Child by Child

Supporting Children with Learning Differences and Their Families

Susan Richardson

Oct/2011, 112 Pages, Paperback, 6 x 9

ISBN-13: 9780819227515



A how-to guide to integrate children and youth with special needs into church programs and activities, including worship.

Integrating children and teens with learning differences into church programs is a growing priority for nearly all congregations, large and small, yet many feel ill-equipped to "manage" those with special needs in their classrooms, programs and worship. This guidebook for churches is designed to help integrate children and teens with learning differences and their families into the fabric of everyday church life. A useable on-the-ground resource for church leaders with specific suggestions, samples, and processes for adapting curricula, training volunteers, and supporting parents and caregivers, this guide is grounded in theological principles for the inclusion of people with disabilities in the life of a congregation. Begins by focusing on human relationships instead of programs. Expanding the church's awareness and understanding of inclusion is done with respect and achieved by extending the gospel of welcome to all. An extensive annotated bibliography of support materials included. Includes how to train volunteers and staff for hands-on work with children and youth who have special needs. Provides a theological grounding for the inclusion of people with learning differences and disabilities in the life of a congregation.

The Rev. Dr. Susan Richardson, an Episcopal priest, lives and works in the Diocese of New Jersey.

"Richardson offers an essential re-visioning of what unites us all – a dependence on God and those around us. There is no radical distinction between 'disabled' and 'abled' when we are aware of our dependence and interdependence. Teaching is enhanced by the provision of resources that facilitate learning and participation by all, each according to his or her ability and need."—The Most Reverend Katharine Jefferts Schori, Presiding Bishop and Primate, The Episcopal Church

"Susan Richardson has put together an excellent resource for churches to use. Not only is this guide incredibly practical, the information helps to set a strong Biblical frame through which we can all view the blessing of building and cherishing inclusive church community."Barbara J. Newman, author and inclusion specialist, CLC Network (Children's Learning Center)

"I heartily recommend this innovative book for readers interested in servicing children with special needs in pursuit of their Christian education."Donald F. Perras, Ph.D., Professor of Special Education, Southern Connecticut State University, New Haven, Connecticut

"Child by child, step by step, with intention and attention, this manual is a guide to meeting, greeting, adapting, teaching, and worshipping together, with helpful strategies for everyone from the usher to the pastor, with loads of resources referenced for more specifics. For those just beginning the journey of inclusive ministries, or those already on the road, it’s a map for action and reflection."Bill Gaventa, M.Div., Associate Professor, Pediatrics and Coordinator, Community and Congregational Supports, The Elizabeth M. Boggs Center on Developmental Disabilities, UMDNJ-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, New Brunswick, New Jersey

"Child By Child offers a comprehensive introduction in welcoming children with learning differences as vital and valuable members of faith communities . . . Every church library would be smart to include this on their shelves!"The Rev. Dr. Audrey Scanlan, Canon for Mission Collaboration, Diocese of Connecticut, Co-Director of “Rhythms of Grace,” a worship-centered curriculum supporting children with special needs and their families

"This book provides a thoughtful, compassionate, and practical guide to integrating children with special needs in faith communities. Ms. Richardson gives clear, concise descriptions of a wide range of developmental disabilities and guides educators in thinking about how to accommodate each within religious education settings. The book will be invaluable to church programs that aim to be insure the every child is welcomed and valued by teachers, as well as by the entire congregation, without regard to learning differences."—Rhea Paul, Ph.D., CCC-SLP, Professor, Yale Child Study Center

"Child by Child combines rigorous practicality with a consistent theological focus. Richardson provides a wealth of data and resources for teachers and pastors ministering to a wide variety of learning differences. . . .Indeed, its greatest value may lie in its constant invitation to entire congregations to be more available to the differently abled, and – once again – its irresistibly practical suggestions about how to go about it."The Right Reverend Tom Breidenthal, Bishop, Diocese of Southern Ohio

"Susan’s compassionate reflection and inquiry guides her and us to specific practice choices any congregation can make to prepare itself for a welcome to strangers that may also help us discover the unspoken, hidden challenges families and children already active in the congregation are facing." The Reverend Donald Schell, President of All Saints Company and co-founder of St. Gregory of Nyssa Episcopal Church, San Francisco

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