Adults with Learning Disabilities at Church

Before long, the kids in your children’s ministry will turn into youth, then young adults, and then adults. Conversations about learning disabilities happen most often in children’s and youth ministries. Very rarely do adult Sunday School teachers, pastors, elders, and friends pause to think or talk about learning disabilities in adults.

The effects of some learning disabilities may lessen throughout life. But there is a common false notion that learning disabilities disappear in adulthood. It becomes more challenging for adults who have learning disabilities to find the grace and space to talk about the impacts of their disabilities on their experiences at church. They often simply remain silent.

When you hear an adult say, “I have dyslexia,” what is your response? Instead of being afraid that you will say the wrong thing, ask that person, “How does that effect your growth in Christ? Is Sunday School challenging? What could we do that might help you find more accessible Bible study resources?”

Asking questions is an excellent way to learn about others. Genuinely showing interest this way puts you in the posture of being the learner who does not need to have all the answers or to solve their problems. As you learn more, ask your friend who has a learning disability if it is okay to share that information with others, such as a Bible study leader, your pastor, or your disability ministry leader. Reach out to Engaging Disability With The Gospel for support or help as you take the next steps in better enfolding and discipling adults with learning disabilities.