good reads on the web - march 11, 2011

This will be a regular feature over here. I want to humbly acknowledge that there are many other helpful, and often more experienced, people on the web writing about special needs ministry, theology in light of disability, and family life with special needs. Out of respect for their work, I'll include a snippet here and then a link to the rest of the post/article so you can finish reading at their site. Please know that I'm not endorsing everything that they post, and possibly not even everything in the linked post. If I link it here, I'm just saying that it's worth reading and that I hope it is useful to YOU!

John Knight at The Works of God:
We know that life includes hard things – we simply can’t avoid it if disability has entered our family.  So we read the Scriptures with that in mind, and understand the sovereignty of God as being over all things, including hard things. (Read the rest of his post here.)
 Louise from Chosen Families:
I confess I feel guilty sometimes. When someone presents a need to me I want to help them–my mind goes into problem solving mode and I think of all the things that I can and even should do. But, because parenting is a full time job I rarely have the strength or energy to follow through with my plans. When you add to that parenting a child with special needs, the stress multiplies. (Read the rest, along with some insightful comments, here.)
Guest blogger and high school senior Evan at's blog:
Who am I? Easy – my name is Evan, that's who I am and that's what I'm called. And yet, for some of my friends, there are still people who would identify them by saying, “Oh, him? He's a “special needs” kid, “a SPED,” – a “retard.” (Read the rest here.)
Katie Wetherbee at Diving for Pearls:
Parents raising kids with disabilities know that ”all kids” DON’T “do that.” Even if an exhibited behavior is “typical,” the accompanying  difficulties can remind parents their circumstances are anything but typical. And that hurts.

So what can we do? (Find her suggestions and the rest of her post here - and I would recommend reading post one and two and three, as this is post four in a series about communication.)
Amy Fenton Lee from The Inclusive Church in an article on buildingfaith:
Most children’s ministers with experience in special needs ministry have at some point felt conflicted in how to best accommodate a specific child with a disability.  A child’s temperament and learning capacity may vary from one week to another.  An occasional parent may push an expectation not in line with the church’s immediate capabilities.   And parent-volunteer dilemmas may require the grace and negotiation of a skilled diplomat.

Alyssa Barnes, PhD and assistant professor for pre-service dual certified (elementary/special education) teachers at North Georgia College & State University explains, “The classroom placement of children with special needs is one of the most controversial issues dealt with in the field of special education.   As a result, the church should not find it surprising when it too struggles to find the perfect fit for a child with a complicated set of needs.” (Read the rest here.)
 Kymberly Grosso at Autism in Real Life at Psychology Today: addition to stress, the autism diagnosis frequently is a life changing event for the parents of the child as well as the entire family unit. Therefore, if a marriage is strong, the couple may weather the storm over time and possibly come out stronger. But for couples who are already having difficulties in their marriage, autism is a stressor that can become the proverbial straw that breaks the camel's back. And for those couples, autism becomes yet another reason to divorce. (Read more of this research- and experience-based post here.)