Creating an Inclusive Missions Learning Environment for Kids with Special Needs

When we create learning environments for missions education, we often forget to plan for kids with special needs. Many preparations for special needs children are easy to include in the classroom, but there may be some you haven’t considered. Understand that some adjustments need to be made as new children begin to participate in your ministry.

Physical Adjustment
Make your learning space clutter-free. Kids with mobility issues have enough difficulty navigating space without additional barriers such as toys, chairs, or other obstacles. Make sure the tables and chairs are the correct height to accommodate children with physical handicaps.

Sensory Adjustment
Some kids are negatively affected by loud noises and colors. Soothing, quiet music and low conversation tones help reduce sensory overload. Bright and busy classrooms often agitate special needs children. Include just the basic instructional tools for your learning space.

Supplies Adjustment
Special needs kids often require special supplies. Hands that have trouble gripping might need thicker pencils and crayons and adaptive scissors—which are easy to find at school supply stores.

Educational Adjustment
Often, special needs kids will look just like other kids. They are able to socialize and interact well with peers, but they may have difficulty reading or writing. Make sure children with educational deficits feel comfortable in your class. Pair them up with a buddy to complete assignments and never call on them to read aloud unless they volunteer.

When a special needs child joins your class, you may need to enlist the help of another adult in order to effectively minister to all of your kids. Carefully watch for signs of bullying from other kids. Use situations with special needs children to teach compassion, kindness, and the love of Jesus.    


By Jennifer Smith


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