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Special thanks to Versacare® for
funding the REACH project.

Rationale

“For centuries, civilized societies of people calling themselves Christians tended to ignore those of their number who had disabilities. This occurred in spite of the clear words of Jesus, who said: ‘But when you give a feast, invite the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind’ (Luke 14:13, RSV). ‘And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say untothem, in as much as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me’ (Matthew 25:40, KJV). How is it that so many Christians have overlooked those directives?” (James A. Tucker, Journal of Adventist Education, v.58, p. 9)

In classrooms across North America, general classroom teachers serve students with learning differences with minimal support. Concerns about lack of resources, training, and staff need not limit our ministry. The REACH (Reaching to Educate All Children for Heaven) model provides teachers with resources, training, and on-going support. Adventist educators can make a difference in the lives of students with learning differences.

Though many Adventist teachers have participated in the education of students with “invisible” or minimally visible challenges, they are more likely to experience anxiety when presented with the opportunity to teach students considered to have moderate to severe learning needs. It is helpful for teachers to understand that parents’ expectations for these children center primarily on spiritual, social, and communication goals. Their desire is to have these goals met in our Christian classrooms with additional supports from family, church, and community. Success depends primarily upon two necessary attributes: a passionate belief in the value of every human being and basic problem-solving skills.