Special Needs Friendly—Include Every Child at VBS!

Every child can dive deep into God’s presence at Deep Sea Discovery. All leader resources were reviewed by special needs experts who provided adaptations and alternatives that are built right into the program. These tips will help you involve every child in a growing relationship with Jesus. Just look for the Special Needs Friendly icon throughout.

This special needs friendly VBS:

  • Supports special needs settings that are either self-contained or inclusive
  • Provides suggestions for creating a sensory station for kids with special needs
  • Devotes an entire section of the Director’s Guide to including kids with special needs
  • Includes extra activities, modified discussion questions, age-level characteristics, Sensory Inventory Forms, and much more on the Planning & Missions DVD and Age-Level Resources CDs

There’s a place for everyone at Deep Sea Discovery!

Sensory Station

Relax and refocus in a specially designed space!

Deep sea exploration can be hard work! For kids with special needs or anyone who just wants a break, the Sensory Station provides an oasis of calm in the busy world of VBS. Kids can stay here all day and learn and play with the same lessons and activities all the other kids are doing, or they can come and go with their Diving Buddies as needed. But no matter what they choose, they will be sure to learn that God is with them—wherever they go!

Meet Our Special Needs Experts

Vangie Rodenbeck

Vangie Rodenbeck began her journey in special needs advocacy when her son, Noah, was diagnosed with autism at age four; the same year she also began full-time ministry to children. Through efforts to create a place where her son could learn about God, special needs advocacy and ministry became one and the same. Vangie has a B.S. in Christian Ministry and an M.A. in Contemporary Theology. Her thesis project, “Disability and the Image of God,” continued her desire to meld theology, practical ministry, and disability advocacy. She also serves as Executive Director for PURE Ministries. Vangie lives and ministers in Meridian, Idaho. Vangie is the co-host of Shaping Special Hearts, a blogtalk radio show for anyone who wants to learn more about ministering to families who have children with special needs.

Katie Wetherbee

Katie is an educational consultant who works with churches, families, and schools. She is also a writer; her articles have been featured on the MOPS and Power of Moms blogs as well as K! Magazine and Northeast Ohio Family Fun website. Katie is currently the special needs columnist for Children’s Ministry Magazine. In addition, she and author Jolene Philo are currently writing a book called Every Child Welcome. Katie and her husband, Tom, live in Chagrin Falls, Ohio with their teenagers and a quirky mutt named Mitzie.

We pray these Special Needs Friendly lessons and ideas will provide the help you need to include everyone in your 2016 VBS program!