or sight may cause pain or crowd out the ability to focus on othersenses.Examples:•Victoria does not make eye contact when someone is speaking to herbecause she is concentrating on deciphering what she hears withouthaving to focus on what she sees.•When the air conditioning comes on, Alan may start yelling and covering his ears in order to cover up the other sounds that are bombarding him.•Charles refuses to eat from plastic dishware because he is overwhelmed by the smell of plastic. My senses are overloaded!
  31. 31. “You don’t understand me and I don’t understand you” Students with limited verbal abilities may become aggravated when theycannot communicate. Poor behavior may escalate as the child continues to feelmisunderstood and confused.Examples:•Brian saw his mother outside the window and knew it was time to leave but was unableto tell his teacher. He headed toward the door but was told to sit down. He started tostomp his foot and get angry. Brian felt frustrated because he knew it was time to go,but no one understood him.•The teacher told Amy to throw his napkin and cup away and go to story time, but Amycontinued to sit in her chair. The teacher repeated the instructions, becomingfrustrated with Amy’s defiance. Amy didn’t mean to be defiant but was trying tointerpret the request while being bombarded with more words. Both of these students would benefit from the use of picture communication books, schedules and emotion charts that allow them to communicate using visual clues. I don’t understand
  32. 32. “I feel helpless; I want to be in control” Students who lack control of their environment may feel helpless. Givingsimple choices to these children help them feel secure.Example:•When John is given a simple instruction (“Please sit at the table”), he often reacts byflailing his arms and screaming. When given a simple choice (“Do you want to sit inthe red chair or the blue chair?”) he feels more control over the situation and usuallycomplies. I feel helpless; I want to be in control
  33. 33. “I don’t feel good” Changes in behavior, crying, withdrawal or agitation can be indications that achild is hurting or feels sick. Some students lack the language to explain themselves,while others aren’t able to determine where the pain is coming from.Example:•Melissa is medically fragile and is unable to use vocal or sign language. Those aroundher need to be in turn to alternate forms of communication. Certain cries and facialexpressions indicate that Melissa probably needs medical attention. I don’t feel good
  34. 34. “I’m scared. I’m uncomfortable” New situations, new people or changes in schedule can cause fear or anxiety.Example:•New volunteers were in Mary’s class, and even though she was usually social andhappy, she refused to move from her spot on the floor. She felt uncomfortable andneeded time to build trust with the new helpers. Mary’s teacher could have preparedher for the change by using social stories or making sure one familiar helper remainedin her class. I’m scared!
  35. 35. Dealing with Meltdowns Any disability that affects communication can lead to a state of extremefrustration for a child; this may result in a behavioral meltdown. What sets off ameltdown may not make sense to anyone except the child, but usually falls intoone of the following categories:•Desire for Access • The behavior produces attention and other desired events (access to toys or desired activities)•Desire for Escape • The behavior allows the child to avoid or escape demands or other undesired events or activities•Need for Stimulation • The behavior occurs because of sensory consequences (relieves pain, feels good, etc.) To help understand the behavior, a teacher must take a close look at what happens right before and right after a child exhibits the behavior. Be careful and don’t reward unwanted behavior with a treat or positive reinforcement.
  36. 36. Teach a Replacement Behavior The most effective way to lower the incidence of meltdowns is to teachan appropriate replacement behavior.•Desire for Access • Teach the word or sign for “more”. Encourage the child to say a single word, to say a part of a word or to point.
  37. 37. Teach a Replacement Behavior The most effective way to lower the incidence of meltdowns is to teachan appropriate replacement behavior.•Desire for Escape • Teach the word or sign for “finished” or “all done”. Establish sign language or a picture icon that communicates a need for a break. When this system is mastered and relationships established, move to teaching the meaning of the word “then”, so a caregiver can say “Story - then break” or “Write – then snack”.
  38. 38. Teach a Replacement Behavior The most effective way to lower the incidence of meltdowns is to teachan appropriate replacement behavior.•Need for Stimulation • Provide a swing or rocking chairs, have foods with a desired texture available, meet visual stimulation needs with kaleidoscopes, etc. Allow the student to have a fidget toy for group times when he or she is required to sit for a long period of time. A child’s understanding of the word ”or” is critical so that choices can become a regular part of communication. Showing a child choices is a helpful first step along the road to eliminating meltdowns. Children with autism and other delays may become stuck in a pattern such as always choosing what is offered last. If this is the case, occasionally offer the preferred item (maybe a piece of candy) first and a non- preferred item (maybe a cracker) second. Then let the child live with his or her choice. Since choices are part of the bedrock of a good behavior programs, great effort in teaching this one little word will pay off dramatically in the long run.
  39. 39. Recognizing the Signs of a Meltdown Recognizing the signs of a looming meltdown can help a teacher orhelper to be preemptive.•Behaviors that might signal that the child needs a break: • Repetitive behaviors • Going limp and flopping by leaning or lying on the floor • Pupil dilation • Hand flapping • Running away • Sweating • Picking at hair or skin You cannot talk a child out of frustration, sensory issues or obsessive behaviors.
  40. 40. Solutions: Creating a Small, Safe Place Most classrooms need a quiet place where students can get away. Whenchildren with special needs feel overwhelmed by social or sensory overload, a quietplace helps them conquer their fears. Sensory overload can occur when one ormore of a child’s five senses are over-powered, making it difficult to focus on thetask at hand. This is common in children with autism, but can also impactchildren who struggle with ADHD, dyslexia, Tourette’s syndrome, multiplesclerosis and other neurological conditions. Sensory overload comes in manyforms and can vary in duration and intensity. The environment factors thattrigger the overload can also vary.
