Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Serving our Special Needs Kids at Church

I love educating people about autism and watching them get involved and grow! At our church, we have 4 wonderful young spirits that are on the Autism Spectrum, ranging from severe/no verbal to high functioning/verbal. We have developed a program that allows them to be part of our church family while giving others in our Ward the blessing of getting to know them and serving them in a Christ-like way. Getting to the point we are at now has not happened overnight. I will have to tell you that patience and education along with prayer where the tools involved. The final piece of the puzzle before we actually put things into action was a meeting with the Bishopric where I educated them about Autism.

The name of our class is the Stars and our theme song is Every Star is Different (from the Primary Children’s Song Book). Every week we have one or two Primary kids join our class. I went into sharing time and talked to the kids about this wonderful opportunity they have to be a special friend to our Star class. I told them all the fun things they get to do and how they can help and that they will have to show they are responsible. We choose kids six years old and older; making sure there is always an older child in there. They love it so much that every Sunday they are asking if it is their turn yet.

We have a room designated for our Star class that is set up just for them.

We use a strip visual schedule for the day.

We have an area for circle time/lesson,

a table for snack/art (with a string on the wall for hanging their works of art),

a "calm corner" area when a kiddo needs a break, a cabinet for books and toys, and a file cabinet for snacks and teacher supplies.

There are two teachers called to the class.
I have made slip covers for the backs of the chairs so they know which seat is theirs with a second set for the Primary room to be used during music/sharing time.

Their favorite activity is "Where’s Jesus". We have a picture of Jesus that we "hide" somewhere in the church and each Star and Helper has a matching picture. The kids go for a walk using a rope with canning rings tied on it to hold on to. They walk through the church matching their pictures with all the ones they see on the walls until they find the one they are looking for.

The kids get so excited when they find it. We are having such a great time with this class and love seeing these children's love for the gospel grow on so many levels.
We have four lesson plans that rotate: Love, Prayer, Heavenly Father has a Body and so do I, and CTR (Choose the Right). Each lesson is very simple with lots of songs and an art project that goes along with the theme.
If anyone would like more detailed info, please don't hesitate to email me.


  1. That is so AMAZING! I really want to move to your ward. I wish every ward was able to set up something like that for our kiddos, maybe someday. I love that you explained to the other children so they don't all stare because they just don't understand. Great Job to everyone involved.

  2. I'll bet there are many around the world who would appreciate your insights and the methods you've been inspired to implement through prayer and love. It would be great to let others know about this. Very nice!