The complete title of Erik Carter's Monday Morning presentation at the 2012 Summer Institute on Theology and Disability was What Matters Most: Families, Disabilities, and Compelling Congregational Supports. He shared research he is doing on practices of faith communities and the importance of congregational supports for youth with disabilities. Later in the week Eric lead a discussion meaningful markers that indicate a congregation is doing a god job of welcoming individuals with disabilities.
Research Project on Congregational Supports for Youth with DisabilitiesStrengths, Spirituality, and Well-Being Among Young People with Autism or Intellectual Disabilities Project:
- 6 million people have the label of developmental disability in the United States (approximately 3%).
- 30% of all families have a member of their immediate family or a relative who has a developmental disability.
- Developmental disabilities cuts across every demographic group.
- Jake would like to attend your congregation, but has autism and will needs some people to sit with him all of the time.
- Jake is a new member of your congregation, he'll fit in well with the others in his youth group and is great at remembering names.
Meaningful Congregational Markers
- Parent advocacy
- Professional advocacy
- Was a person missed when absent? Does someone check in if they are gone?
- Authentic relationships (that include going through hard times together/arguing).
- A person to call when in need?
- A person that you can call a friend who is a peer.