(dis)Abilities and the Gospel: How to Bring People with Special Needs Closer to Christ
Each day, parents and church leaders struggle to teach individuals with special needs. Using helpful information, real-life stories, and a touch of humor, (dis)Abilities and the Gospel provides ways for you to effectively teach people of all ages with autism, Down syndrome, bipolar disorder, memory loss, and other disabilities.
Inside this useful guide, you’ll find:
- Guidance for building strong family relationships
- Steps to teaching prayer and scripture study
- Practical and creative teaching tips
- Programs to help with transitions, communication barriers, and behaviors
- Techniques to help others feel welcome and valued
Find the answers you need and overcome the challenges of teaching the gospel. (dis)Abilities and the Gospel will help you develop each person’s ability to learn and grow as you build peace in your home or classroom.
By Dennis, Submitted on 2015-02-25
The term “special needs” is often associated with a severe mental or physical disability, such as Down’s Syndrome or other similar situations. Many people do not know how to react to such situations and many fear they will inadvertently say or do the wrong thing. How does one deal with a special needs child in a Primary class, for instance? What about at Girl’s Camp or during a Young Men’s meeting? What to do when it’s in an adult Sunday School situation?
Danyelle Ferguson and Lynn Parsons help to educate the reader by redefining what the term “special needs” can cover, including a host of other mental, emotional or physical needs. For instance, Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) is shown to be much more common than once expected or understood.
Ferguson and Parsons bring divergent but complementary points of view to this subject. While Parsons comes from a clinical background and thus offers a professional’s perspective, Ferguson comes from the point of view of an “average” person; someone who is currently raising a child with special needs. These two voices, then, give the book both a professional and personal authority, which will undoubtedly speak to a wide range of readers. I appreciated the host of practical approaches and suggestions that the authors offer to the many potential situations in which one might interact with a special needs person. Ferguson especially is helpful in offering a first-person perspective from someone who’s “been there” before.
I can imagine a new parent or teacher who is dealing with a special needs situation picking up this book and breathing a sigh of relief that there are people out there who get what they’re dealing with. I was reminded of the powerfully tender words of the Prophet Joseph Smith, who, while suffering through the bitter cold of his Liberty Jail incarceration, wrote about what the power of a friend’s voice can do to lift the spirit:
“One token of friendship from any source whatever awakens and calls into action every sympathetic feeling; it brings up in an instant everything that is passed; it seizes the present with the avidity of lightning; it grasps after the future with the fierceness of a tiger; it moves the mind backward and forward, from one thing to another, until finally all enmity, malice and hatred, and past differences, misunderstandings and mismanagements are slain victorious at the feet of hope.” (TPJS, 134)
At its most basic level, this book does just that—it offers hope. This book is like a good friend who puts their arm around your shoulder, lets you cry on theirs, and tells you that things will be okay.
By Tamera, Submitted on 2015-02-25
I completely LOVE this book! I think there should be at least one in every stake and ward building to have as a reference! It's perfect for parents, teachers, leaders equally! It even helps for not only those with (dis)abilities but those that are "typical." Fantastic! I like the short chapters with tons of information and the way the coauthors work together to talk in their forte. They even have PECS pictures that you can access on their websites! This book covers Church classes, Cub and Boy Scouts, Baptism, Youth Conference and Activities, Priesthood, Seminary, Temple Trips, Going on a mission, Church callings, Home and Visiting Teaching, Mental Illness, Sunday prep for families, Prayer, Scripture study, Family Home Evening, Finding humor, Time outs for Adults, Strengthening your marriage, building parent-child relationships, sibling relationships, holidays, and includes stories to put things into perspective! Seriously, the gamut is in this book! These are some knowledgeable women and I am so glad I got this book!