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Last updated 21st February 2024

Learning Disabilities and Additional Needs

Learning Disabilities

People with learning disabilities do not always have the support to express their faith, especially if they have moved out of their family home and into a supported living setting.

It is helpful to everyone if language is as straightforward as possible, with clear instructions about what is happening in the service.

Ask people what is helpful to them. Sometimes a person may like to have a buddy in the church.

Church websites need to give clear information.

There may be members of the congregation who can present information in easy read. (see www.easy-read-online.co.uk for an example)

Sometimes some separate teaching and worship may be useful but it is important that people do not feel segregated.

Organisations offering support

  • Mencap – the voice for learning disability
  • The Carers Trust www.carers.org
  • Disability Awareness Sunday: last year, this was held on 17th September.  Raising awareness can happen on any Sunday.
  • Downs Syndrome Toolkit
  • The words we use matter: these Language cards help us think through how we talk about disability
  • Wave for Change – being church with people with learning difficulties in London
  • Count Everyone In – support, training and encouragement for churches to include adults with learning disabilities
  • The Additional Needs Alliance - helping churches to include, support, create places of belonging for, and spiritually grow children, young people and young adults with additional needs or disabilities.  Support, training  and information for families and churches to make inclusion a reality. 
  • Urban Saints, ‘Invited to Belong’ – training to make youth and children’s ministry welcoming to young people with additional needs
  • Growing Hope – offer training to facilitate support groups for parents and siblings of children with additional needs and champion accessibility within church through training and award programs
  • Books beyond words’ – Picture books for all ages and all abilities. To help people process experiences, feelings and emotions beyond the need to be able to read and process language.  The series includes an excellent book on ‘Going to Church.’ 
  • The Accessible Bible – a Bible that offers greater access and inclusion
  • Through the Roof - a registered charity that exists to Transform lives through Jesus with disabled people.
  • Churches for All – enabling churches where disabled people belong
  • Inclusive Church – an educational charity which encourages churches to explore ways in which they may become more inclusive.

Resources