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CARING TEACHER AND CLASSMATES - "I am the parent of a special needs child. I am also 2nd Counselor in the Stake Primary Presidency. Children with "special needs" (mine has autism) require the exact same thing that every child in Primary does--a committed, caring teacher who is there, prepared every week. One who knows their names, uses them often and will speak to and socialize with outside of the classroom setting. Keeping the setting and routine the same is very helpful. Using simple phrases without talking down or in a condescending or patronizing voice is helpful. Don't give multi-step directions, instead give one step, see it completed, and then give another. Your class members can be very helpful, too. My son has been blessed to have great classmates. They are helpful and encouraging without being over-protective and smothering. Use a lot of visual aids, but be careful not to have overstimulating activities. Allow that child to be a helper without making him/her an obvious "PET". Allow them to sit with a "buddy" or by the teacher. Include them when assigning prayers, scriptures, and talks. Include them in YOUR prayers; ask our Heavenly Father for the
revelation that is yours on how to reach ANY special child--and let me say this quite clearly, EVERY child in Primary is a "special needs" child. Again, the different child, a child of divorce, a child with ADD, a 10-year-old boy, a chatty group of girls or a profoundly handicapped child all need the same thing -- your love and commitment. Now go after your sheep! All of them." KERRY, KATY, TEXAS


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