Faith & Disabilities

Accessibility is more than wheelchair ramps

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According to the CDC “A disability is any condition of the body or mind that makes it more difficult for the person with the condition to do certain activities (activity limitation) and interact with the world around them (participation restrictions).” In U.S. culture when we encounter the word “disability,” we might think of specific images like parking spaces or specific mobility tools like a wheelchair. But the experience of being disabled has many layers and includes those with hidden disabilities that we might not always be aware of in the church. 

Disabilities can also include those that people are born with and those that arise at any time in life from accidents, injuries, or illnesses (such as the rise in what people have termed long COVID). Living with a disability means making changes and adjustments to daily life, which can vary day by day and depend on both internal limits and external barriers.

Disabled people will also tell you, the main barriers to accessibility are not the disabilities themselves, but the design of our spaces, processes, and practices that do not take into account people’s needs. The disability community is made up of individuals with diverse needs, and this month we will hear directly from these diverse voices.

This month’s theme includes perspectives from members of the disabilities community related to faith, theology, and the life of the Church. Consider all the ways and contexts in which the articles this month can be shared and discussed!

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