Intellectual disability often describes a delay in several areas of development, including development of intellectual and social skills. Techniques suggested for the child with a learning disability will also help the child with an intellectual disability.
- Repetition of songs, memory work, key points in the story, names of others in the group, and routine directions will help the child learn and become a part of the group.
- Motion activities can be fun for the whole group to practice over and over and can reach the child who is nonverbal. Find other simple ways—such as pointing and nodding—to communicate with the child who is nonverbal, or learn some of the basic sign language the child may also be learning. The child may also have some type of communication device you could use as part of the activities in your room.
- Make sure the child is considered part of your group, not a visitor. Find the child’s gifts and involve that child in activities. Consider inviting an additional adult into the group to help facilitate that child’s involvement, learning, and peer relationships.
- Make adaptations as needed. Ask the right question: “What CAN the child do?” If a child is able to cut a straight line, then pre-cut part of the item, leaving the straight line for the child to cut. If a child can point to a picture to communicate, then have some pictures of characters from the Bible story and ask the child to point to his favorite person in the story. You can use picture pointing for prayer requests or song requests as well. If a child can run a stop watch, then ask the child to be the time keeper for the game. Use the child’s abilities to create pathways of participation.
- Facilitate relationships with peers. Sometimes peers will need information or ideas on how to best relate to their classmate. Make sure adults serve as a bridge to peer relationships, not a wall. Allow friends to help one another and interact with one another whenever possible.