An important thing you can do as leaders and teachers is to take the time to understand the opportunities and challenges of each member with a disability.
Asking good questions and then really listening will help you understand others and will also help others to feel understood.
The following questions may be helpful as you prayerfully reach out to members with disabilities and their families:
- What can teachers and leaders do to help you feel welcome and have a good experience at Church?
- What are your strengths, gifts, and talents?
- What are the best ways for a teacher or leader to include you in the classroom or activities?
- What do you like best about Church and the classes or activities that you attend?
- Please describe any helps or accommodations that would help you to feel more welcome.
- Please tell us about any behaviors or communication challenges that would be helpful for a teacher or leader to understand. What would be the best way to encourage desired behavior? Are there any situations (noise, change in schedule, food, lighting) that should be avoided? If there is ever a problem, what can we do to best support you?
- Do you have any medical/safety concerns (running, severe allergies, seizures, etc.) that would be helpful for a teacher to know about?
- Do you have any disabilities or health problems that you are comfortable sharing with teachers or leaders to help them understand you better? If it would be helpful, would you be willing to discuss it with the teacher or other class members?
- Is there any other information you feel would be helpful for us to know? Are there any questions or concerns you would like to ask teachers or leaders? Would it be helpful to meet with anyone to discuss your answers to any of these questions?
You may find it is useful to put these questions into a form that could be shared with individuals, families or teachers. Consider putting the following paragraph on the form:
Thank you for taking some time to help us get to know you or your family member better. Please only answer the questions that you feel comfortable responding to and feel free to setup a time to visit with a teacher or leader to share any additional information or concerns.