It must be terribly frightening to see one’s abilities slowly fade. I do not yet live with losses like this, so I do not want to speak lightly of them. But many, many other people do live joyfully with disabilities of various kinds, including loss of eyesight and Parkinson’s.
"People shouldn't dismiss people like me just because I sound different. In that sense, I'd like them to think of it as little more than an accent. However, I also can't get away from the reality that it is a disability, it has caused me to struggle throughout my life, just to communicate."
Let's not eliminate all segregated classrooms and sheltered work and congregate activities. Let's work against ableism, including the implicit ableism that in a patronistic way seeks to eliminate valid choices for activities made by some people with disabilities.
In 1867 San Francisco city leaders declared, “Any person who is diseased, maimed, mutilated, or in any way deformed so as to be an unsightly or disgusting object, or an improper person to be allowed in or on the streets, highways, thoroughfares or public places in the City of County of San Francisco, shall not therein or thereon expose himself or herself to public view.”
This summer, synod encouraged all Christian Reformed churches to adopt a church policy on disability and to appoint at least one person in the congregation to serve as a church disability advocate. Has your church taken both of these steps?
Our popular "Inclusion Handbook: Everybody Belongs, Everybody Serves" includes articles by disability advocates from several Christian traditions and provides tools to welcome and engage people with disabilities in church life.
A campaign of misinformation brought about the defeat of the ratification of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) in the U.S. Senate last December. Likely, a motion to ratify it will be brought to the Senate Foreign Relations committee this June. Now is the time to begin contacting Senators to correct that misinformation so the next vote to ratify will be successful.
In spite of the facts, the media, talk show hosts, humorists, bloggers, and uninformed citizens insist that people with mental illnesses pose a threat of violence. The myth that people with mental illness are violent creates demands for unwarranted limitations on their rights and freedoms.
Shortly after I started in July 2006 she initiated a meeting with me in which she told me who I needed to watch out for, who I could trust as a fellow advocate, and who and where I needed to “push.” I think that “push” was one of her favorite words. For me, pushing is going to be harder with Nella gone.
The 1956 law creating Social Security Disability Insurance, still in force, treats a disabled worker as an oxymoron. You are either a worker or you are disabled — not both.
Some may fear that this law will "dumb down" competition, but that's not the point. As with employment provisions of the ADA, kids must be able to play the sport well to make the team. However, certain conventions exclude kids with disabilities.
Just as psychologists have established criteria for diagnosing mental illness, we need criteria to identify when someone has slid so far down the path of moral unhealth that he would be called morally ill and in need of treatment. This approach would look for insights from various disciplines including theology.
Thirty-three percent of families changed their place of worship because their child with a disability was not included or welcomed into the life of the congregation. Of these families who left, some of them not only left their congregation, but left their faith tradition!
After finishing his Ph.D. cum laude, Herb Greenberg applied for 600 jobs, was offered 85 interviews, but when prospective employers found out he was blind, that number was reduced to three.
Deacons are catalysts for change and it's only natural that that would include working for justice in our churches for people with disabilities. Join us for Part 3 of our 4 part series exploring the connectedness between Disability Concerns and Deacons.