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Special Needs Volunteering

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Special Needs Volunteering

  1. 1. “Go out quickly into the streets and alleys of the town and bring in the poor, the crippled, the blind and thelame”…Make them come 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. 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
  10. 10. Awareness: Exposing Myths About Special Needs“I can’t serve children with disabilities because I don’t have an formal training”Have you considered that children with disabilities are born into families with notraining? The family does what comes naturally. First they love these children, thenthey get to know them.“I guess I should volunteer because God sent these children to teach me to countmy blessings”This idea defines a person’s life solely in terms of their effect on others. Thisrationalization says a person is “sent” by God to test one’s faith or teach one to love.This is a dehumanization of the person. Each person has equal value… each personcan be a blessing to others, whether disabled or not.“I’m afraid of the legal responsibility of caring for someone with a disability”There are legal responsibilities involved in serving in the nursery, in youth activities,in the church kitchen and even in the parking lot, yet we don’t ignore thoseministries. The church carries insurance for accidents. On occasion a child with adisability will have a medical condition that requires the intervention of a parent ora call to 9-1-1, but that possibility also lies with ever person and child in the church.
  11. 11. Symbol Key These symbols are used as signposts to help identify various kinds of disabilities Speech & Language ImpairmentsAutism Spectrum Disorder Learning Disabilities Visual & Hearing Physical Disabilities Impairments Emotional/Behavior Developmental/Cog al Disorders nitive Disabilities
  12. 12. Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)What is autism spectrum disorder (ASD)?• Autism is currently under a family category called pervasive development disorders (PDD)• Autism is one of five relatives in this category that also includes Rett syndrome, childhood disintegrative disorder, autistic disorder, Asperger’s syndrome, and pervasive development disorder – not otherwise specified (PDD-NOS)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 ASDWhat should a church know about ASD?• Church volunteers should know how to support and include a child with ASD.• Knowing and understanding will allow the leader to support that child’s needs while also understanding their strengthsHowever……..• 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!!
  13. 13. What differences might you notice in a child with ASD?Social Skills• Social interaction can be a challenge. Many simple social decisions that you make are often laborious and mystifying for a child with ASD.• Typical children understand when to be quiet and when to speak, but a child with ASD might need instruction in this area.• Reading facial expressions, understanding others and evaluating others emotions 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 just unknown territory for this child.Language• Some children with ASD develop speech at 1 to 2 years of age and then speech 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 borrow speech from books or movies. The may not be able to answer a question, 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 because they interpret the words literally.
  14. 14. 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 area for 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 of movies can make life more comfortable and predictable.Why “differences” and not “deficits”?• This area of difference is actually an area of strength• A child who can focus on one area often becomes very proficient in that area. – Examples • If a child with ASD thinks exclusively about computers, they can develop amazing technology skills
  15. 15. Physical DisabilitiesMisconceptions about Children with Physical Disabilities• Children with physical disabilities are slow learners• Children with physical disabilities don’t like talking about their disability• Children with physical disabilities have emotional issues• Children with physical disabilities have difficulty making friends• Children with physical disabilities face many failuresThe Causes of Common Physical Disabilities• Birth defects• Muscular dystrophy• Multiple sclerosis• Cerebral palsy• Spina Bifida• Stroke and other injuries to the head or spinal cordIncluding Wheelchairs Users and Others with Limited Mobility• Reserve parking spaces for those with mobility difficulties• Make level or add a ramp to all internal and external doorways• Keep a few seats reserved near the entrance to the worship center as an easy access – BUT do not put all wheelchair users in one area because this highlights their disability• Sit down or crouch so that you are on the same eye level when talking with anyone in a wheelchair. This will make eye contact easier• Never attempt to move a wheelchair without the user’s permission. Remember, the wheelchair is part of the user’s personal space• Teach other children not to push a wheelchair unless the user asks them to do so.
