Today’s blog post is taken from Awana for Me, a Guide to Working with Children with Special Needs. This book is crammed full of ideas and activities you can use to work with the special needs (and all) kids in your club. The book is available here.
Maybe your church has a special needs ministry or maybe you have just one or two special needs children in your club. We want these children to feel welcome, but sometimes don’t know quite how to go about doing so.
Here are some guidelines (which actually work for all children).
*Recognize that all children need to be loved and accepted.
*Recognize each child’s uniqueness and worth.
*See each child as an individual. Don’t just focus on the child’s disabilities.
*Work with children (and their parents) to set high goals.
*Be genuinely interested in each child.
*Be willing to spend extra time with children who need it.
*Maintain a high level of energy and patience – and a low level of frustration.
*Don’t overreact to things that the clubber does.
*Always practice forgiveness – for yourself and for the child.
*Be sensitive, caring, positive and supportive toward the child and the parents.
*Look for ways to nurture the child’s faith.
*Encourage the child’s participation within his limits of safety and health.
*Work with the parents to encourage the child’s success in club.
*Capitalize on the child’s strengths while being aware of his weaknesses.
*Enforce the truth that the child is valuable to the club and to the Lord.
*Work with the child to use his talents to serve the Lord.
*Work at developing the child’s potential.
*Allow the child to help during the club night.