This girl has more courage than anyone I know. Years ago when she was in the hospital facing the very real possibility of losing her leg, she told us that at first she was afraid, but then Heavenly Father and Jesus came and sat on either side of her—and she wasn't afraid anymore.
What an amazing expression of faith in God! I don't know very many people who could say that with absolute confidence and peace.
Can you imagine the strength of testimony and the example that she could have been to the other girls in her ward? Unfortunately, there were times when it seemed no one was interested in what Ryane was so willing to freely share.
Some of her experiences at church have included those where leaders and others could only see her disabilities. They were uncomfortable around her, didn't know how to respond to her comments and participation, and unfortunately, they were sometimes downright unkind.
But when her leaders were able to see all the abilities she brought to the classroom—her love and acceptance of others, her sense of humor, her deep sensitivity to spiritual things—it not only made her feel welcome, but it uplifted and strengthened the entire class.
And that is why I'm participating in this book tour—because I wish this book had been available when Ryane was younger.
The good news is, it's available now.
Here are just a couple of snippets from the book:(dis)Abilities and the Gospel: How to Bring People with Special Needs Closer to Christ by Danyelle Ferguson and Lynn Parsons was published in 2011.
In any social situation, and particularly in church meetings and classrooms, caring and informed teachers and leaders can provide an uplifting and inspiring environment for everyone.Using helpful information, real-life stories, and a touch of humor, the book shares ways for you to effectively teach people of all ages with autism, Down syndrome, bipolar disorder, memory loss, and other disabilities.
While it’s important to have a basic understanding of each person’s disability, it’s more important to focus on their abilities. Every child of God has a tremendous future. Parents and church leaders have the responsibility to help everyone reach his or her potential.
Behavioral problems are possibly the most difficult disability to understand. Youth with behavioral challenges may look like everyone else. Behaviors may appear inconsistently. The things you try may work one week and fail the next. Solving these challenges begins with an analysis of the trigger, the behavior itself, and the consequences that follow. Then a system of positive teaching methods and supports can be put in place.
We should never think Heavenly Father values one child more than another.
You can find (dis)Abilities and the Gospel at many LDS bookstores and also at Amazon.com.
Both authors also have new books out.
Lynn Parsons became a teacher because of her experiences helping two of her children with special needs. She has taught special education children at both the elementary and secondary levels. She continues to look for innovative teaching methods that can reach all learners. Lynn now works as an Educational Diagnostician, evaluating children with disabilities.
Plain and Simple Truths: Lesson Plans with Hands-On Activities to Teach Gospel Truths to All Ages, is a practical teaching resource that consists of engaging hands-on activities that are used to teach religious ideas. It's like Cub Scout Science meets Religion 101. The flexible lesson plans are appropriate for learners of all ages and those with cognitive and other types of disabilities.
Learn more about Lynn Parson's, her books, and her work at www.ldsdisabilitieshelp.com.
Danyelle Ferguson co-wrote (dis)Abilities and the Gospel because she wanted to help leaders and teachers understand the struggles of her child. Since its publication, she has focused on fiction. Her clean romance, Sweet Confections, was released in 2014. The second book in the Indulgence Row series, Love Under Construction, will be available this coming September.
Visit Danyelle at her website: www.danyelleferguson.com.
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