What You Should Know About Schizophrenia- A Brief Article, A Slideshow, You Tube Videos Personal and In-Depth, and Orthodox Christian Perspectives

  • Sensory Hallucinations- Seeing, Hearing, Smelling. 
  • Chemical Imbalances or a deficit of the hormones necessary for normal brain function

To access a more complete picture of Schizophrenia (without scientific jargon), read the following post and slideshow from The Mighty and WebMD:

What You Should Know About Schizophrenia


WebMD Slideshow: A Visual Guide to Schizophrenia

Also, from You Tube:

A Personal Experience:

An In-depth explanation:


Orthodox Christian Understandings of Mental Illness (More next week, specifically on Schizophrenia): 

You Tube: Mental Health & Orthodox Christianity Miniseries (Six Episodes):

From the Greek Orthodox Ladies Philoptochos Society, Inc.:

Program on Mental Illness

Fully Human: The Special Call of Special Needs

From the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of North America’s Center for Family Care

Offering Family Feature Videos, Podcasts, Articles, Fully Human on Facebook: Inspirational Quotes

toward full participation of people with disabilities and their families in the life of the Church –

The Body of Christ

Articles: 1. Son of Man: Jesus a Fully Human Being 2. Parenting a Child with Special Needs – One Mom’s Perspective

Podcast: The Christy Family – Life in Christ, Life with Cerebral Palsy



When in 2006 I told my Masters Thesis Advisor, Orthodox Priest/Theologian Fr. Ted Pulcini, that I was a bit dismayed when I found that there were no specifically Orthodox Christian Disability resource sites, and that someone should create one, he encouraged me to do it. And so I put together Arms Open Wide: Orthodox Christian Disability Resources. In a few years I discovered other Orthodox Christian blogs developed by mothers and Orthodox Christian with disabilities that addressed the personal aspects of living with a disability or a family member with one or more disabilities. And since then two outstanding Orthodox Christian websites addressing disabilities have been developed.

One is by a mother of autistic children who is herself on the autism spectrum, Summer Kinard. Her offerings: a website (disability resources is only one section of her website) and a book. The website: Summer Kinard: Making Faith Acceptible – Autistic Joy &  – Sacred Mosaics, Not Puzzles (Disability Resources) & the book: OF SUCH IS THE KINGDOM: A PRACTICAL THEOLOGY OF DISABILITY

And the other is this one, developed by the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of North America: Fully Human: Toward Full Participation of People with Disabilities

While I have sixteen years’ worth of blog posts and many resources listed, I recommend that you turn first to the Fully Human and Summer Kinard websites for your guidance in these things.  And then if you wish you may search Arms Open Wide for the many helpful perspectives, advice, and encouraging inspirational stories that I have found online over the years. Pray and seek, and you will find.

– Reader Ephrem




What will happen to my Special Needs Child when I am gone . . .

. . . A Detailed Guide to Secure Your Child’s Emotional and Financial Future, by Susan Jules

On the website Goodreads. No one has reviewed this book yet. This is an opportunity to evaluate what to all intents and purposes would be a very practical resource for parents of children with disabilities. I would do it, but I’m not a parent. A parent’s endorsement would prompt others’ to consider buying the book. 

To access the Goodreads webpage for this book:

What will happen to my Special Needs Child when I am gone: A Detailed Guide to Secure Your Child’s Emotional and Financial Future by Susan Jules

Also, on the same subject, a webinar on You Tube:

Successful Guardianship Planning for your Child with Special Needs


summerkinard.com: Evidence Based Practices to Welcome People with ADD/ADHD at Church

Summer Kinard gives numerous practical suggestions for accepting children with ADD/ADHD in Church school as well as in the services. focusing on their typical strengths. She also addresses the needs of adults with ADD/ADHD, as the deficits often continue throughout life. 

I can relate, as I have many of the symptoms of ADD/ADHD. It has helped me to sing in choir. But it is frustrating to find myself catching only a small fraction of what is said and what is sung. In choir I can read the words over again, but the problem with this is that it takes me away from what is being said at the moment. I also find that what I do catch, I weigh it, and again miss what is said directly afterwards. Closing my eyes can help, but as a chanter I need to be aware of directions being given. The fact that I read a lot of Orthodox Christian books on prayer and theology (in reversed order from when I was new to the Church) helps me to get back in the flow fairly easily. But these advantages don’t apply to all or even most people with ADD/ADHD, so I would earnestly encourage clergy and church leaders to take heed to what Summer Kinard shares here. AND APPLY IT!

