Kingdom values have helped bring radical transformation in society precisely when Christians understood their calling to be salt and light in the public square.
At times, additional needs parents can play many of the familiar roles of circus performers.
James’ journey through life has not been an accident; it has and continues to have purpose.
Yes, he did. He made you perfectly, he made you wonderfully.
The hardest question can be the one from a child themselves… “Why am I different?”
It should be about that genuine, heartfelt, willingness to work together to create an environment where everyone can join in.
It’s not your fault that our child is Autistic. It’s not your fault that he has Learning Difficulties and struggles to communicate effectively. None of these things are your fault, or mine; they are no-one’s fault.
Never, in a million years, did we expect to have a disabled child.
What do you see when you first meet a child with additional needs or a disability?
When I’m seeing parents who are looking for tips about how to support their child better in church, at home, and elsewhere, it’s often Mum that I see.
It is important to provide a child with additional needs with someone they can trust who can help them understand what is happening, where they are supposed to be and what they are supposed to be doing.
Members of churches often ask what one change can make the most difference, can have the greatest impact, can enable lasting transformation.
We might find ourselves washed up on the beach from time-to-time, but we and our child jump up and run back in to the surf once more to try again.
We have experienced a change of destination, we’ve ended up somewhere we didn’t expect, or initially want, to go… How will we respond? How will it affect us?
A question many Christian parents of a child with additional needs or a disability ask.
A visual timetable may also be really helpful for some children with additional needs, helping them to know what is happening now, what is coming up next, and how much longer the session is going to last.
Do we see that what every child brings to Jesus, whether they have additional needs or not, is enough and can be used by him?
James’ Autism is neurodiversity, a different way of ‘being’. His brain is wired differently to mine, he thinks differently to me, sees and responds to the world differently to me.
James’ favourite song for me to sing with him is “Jesus loves me, this I know”.
For us as parents of a child with additional needs, there are certainly many times to weep, times to be sad. But there is so much more to life than the tears if we are willing.
In the early stages there is the trigger for relationship breakdown as we are struggling with understanding what is going on with our child.
One of the things about parenting a child or young person with additional needs, is that life is never predictable.
There is always hope, hope for every child. No matter how profoundly they are impacted by their additional needs or disabilities, the love of Christ can and does reach them as powerfully as anyone else.
Why not help them to use a Brick Bible which tells Bible stories through Lego pictures?
Maybe we should think about our own motivation for praying for healing for others; is there a risk that we are praying for healing for a loved one because that might make our life a little easier?
If disabled people were a nation, they would be the third most populous in the world (after China and India). Surely they deserve for us to keep fighting with them to change perceptions, change reality, and yes, change the world.