Sandra is a friend, pastor's wife, and momma who has guest blogged here in the past and whose e-book I gave away a few months ago. Now she's back with a helpful post about special needs and VBS! Thanks for letting me share your words once again, Sandra.
One evening last summer, I dropped of off one of my boys at Vacation Bible School and drove away with my younger son still in the backseat. Tears filled my eyes as I lined up with the other cars leaving the parking lot. Those parents could just drop off their kids and leave. Those parents didn't didn't have an autistic son who didn't fit in with his peers. A son still wearing diapers, who couldn't sit still for story time, who covered his ears during song time, and who stole Goldfish crackers from the other kids when they turned their backs on their snacks. So that son and I went home.
One of the hardest things about being a special needs parent is realizing all the ways your child is different from other kids his age. Most days, I don't think much about it. He is who he is and we love him. But when we go somewhere and he just doesn't fit, when there isn't a place for him, it's hard not to get upset for him.
This year, we took both of our boys to Vacation Bible School. Our older son David ran off to join his class. Our younger son James met his teacher and his helper at the door. The teacher had already collected information about James like his dietary restrictions, his favorites things to do, and his tendency to put things in this mouth that aren't food. She welcomed him excitedly and introduced him to his helper. I could drive away just like the other parents, knowing that James would be taken care of and have fun.
James's preschool special needs class had activities on his level. His teacher (who is an occupational therapist) created a sensory room for the kids. His class joined the other preschool class for game time and for some of the singing time. We had special needs kids in the older classes who had full time helpers with them. They were there to help or take the child out if necessary.
What a difference one year made for my family! We are so thankful for the hard work so many of our church members put in to make sure every child was comfortable and included.
How does your church ministry to families of special needs kids during Vacation Bible School?
Sandra is a pastor's wife and mom of two boys, in the process of adopting from Ethiopia. She is the author of Speechless: Finding God's Grace in My Son's Autism. You can find out more on the book's Facebook page, Speechless by Sandra.