10 Ways to Reach Out to People with Disability in Your Community

  • By: Joni and Friends
  • June 22, 2012

Mother hugging son with disabilityPeople with disability often face a higher risk of being excluded in their churches and community, but you can make a difference! Here are 10 easy ways for you to start reaching out to people affected by disability in your community:

1. If you are able-bodied, don’t park in handicap accessible parking spaces – not even for a moment.
2. Make an effort to include people with disabilities in church and community gatherings. Isolation is a health hazard.
3. If you think assistance might be needed, don’t hesitate to ask a person with disability how you might help. That person can tell you the easiest and safest way.
4. Ask your local library to increase their selection of large print books.
5. Spearhead a committee to raise funds for an elevator, ramp, or curb cut where it may be needed.
6. Hold the door open for a person using a wheelchair or crutches.
7. It may be difficult for parents of children with disabilities to find experienced babysitters, but they, too, need an evening out now and then. Offer to help!
8. Suggest that your church or organization take on a service project. You can rake lawns, do repair jobs, or wash windows for homeowners with disabilities in your area.
9. Make sure walkways and aisles are wide enough that a wheelchair can navigate freely.
10. Most importantly, just be friendly!

Can you think of other ways to be hospitable in your community? Share your ideas below!

Click here to print out the list of ways to reach out.



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If you are out shopping and need to return a cart, but the return cart area is up on a hill don't be afraid to suggest to the store that they make those areas more handicapped accessible. Not only for yourself but also for others they may be elderly or more handicapped than yourself.
  • Jan. 5, 2018
  • 8:05 a.m.
  • Donna Metz
Please don't say your facility is accessible if your restrooms aren't accessible without stairs if you have no elevator - or if there is no stall large enough for wheelchair access. And please don't use the accessible stall if you don't need the bars or space. Many elderly rely on these accommodations as well as those in wheelchairs.
  • Dec. 10, 2014
  • 10:37 a.m.
  • Diane Head
Instead of asking, "Do you neeeeed help?" try something like, "I'd love to help may I?" - it's a lit more inviting and doesn't make the helpee feel helpless. And as the article says, ask what the best way to help is - not all people have the same needs.
  • Dec. 10, 2014
  • 9:18 a.m.
  • MJ
Make sure your church has volunteer/ministry opportunities for the disabled to participate in. Could be the simplest thing, maybe a prayer ministry set up online. Just something to make the people feel like they are members and not just tag-alongs.
  • July 11, 2014
  • 7:22 p.m.
  • Mary
I just had knee surgery after years of painful problems and osteoarthritis. Now I have to walk around for the upcoming six weeks with a leg brace which keeps the leg stiff and crutches. I can only walk very slowly and don't have a car, so I need to rely on public transport. It helps me so much and makes me so happy when someone gives their seat up on the tram so I can sit down, when someone holds a door open for me and when people show understanding about my leg sticking out on the tram because I can't bend my knee. Suddenly I realize what a difference even these tiny things make!
  • July 2, 2012
  • 3:54 a.m.
  • Claudia
I'm a single woman with cerebral palsy. I attend Rock Creek Church. When I told my women's group I would like a little help, they formed "Team Lyla." Each of them bring me meals once a month and help me in other ways. One even decorates my quad-cane! We could Rock the country if we'd learn to help each other.
  • June 25, 2012
  • 11:48 a.m.
  • Lyla Swafford
Remember, not all disabilities limp or show scars; not all people with disabilities use white canes or wheelchairs; and autistic children grow up to become adults on the autism spectrum.
  • June 23, 2012
  • 9:10 a.m.
  • Lyn
Thinking of you phone calls or notes. Can you reach something for them on higher store shelves or in the refrigerator or freezer sections. Some people ask you if they can help, don't be embarassed or stubborn. Thank them, you have both been blessed.
  • June 22, 2012
  • 1:51 p.m.
  • michelle
This suggestion goes with not using the handicapped parking spaces. "In the supermarket parking lot, don't leave your shopping cart clustered arond the yellow pole,with the sign on it, in the handicapped parking space". If carts are left this way, they often block access to and make it tough to pull into a handicapped parking space.
  • June 22, 2012
  • 10:38 a.m.
  • Cathy Helm
Youth and children's ministry leaders can make a huge difference by asking parents who have children/youth with disabilities by just asking how they can make accommodations and/or modifications to better include their child in programming events.There are simple changes that can be made to include everyone. When a family feels like their child is accepted and included, the family will likely feel that way too.
  • June 22, 2012
  • 9:01 a.m.
  • Stacie M
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