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Resources to Improve Access

A parish Opens Doors by applying the principles of universal design to building construction and renovations.  Universal design is the practice of adapting building elements so that the space can be reasonably be used by all people.  It recognizes the diversity of human development, as well as changes brought about by the aging process and variations in health.  The intentional effort to design with others in mind, involves both long-term goals and short-term plans of action. Parishes also Open Doors in clusters when they select physical spaces for events that are most accessible.  The National Catholic Partnership on Disabilities (NCPD) offers these tools:  

Universal Design

Access in Liturgy: Making Liturgical Ministries More Accessible to People with Disabilities - a webinar 

Access to Liturgical Spaces: Welcoming ALL to this Place - a webinar

Accessibility is more than expensive modifications.  It is a new way of thinking using creative alternatives many of which are low cost or no cost.  Churches can take simple, effective and inexpensive steps to make the buildings more physically accessible for people with disabilities.  St. Stephen Parish in Grand Island and S.S. Columba and Brigid in Buffalo have designed their altar space with a ramped access for people with mobility problems.

Also consult the following resources:

Architectural Modifications - offers guidance on constructing ramps, creating an accessible passenger drop‑off and parking spaces

Accessibility Creativity - offers creative alternatives to increase accessibility

Access Blessing - for use each time that the parish has taken another step toward greater accessibility.

 

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