In the past two articles, we looked at general information about autism as well as specific strategies that can be helpful in the classroom. In this final segment, I want to give what I consider to be THE most important factor in a successful Bible class, specifically for child with autism, but really for all children that walk into our classroom.
I can’t emphasize enough how important teacher attitude is within the class. You can make or break the experience for all of the children that you teach. When you are trying to show love like Jesus did to your students, you will create an environment of acceptance and appreciation for all types of people and their differences. Children with disabilities should never be feared, ignored, or excluded.
We sing “Jesus Loves the Little Children”. The sentiments in that song say that no matter what color or what differences children have, Jesus loves them ALL. Do we? Do we see a child with difficulties and differences as a burden or an opportunity? If you see the child as a burden, you will spread that attitude to the other “typical” children in your class. They will catch whatever attitude you display toward the “non-typical” child. Are you condescending? Are you impatient? Are you inflexible? Do you tend to ignore that child? Having a child who learns differently requires us to be more patient and flexible. We can’t expect that we will be able to do things the way we always have done them. Children aren’t all the same and should not be treated as such. Each should be given love, respect, and opportunities to learn and grow.
“Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.” Matthew 25:40