Although participation in faith communities is important to many individuals with disabilities, few studies have examined differences between communities that are more (versus less) inclusive. This study investi- gated characteristics of faith communities in the United States related to greater inclusion.
METHODS. Participants were 160 respondents to an anony- mous survey about inclusion. Survey items grouped together to form three inclusion-related outcomes: the degree to which faith communities welcome and include individuals with disabilities; the roles and contributions of congregants with disabilities; and physical accessibility.
RESULTS. Across these outcomes, more inclusive communities (i) featured faith leaders who were more committed to inclusion; (ii) used educational resources to address disability-related issues; (iii) portrayed people with dis- abilities positively in their religious teachings; (iv) had stronger ties to disability organizations; and (v) had a stronger orientation towards promoting social justice.
CONCLUSIONS. These five characteristics have important implications for promoting inclusion in faith communities.
Author(s): Megan M. Griffin, Lydia W. Kane, Courtney Taylor, Susan H. Francis & Robert M. Hodapp
Journal: Applied Research in Intellectual Disabilities