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The metaphor of a journey is an imaginative way to describe the changing attitudes that we hold toward persons with disabilities. Dan Vander Plaats, Elim Christian Services, has created an ingenious one-page tool (pictured at right; click it to enlarge) for generating conversation about attitudes. He outlines five stages that often characterize the journey of disability attitudes.
5 Stages Resources:
Dan Vander Plaats We need not feel bad if our journey has just begun. If we find ourselves in an early stage, another stage in the journey beckons to us, inviting us to take a step toward stronger relationships with people with disabilities and deeper awareness of their indispensable place in the body of Christ. Spending time with someone who has a disability is vital when we want to move to the next stage in the journey.
The following is a short synopsis of the 5 Stages described more fully in the resources listed above. We hope this glimpse will motivate you to learn more and accept the invitation to walk a little further in your journey.
Stage 1: Ignorance. I am uncomfortable around people with disabilities and try to avoid them. They are not my responsibility.
Stage 2: Pity. People with disabilities are needy, and I feel sorry for them.
Stage 3: Care. Like me, people with disabilities were created in God’s image. I hope that someone will show them God’s love.
Stage 4: Friendship. I have come to know and spend time with a friend with a disability. My friend has value in God’s sight, and also in mine.
Stage 5: Co-Laborers. People with disabilities are co-laborers in God’s kingdom, sharing ministry gifts needed by the body of Christ.
Visit the 5-Stages website to download this tool.