  16. 16. Speech and Language ImpairmentsEncourage Their Efforts• Children with speech and language problems may have average or above average intelligence but because the do not verbalize well, they may appear to be mentally slow. If they hesitate to ask questions or express themselves, they may struggle to follow the teacher’s directions.• Some children with special needs are very developmentally delayed in speech ability. They may have trouble controlling their rate of speech or stumble with language, often calling objects by the wrong name• Children who have receptive language problems have trouble making sense of certain sounds, words or sentences. It’s as if their reception of speech is poor because their brains are set to a different frequency. They may seem inattentive or tuned out.• Sometimes children are not able to “switch gears” swiftly in social situations or when class activities change. Such children may be focused on a craft project and not able to instantly change to another mode of thinking.• Some children, especially those with ASD have problems processing spoken language and may seem defiant, refusing to follow directions. In reality, they are overwhelmed by too many words and are often confused about what is expected of them.Nonverbal Cues with Verbal Messages• Many children with special needs cannot decipher body language; they cannot accurately read facial expressions, nor understand verbal nuances such as jokes. Therefore their behavior may seem inappropriate when they are actually trying desperately to fit in with their peers.Use Caution in Correcting a Child’s Speech• It is natural to correct a child’s speech but that approach can be controlling and cut off dialogue between you and the child. Instead ask open ended questions like “Do you want the crayons or the markers?”• Compliment every effort the child makes to respond and engage in discussions with you or classmates.
  17. 17. Emotional and Behavior Disorders: Determine Their PreferencesThe Definition of a Child with an Emotional or Behavioral Disorder• For a child with an emotional or behavior disorder, issues of anger, aggression, depression, anxiety and other needs are a daily, significant and ongoing challenge.• In some cases, these conditions can arise from a life circumstance such as the death of a parent.• Most of the conditions in this disorder category stem from imbalances in brain chemicals. Therefore, the children take medication to help relieve some of the symptoms that accompany these areas of special need.Importance of a Child’s Preferences• For a child in this category, it’s critical to get to know the child, hopefully with the help of the parents – What settings, people or events make this child most content – Find out what might trigger a bad day for this child – Find out what a good day and a bad day might look like and what you might expect to hear, see or feel in a church settingFamily Support• Many parents of children with emotional or behavioral needs feel judged. Others have given them callous advice or critical stares. Still others may have sent them the message that poor parenting is the cause of their child’s behavior.
  18. 18. Developmental Disabilities: Recognize their ChallengesThe Causes of Developmental Disabilities (DD)• There are numerous possibilities for DD, but the most common will be – Down Syndrome – Pre-Birth trauma (Maternal drug use or accident) – Extra or missing chromosome• These can be categorized as mild, moderate, severe or profound in order to suggest what level a DD person will need care and support.Determine a Good Track for the Child• Set appropriate expectations – Make sure the child is challenged at their level of development. Use materials that match the child’s understanding and interest.• Respect both the child’s chronological age and mental age – The child’s chronological age represents how old that child is in physical years. The mental age represents the age level at which the child understands. You must respect both. Include the child in a group close to chronological age level. This is where the furniture, size of friends and room items will be most appropriate for the child. Bring in materials that honor the child’s mental age. It is important to remember that while a child’s level of understanding may be younger, expect that child to interact with peers in an appropriate way. If you treat a child like a baby, you will get baby like behaviors. If you meet the child’s level of materials and understanding while expecting behavior more typical of his or her peers, you can capture the beauty of both worlds.• Develop sensitivity to others – It is important to give others who are in contact with a DD child the information they need to offer acceptance and appropriate support. Resource: Helping Kids Include Kids with Disabilities by Barbara J. Newman is wonderful!
