On the heels of a successful first trip to church, I met with the children’s director if the church to discuss how to help Rachel better fit into the church, and how to make it so I could actually attend church while she stayed in Sunday school.
One of the many difficulties of attending church with a special needs child is allowing the parent to attend the service while the child stays in a class, at least that gas been my experience. I have found some churches are open to problem solving, whole others are bit equipped.
Thankfully, we have found a church in our new city that is willing to work with us.
Here are some if the plans we have for helping Rachel integrate into Sunday school:
Finding a few helpers who are willing to be with Rachel during the hour. The supervisor thought of a few teens she felt could handle the responsibility.
Putting together a box of sensory and motivating toys that will be just for Rachel. These would be available to her when we drop her off and they will be kept specifically for church. I will provide enough so that they can be rotated. I also want to find something she can hold during story time that will keep her/assist her in sitting down and attending. (Squishy toys might help.)
Then I plan to stay with her for the next several weeks to help her adjust and to assist the helpers with getting to know Rachel.
We’ll see how it goes.
Today we attempted church for the second week in a row.
I suppose I should back up a bit and mention that we just moved to a new city a few weeks ago. There have been lots of adjustments, one of which was finding a new church.
Our first week wasn’t too bad, but it was scary. The last church we attended had a special needs classroom, so it was a bit easier to attend. Yet, the church was so enormous we had a difficult time feeling…involved. I know part of that is up to the attendee, but with the distance to the church, Rachel’s autism, and a host of other factors, we did not participate in activities that would help us interact with others.
Back to the new place… Even though Rachel is seven we decided to put her in the 3-year-old class. The structure, lesson level, and toys seemed more appropriate for her.
The first day I checked with the supervisor and class teacher to see if I could stay with Rachel to help her get settled. Being in a new place always Amos up get already high anxiety. I also made an appointment to talk to the children’s supervisor about Rachel during the week to work out a plan. (Sunday morning didn’t seem the best time to work that out…)
So, the first week went well. Rachel seemed to like it, and, as long as I stayed with her, she seemed inclined to follow the class schedule.
The children’s supervisor and I met and came up with a few plans. We will see how they go…