kidwithneeds

13 Tips for Ministering to Kids With Disabilities

Leadership / Ministries / Special Needs //

Our Special Needs Ministry coordinator shared these tips with me a few weeks ago.

  1. Maintain eye contact and speak with your normal tone of voice.
  2. Talk directly to the person with a disability, not through their caregiver.
  3. Ask if assistance is needed; don’t assume it is.
  4. Avoid words or tone of voice that imply a patronizing or pitying attitude.
  5. If you do not understand what a person with a disability is saying, say so.  If necessary, ask the person to repeat or use an alternative phrase.
  6. When talking with a person who has a mental disability, speak simply, not loudly.  Simple language is not childish language.
  7. Don’t assume a person with a disability has other disabilities.
  8. When meeting a person with vision loss, identify yourself and any others who are present.
  9. Don’t lean on a wheelchair, it is part of the person who is using it.
  10. Always speak to a person using a wheelchair facing them, not from their side or behind them.
  11. Don’t pet or draw attention to a person’s service animal, they are the person’s life-line.
  12. Feel free to use common idioms like “see” or “walk” or “hear.”
  13. Facial and hand expressions are key to communicating with a deaf person.

What to Say and Not to Say:
Child with a disability instead of disabled child
Child with autism instead of autistic child
Child with intellectual disability instead of mentally retarded
Uses a wheelchair instead of confined to a wheelchair

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About the Author

Dale Hudson is the Director of Children's Ministry at Christ Fellowship Church in South Florida. He has been in children's ministry for over 25 years. He was named one of the top 20 most influential people in children's ministry. He is the co-author of 5 books. He writes daily about his children's ministry journey at www.relevantchildrensministry.com.