  19. 19. Visual Impairments: Adapt to Their Needs Partial sight, low vision, legal blindness & total blindness are visual impairments that require adaptions in lighting and print size and call or the use of nonvisual media or Braille in educational settings.Etiquette for Serving Children With Visual Impairments• Speak in a normal voice, directly to the child• Greet children by name so they know you’re speaking to them• Identify yourself when talking to a child with a visual impairment, especially in a group setting. Say the names of other students while speaking with them, so everyone understand who you are addressing.• Indicate verbally when you are finished talking to the child or when you’re leaving the room• Never grab a child. Instead, offer your arm as assistance walking a bit in front• Use verbal and audible cues when giving directions. Ex: Here is the chair (then pat it several times)• To provide a sense of orientation after guiding a student, leave them by a phsical object instead of an open space.• Tell students when the classroom is rearranged. Leave doors completely shut or open to prevent injury• Do not avoid using words such as “see”, “look” and “watch”. These words are fine to use.Adaptions for Teaching• Record memory verses• Bring in varied textures during stories (lambskin, palm branch, etc)• Play games that limit the vision of other students – Jesus cures the blind man (have a pillowcase full of items for children to reach in and identify without looking) – Cups full of water (an awareness activity for students without visual impairment) Challenge each student, blindfolded to fill a cup full of water. Notice if anyone uses their finger to feel when the cup is getting full – just as a person with a visual impairment might do it!
  20. 20. Hearing Impairments: Adapt to Their Needs Hearing impairments include any type of hearing loss as well as deafness. Deafness refers to ahearing loss that is severe enough to impair a child from processing information through hearing, withour without hearing aids. It is important to be aware that some people in the deaf community do not consider deafness tobe a disability and dislike the term “hearing impaired”. They view themselves as a culture with its ownlanguage.Etiquette for Serving Children With Visual Impairments• To get a child’s attention, lightly touch their arm or should, flick the lights or wave your hand• Make eye contact and speak directly to the child, not the interpreter• Speak clearly and in a normal tone of voice• If you don’t understand the response, aske the child to repeat it or write it down• Provide written materials to interpreters in advance• Make every effort to learn sign languageAdaptions for Teaching• Use ASL with all students during singing and memory verse time• Keep your face and mouth visible and don’t stand in front of a window• Use facial expressions• Point to the students who are speaking• Use subtitles on any DVD being shown
  21. 21. Creating a Disability Friendly Classroom First impression are always important. The classroom environment answers a lot of questions for the child with disabilities. Am I wanted? Will I fit in? Is there a place for me? Will I be comfortable? Am I safe?• A classroom that doesn’t have room for a wheelchair or is over-stimulating may be saying “Go away”. When children with wheelchairs enter a room and find tables high enough to fit their chairs under, they begin to fell welcome. It is important to look at your room from the perspective of all those who use it.Inclusive vs. Self – Contained Classrooms• The upmost priority is inclusion of children with their peers. But as a ministry expands there may be a need to add a classroom designed for children with special needs. Some children have unique behavioral, physical or emotional needs that make inclusion difficult. Their families feel then can’t worship because there is no place for their child. Creating a special room designed to meet specific needs allows many families the freedom to attend church.
  22. 22. A Child’s Point of ViewAm I welcome? • When children have physical disabilities, their families need to know that the room provides a safe and inclusive environment • Wheelchair accessibility is a must. There also should be large clear areas for navigation, and tables high enough to roll underneath • An ADA-approved bathroom should be close to the classroom. • A designated parking area for wheelchairs, walkers and adaptive devices is necessary Will my senses be on overload? Children who have hypersensitivity to sights and sounds need an area free from sensory distraction. • Create a safe, quiet retreat. Designate a small area of the room that has a blank wall as a place for a child to withdraw for a time. A small pup tent or even a table with a blanket over it works well. • Use nonfluorescent lighting if flickering or noise from fluorescent lighting is troublesome. Table lamps or dimmer switches on nonfluorescent lighting may be good alternatives. • Check the room for bothersome noises. Is the heating or air conditioning creating annoying noise? Use either unit sparingly if it is bothering the child.
