With awareness and advocacy of the disability world growing it is important for the church to get on board and prepare. Often times we have people with special needs sitting in our pews and don’t even know it. Does your church have a special needs ministry? Are your ushers prepared to serve people with special needs? If so, great! If not, here are some tips to get you started.
1. Be yourself!
Treat your special needs guests with the same love you would anyone else.
2. Be careful of seating.
Is the person in a wheelchair? Are the aisles easy to navigate? Ask the person where they’d like to sit. Don’t just assume they’d like to sit in the overflow area. If there are seats available in the main seating area, offer them.
3. Use people first language.
“Sam has a disability” not “Sam is disabled.”
4. Be compassionate
Remember, most people with disabilities have Developmental Disabilities, meaning they were either born with it or it onset before age 18. Having the disability is outside of their control just like your height.
You cannot catch the disability! I’ve come across so many people who act like disabilities are contagious. THEY’RE NOT!!
I hope these tips are helpful. People with disabilities are just that, people. They have feelings and love the Lord just like you and me.
About the Author:
Krysten Cooper is an Administrative Coordinator at a day program for adults with Developmental Disabilities and a caregiver. She's been working in the disability field for over 10 years. In addition, she provides virtual administrative assistance to families of children with disabilities. She is a member of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Incorporated and she blogs at www.KrystenCooper.org. Krysten resides in the Los Angeles area.