When he started fifth grade this year, Gavin VanDerVeer’s teachers at Grand Haven Christian School (Grand Haven, MI) were trying to determine his goals in the area of spiritual growth. “Often, we don’t know what students with Down syndrome will really get until we try,” Cindy Brace shares. “We wanted him to learn bible memory like the other students, but his would need to be shorter.” CLC Network encourages teachers to determine the most important idea that a child needs to understand, rather than memorization when a child has a cognitive impairment. Brace recalls,
“So we took the most important idea that Gavin needed to learn and turned that into his bible memory for the year.”
In order to teach Gavin the idea, his teachers started with a flashcard reading program on the iPad and with the sign language for “I am a child of God.” Gavin has a routine – when the flashcard pops up with the word “Jesus” he finishes it with “loves me.” With the next flashcard for “God”, Gavin then says his bible memory: “I am a child of God.” Now, Gavin signs and says “I am a child of God” spontaneously. Cindy recalls when she recorded this video:
“We were doing math the other day and he just started saying this. That’s when it hit me, he’s got it! So I took the video and he was proud to watch it, too. Now he says it often.”
Your contributions this year enabled CLC Network to help Gavin and other students with disabilities learn in their Christian schools. We are deeply grateful for your support, and encourage you to consider CLC Network in your charitable contributions this season.
Elizabeth Lucas Dombrowski is the advancement director at CLC Network.