A new group for adults with additional needs
The boy for whom we originally started Aslan has just turned 20 and the next oldest is 17. Our youngest is 8, so there’s a big age difference! While we know that for those with special needs, age isn’t always relevant, it has caused me (and their parents) some concern about what happens when they have outgrown the group, because clearly there must be some cut-off point. What could we offer when the time has come to move on?
There seemed a clear need to provide something else, so we decided to offer Aslan Adults once a month, on the Sunday that the children’s group doesn’t meet. On March 17 we had our first session. Numbers have been steadily increasing since then, as word has got round to local houses where adults with additional needs live in small communities. Once again, it’s people who don’t normally come to church services but find this group so warm and welcoming that they want to come back!
ORGANISATION AND CONTENT
This is simpler to set up than the children’s group, as we spend the first 45 minutes together, after a welcoming coffee and biscuit! We don’t need 1:1 assistance as they come with their carers, and we don’t have individualised activities – it’s more like a church service, with singing, prayers and teaching, but with greater interaction. We then do a craft activity linked to the theme, led by Lydia – a lovely, creative and gifted lady who has had many years’ experience of working with adults with additional needs. We finish with more worship songs and a prayer.
Although we’d love to be able to offer Aslan Adults more often than once a month, it seems a really good way of providing something totally accessible, while hoping they will choose to go to the main services on other Sundays, thereby helping them to be more fully integrated into the life of the church. The two oldest boys in Aslan now come to this as well as the children’s group, and it provides a great way of transition into the wider church family.
I’m thinking of a new ‘Aslan Adults’ tab on the website to share what we’ve been doing, but all in good time….!