Home | In The Church | Special Needs Ministry

Special Needs Ministry

Retreat for Youth and Adults with Special Needs, East Coast/Mid-Atlantic, held by Virginia Baptists at Eagle EyrieRetreat for Youth and Adults with Special Needs

Join us October 17-19, 2014 at Eagle Eyrie Baptist Conference Center to celebrate the 40th Anniversary of this incredible retreat.

View more details here.

Sunday School Classes


Many children can function well in a regular  classroom with a shadow or buddy. Preschool children with all types of disabilities generally work well in this way, as well as high functioning older children.


These classes are designed for children who are in self-contained classrooms in their schools. Curriculum choices include using special needs materials published by several organizations or by adapting the regular curriculum to meet the needs of the students in a certain classroom.

Special Needs Curriculum

  1. Special Buddies – produced by Lifeway, this curriculum aims toward those children whose functioning is on a preschool level.
  2. Access – produced by Lifeway, this curriculum is designed for adults with developmental delays.
  3. Friendship Ministries – produces topical Bible studies for adults with special needs.
  4. Lifeway is in the process of producing curriculum specifically aimed toward those with autism or are on the autism spectrum.
  5. Lifeway publishes VBS materials each year for both children and adults, but there are currently NO children’s Sunday School materials available.

Vacation Bible School

This annual event, usually held in the summer months, fits in well with most children with special needs. Parents can be consulted to determine the best placement for each individual child. Self-contained classes should be an option, too. The more casual atmosphere of this event helps to give flexibility to the needs of special needs students.

Respite Programs

Churches are encouraged to minister to the entire family when planning activities for those with special needs. No other group of parents needs a break from the responsibilities of raising a child with special needs than these. Parents need to know there are safe places where they can leave their children for a specified time period and have some time to work on their own relationships. The activities themselves can be as complex or as simple as a church decides. Here are a few suggestions:

  • Game Night – designed for teens and adults, this regularly scheduled evening can include activities such as: Bingo, Hangman, card and/or board games, snacks, music, a devotion, and a movie.
  • Respite for younger children – can include hands-on activities and games, playground time, movies, quiet games, a book room, and a time for music and worship.
  • A nurse on duty at both of the above events is recommended, as well as a security system for the participants and background checks on all workers and volunteers.

Networking/Support Groups

Parents often find much-needed support by coming together on a regular basis to share concerns. When a church offers such a group, it is imperative to also make sure there is child care available and someone knowledgeable to lead the discussion.

Outside the Church Opportunities

We in Virginia are blessed to have a Fall Retreat available every October for special needs teens and adults to enjoy the beauty of Eagle Eyrie and to have an entire 3-day weekend of activities planned just for them.

Now in its 40th year, the retreat includes individual classes of Bible study, music times, a Saturday evening dance, and Sunday Morning worship all geared especially for them.

For more info, look under the Upcoming Events section located on this website, visit Eagle Eyrie’s website, or contact Mary Buckner.