A lot of the questions we get from individuals and congregations are about cost-friendly resources, or being asked where a ministry can start with improving their accessibility beyond physical structure. So when members of the Disability Ministries advisory team met last month, we put together a “Top 10 list” of sorts that offers ideas, resources, and our thoughts on accommodations that can give a place to start.
This is not an all-encompassing list by any means, but we hope it can give you some ideas, many of which are low cost, on where you can begin the holy work of becoming more accessible in your Christian education programs.
Our Top 10 List of Accommodations A Congregation Can Make:
- Website Design: The way a website is laid out or the fonts chosen for a site can make it difficult, or impossible, for a blind person or a person with low vision to navigate. Here are some articles and resources on website design:
- Introduction to Web Accessibility | Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) | W3C
- 14 Accessible Website Examples to Inspire Yours (hubspot.com)
- Communication Access Realtime Translation (CART) services Captioning Resources | NCRA: CART displays captioning in real time and can be used with screen readers and Braille displays and can be displayed with scalable font. CART can be a great resource in worship for Deaf, Blind, and Deaf/Blind communities.
- Adaptive art supplies for Christian Education: Our friends with disabilities can feel singled out because we sometimes need different or specialized writing and creative tools or items for adapted games that may be locally unavailable. Fortunately, you can find many easy things to have on hand!
These are just a few starter examples, but please note that some things that are helpful to disabled people are the same type of items used in preschools. If at all possible, do not purchase only the items intended for preschoolers. People of all ages benefit from these materials, and age-appropriate ones may be available.
- Use a variety of Bibles: Large print options and the use of multiple translations of scripture can make worship and Bible study more accessible to different people.
- Resources for Blind or Visually-Impaired People: Hadley is a free education resource to help newly Blind and Blind people at all stages of life, offering courses from academic to basic life skills.
- Update language/images used in worship, prayer, Bible study, etc.: The most common questions we get are related to language and how we speak about disability in worship and prayer or showing hospitality to people with disabilities. These articles can help guide you as you consider what is means to do away with ableist language in the life of a ministry or congregation:
- Broadening your leadership: Learn to appreciate the giftedness of ALL your people—disabled and nondisabled— and use their gifts!
We hope this list of resources can be helpful to many of you! There are so many things out there a congregation or ministry site can do for accessibility and inclusion of the disability community. We pray that you will review this list and find other amazing resources as well.