A parent of a special-needs child shared with several of us in a seminar 4 things the church can do to support families. They include:
Ministry leaders, Bible class teachers, small group leaders to learn about their children, how to relate, the challenges they face in order to better understand and disciple children and students with special needs.
Genuinely take interest in their child. Find ways to encourage parents in our church environments. Take time to talk with children and students. Take time to get to know every child.
Let parents know it’s ok and their child will be safe in Bible class and other environments. Affirm and encourage parents. Let parents know their families are valued. Many families with special needs children feel like they are intruding on others. Be affirming and encouraging.
Find ways for every child, including those with special needs, to be involved and included. Work with families so they can be involved without feeling like intruders. Adjust expectations accordingly.
He emphasized his hope that churches don’t settle for simply meeting needs and serving, but that churches consider how to disciple families and children in the church with special needs.