As parents it’s one of our greatest privileges and most important responsibilities to lead our children to Christ. Sharing the Word of God with our kids is an essential part of family time together. It often happens naturally through life lessons, but it also needs to include intentional Bible reading time. However, when you’re the parent of a child with special needs, there are special challenges.
If your child has special needs like autism or even ADHD, you may have found yourself wondering the following:
- Will my child really understand the Gospel?
- How can I tailor the lessons to their special learning needs?
- How can I reach my child in a way he/she can understand clearly?
- What is the best way to expose my child to God’s truth in His Word?
All of these questions can cause concern when you’re trying to teach your child the most important things they need to learn in life! As a mom of a child on the autism spectrum, I understand these concerns and questions. Though I’m still learning new things every day alongside my kids, I can offer the reassurance and insight that I’ve gained so far so that it can hopefully help others.
5 Things You Need to Know about Teaching the Bible to Kids with Special Needs
Pray first and pray continually
When I start to worry about everything, I realize that I’ve neglected to pray about everything. Remember that God is in control and He loves you and your child. Trust Him with this. The ultimate salvation of your child is not in your hands — you just need to pray and trust.
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7 (NIV)
Teach your kids to pray about everything as well. If they see you go to prayer as the first thing, rather than a last resort, they will too.
Use multi-sensory lessons
If you have a child who has difficulty concentrating due to special needs, you’ll want to be sure that you engage all of their senses in the Bible lessons. Here are a few ideas to try:
- Allow your children to use coloring pages related to the Bible lesson as you read to them.
- Sing Bible songs. It’s a great way to memorize verses and it allows your child to move around and aids in their focus.
- Act out Bible stories together, either by dressing up or using puppets or paper dolls.
- Play Bible-related games like Pictionary, Bible OutBurst, Cranium: Bible Edition, Apples to Apple: Bible Edition or any other games you make up to help them memorize verses.
Keep lessons short
If your child has a short attention span, that’s okay. Keep the lessons to a shorter length with maximum impact before they lose focus.
Talk about the Bible and Jesus often
Just making Jesus and Bible verses a part of your everyday life is a key way to pass on Biblical truth to your kids whether they have special needs or not. Often kids with special needs, like autism, think in very literal terms. Rather than giving them abstract Bible lessons, show them by your behavior how to be a good Christian. Explain why you make the choices you do, like being kind to others or sharing their toys with siblings. This will bring it to a practical level they can more easily understand. Make faith a natural part of your life and the kids will catch on.
Don’t miss the teachable moments
Be aware of those everyday moments when you can be intentional about a Bible/character lesson based on experience. These are the most powerful
tools we can use as parents when teaching our children about our faith.
Above all, remember that our Heavenly Father is for us and He will bless
“Jesus said, ‘Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.’” Matthew 19:14 (NIV)
Do you have children with special needs? What has worked for you in teaching Bible lessons?
Sara has been blogging about faith, family, and homeschooling at Embracing Destiny since 2008. She is a devoted wife to Dave and blessed mama
of three girls. She is also the owner/editor of The Homeschool Post. You can connect with her on Twitter, Pinterest, and Facebook.