Making Spiritual Sense of Disability

Exploring the Spiritual and Relational Significance of “Felt-Sense” for Adults and Children with “Diffabilities”


  • Josephine Snowdon St. Mary’s Anglican Church, North Melbourne



children, diffabilities, disability, religion, sensory processing, special needs, spirituality, worship


An earlier version of this article was presented at the Spiritual Care Australia National Conference held in Melbourne in 2016. The article explores the spiritual and relational significance of “felt sense” for children with special needs or “diffabilities” (Dubbeld 2015) in the context of Christian worship. “Diffabilities” is short for different abilities. There are three key areas used in this reflective article: (i) work by the Australian researcher, Hyde (2008) on the “felt sense” with regard to Christian understanding of spirituality and children; (ii) a neurophysiological perspective, the science of sensory integration in relationship to sensory processing difficulties (Kranowitz 1998) in children with “diffabilities”; (iii) and spirituality or the “multifaceted living of faith” (Schnieders 2003) in Christian worship for children with “diffabilties” whose experience and processing of sensory stimuli is significantly different to that of other children.

Author Biography

Josephine Snowdon, St. Mary’s Anglican Church, North Melbourne

Josephine Snowdon is an occupational therapist and a lay-minister with Light Up!, a monthly worship and fellowship service for children and adults at St. Mary’s Anglican Church, North Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.


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How to Cite

Snowdon, J. (2016). Making Spiritual Sense of Disability: Exploring the Spiritual and Relational Significance of “Felt-Sense” for Adults and Children with “Diffabilities”. Health and Social Care Chaplaincy, 4(2), 225–236.