  23. 23. A Child’s Point of ViewAm I safe?Parents will be willing to leave their child if they are sure safety concerns have been addressed. • An inside gate or door is a helpful deterrent for children who have a tendency to run (Note: Check with Fire Marshall before installing any gate) • Pagers given to parents assure them that then can be reached immediately if necessary. If pagers are not available, have the sign in with their location and cell phone number if possible. • Locks on all cabinets and drawer are necessary. • A two-way window in a self-contained special needs room allows a parent (without being a distraction to the student or class) to observe a child and offer suggestions. Is there a place for me to learn and have fun? Classrooms should have several learning areas that create unique experiences that are adaptable to individual needs. • Circle time or Lesson Area – Include only what is necessary for the lesson. The area should be free from other visual distractions so the child can focus on the lesson. Appropriate seating should be available to suit each unique need. Ex: Lizzie has cerebral palsy, and sits in a beanbag chair.
  24. 24. A Child’s Point of ViewIs there a place for me to learn and have fun? Sensory Exploration Area– An inclusive classroom should have a sensory learning center. Rotate items for the children to explore using vision, hearing, smell, and touch. Have available such things as bins of rice or sand; or small containers with cotton balls soaked in spices or extracts. When creating a sensory environment, safety is the key issue. Be aware of small items and allergies. Supervision is vital. Gross Motor Skills Area – Utilizing gross motor skills with items such as a therapy balls, indoor basketball hoop, scoot boards or possibly a minitrampoline provides a calming effective release of tension for frustration and a great reward after achieving a goal. (Note: This is difficult in most classrooms, but would be a good addition to a decompression room or in a children’s worship time) Quiet Area– When students on sensory overload feel that they are losing control of their emotions, they need a quiet safe place to go.
  25. 25. A Child’s Point of ViewDo you care about my unique needs? When you provide items that uniquely benefit a child with a disability, you show that child that he orshe is valuable and important. Sensory Toys– Vibrating, musical or light up toys Fidget Toys– These include water-filed balls, Koosh rubber balls with soft spikes, tangle toys, Silly Putty, bendable figures and Slinky coil shaped toys. Rocking Chair – This sort of chair might be used by the child alone or with a volunteer. Computer & Adaptive Technology–These include specialized devices and programs for children with special needs TV/DVD– These are helpful in a classroom to show animated Bible stories or sing-along DVD’s
  26. 26. Adapting CurriculumGoals Simplify the lesson aim to one Biblical goal that can be repeated throughout the lesson (Jesus love me, God wants me to obey, etc.) Apply the lesson to something the child can relate to in his or her everyday life.Lesson Modify the lesson to accommodate the student’s strengths Use sign language or picture symbols. Make sure your face is visible. Supply a large print Bible or stories written in Braille. Explain what is happening in the classroom so that the child is not left out. Provide instruction verbally and visually. Some student with learning disabilities have better auditory processing, others are visual learners. Don’t require a student read out loud unless they volunteer. Simplify projects that require reading or writing. Adjust length, minimize words, use visual props, and arrange for active participation to illustrate the lesson.Memory Have children memorize a part of the Bible memory verse or choose key words.Verse Use word cards, picture symbols or sign language.
  27. 27. Adapting CurriculumSensory Include the senses in the lesson or activities • Visual – Pictures, felt figures, light up toys, videos, flashlights, large print,Learning Braille • Auditory – Musical instruments, songs, tapes of sound effects • Tactile – Shaving cream, rice, beans, sand, play dough, corrugated paper, feathers, cotton balls, packing materials, fidget toys, fur, real objects from lesson (fish, wood, or water) • Smell – Perfume, spices, potpourri, extracts, fish oilArts and Simplify or reduce stepsCrafts Provide precut craft items, stickers or shapes in place of cutting or drawing. Tape down paper for coloring or writing Use hand over hand activities to help fine-motor skills Provide an alternative but similar activity Be aware of sensory sensitivities. For example, use markers instead of fingerpaint if the child is sensitive to touch.Games/Acti • Adapt rules. • Simplify expectations. It is okay for some students to take more time or tovities accomplish fewer tasks. • Alter equipment. Use a beach ball in place of a softball when playing catch. • Provide assistance. The child in a wheelchair can participate in the parachute activity with a buddy’s help.
