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Teach Bible Lessons to Children with Disabilities

Use adapted books to teach Bible lessons to children with special needs or disabilities

Teach Bible Lessons to Children with Disabilities

Children with disabilities often need many repetitions of a Bible story to truly understand it. At the same time, volunteers and buddies may be able to relate to the children but struggle with the actual teaching. Adapted books are one way to help both children with disabilities and the people teaching them. In this article, we will talk about how to use adapted books to teach Bible lessons to children with disabilities.

What are adapted books?

The Bible can be full of unfamiliar and hard-to-understand language for children with moderate-to-significant disabilities. Adapted books use language that children with disabilities understand along with pictures of familiar and unfamiliar words to keep them participating in the lesson.

The goals of adapted books are:

  1. To give children with moderate-to-significant disabilities a way to participate in Bible lessons with resources that are engaging and not overwhelming.
  2. To give adults and buddies easy and effective ways to teach Bible lessons to children with moderate-to-significant disabilities
  3. To give busy Children’s Ministry Leaders resources to teach ALL children

How to use adapted books

God’s Word is The Bible, so always use The Bible in church events like Sunday School, VBS, or mid-week programs. 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 for children with disabilities – to summarize because 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.

Be sure to download these free adapted books to see how they work.

Jesus Heals A Woman & A Girl – Downloads

If you are using an adapted book in a group, take off the Veclroed pictures and give them to the children. During the lesson, each child can take turns putting their picture on. This increases the child’s understanding and participation in the church activity. Plus, they get to use motor skills! And when children are participating, unwanted behaviors decrease.

For children with significant disabilities, choosing 1 picture from 12 can be hard. Allow them to choose from 2 pictures, making sure they make the right choice. For example, if the child reaches for the incorrect picture, pull it back and hold out the correct picture. Remember, children learn best when they feel successful, so help them towards that!

Repeat, repeat, repeat

It takes 12-15 repetitions for children without disabilities to learn concepts. Children with disabilities need anywhere from 45 to 75 to 120+ repetitions, so it is highly recommended 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.

Focus on the main takeaway

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 minimal speakers, 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”.

Conclusion

Teaching all children in church can be challenging. By implementing strategies of keeping children listening and repeating key concepts, we can easily and effectively teach Bible lessons to children with disabilities.

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