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FHE: Disabilities

Shauna Gibby - July 30, 2012

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This lesson will help you discuss disabilities with your family and how to respectfully and lovingly interact with those who have disabilities.

Conference Talk:
For more information on this topic read “Special Lessons,” by Elder Ronald A. Rasband,
Ensign, May 2012, 80.

Thought:
A perfect body is not required to achieve a divine destiny. In fact, some of the sweetest spirits are housed in frail frames.

(Russell M. Nelson, “We Are Children of God,” Liahona, Jan. 1999, 103.)

Though we will face trials, adversities, disabilities, heartaches, and all manner of
afflictions, our caring, loving Savior will always be there for us. 

(Ronald A. Rasband, “Special Lessons,” Ensign, May 2012, 80.)

Scripture:
Have ye any that are sick among you? Bring them hither. Have ye any that are lame,
or blind, or halt, or maimed, or leprous, or that are withered, or that are deaf, or that are afflicted in any manner? Bring them hither and I will heal them, for I have compassion upon you; my bowels are filled with mercy.

(3 Nephi 17:7)

Song:
“I’ll Walk With You,” Children’s Songbook, p. 140.

Lesson:
How to teach young people sensitivity toward people with disabilities
As parents of two non-verbal autistic children, we understand that all people, disabled or not, are created in the image of God and have the potential to become like God. Some disabled people, because the severity of their disabilities makes them unable to choose between right and wrong, are like little children incapable of sinning. Young people who truly understand this will have a much easier time being sensitive toward people with disabilities.

Additionally, we suggest:
Parents should lead their children by example in showing compassion to the disabled. If a child’s parents are uncomfortable around people with disabilities, the child will learn to be uncomfortable around the disabled, too.

Parents should go out of their way to include the disabled in their activities. Children who associate with the disabled are much more likely to learn that the disabled are more like “normal” people than they are different.

Parents should encourage their children to follow the Savior’s example and serve the disabled. We can learn from the Savior’s compassion by helping the disabled to carry the crosses they have to bear.

Parents should teach their children not to pretend that the disability isn’t there. Sometimes people have trouble dealing with others’ disabilities, so they try to ignore the disabilities altogether. This can lead them to ignore the disabled and their needs. Even worse, it can keep them from enjoying what those with disabilities have to offer.

Parents should believe and live the gospel of Jesus Christ and teach their children to do the same. No one who truly believes in the mission of the Savior and the plan of salvation could have anything but compassion for the disabled.

—Bryan and Martha Chambers, Globe, Ariz.

(LDS Church News, 07/25/98)

Stories:
Injured at birth
I was injured at birth and left cerebral palsied to a minor degree. This has left me with some coordination difficulties and an obvious limp.

My school friends had explained to them that my “telephone wires” were damaged and could not be fixed. My wife and I have used this approach, learned from my mother, to help nieces and nephews and other young people with whom we associate to feel comfortable and able to ask concerned questions.—Colin Maxwell, Northamptonshire, England

Personally acquainted
A new family moved into the ward. A member of the family was severely disabled. The child was put in the Primary strapped into a wheelchair. That first day the Primary children were frightened at what they saw. The caring mother came to the bishop and presented a plan to visit each home with her disabled child and have each family in the ward become personally acquainted with the child and his problems. A mighty change took place in the ward and especially in Primary. The child later died at an early age. At the funeral, the chapel was filled to capacity.—Tom Arnett, Mesa, Ariz.

Passing the sacrament
One boy in the Aaronic Priesthood had dealt with many physical disabilities in his lifetime, including difficulty with vision and mobility. Many times on Sunday you would see the other boys assist this young man so that he was able to pass the sacrament to the ward members. One boy would walk along supporting him as he carried the tray. Many young men had the opportunity to learn a true lesson in service, to a friend, to the ward and, most important, to the Lord.—Tina Conde, Olympia, Wash.

(LDS Church News, 07/25/98)

Activity:
Play Blind Man’s Bluff.

