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ShannonMedisky

All Aboard! Special Needs Program

A picture says a thousand words. So let me paint one…

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Imagine being in a large, loud room. Many, many people surround you. But none of them look or act quite like you do. You desperately want to reach out and talk to someone. But you just can’t seem to find the words. Then it dawns on you. You can’t understand them either. Panic begins to set in. You were afraid, nervous and anxious before. But now it’s all you can do not to completely fold in on yourself.

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Anywhere—including church—can feel like this to many children with special needs. For most, their most heartfelt desire is simple: to be loved and accepted. I can’t help but be overwhelmed when I think about the compassion Jesus must feel for these little ones especially.

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 How can we be God’s love to them?

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How can we create a safe, inclusive place where everyone is welcomed and valued?

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And how can we share God’s life-changing, hope-giving Word with them in meaningful ways that they can understand?

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The answer to all of these—thankfully—is simple: we can meet them where they are. In short, we can be more like Jesus. He didn’t stay in the synagogue. Instead, Jesus ventured out where God’s love was needed most—to the hurting, the outcasts, and those who weren’t part of the “norm” or the majority.

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The Good News of Jesus and God’s love for all of us can be shared in a way that is accessible and meaningful to children with special needs—if only we’ll venture out of our norm and be willing to go where it may be unfamiliar and uncomfortable to us.

Now let’s paint another picture …

 Imagine knowing you’re different. You’re scared of not fitting in and sad because that’s all you really want: acceptance. Then you walk into a room that’s filled with games, songs and lessons that are different than you’ve experienced before. You know they’re different because they begin to make more sense to you. Suddenly, words like “God” “Jesus” and “hope” begin to have meaning because you’re not just hearing the words, you’re seeing them too. Your anxiety begins to melt away because you’re not just told you’re welcome here. You know it. You feel it.

There’s no denying it. Sharing the truths of God’s Word with children who have special needs is challenging. I know. I’m mom to a little boy who has a whole mountain of unique challenges. But we’ve got it on the greatest of authority that it only takes a mustard seed sized amount of effort. What miracles God can work in the spirits of these little children if only we’ll help by planting the seed!

All Aboard | EXPERIENCE THE STORY

OneHope’s All Aboard! curriculum helps churches take that step in faith and action by equipping them with volunteer training, adaptive and inclusive lessons and even uniquely designed words of encouragement to share with parents.

Won’t you help paint that second picture?