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How can we make a positive difference in our churches and communities in working with people with disabilities? This list is not meant to be all-inclusive but to get you started. Have fun and get going!

  • Relationships, relationships, relationships. Become friends of people with disabilities. Just starting by saying “hi!” can be the beginning of a wonderful friendship. 
  • Don’t worry about saying the wrong thing. If you don’t know what to do, ask! 
  • Look around where you are. Are there barriers that prevent people with disabilities from taking part in your activities? Take a few hours and “walk in their shoes” by mimicking their disabilities. You can do this by wearing a blindfold, being in a wheelchair, putting ear plugs in your ears, etc.
  • Families who have children/teens with disabilities may benefit from a night out. Can you come over and take care of their child/teen to provide respite? Can your church/community rally around the family to provide respite on a regular basis?
  • Provide a meal on a regular basis. Have a group be responsible for a family (or more if they are a large group) and have different people within the group take turns providing a meal for the family.
  • Telephone support. Have a group take turns contacting the family and see how they are really doing. Is there anything the group can do to help the family? Don’t forget people who deal with chronic health issues such as depression/ADD/ADHD. Sometimes knowing that you care about them may help them get through another day.
  • Ask the parents of a child/teen what you can do to make the environment as positive and meaningful as possible for the entire family. 
  • There are a lot of people who are unable to drive and it becomes easy to isolate and vegetate at home. It also gets old asking for a ride. Instead, ask if you can give them a ride.
  • Most of all, show them you really care about them by paying attention and seeing how you can make a real difference in their lives.
  • Don’t treat teens and adults with intellectual disabilities as if they are children. They may have trouble processing some information every person should be treated with respect.
  • Don’t assume that people with disabilities can’t serve/work in churches and communities. Get them involved. If they are unable to do something, they will tell you. 

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