Have you ever wondered why people with disabilities are left on the margins? Why do we keep people with disabilities at arm’s length?
According to Unicef, “Disability is not the impairment itself, but rather attitudes and environmental barriers that result in disability. Children with disabilities are often ‘invisible’ to service providers, and they are at greater risk of violence than their non-disabled peers. Children with disabilities are often disproportionately placed in alternative care, rather than remaining with their families.”
The 5 Stages was created for that very purpose: to change attitudes about people with disabilities.
And in businesses.
So what can you do, and where can you start? You can start by downloading our free ebook, “There is No Asterisk.” Produced in association with Disability Matters, this book pulls together a series of blog posts that introduce the reader to the five different disability attitude categories, and how we can move through that journey of attitudes until we arrive at a co-laboring attitude that sees every person as a God-glorifying full-time participant in our communities.
Get the eBook for iBooks, Kindle, or Nook FREE, just by completing this form:
But don’t forget step 2.
Watch a Video
Our friends at Elim Christian Services put together a video that will help you better understand The 5 Stages in just a few minutes. Featuring a cast made up entirely of people who live with disabilities, you’ll quickly learn just what each attitude looks like, and why it matters.
Watch it. Share it.
Finally, we are excited to share a number of great resources that can help you in your own journey of disability attitudes. Check out the list below and learn more:
Dancing with Max, a book by Emily Colson in which she shares life with her son Max, who has autism.
Sunshine Down, by Gillian Marchenko. Gillian shares not only the challenges of life after giving birth to a daughter who has Down Syndrome, but also shares a very raw account of her own personal challenges from that moment forward.
Read the very short but very eye-opening, and challenging, From Brokenness to Community, by Jean Vanier.
Get a glimpse of how a Catholic priest was deeply changed by life with someone who had disabilities in In the Name of Jesus, by Henri J.M. Nouwen.
Get a solid theological understanding about how we view disability by reading the excellent Same Lake, Different Boat, by Stephanie Hubach.
Henri J.M. Nouwen shares a deeply moving account of the days he spent with his friend in his book, Adam: God’s Beloved.
When you become friends with people who have disabilities, you’ll want to read the Inclusion Handbook, edited by Rev. Mark Stephenson and Rev. Terry De Young.
Including People with Disabilities in Faith Communities, by Erik Carter, provides a comprehensive and practical overview of the challenges of inclusion, as well as the importance of it.
Accessible Gospel, Inclusive Worship, by Barb Newman and Barbara Grit, provides practical insight and tools for including people with disabilities in all aspects of your church and its worship services.
Vulnerable Communion, by Thomas Reynolds, is a moving and deeply theological book that will considers the difficult questions of why God allows disability and what the church can learn from people with disabilities.
DISABILITY MATTERS – Founded by Ellen Stumbo and dedicated to equipping and empowering church leaders to effectively impact the lives of people and families living with disability.
KEY MINISTRY – Key Ministry promotes meaningful connection between churches and families of kids with disabilities for the purpose of making disciples of Jesus Christ.
IRRESISTIBLE CHURCH – Check out Irresistible Church, a blog and resource website put together by Joni and Friends. This site will introduce you to what a welcoming church really looks like.
ELIM CHRISTIAN SERVICES – Inspiration for The 5 Stages, this ministry begun in 1948, continues to preach the value and purpose of every life from a Christ-centered perspective, and has more recently begun sharing its expertise and experience with other ministries around the world.
TESOROS DE DIOS – One of the first ministries to put the ideas of The 5 Stages into practice, Tesoro’s de Dios was also the first to translate The 5 Stages into another language, for their neighbors in Nicaragua.
DISABILITY CONCERNS CRC & RCA – Disability Concerns equips people with and without disabilities to end the isolation and disconnectedness of persons with disabilities and their families, to nurture the spiritual lives of people with disabilities so that they become professing and active members of their churches; and, and to encourage the gifts of people with disabilities so that they can serve God fully in their churches.
FRIENDSHIP MINISTRIES – If you really want to experience what Friendship looks like, get connected with Friendship Ministries and consider adding a Friendship class to your church’s ministry programs. Or, if your church already has a Friendship class, volunteer as a teacher, a helper, or to provide snacks or some other kind of assistance.
CLC NETWORK – For some great and helpful resources to get your whole church on the inclusion bandwagon, consider applying for a G.L.U.E. grant to gain access to the G.L.U.E. Manual and DVD resources from CLC Network, a leader in school and church inclusion resources.