Guidelines for AIM Workshops
Tailoring the Accessibility and Inclusion Ministry (AIM) Workshops to Your Congregation
The number and choice of workshops should be decided based on the needs of the congregations. Congregations must also decide which will be included in your AIM Plan and which will comprise a continuing program of religious education for adults, youth, and children.
Facilitators are encouraged to adapt each workshop to the circumstances of their congregation. Perhaps there is a situation involving a person or family in the congregation whose particular disability is not discussed in this curriculum. Or maybe a congregation needs to cover a specific topic in more depth. If you wish to incorporate more information about the disability in your teaching of the curriculum, you can do more research, and create optional lessons or handouts to present to the attendees.
Experience with this curriculum has shown that some of the most valuable information comes from the stories of real people. Consider inviting guest or student speakers to talk about a particular situation that has touched them personally. If you want to incorporate real people’s stories, make sure you get the permission of the people involved before you ask them to speak. See Telling Stories (PDF) for more details on you to do this while providing safety for the speaker.
Some existing Tapestry of Faith resources, listed in Disability Awareness in Tapestry of Faith curricula address disability. You may want to check these resources out when tailoring the workshops to your congregation.
Adding Artistic, Literary, and Musical Dimensions to the AIM Workshops
Many outstanding composers, writers, and artists have had disabilities. One way to add other dimensions to your program is to have a composer, a writer, and an artist of the day at each workshop. Display a poster of a piece of art, selected words by the writer, and play music of the composer as participants are entering and leaving the workshop. Remind people of who these people are and what wonderful contributions these outstanding people have made to our world. (See Famous Artists, Writers and composers who lived with Disability (PDF) for suggestions.)
Finding Facilitators for AIM Workshops
Finding the right facilitators (PDF) is critical to presenting the curriculum responsibly and successfully.
Training AIM Facilitators
Please see RE Teacher Orientation for AIM which references a congregational study guide written by Sally Patton, designed for training religious educators who will work with children with special needs labels. This companion document, Involve Training Materials and Activities: A Guide for Teacher Training (PDF), focuses primarily on children, the guide includes some valuable information about welcoming adults with special needs as well. We feel that every congregation will benefit from this program in preparing to serve and minister to all people with disabilities.
Participants in an AIM workshop or activity will promise to each other how they will behave as a group. Below are some items that might be part of such a covenant. Each group can decide what to include.
- Confidentiality—What we say in the group stays in the group. It is not discussed outside the group with anyone else without explicit permission.
- Presence—We attend, look at, be present with, and focus on the person who is speaking. We manage time to allow each person to have a chance to speak. We do not:
- Interrupt or shift attention away from the speaker during their turn to speak
- Have side conversations when someone is speaking
- Judge people
- Give advice
- Safety—We keep the group an emotionally safe place by using care and compassion in our tone of voice, and choosing kind and respectful words. We do not criticize others inside or outside the group.
- Acceptance—We accept differences of opinion.
Guildelines for Workshops
Extending the Conversation Handout (PDF)—used by several workshops