(Special) Needs: a Visual

About a year ago I met with a lady who was interested in worship aids for the child with special needs.

We successfully brainstormed a page full of ideas, some that we did not later find on the Internet, already discovered and likely patented.

The rest – well, the rest are still listed on some file in some folder somewhere on my laptop. I fail at follow through. That is (just one of) my special need(s.)

If you know me through real life or this blog, then you know that there is something in me that joys over a preschooler. Perhaps I am simply simple. Perhaps I am no nonsense, stop the bs, cut to the chase, just be honest. Perhaps I am short attention spanned. Perhaps I am ego, eager to be a living dictionary.

I love words, but an image paired with a phrase is doubly stunning. 

And so I clamor to the children’s section of any bookstore or my favorite library. And I don’t read stacks of chapter books. 


I look at books that have a few good words. 

Hearing and seeing put together is more powerful for me. 

Proof: I cannot learn a foreign language from those repeat after tapes. My initial response is, “What? Spell that.”

A young Spanish speaking lady lived with us for a few months and asked me, “How will spelling it help?”

I don’t know. But it would have and it will.

Obviously I learned by phonics because sounds look like something and so if I cannot hear correctly, then draw me those sounds and my chances of repeating them increase.

I believe this is true with the understanding of ideas.

For instance, in our son Ian’s homemade First Catechism scrapbook, I have these photos:


And these words:

Does God know all things?

Yes. Nothing can be hidden from God.

I know. Fun, huh?!?

Yep, I like my kid books to be fun adult reading, too.

(Perhaps I have not added too much to his future counseling bills!)

Hopefully, in the case of that cute scrapbook, I have not cemented wrong meanings of ideas into our son’s conscience. 

I meant well. I really did.

Visuals do bring understanding, for right or wrong. And also make a memory.

For over a decade, I’ve been picky about the pictures in Children’s Bibles.

There are several reasons why, but perhaps the most important is this:

Presented together, a word and a picture mean something. And that meaning may be difficult to separate in the future.

Is it the meaning that you want portrayed? 

Or, is it too often true that the pairing does not mean what you think that means, to paraphrase a movie character…

Research shows that some people process particularly with visuals.

She is teaching me this –

And imagine my delight when she mentions The Lord’s Prayer.


The Lord’s Prayer was incomprehensible until I broke it down into specific visual images.

Wow. And I had just wanted visuals for it and the Creed to help my young non-readers in Children’s Church.

This summer as we begin in the Old Testament with the stories curriculum, written with the preschooler in mind, would you help me find appropriate visuals to explain some great truths

  • God made me
  • God made all things
  • God is everywhere
  • God knows all things
  • God can do all his holy will
  • God is love

Next week we’ll look at Genesis 1.

This week remember – visuals don’t have to be static images on a page or screen. 

We are the living visuals that He uses daily. Shine some light on truth right where you are today!

    One thought on “(Special) Needs: a Visual

    1. “And that meaning may be difficult to separate in the future.” So, so true! I totally agree with you here, Melanie. Thank you for sharing your link with me!

      Regarding your visuals, I love this quote from the little book “Steps to Christ” by Ellen G. White:

      “‘God is love’ is written upon every opening bud, upon every spire of springing grass. The lovely birds making the air vocal with their happy songs, the delicately tinted flowers in their perfection perfuming the air, the lofty trees of the forest with their rich foliage of living green—all testify to the tender, fatherly care of our God and to His desire to make His children happy.”

      Nature is a huge visual for the children — there are so many object lessons in there. And it is neat how the children start to look for their own correlations between God’s written Word and His “Word” in nature after while.

      We have the set of “The Bible Story” books by Arthur S. Maxwell. I really appreciate the care and attention to detail that went into the illustrations in those books. My children and I will often just sit and look over an illustration for minutes at a time. They are nice for illustrating lessons at the children’s classes at church, too.

      I’m not sure if you use coloring pages much, but if you are ever stuck in a hunt for a realistic coloring page on a particular subject, let me know. I’m always on the lookout for ideas for future projects!

      Liked by 1 person

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