With 1 in 42 boys and 1 in 62 children in general diagnosed with autism, chances are you will have one or more students on the spectrum in your class. If you haven’t had much training or experience working with kids with special needs, the thought of teaching a child with autism or any other special need may be intimidating.
There is one truth though you need to understand. Every single child in your class has special needs. God created each one of them to be slightly different from the others – even identical twins. That’s what makes the whole concept of the church as a body with all of its parts working together is so beautiful.
To best meet the needs of your students with autism, it helps to have a little information from someone who is on the spectrum. That’s why I love the book The Way I See It by Temple Grandin. Ms. Grandin is quite arguably the most famous person with autism – there’s even a movie about her life. Diagnosed with autism during a time where most kids like her were put in institutions for life, her mother chose to take a different path.
I love this book because Grandin doesn’t have to worry about offending others like her. She is blunt when she speaks and when she writes – and I’m thankful she is. She paints quite a different and ultimately more hopeful view of autism than many. She shares research and personal stories to back up her suggestions, which are all very practical.
Although this book was not written specifically for Bible class teachers, it has so much information that will help you. Whether it’s helping you understand what your students may be capable of to the best way to manage your classroom and even resources to suggest to parents, this resource covers it all.
The book is easy to read and is broken into really short, practical chapters. It’s a great book to suggest parents, grandparents and other church members read to introduce them to autism. Most likely, we will have more children diagnosed with autism in our churches over time (If not, your church may need to re-think how it welcomes those who are different in some way into your congregation.) These children have godly potential like all of the other children in your congregation. It’s just as important for you to help them find their place in God’s Kingdom.
Yes, reading this book will take some time. It may take a little of your money if it’s not at your public library. Isn’t it worth it though to help a child with autism reach his or her godly potential instead of ignoring them as too “special” to have a real place in God’s Kingdom. We often ask ourselves as Christians “What would Jesus do?” I think we know how he would respond to any child with special needs and I pray we are more willing to put in the work to do the same.
An affiliate link is included for your convenience.