  28. 28. Ten Ways to Teach Memory Verses1. Pocket Chart Matching Game Write the verse on two sentence strips. Cut one strip into individual words and laminate the pieces. Place the uncut strip in a wall-pocket chart. Ask students to match single words cards to the words on the sentence strip. Make it more challenging by mixing up the word card order or remove the sentence strip and have students place the cards in order.2. Sign Language Combine vocal language with signs for keywords. This allows students to use multiple modalities of learning – auditory, visual and kinesthetic3. Verse Songs Students with speech problems are often good singers and they find it easier to remember words set to music. Have children sing the verse to the tune of a familiar childhood favorite.4. Picture Painting Create picture word symbols to increase meaning. Place each picture on a card. Ask students to put pictures in order or match pictures to appropriate words. Using pictures or symbols helps students understand word meanings.5. Magnetic Letters Hide magnetic letters for the verse in a bucket of rice, beans or sand. On a metal tray, place a written copy of the verse. Let students find the letters and match them to the words on the tray.
  29. 29. Ten Ways to Teach Memory Verses6. Sensory Writing • Write keywords of the verse in shaving cream, finger paint, pudding or salt. The sense of touch makes a lasting imprint on the brain6. Cut and Paste – Cut out the words of the verse from magazines or newspapers. Past the words in order on a piece of construction paper. For students who need help, write the words on the construction paper for matching.7. Computer Writing • Many students with limited verbal skills are able to use computers. Write a verse on a small index card and velcro or tape it to the monitor, so students can copy as they type.8. Beanbag Game – Attach small plastic bins to a piece of plywood or heavy cardboard measuring 4 x 4 feet. In the bottom of each bin, place a keyword and/or picture from the verse. Challenge students to throw a beanbag into the appropriate bin as they recite the verse. This game encourages dialogue and uses sight, movement and language.9. Velcro Bible . Laminate a piece of black construction paper; fold it in half like a Bible cover. Inside, attach one strip of velcro to the left side and four horizontal strips of velcro to the right side. Write a memory verse on a small index card, apply velcro to the card and attach the card to theleft side of the folded paper. Write each word of the verse on individual pieces of card stock.Laminate and attach velcro to each card-stock piece. Ask students to place the words in verseorder, using the verse on the index card as a guide. For a greater challenge, remove the index card. On the backof the folded paper, attach an envelope for storing cards.
  30. 30. Teaching: Creating Predictable Schedules Feeling anxious about a new class is normal. When we understand the routine and expectations, we relax and feelmore at ease. Children with disabilities are the same, but difficulty processing information can add to their anxiety andconfusion. A consistent and structured routine will create a more secure environment. Knowing What to ExpectClassroom routine should remain consistent from week to week. It is also good for students to be engaged in an activity assoon as they arrive. Example Schedule:• 9:00 Learning Centers• 9:15 Circle Time• 9:45 Activity or Craft• 10:15 Parent Pick up Using Picture SchedulesA picture schedule that illustrates your timetable allows students to see instantly what is expected of them without having toprocess language. Display a poster-sized schedule that is visible to all students. Attach pictures of each activity with velcro.As each activity begins, the teacher or student removed the picture card and places it in a container. This helps the studentsidentify the next task and where to go. Some students benefit from their own individualized schedule which may be more detailed. Boardmaker or PictureExchange Communication System (PECS) are helpful for creating such schedules .