Form a circle with one blindfolded person in the center. He is the “blind man.”
The blind man calls out, “Scatter, one, two, three, freeze!”

On the word “scatter” everyone runs to hide but must freeze in his tracks when the word “freeze” is said.

The blind man searches the room until he touches someone and then asks this person a question.

The person may answer with anything he wants in an attempt to bluff the blind man. He may even disguise his voice to further fool the blind man.

The blind man may guess once who the person is. If he guesses incorrectly, he again calls, “Scatter, one, two, three, freeze!” and the game continues. When he guesses correctly, he and the person trade places.

(George and Jeane Chipman, Games! Games! Games!, [Salt Lake City: Shadow Mountain, 1983], p. 5.)
Refreshment
Peanut Butter Buttons

1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup granulated sugar 1/2 cup packed brown sugar 1/2 teaspoon baking soda 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 egg
1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 (12-ounce) bag miniature peanut
butter cups (about 36 candies) 1/2 cup milk chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In bowl of an electric mixer, cream together butter and peanut butter. Add sugar, brown sugar, baking soda, and baking powder. Beat until combined, making sure all ingredients are incorporated. Beat in vanilla and egg until light and fluffy. Beat in flour just until well combined.

Unwrap miniature peanut butter cups. Shape each dough ball around a peanut butter cup until it is completely covered and no chocolate is visible. Place on ungreased baking sheets and bake for 8 minutes. Cookies may look underdone, but do not overbake! Remove from oven and let cookies sit on hot cookie sheets for several more minutes. Transfer cookies to a wire rack to finish cooling. After cookies are completely cooled, melt milk chocolate chips. Drizzle melted chocolate over cooled cookies with a fork or toothpick. Allow chocolate to set up. To help the chocolate set up faster, put the cookies in the freezer for a few minutes before drizzling with chocolate. Makes 3 dozen cookies.

(Lion House Bakery, [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 2009], p. 68.)

Get the PDF version of "FHE: Disabilities."

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© LDS Living, 2012.
Comments 4 comments

katebca said...

07:53 AM
on Jul 30, 2012

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Great lesson - good ideas! I think it's also important for leaders in primary to include the children in the different talks/scripture/prayer assignments - even if the child can't speak clearly, it's important for the child to feel involved AND for the other children to see that even though we don't all have the same talents and abilities, we can all take turns and contribute! However, I'm not an overly-sensitive person or anything, but suggesting Blind Man's Bluff seemed an odd choice for a lesson about disabilities:) We are discussing inclusion and acceptance with our children, then we play a game whose point is to "fool" the person who can't see (the blind man)? Seems normally a fine, fun game, but in light of this particular lesson seems an odd choice!

laurak said...

09:37 AM
on Jul 30, 2012

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I enjoyed the ideas in the lesson, but the game of Blind Man's Bluff is teaching the exact opposite of what is intended in the lesson. Wouldn't it be better to blind fold someone or give them another kind of "impairment" and have another sibling help them through an obsticle course to show how difficult life for a person with disabilities can be and how nice it is for others to be helpful. I have a daughter with severe disabilities and I always been impressed with the people in our wards. The leaders and teachers are very inclusive. The children in her classes are so sweet and caring. We are blessed to have such wonderful people in our lives.

laurak said...

09:38 AM
on Jul 30, 2012

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obstacle

lisar said...

11:23 AM
on Jul 31, 2012

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As the parent of a son with special needs, I'm delighted that LDS Living has featured this FHE Lesson Plan and hope that many families will use it as an important teaching moment (though I agree that "Blind Man's Bluff" as described runs counter to the point of the lesson). Another resource for such a lesson is a new website, "The Liahona Project...faith and direction" (www.theliahonaproject.net). It is a place of "mutual mentoring" where Latter-day Saints can share — in unselfconsciously LDS terms — the blessings and the stressings of raising a child with special needs. It features pertinent news articles, parent essays, links to resources, uplifting quotes and much more.
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