Our Church Opens Minds through awareness about the variety of disabilities that affect people every day. All people are differently-abled. There is no us and them when it comes to disabilities. At some point all people experience some form of disability which makes us all only temporarily-abled. There is a great deal of information about various disabilities available here through documents, weblinks, as well as local service providers and support groups.
The National Catholic Partnership on Disabilities (www.ncpd.org) works in cooperation with the United States Catholic Bishops. NCPD was established in 1982 to promote implementation of the 1978 Pastoral statement of the US Catholic Bishop on People with Disabilities. This statement calls for full inclusion of all persons with disabilities in the church and in society. It is up to people in each parish to make this vision a reality. NCPD publishes a monthly newsletter, hosts occasional webinars and presents Catholic perspectives on disability issues.
There are specific resources, organizations, websites and support groups that serve people with specific disabilities. Among these disabilities are aging issues, Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder, Autism Spectrum disorders, Celiac Disease, central auditory processing, developmental disabilities, Down Syndrome, Dyslexia, Cerebral Palsy, Epilepsy, hearing loss, learning disabilities, mental illnesses (e.g. Alzheimers), Multiple Sclerosis, Muscular Dystrophy, prenatal concerns, Post War Traumatic Syndrome, Rett Syndrome, Spina Bifida, Tourette Syndrome, traumatic brain injuries, and additional disabilities. Please consider the tools and resources provided at this link.
Often the most challenging barriers people with disabilities encounter are the negative attitudes of others, including those which convey stifling pity, fear or repressive miscommunications about a person's abilities. An important first step involves familiarizing personnel and volunteers with the concerns and needs of people with disabilities. Consider the following as a start for basic awareness: