2. Find out if there is a congregation in your area with real experience and success in working with children like yours. Call your local religious or disability groups to see what resources and leads they can offer. Ask other parents of children with disabilities about their experiences with different congregations.
Go online look at the congregations’ website. Does it say they welcome and serve people with disabilities or not? Interview the clergy and the heads of the religious schools in your area. Attend a congregation that really wants to serve children with disabilities — and is prepared to do so.
If your house of worship or religious school doesn’t have anything set up to accommodate/include those with disabilities, look to other faith communities. Often, the supports put in place are universal ones that can be adapted to your own faith community. As the mantra goes, “beg, borrow and steal” ideas.
If you already belong to a congregation/school that you like, and they don’t currently serve children with disabilities, ask them if they are ready to learn to do it right. If so, you can refer them to the free tools here and here and resources through the National Collaborative on Faith and Disability, and, while there, click on Tennessee under the Partners to access a number of excellent resources for initiating inclusive faith supports. Also, search online for resources from national faith networks which may represent your tradition.
While doing your research and if your religious school is open to ideas, get together with other families and individuals with special needs and write a wish list of everything they need to make their experiences better. Prioritize the list and go from there.
Next: Write a letter about your kid.