AIM Workshops for Children
We do not want to teach children that disability is something to be scared of. Many of the simulation activities that have been used in churches do just this. They usually involve having children experience what it is like to be in a wheelchair, or being blindfolded to give an idea of what it is like to be blind. The Ragged Edge disability rights group says that all these simulations generate the feeling of: “Thank goodness I do not have a disability!” They teach nothing about the actual experience of having a physical disability. Plus, simulations do not even begin to represent all the different types of disabilities that are the ones most stigmatized in society. (Please read the chapter on ableism in the Involve Training Materials and Activities (PDF).
When teaching children about disabilities, it is extremely important to keep in mind that among those you will be teaching are many children who have disability labels. We need to be sensitive to their experiences of learning to understand how to cope and find their place in the world. Many of these children have already experienced the insensitivity of some of their peers—and some adults. We do not want to focus on just one type of disability or inadvertently put one child on display. Keeping that in mind, any awareness training should focus on the idea that we are all different in a myriad of ways and all differences are good and add to the richness of life. The following activity and workshop focus on this awareness:
In Sally Patton’s book, Welcoming Children with Special Needs: A Guidebook for Faith Communities, the resources section contains a list of children’s books. Resources are provided for the different disability groups. Therefore, if you need some additional awareness training for a particular disability, we would suggest reading one of the suggested books to the children and then developing some questions to discuss.
Additional AIM Workshops for Children
- What Children Need to About Disability
- Unitarian Universalist (UU) Principles and Disability
- “Welcoming Superman” is Session 3 from Faithful Journeys—a Tapestry of Faith Program for Children
Sexuality Education Guide
The guide A Faith-Based Sexuality Education Guide for the Inclusion of Children and Youth with Special Needs (PDF) by Sally Patton can be downloaded without charge.
The purpose of this Faith-Based Sexuality Education Guide is to provide information and strategies for successful inclusion of children and youth with special needs labels into faith communities’ sexual health education programs. This Guide is designed to supplement the current sexuality education curricula known as Our Whole Lives (OWL) for children grades K-1, 4-6, 7-9, and 10-12, published jointly by the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) and the United Church of Christ’s (UCC’s) United Church Board for Homeland Ministries. (There is no curriculum designed for grades 2-3.) The Guide is written for OWL trainers, teachers, parents, religious educators, ministers, and other people involved in creating an inclusive sexuality education program for the children and youth in our churches.