Ministry with Persons with Disabilities

Ministry-Disabled

How to Accommodate

What are some typical accommodations?

Accessible rest rooms Peer buddies
Adequate signage (braille, raised letters) Peer tutors
Alternate progress assessment methods Quality acoustics & sound system
Appropriate seating arrangements Quality lighting 
Assistive listening devices Ramps
Braille materials Sighted guides
Classroom aides Sign language interpreters
Closed captions Smartphone and computer applications for communication 
Creativity Specially trained catechists
Elevators Stair railings
Flexibility Time 
Large print materials Welcoming attitude

Don’t these accommodations cost a lot of money?  
Some types of access improvements are expensive, such as the building of ramps and installing elevators. However, as the U.S. Catholic Bishops explain in their Pastoral Statement on People with Disabilities, “Mere cost must never be the exclusive considerations, however, since the provisions of free access to religious functions for all interested people is a pastoral duty.” Other accommodations cost little or nothing. Many accommodations can be provided by people in the parish. 

To inquire about property/building accommodations for parishes within the Archdiocese of Boston, please contact the RCAB Director of Property Management.

Who can provide some of these accommodations?  
Certainly, everyone in the parish can have a welcoming attitude and can be open, flexible, creative and patient. Classmates, older students and aides can assist with writing, page turning, note taking, reading, carrying supplies and providing help where it is needed. 

How should the most appropriate instructional setting be determined?  
A student should be placed in the most inclusive instructional setting possible. Options are to be considered in the following order: inclusion in a typical class with no additional supports, integrations in a typical class with appropriate accommodations, part time instruction in a typical class and part time in a segregated setting either in a small group or one-to-one, or full time in a segregated setting in a small group or one-to-one. 

Who should be involved in the process of determining what is most appropriate for each student?  
The best approach is a collaborative one with input from the individual with the disability, family member(s), the catechetical leader, the catechist, the pastor or pastoral associate, and, if appropriate, the student’s school teacher. Great care should be taken to respect confidential information which may be discussed in the process.