Intergenerational, all-age, all-together, call it what you like this can mean different things to different people depending on our context, our setting, even our age! But what does this mean in the context of additional needs inclusion? Well, again it can mean something different to everyone you ask, but here are a few different ways … Continue reading All-Age Intergenerational Inclusion
It’s festival season, a time of year when across the country people are heading to events themed around everything from music to food, cars, sports or lifestyles. There are, of course, lots of Christian festivals and summer camps held at this time of year too, but how can these festivals be inclusive for children and … Continue reading Inclusive Festivals And Summer Camps
This question lurks in the heart of every special needs parent; it is kept down, out of sight, but every now and then when we are tired beyond our ability to cope, knocked down by another bit of bad news, yet again clearing up something we hoped we would never have to see again, or … Continue reading Is Being A Special Needs Parent Worth It?
Around 20% of children and young people have long-term additional needs or disabilities of some kind. That’s about 2.5 million in the UK alone. Many of them, and their families, feel excluded from a wide range of social activities, so how can we reach out to, and meet, the needs of these children and their … Continue reading Accessible? Inclusive? Belonging For All? What About You?
What do you see when you first meet a child with additional needs or a disability? That may, of course, depend on whether their additional needs or disabilities are visible; they may be ‘hidden’ as so many conditions are. But even then, we would be missing the point; what we should see first is a child, … Continue reading A Child First, A Disabled Child Second
There are many ways that those involved in children’s and youth work can make a big difference for children and young people with additional needs or disabilities, and their families. I often get asked what one change can make the most difference, can have the greatest impact, can enable lasting transformation. The answer I always give is this…
For many people church as it currently exists in many, many places just doesn’t work, can’t work, won’t work. And it’s not just people on the margins of society that this is true for, it’s true for the majority of the communities in which these churches are located. It’s just even worse if you don’t happen to conform to the ‘typical’, ‘expected’ profile of church attendee; and that includes many, even most, families who have a child with additional/special needs or disabilities. Church needs a reboot before everyone can truly belong.
If a picture paints a thousand words, I wonder how many a video paints? This four-and-a-half minute video, which I recorded with Urban Saints, provides you with seven tips to help, encourage and inspire you to make your children's or youth work more accessible and inclusive, to create belonging for everyone. There are loads of links to other resources, videos and information to help you too!
Surely in this day and age there can’t be anyone who would stop children with additional needs or disabilities, and their families, from being able to access church; anyone who would exclude them from all that church offers; anyone who would prevent them from belonging to the church community, can there? But sadly, this does happen all too often and some of the people responsible might surprise you!
How do I include all children & young people with additional needs in my church? As many church children's and youth groups return back after the summer break this week, we explore how everyone can be included and belong.