#65 - Inclusion in Faith Based Settings
Individuals with differing abilities have much to contribute and our communities are lacking without their presence and influence. This is true in faith based settings as well.
Listen in to this conversation as Sandra and I chat about how important it is for individuals with disabilities to be seen and understood at church. We follow up with encouragement for families, resources for churches, and nudges for everyone to move forward.
Mentioned in This Episode
Those who have experience with disabilities such as therapists, educators, and family members can be the key players in initiating inclusive settings for individuals with special needs.
Individuals with differing abilities make the church more complete yet kids w autism are 8x less likely to attend church.
If we hide away it does not benefit us, the sibs, nor the church. As is true with all advocacy and inclusion efforts, exposure to individuals with disabilities fosters understanding. In faith based settings this then allows church members opportunities to bring that grace and understanding into the mainstream community and thus be the light we are supposed to be.
It is very likely most churches do not know how to accommodate our needs However, it does get better and consistently showing up benefits not just the church, but the entire family. There are things we can do to help prepare the church for our families such as calling ahead and asking for someone to meet us when we arrive. Suggest ways you can meet needs (bring fidgets, etc) and also ways they can meet needs. Communication is the biggest factor.
Some churches already have special needs ministries in place. Look at their website to see if it is mentioned. There is also a nationwide map provided by Key Ministry with a data base of submitted special needs ministries.
In addition to the map, Key Ministry offers resources for families and churches with an interest in beginning or improving a special needs ministry.
Sandra has been a sought after resource in the special needs community for almost a decade. Visit her website for links to her books, including a free downloadable study guide for her newest release, Unexpected Blessings. Also available are seasonal online bible study groups, webinars, private and public facebook groups, and live coaching services.
Listen to Kim’s conversation about being a Reluctant Advocate on the Mama Bear Podcast from the January 14, 2019 episode. She shares 5 things she has learned over the years on how to be an advocate without loosing her soul.