Inclusion is within everyone's ability

November 28th, 2017

Since 1992, each year on December 3rd the United Nations has promoted the observance of International Day of Persons with Disabilities. The purpose of this day is to stimulate conversation around disability issues and advocate for the rights, welfare and self-worth of people with physical, intellectual and/or emotional disabilities. Around the world countries will celebrate the contributions of individuals with disabilities and hold conversations exploring ways to improve the integration of those with disabilities in every aspect of everyday life.

The stigma of disability

Over the past few decades, the Americans with Disabilities Act has pushed for greater incorporation of people with disabilities. Advocates also promote “least restrictive environments” for the education of students and the daily lives of adults, resulting in more individuals with disabilities taking part in everyday activities with people without disabilities. For many people this increased presence is welcome and encouraged. However, the past stigma of disability causes some to respond with fear or judgment. Abnormal behaviors and appearances keep some people from wanting to interact with persons with disabilities. They are afraid of doing something wrong or offending them. A disabling condition can also result in negative perceptions and assumptions about one’s ability to contribute to society or the potential for friendship. The unfavorable reputation of people with disabilities still lingers in public arenas today, hindering the progress of the full-inclusion movement.

One in Christ

We all have different colored eyes and hair, but no one considers these differences as problematic. However, many physical, intellectual and emotional disparities amongst people define some individuals as “disabled” and “lesser than” those without certain conditions. Galatians 3:28 says, “There is neither Jew nor Greek; there is neither slave nor free; nor is there male or female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” Though the world may identify many differences that cause division, the body of Christ is called to be united despite the differences — “for [we] all are one in Christ Jesus.”

Question of the day: How do teenagers today react to people with disabilities?
Focal scriptures: 1 John 4:7-21; Isaiah 11:1-9; Luke 14:15-24

For a complete lesson on this topic visit LinC.

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