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 I am the church…

YOU are the Church…

WE are the Church TOGETHER…

 

But what does this mean?  How can we strive to include everyone in our worship times?  This is not an easy question to answer.  And yet, there are some simple, practical steps we can take to help some often-underserved members of our church to remain focused and engaged while worshiping.

 

All of us use our senses to interact with the world around us; however, we do not all process the information that comes from our senses in the same way.  Many individuals may be over-responsive or under-responsive to normal sensory stimuli.  These individuals often struggle to maintain their focus and attention and may struggle with sitting still for any period of time.  Words commonly associated with individuals struggling with over or under-responsiveness to sensory stimuli may include hyperactive, fidgety, spacy, inattentive, unresponsive, unengaged, distracted, tactile seekers….  As adults, many individuals who have struggled with sensory input have learned coping strategies to help them focus and attend.  They may fidget with coins or keys in their pockets, take notes during a sermon, knit while listening, or sit in the back of the room for an easy exit if needed.  Young people have often not yet learned strategies for helping to regulate their sensory systems and therefore they benefit greatly from tools that we can provide to assist them in learning to sit, attend, listen, and focus during worship with the congregation. 

 

What are these tools you ask? 

 

There are many options available to help individuals who would benefit from sensory input in an appropriately non-disruptive way for worship time.  Many churches chose to supply a sensory tool kit for members of the congregation who have these needs.  These tool kits can be placed somewhere easy for everyone to access. I recommend letting the congregation know what they are and how you intend to use them (see handout included with the Sensory Tool Kit for introducing these kits to your congregation). 

 

There are some important things to consider when creating a sensory tool kit for your church.  Items should be quiet, non-disruptive, and safe.  Keep in mind that balls or items that roll can easily be dropped and roll away and become tripping hazards.  In general, I recommend avoiding things that have the potential to “get away” from the user.  Also keep in mind safety.  Items that can be thrown or swung will be!  Keeping items sanitary is also important.  Look for items that can easily be cleaned or thrown in the wash. 

 

To assist churches in supporting individuals with sensory issues I have designed my own Sensory Tool Kit for Your Church.  Each item in this kit has been carefully selected to fit the recommended guidelines for appropriate use in a worship setting. 

 

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Basic Church Sensory Kit [$25.00]

·      1 marble fidget maze

·      3 assorted fidget items

·      1 visual fidget item

 

 

Standard Church Sensory Kit [$50.00]

·      1 marble fidget maze

·      5 assorted fidget items

·      1 visual fidget item

·      1 weighted lap pad

 

 

Deluxe Church Sensory Kit [$70.00]

·      2 marble fidget mazes

·      8 assorted fidget items

·      2 visual fidget items

·      1 weighted lap pad

 

Assorted Fidget items may include the following fidgets or something similar: Knit Wristlets, Marble Fidgets, Sand Timers, Monkey String Balls, Stress “Balls” (don’t worry – they won’t roll!), Pipe Cleaners, Stretch Bands, Polished Worry Rocks, Fidget Snakes, Jumbo Nuts & Bolts, or Tangle Jr.  

Visual Fidgets may include the following fidgets or something similar: Bubbler Timer or Glitter Wand (several varieties available).

Marble Mazes and Weighted Lap Pads will be made from gender neutral prints.