Your Special Child
I have always marveled at how young children can grasp God’s Word.Their faces beam as their curious minds absorb what they hear.They listen intently as you read passages from the Scriptures.They don’t create a philosophical realm around biblical issues but simply receive God’s precious Word as it stands. Keeping that premise in mind, I decided to teach my special child the Bible. I would like to share with you some simple strategies that you may find helpful in teaching your special child as well.
- Use an easy-to-read beginner’s Bible. Choose one with pictures, easy words, and big letters.
- Make it a habit to read to your child every day. If the story is too long, with too many pages, divide the pages in accordance with your child’s needs.
- Always have a quick review of yesterday’s story by flipping through the pages and giving short sentences to refresh your child’s memory.
- When you read the new story, limit your comprehension questions (with a maximum of three) to cover only factual information. Since every child has a different learning style, you will need to customize your questions to fulfill his needs and to accomplish your purpose for teaching that specific passage from the Bible.
- Teach your child to pray for specific needs. I took pictures of people that we were praying for and filed the pictures in labeled envelopes, one for every day of the week.When my son Andrew learned how to read, I added the prayer request in writing.The combination of a picture and a prayer request served as a valuable visual reminder for him.
- Choose one Bible verse for the week and write it on a long strip of paper. Cut the strip into one or two-word combinations and place the words in order. Read the verse out loud several times; then take out one of the words and see whether your child remembers it. If your child is nonverbal, take out several words and see whether he can put them back in their correct spot. By the end of the week, your child should be able to put the entire verse in order on his own. Keep the words together with a clip, and file the verse in an envelope for future use.
- Teach your child to pray a small prayer that he can repeat out loud, or teach him one through the use of sign language in order to establish the habit of thankfulness.
Even though you may not be able to teach the Bible to your child on a daily basis, he will be hiding God’s Word in his heart. By including Bible in your teaching, your home schooling of your special child will take on a new perspective as God rewards you both for building on this most important foundation for life.
For the past three years, Nancy Sadka, Ed.D. (May 1995) has been home schooling her son Andrew, who is classified with communication disorder. In the October 2001 issue of Home School Helper, Nancy shared her story of working with Andrew in order to meet his specific educational needs. She hopes to encourage other home schooling families who have special children. Nancy and her husband, Paul, reside in Greenville, S.C., with Andrew and their older son, Mark.