  41. 41. Why a Safe Place is Necessary Most of us naturally tune out a great deal of stimulation that bombardsour senses from our environment. We learn to focus on the person or task in frontof us instead of the people talking in the background, doors slamming, air-conditioning, the buzzing of fluorescent lights and chairs sliding. We also fairlyeasily ignore tactile stimuli such as slight temperature shifts, the feel of changingfrom metal to plastic, a new outfit with unwashed fabric, and unexpected touch.Each child, however, may have a different response to the environment and all of itsstimuli and may not be able to filter out what’s necessary, thus becoming overstimulated. A safe place for such children to decompress is necessary.
  42. 42. How to Create a Place of Safety• A small pop-up tent or a table draped with a blanket can create a quiet, dark getaway for any child who feels over stimulated. Students can use this place to be alone. Listening to soft calm music may help them regroup as well. A simple beanbag chair in the corner of the area is usually the only furnishing needed.• A prayer room, cry room or similar small area with limited sound, sparse decoration, and few other people. • Consider providing this space with a rocking chair, a CD player with music and consult the parent or caregiver if there are any objects that you could store that the student finds calming.
  43. 43. How to Use a Safe Place• As a Break • Students should be allowed the option of going to the safe place whenever they need a break. It is not a time-out and should not be used as such. A teacher may suggest that a child go there to get away and relax, therefore the student may freely choose whether to go there.• A Special Needs Visitor • When a child with special needs visits a new classroom they may want to retreat to the safe place. For proper inclusion and learning, the retreat should not go on indefinitely. Consult the parents for ways to coax the child into fuller participation. Also, placing an icon of the tent on the visual schedule, allowing an agreed number of visits for a specified length of time using a timer.• Non-disabled Students • Explain to classmates that their friend needs a break and will return when they can. If non-disabled children want to visit the quiet place, let them each take a turn at the end of class to alleviate curiosity, and when the novelty wears off, the safe place will not be a distraction.
  44. 44. How to Avoid Constant Retreat• As a Break • Students should be allowed the option of going to the safe place whenever they need a break. It is not a time-out and should not be used as such. A teacher may suggest that a child go there to get away and relax, therefore the student may freely choose whether to go there.• A Special Needs Visitor • When a child with special needs visits a new classroom they may want to retreat to the safe place. For proper inclusion and learning, the retreat should not go on indefinitely. Consult the parents for ways to coax the child into fuller participation. Also, placing an icon of the tent on the visual schedule, allowing an agreed number of visits for a specified length of time using a timer.• Non-disabled Students • Explain to classmates that their friend needs a break and will return when they can. If non-disabled children want to visit the quiet place, let them each take a turn at the end of class to alleviate curiosity, and when the novelty wears off, the safe place will not be a distraction.
  45. 45. Other Options for Avoiding Meltdown• Forget Eye Contact • It is a mistake to insist on eye contact when a person is coping with sensory overload. By averting the eyes, the visual input is removed and the person can concentrate on the auditory input.• Weigh the Effects of Touch • You will want to know the student well, but sometimes pushing down on a students shoulders can be helpful. It lets that individual know their body is grounded. Another person might like a hard lotion rub on their arms.• Headphones and Sound Blockers • Headphones can play smoothing music or then can function as sound blockers and simply dull the noise. Sounds that may not be loud to you may be painful to a person with auditory sensitivity. Imagine attending church with a migraine!!
  46. 46. Solutions: Using Visual Behavior Plans A formal behavior plan, which offers children immediate tangiblerewards for good interaction with others, is an important tool for ministry tochildren with special needs. After children learn to work well for immediategratification, they can slowly be taught to behave well for delayed rewards.Getting Parents’ Cooperation•A child’s behavior plan will be more effective when parents and teachers worktogether as a team. This visible cooperation allows a child to see that a teacher’sauthority is backed by Mom and Dad.•Even when this kind of cooperation is not in place, the visual behavior cues andplans introduced may still be effective.•Ask parents about their child’s school behavior plan. If you can duplicate thechild’s school plan, children will benefit from consistency and they’ll experienceless confusion about what to expect at church.
  47. 47. Choosing a Visual Plan The Color-Level System• In a color level system, a teacher assigns a level of color according to a child’s behavior.• Teachers give children color-coded stickers to correspond with their behavior levels. Stickers can be placed on a “Good Behavior Record”• At the end of the day, one color sticker is given denoting the child’s overall behavior. Then parents follow through with a positive or negative consequence.
  48. 48. Choosing a Visual Plan The Visual Schedule• The Visual Schedule uses graphic symbols or icons to communicate expectations.• Icons provide increased predictability, which helps decrease a child’s anxiety about what is occurring in their environment.• This system can be combined with a color chart on which the words are replaced with pictures. A NOTE ABOUT SNACKS:Many persons with ASD have found relief bylimiting certain food groups, such as breadsand are therefore on a gluten-free diet.Be careful to consult the parents about thesnacks their child can have.
  49. 49. “Whoever welcomes this little child inmy name welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me. For he who is least among you all – he is the greatest” Luke 9:48.

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