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This article is part of our Breaking Barriers Fall 2021. This installment features articles on people living with speech differences and the challenges they face, adaptations they have made, and the power of listening and being heard. If you'd like to read more stories from this issue, please subscribe to Breaking Barriers.

Editorial - A Countercultural Practice

by Terry A. DeYoung

Terry shares about his friendship with Cecil, an elderly man who lives with limited vision and hearing, as well as slower speech. Practicing a slower, more deliberate pace to connect with Cecil is a countercultural discipline, but it’s also a gift that can serve everyone well.

You’re Right, I Talk Funny

by Dan Vander Plaats, Orland Park CRC, Orland Park IL

Dan shares about his challenges with a speech difference. He shares that he has used his disability to explore people's attitudes around disability, and in doing so, realizes that God uses his disability for God’s purposes.

Restored through My Eyes 

by Carma Smidt, Sibley CRC, Sibley IA

Carma lives with spinal muscular atrophy. In recent years, it has affected her ability to speak. While initially praying to God to restore her capacity to speak, she has realized that God has provided other means for communication for which she is thankful.

What? Is the Question

by Elizabeth E. Schultz, The Church at Benjamin's Hope, Holland MI

Elizabeth’s cerebral palsy affects her speech among other things. Although being asked “What?” can be frustrating, she interprets that question as a signal that someone cares enough to seek understanding of what she is saying, and that they value her as a person.

Therapy Connects Speech Pathways

by Janna Libolt, Third CRC, Lynden WA

Born with severe childhood apraxia, Janna’s daughter Norah has been incredibly busy keeping up with a busy schedule of therapy and extra curricular activities that help develop her speech and gross motor skills. Her persistence is helping her make great strides in her overall health!

Interrupted, Ignored, and Isolated

by Chris Klein, Victory Point Ministries (CRC), Holland MI

Chris lives with athetoid cerebral palsy, which means his muscles never stop moving. He uses an alternative communication device (AAC) to communicate. Although Chris continues to accomplish many goals he has set for himself in his life, he often is ignored or minimized and feels isolated from community, including the church community.

Next Issues:

Winter 2022 - Young people with disabilities. In Canada and the United States, about 13 percent of people ages 15–30 live with a disability. Are you one of them? By November 8, 2021, please tell us a story (up to 400 words) about living with a disability when nearly 90 percent of your peers do not.

Spring 2022 - Acquired disability. How has your disability—acquired through stroke, accident, illness, aging—affected you, your relationships, your work, your spiritual life? What have you lost and what have you gained? Please tell us a story (up to 400 words) about your acquired disability by February 7, 2022.

Awards and Past Issues 

This newsletter and the Disability Concerns blog (, co-published by CRC and RCA Disability Concerns ministries, received three awards from the Associated Church Press recently for work done in 2020: 

  • For the Best in Class-Newsletter category, the Award of Excellence (first place) for Breaking Barriers

  • For the Reporting and Writing-Theme Issue category, the Award of Excellence (first place) for Breaking Barriers, Spring 2020, on visual impairment and blindness

  • In the blog category, the Award of Merit (second place) for the Disability Concerns blog on the Network. 

In addition to this issue, find back issues of Breaking Barriers and editions in Español and in 한국어, plus a link for electronic subscriptions, at either the CRC website ( or RCA website (

Otoño 21 │ Diferencias en el habla


There is no link for the pdf version of the fall newsletter. I followed the link from the email and looked around the website but did not find it. Will there be a pdf version available?

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