The 5 Stages of Disability Attitudes

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Did you know the Center for Disease Control (United States) recently revealed that 1 in 50 children born today will eventually be diagnosed on the autism spectrum? How surprised are you to hear that people with disabilities are twice as likely to be unemployed or underemployed as their non-disabled peers? How about the fact that 85% of Christian families of persons with a disability do not attend church because they don’t feel welcome? 

What you think about disability has a lot to say about what you think about God. The 5 Stages is rooted in a belief that God is sovereign, that He redeems, and that we are not good in and of ourselves. Ultimately, the worldview behind the 5 Stages brings us to these conclusions:

  • Disability is not a blessing, but it is also not a curse
  • We are all disabled, but we are also not all disabled
  • We don’t get our value from accomplishment, or from our disability, but from God

The 5 Stages is a simple tool for describing the journey of disability attitudes experienced by people who build relationships with those who have disabilities. Its strength lies in its inherent self-assessment nature. When you talk to people about the 5 Stages, they wonder if they are at stage 1 or stage 3 or stage 5, and what it takes to get there. The 5 Stages works well too as a self-assessment tool for churches. 

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