Sunday school should be for all children, not simply
most children. Children with intellectual disabilities deserve the same opportunity as anyone
else to learn about Jesus.
Classes that integrate students with and without
intellectual disabilities have many advantages.
• Encouraging relationships between people with
disabilities and those without
• Breaking down attitudinal barriers that focus on
difference rather than things held in common
• Calling for creative thinking within existing programs
rather than requiring a church to create an
entirely new program
Inclusion classrooms need thoughtful
planning so that children with disabilities are not
merely present but also engaged and learning.
Strategies for inclusion
• Name a coordinator to assume responsibility for
seeing that children with disabilities are welcomed
• Work toward inclusion one child at a time.
• Identify the needs. A tool for assessing needs is
available from www.AccessibilityNetwork.net.
• Make sure you have a system to provide one-toone
or extra support for children who need it.
• Communicate broadly a statement of welcome
for people with disabilities
• Use respectful descriptive words. Intellectual,
developmental, and cognitive disability are terms
that self-advocates with disabilities much prefer
to mental retardation, which has too often been
turned into a term of hurt and hate.
• Provide support and training for teachers and
helpers. ADNet can help. See our list of recommended
resources to assist Sunday school
teachers as they learn to welcome students with
intellectual disabilities into their classrooms.
Some are available to borrow or purchase from
ADNet. Public libraries and interlibrary loan may
be other sources of borrowing books at little or no
cost. Contact us if you would like to offer a
teacher training workshop in your location.