In Leviticus God warns people against cursing the deaf or putting a stumbling block in front of the blind. Worship is important for many people.
In order to accommodate disabilities there are certain considerations. However, regardless of the person’s limitations, take the time to get to know the person fist. We all have gifts and challenges’; we are more alike then we are different. Below are some specific suggestions to follow
Physical disabilities– Do we have accessible restrooms? accessible parking spaces?
Blind– Are bibles available in Braille? Are bibles available in large print?
Deaf– Can sound be amplified? A sign language interpreter for special services?
Developmental disabilities– Be patient with someone who wants to talk. Have open attitudes especially if the person makes odd noises at inappropriate times. Such challenges are likely uncontrollable to the individual. Invite the person to sit with you anyway.
Worship as One: Disability in Community is a 12 minute film on YouTube. It portrays clergy, church staff, members, and families perspectives on accommodations made in the churches.
“10 Commandments of Communicating with People with Disabilities.”
- Talk directly to the individual.
- Give the person the option of shaking hands.
- When talking with someone who is blind identify yourself.
- If you offer to help ask a person if they want it first.
- Do not use the person’s first name unless you are friends.
- A wheelchair is in the person’s personal space so don’t lean on it.
- Ask yes/no questions if the person has speech difficulties.
- If the person is deaf, shoulder tap will alert him or her.
- Don’t be nervous talking with a person who has a challenge.
- Have fun.
“My church has members with disabilities. We include them but this program really helped me better understand how to improve our approach.” – Doris