Teach Bible Lessons to Children with Special Needs
Children with special needs may respond to Bible lessons in unexpected ways. Their attention span may be very short, understanding may not happen, and they may struggle to answer questions or share thoughts. Whether you’re teaching large groups, small groups, or multi-age groups, some simple strategies can help children with special needs learn Biblical concepts. In this blog post, we will discuss the top four ways that staff or volunteers can help teach Bible lessons to children with special needs.
- Use The Bible
God’s Word is The Bible. Always use The Bible. This shows children that you are reading or speaking from truth and that The Bible (God) has power, not us. It’s okay – and even better – to summarize. The Bible has language that’s hard to understand. We can say, “In The Bible, I see…” or “The Bible tells us…” and still be truthful.
- Give children something to look at
No matter how fun or engaging you are, children can have short attention spans. Instead of letting them search for something, provide kid-friendly resources that go with the lesson. One way to do that is an adapted book. Want to try one?
Jesus Heals A Woman & A Girl – Downloads
- Adapted Book Jesus Heals A Woman and A Girl (PDF)
- Adapted Book Jesus Heals A Woman and A Girl MATCH the Picture (Member Only PDF)
- Adapted Book Jesus Heals A Woman and A Girl FIND the Picture (Member Only PDF)
- Repeat, repeat, repeat
It takes 12-15 repetitions for children without disabilities to learn concepts. For children with disabilities, anywhere from 45 to 75 to 120+ repetitions are needed. It’s okay to decide on a concept and repeat it.
For a child with significant disabilities, you can read the story and then pause and insert the main concept repeatedly. For example, you can say, “Jesus healed the woman. Believe in Jesus” or “Jesus healed the daughter. Believe in Jesus.” Saying “Believe in Jesus” multiple times is a great way to teach children with significant disabilities.
- Teaching children to understand the overall concept is key
Children who are speakers can repeat the key idea. You can say, “What did we learn about the woman and the girl?” with the expected response of “Jesus healed them because they believed in Jesus.”
For children who are limited verbally, start the sentence and let them finish. Say, “Believe in…” and then let them say, “Jesus!”
For children who are non-speakers, repeatedly tell them, “Believe in Jesus”.
Teaching all children in church can be challenging. By implementing strategies of keeping children listening and repeating key concepts, we can teach Bible lessons to children with special needs.