  31. 31. Helping Children Accept One AnotherEvery Child is a Piece of the Puzzle• Imagine that every child in a group is holding a single puzzle piece. That piece represents a child’s areas of strengths and needs. In an accepting group, each puzzle piece will fit snugly together and each individual holds a spot critical to the completed puzzle. That is the environment we strive to create – one in which every child is accepted with a puzzle piece of unique gifts and special needs.Acceptance Begins at the Top• As a leader you constantly send messages to children. If you have an accepting attitude toward each child, the other child will also.Peer Questions• Asking a question in order to get information about a peer is very different from bully. Don’t run away from questions or hush a child. Information about the gifts and needs of another group member allows the children to be supportive and helpful.
  32. 32. You Can’t Catch a Disability Can you remember the first time you saw someone with crippled limbs, groaning or maybe droolingin a wheelchair? Did you cross the street or hall and try and keep your distance? If you were a child at the time, you might have felt fear and wondered if the same thing could happen to you.Helping Children Face Their Fears• As a teacher, you can dispel your students’ fears toward children and adults with disabilities. Children pick up your attitudes and actions. If you show fear, embarrassment or pity, your children will show the same thing. But if you encourage all children to see their commonalities, they’ll focus on the many way they are alike. Before this can happen you must address children’s natural curiosities and let them know it is okay to ask questions.Answering Children’s Questions• Why can’t Amy walk? • Amy’s muscles aren’t as strong as yours• Is Sheri still a baby because she wears diapers? • Sheri can do some things like a big girl, but that one area gives her extra trouble.• Is Joey crazy? • No, Joey has autism. His brain does not work exactly like your and mine, which makes him act different from other people. But you should see how smart he is with puzzles!!!• Why does Sally look like that? • Sometimes babies are born different. Have you noticed that no two trees look alike? That’s the way it is with people.
  33. 33. Disability Awareness Activities Disability awareness activities are a fun way to promote understanding and compassion. Children are often afraid of what they do not understand, but once educated, they begin to view people with disabilities as individuals created in God’s image.Understanding Sign Language• Teach sign language in a song or memory verse to facilitate understandingUnderstanding Learning Disabilities• Create a lower case “b” out of construction paper. Hold the “b” up to the children and ask them to name the letter. The show it as a “d” and again ask the children to name the letter. Continue by holding it as the letter “p” and “q”. Explain that for some people with learning disabilities, the brain twists around what the eyes see, which creates difficulty in reading and writing.Understanding Wheelchair Use• Provide a wheelchair for your class to use, and let them discover how accessible your facilities are. Make sure they check out doorways, table heights, sidewalks, entryways, drinking fountains and bathrooms.Understanding Blindness• Pairs students with partners and blindfold one of them. Go on a trust walk with the blindfolded student following the verbal directions and physical cues of their partner.
  34. 34. Disability Awareness ActivitiesUnderstanding Autism• To help your class understand the sensory overload that many with autism experience, seat one student on a chair in the middle of the room. Assign other students different tasks such as turning lights on and off quickly, blowing a fan into the seated child’s face, tickling the student with a feather, etc. Any children without an assignment can be directed to loudly sing a song in unison. While all of this chaos is going on, ask the seated student to recite a familiar Bible verse or something you have been studying. Ask the child if they had difficulty concentrating on the task while all of their other senses were being over stimulated.Understanding Down Syndrome• Arrange the pieces of a simple puzzle on a table, adding an extra but similar piece to the mix. Then ask the class to assemble the puzzle. When the children discover that there is an extra piece, explain that people with Down Syndrome have an extra chromosome or “piece” that creates distinctive physical features and developmental disabilities that characterize this disability.Understanding Deafness• As students enter the classroom, do not speak to them but use motions and facial expressions (sign language if you know it) to communicate to them a task that you would like them to complete (rearrange the chairs, write their names on a piece of paper, etc). Require the students to remain quiet and communicate without using their voices.
  35. 35. “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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