How can I help class members feel included?

“How can I help class members feel included?” Disability Services: Leaders (2020)

“How can I help class members feel included?” Disability Services: Leaders

How can I help class members feel included?

Woman teaching class

“Everything the Savior did throughout His earthly ministry was motivated by love—His love for His Father and His love for all of us. Through the power of the Holy Ghost, we can be filled with this same love as we strive to be true followers of Christ (see John 13:34–35; Moroni 7:48; 8:26). With Christlike love in our hearts, we will seek every possible way to help others learn of Christ and come unto Him. Love will be the reason and motivation for our teaching” (Teaching in the Savior’s Way, lesson 1).

Individuals with disabilities should be given the opportunity to learn, teach, and serve to the best of their abilities. As a teacher, it is important that you establish an atmosphere of love and inclusion. Seek to understand those you teach and their individual needs. President M. Russell Ballard counseled: “May I urge each member of the Church, when you are serving as a teacher, to remember that every human soul is precious to our Father in Heaven, for we are all his children. God’s children are entitled to be taught the truths of the gospel in clear and understandable terms so that the Spirit can confirm the truths of the gospel to them.”

Individuals with disabilities may require accommodations in the classroom to help them learn and feel included. Talk with the individuals about accommodations they may need to fully participate in gospel learning. When teaching children or youth, you may also want to counsel with their parent, guardian, or caregiver about any accommodations they may need. By making simple adaptations to the classroom, you can promote learning for all. Some examples of simple accommodations include the following:

  • Use closed captions when showing videos.

  • Allow extra time to respond to questions.

  • Let students work in small groups.

  • Make large-print materials available for students to read.

  • Use a variety of ways to present lessons, including pictures, objects, photos, and videos.

  • For students who are nonverbal, offer choices between two items to allow them to indicate an answer by pointing or eye gaze.

  • Break down assignments or requests into small steps. For example, instead of asking someone to get ready for a prayer, you might break the task into the smaller steps of folding arms, bowing head, and closing eyes. Be prepared to use repetition in teaching.

  • Use teaching ideas such as role playing, singing, object lessons, and other visual aids to illustrate difficult concepts. Break down difficult concepts into simple pieces.

  • Prayerfully select opportunities for members with disabilities to participate in lessons. Examples might include selecting the music, reading a scripture, holding a picture, sharing a testimony, and answering questions.

Teaching Strategies for Children with Disabilities