Thursday, March 10, 2011

Ministering to those with Special Needs - Part 2

<See all posts in this Special Needs 4-Part Series>

How can we minister to those with special needs and those who care for them and how can we do it so that they can see the love of Christ?  My mind has been spinning in countless directions thinking about this concept.  I've finally decided I need to organize my thoughts into groups, so here goes nothing!

Reaching those with special needs around me:
  • Get to know those with special needs - talk to them, treat them like normal people, let them know through your conversation with them that you are interested in what they have to say and that you care about them as a person.  It is so easy to feel awkward around these people and be at a loss to say.  The temptation to look the other way and keep walking is great.  Put yourself out there and make an effort to stop and be a ministry just like the Good Samaritan did when he saw the beaten man on the street.  Even if you make a fool of yourself, most likely, that special needs person is VERY forgiving and is simply touched you stopped to acknowledge him/her to even realize the errors in your attempt to converse.
  • Smile often and give compliments.  Hugs are great too, if appropriate.
  • If the special needs child is a child, set up play dates with your children - help your child(ren) to embrace those with special needs and learn that they are the same inside.
  • Again, if you are dealing with a child, get on their level and PLAY with them!  Make them feel important and loved.
Thoughts of how this idea can be carried out cross-culturally:
  • The need to feel loved and acknowledged is pretty much universal!  The above techniques work for any culture!  Love and compassion is the key!  Jesus realized this and acted it out in the various kinds of people from various cultures that He ministered to during his earthly ministry! 

Next, I will discuss ways to minister to those who care for those with special needs, which I believe is just as important!
Josh and even David love going to the Special Needs Play Class at the Spring Valley YMCA - a great opportunity to play, have fun, get sensory stimulation, and make new friends

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