Tuesday, January 3, 2012
Book Review: Disabilities and the Gospel
I just finished reading Disabilities and the Gospel by Danyelle Ferguson and Lynn Parsons, a book about how to teach and help people with special needs come closer to Christ.
It is now on a promotional sale on Amazon. You can also purchase it at DanyelleFerguson.com.
And I am an honest blogger so let me honestly say that I would not have sought this book out if I did not know one of the authors. I do not have, or teach, or work with, any children who struggle with disabilities so it doesn't apply to me, right?
I guess technically, that's right. But wrong in every way but the technical one. As I read this book I started with an attitude of pity- Poor parents, poor children, poor people who have to struggle with physical and cognitive handicaps. As if they were separate from me. Different from me.
But as I read my pity turned to humility and then to a little shame. Because the overarching feeling I got as I read is a testimony that every person is equal in value to our Heavenly Father. Not just valuable in some metaphysical, non-committal way, but valuable in every way. Valuable in what they think, how they think, what they say, what they feel, what they contribute- all of it.
And I realized that I take my blessings for granted. Every ability we have, from the use of our fingers to remembering a name to knowing how to sing a song, is a gift. And every disability is proof of God's trust in us. It is His way of saying, "Not everyone has to do this, not everyone has to overcome this, but I trust you to do it." And when I saw it that way, and looked to the people with special challenges around me, I was filled with awe for their ability to cope with such obstacles. And then I thought, poor me. I'm not sure I am that strong.
For any teacher who instructs a child with autism, down's syndrome, ADHD, mental illness. or intellectual disabilities, this book is full of ways to reach out and develop a bond with your special student, as well as practical steps you can take to foster learning in the classroom for all students.
My favorite part is a list of activities that will bond the students in your class and help them to see their similarities above their differences. Check out the "Who's like me?" graph. It's awesome!
And don't forget the special section at the back of the book full of stories by parents with disabled children. It is heartwarming and eye-opening.
This book is not for people who know someone with special needs. This book is for anyone who wants to know how to love more like the Savior and see His children for who they really are. I am grateful I read it.