We’ve all felt it – the feeling of uncertainty that comes with meeting a person who has a disability and not knowing how to act. Do I acknowledge their disability? Should I ask them (or their parents) what they have? Am I being rude? I can’t help but stare, but I feel guilty. As someone who grew up with a sister with severe intellectual and physical disabilities, I understand that challenge.
“Special needs” is an umbrella term that covers a staggering array of diagnoses. People with special needs may have any number of mental health, developmental, learning, behavioral, and/or physical challenges. The designation can be used for receiving needed services, setting appropriate goals, and gaining understanding for parents of kids with special needs.
For families of kids with special needs, going anywhere can be a challenge because of all the accommodations that may be required, depending on the special need(s) of the child. With all the unique needs that my sister faces, going on trips of any kind must be well planned and easily adjusted. Simply trying to go to church can be a challenge.
Few churches offer programs for people with special needs. The Bay Area Christian Church (BACC) has been at the forefront of special needs awareness and advancement for over 15 years and is always finding new ways to serve families with special needs. The BACC has created an incredible program called Spiritual Resource Ministry (SRM) that provides parents of children with special needs the ability to enjoy church service while their child attends an inclusive class with typical peer partners. These unique SRM classes are designed to meet the needs of each child and aim to help them develop their full spiritual potential.
Some features of the Spiritual Resource Ministry are:
- Trained volunteers, many with backgrounds in regular and special education, physical and occupational therapy, and speech-language pathology
- Modified lessons and activities that teach children about the bible through talk, play, and videos
- A 1:1 ratio of students and teachers to provide ample care for each child
- A 1:1 ratio of typical and special needs students to promote inclusion
- Rooms that are specifically designed to meet the children’s sensory input and processing needs
- Snacks that are suited to meet the dietary restrictions of each child
The BACC is a church that cares about its community and wants everybody to feel like they’re at home when they attend. No matter what special needs a family may have, they will be taken care of when they attend church at any of the BACC’s six locations. If you have a child with special needs or know a family with a child who has special needs, be sure to visit us when you can. We hope to see you soon!