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Teacher Training Meeting

Use this teacher training plan to train your children's ministry teachers to how to help children with special needs or learning disabilities.

1. Tough duty-Form three groups. Give each teacher in the first group two cotton balls and have them each place the cotton balls in their ears. Give each teacher in the second group a jump-rope and have them each jump rope. Give each teacher in the third group a photocopy of this article and have them lay the article on the floor and stand up straight as they read it.

As groups perform their activities, talk about the article. After five minutes, have everyone stop.

Ask: How did you feel during this activity? How easy or difficult was it to listen to me? How do you think your feelings might be similar to or different from the feelings a child with a learning disability might have? How have you felt when you've had a child in your class who had a learning disability?

Say: Today we're going to talk about helping kids with learning disabilities.

2. Act out-Have teachers choose one of four groups to join: auditory processing or hearing problems; reading and language delays; Attention Deficit Disorder or memory problems; or sensory motor difficulties. Teachers should join the group with the disability they most want to learn about.

After groups are formed, have teachers read about their group's learning disability in the Understanding Learning Disabilities section and in the "Learning Disabilities Tip Sheet" box. Have groups each create a role-play where a child displays symptoms of the learning disability and the teacher responds appropriately. When groups are ready, have each group present its role-play. Encourage teachers to ask questions about each disability.

3. Jesus-style ministry-Give each group a Bible, a sheet of paper and a pencil. Have each group read aloud Matthew 20:30-34. Then have them each answer these questions: What did the two men with a disability desire? Why do you think the other people treated them the way they did? How did Jesus treat the two blind men? What can we learn from Jesus that will help us in dealing with children with learning disabilities?

4. Action plan-Summarize the Teaching the Learning Disabled section for teachers. Then brainstorm together an action plan for what teachers can do if they suspect a learning disability. Consider these elements in your action plan: How will a child's symptoms be documented-if at all? Who needs to be notified first? What role will confidentiality have? What action will be taken? How can the child be affirmed through the process?

Encourage teachers to consult with you after the meeting if they're concerned about a child who may have a learning disability. Also, if teachers want to know more about learning disabilities, invite a special education teacher to your next meeting.

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