To access Summer Kinard’s post:

Welcoming People with ADD/ADHD at Church

From Summer Kinard on You Tube: 

Synopsis of the Video

Enter the story of the myrrh-bearers in this hands-on, accessible activity that forms memory and attention through the beautiful sensory anchor of myrrh oils. Use these methods at home or at church to engage family members of all abilities (including nonverbal persons). This is a pandemic-friendly activity that shows you how to use what you have on hand! From Summer Kinard, the author of, Of Such is the Kingdom: A Practical Theology of Disability Find more hands-on, accessible lessons and prayers at summerkinard.com


Greek Orthodox Church: Mental Health 101 Webinar

This webinar featuring George Stavros, PhD, MDiv, Executive Director of the Danielson Institute and Clinical Associate Professor of Pastoral Psychology at Boston University provides examples of actual mental health issues as they have been presented in Greek Orthodox parishes, discusses the prevelance of mental health issues in America, outlines the importance of pastoral ministry to those with mental health problems, outlines the need for training for clergy and parish leadership around mental health issues, and provides a structure and strategy for developing strong mental health referral resources for your community.


From the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of North America’s Center for Family Care – Fully Human: The Special Call of Special Needs

The Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of North America’s website addresses the concerns of people with disabilities with the following website. In a culture in which a person’s worth is often measured by what they do and what they produce – their work output, the implication can be that a person who isn’t able to produce much is of less worth needs to be challenged by the Christian understanding of human worth, which is that all human beings are equally valued by God. 

St. Paul, in his first letter to the Corinthians noted that 

. . . not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called. But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things that are mighty; and the base things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are, so that no flesh should glory in His presence. (1:26-30)

In the Church, the Body of Christ, he also says, in the same letter, that

. . . those members of the body which seem to be weaker are necessary.  . . . God composed the body, having given greater honor to that part which lacks it, that there should be no schism in the body, but that members should have the same care for one another. And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; or if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it. (12:22, 24-25)

Earlier in this letter St. Paul rebuked the richer Corinthian brethren for their behavior at the fellowship meal following the service, eating their own sumptuous fare while the poorer members went away hungry. This is the kind of schism, or division, of which he was speaking in the twelfth chapter. Unfortunately, this sort of situation has, here and there, often continued to happen in the Church, as we fall back into the typical human way of creating pecking orders, valuing some and devaluing others. 

And in order to address this tendency, The Greek Orthodox Christian Church of North America has developed this website, to remind us of our high calling.

To Access the Site:

  Fully Human: Toward Full Participation Of People With Disabilities

From Fully Human:

Agape Restoration Society

An Orthodox Christian Mission to Persons with Disability:

Agape Restoration Society

Pictures of persons the ministry seeks to support: Supporting persons with disabilities

The pictures are people from two places, Pittsburgh and Russia.




Orthodox Christian Disability Family Ministry in Des Plaines, Illinois

To Register:  Registration Form   

Faithtree: Removing Barriers: A Step-by-Step Guide to Making Your Parish More Disability Friendly

Did you know that over 54 million Americans—or one out of every five individuals—have a disability? 

That means one out of five people in our churches! People with disabilities are considered one of the world’s largest under-represented groups. The Church is largely unprepared for the burgeoning disabled population. What provisions or programs has your parish taken to insure the safety, inclusion and full participation in the life of the church for persons with disability?  Do the programs and physical facilities of your church invite persons with disability to participate in the life of the Church or do they exclude full participation by creating barriers?  Sadly today, too many families have felt unwelcome, or at the very least, unnoticed by the churches they attend.
We can help.  Faithtree – An Orthodox Christian Ministry

To access the website:

Faithtree Church Resources: Removing Barriers

I’m confident that this resource is a lot more comprehensive than ramps and bathroom stalls, that it will include ways to transform the attitudes of the parishioners and the parish council. 

Some You Tube Videos on Church Accessibility:


Communication and Autism

When Autism Makes Verbal Communication Difficult for Me


9 Things Autistic People Want You to Know About Communication Differences

Also . . . 




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November 2022

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