Including people with disabilities at church
EqUUal Access, the volunteer group charged with encouraging UU congregations to become more accessible and inclusive, recently posted a list of ways that religious communities can support people with special needs. The list was excerpted from a Huffington Post article entitled 7 Ways Congregations Can Embrace People with Disabilities.
The seven ways are:
- Communication – Provide a resource person to listen to the needs of the person with a disability and their family to learn how they can work together toward full inclusion.
- Accessiblity – To the extent possible, meet the physical needs of the individual.
- Support – Provide an aide or peer assistant to enable participation in religious education, small group ministry, etc.
- Leadership – If leaders of faith communities are committed to inclusivity then it is more likely to happen.
- Participation – Invite people with disabilities to be on boards and committees and to take visible roles in congregational life.
- Education – Congregations that educate their members on disability issues are more welcoming and better able to integrate people with special needs.
- Love – Parents of children with special needs who experienced love and acceptance reported their congregations were sources of great strength and support.
In addition, UU World had an article on books to help UU congregations welcome people with disabilities in its Summer 2014 issue.