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Category Archives: Hidden Disabilities
The kids (and their families) are exquisitely sensitive to perceptions of being “different” from everyone else. This is a key reason why they don’t fit into most “special needs ministry” models and why they’re inclined to avoid “programs” that draw attention to their differences. Continue reading
Society still places a stigma on mental illness, but Christians make it worse, he said, by “over-spiritualizing” depression and other disorders — dismissing them as a lack of faith or a sign of weakness. Continue reading
Many kids and adults experience mental health conditions that substantially limits their ability to participate in church as a major life activity while maintaining reasonably high levels of functioning at school, at work or at home. Continue reading
In my conversation with Bob, we discussed the state of mental health care in the U.S., explored the reasons why kids with mental illness aren’t typically served in the context of existing disability ministries, examined some of the struggles churches experience in serving those with hidden disabilities and shared strategies some churches are utilizing to reach families impacted by disabilities lacking meaningful involvement with a local church. Continue reading
Sadly, I can’t help but conclude that in our desire as church to avoid the influence of anti-Biblical worldviews foundational to some treatment orientations employed in the mental health community and worldviews held by the vast preponderance of mental health practitioners…we’ve forgotten to love the people experiencing mental illness and contributed to needless suffering by millions of Christ followers and their families.
We know that vulnerable kids experience enormous harm from harsh words and bullying, and our schools and institutions have appropriately taken steps to protect them. But what about protecting vulnerable kids from the impact of the highly sexualized culture in which we live? I’ve treated a number of kids in recent years who exhibit the effects of trauma resulting from exposure to sexual material or situations fairly common to daily life.
The segment of the population impacted by disability, especially families impacted by mental illness, trauma and developmental disabilities, would in my mind represent the ultimate “low-hanging fruit” for local churches Continue reading
One of the challenges in understanding the epidemic of mental illness in kids is that conditions such as anxiety disorders and ADHD may be disabling in some environments, but not others. Continue reading
It’s particularly difficult to understand why parents who might be able to maintain a job and a household or kids who are able to school without one-on-one aides or lots of support services aren’t able to attend church. I’ll try to explain why in today’s post…and give churches a conceptual framework for anticipating the obstacles kids and adults might experience in attending church and addressing them so they no longer remain obstacles.
All of the needs listed above tend to be more acute for kids with disabilities and their siblings, and parents of kids with disabilities have fewer places to go outside of the church where they can receive help in meeting those needs. Continue reading