The Orthodox Christian Deaf Association

On the home page of the recently founded OCDA there is a video of a young lady, Savannah Foster, who is signing. To access:

The Orthodox Christian Deaf Association (OCDA)

Their Facebook Page: Facebook: Orthodox Deaf Association

See also: Why the OCDA? Q&A Savannah can be seen on the video below at the bottom right corner of signing a Divine Liturgy at Holy Cross Orthodox Church in Linthicum, Maryland on July 6, 2020. She is wearing a mask as a precaution against the COVID-19 virus.  She appears  4 minutes, 47 seconds into the video:




Religious Sisters with Down syndrome: the joy of shared contemplative life: The Little Sisters Disciples of the Lamb

To access their story:

Religious Sisters with Down syndrome: the joy of shared contemplative life: The Little Sisters Disciples of the Lamb

By Cyprien Viet

Little Sisters Disciples of the Lamb

This Roman Catholic community, located in the small town of LeBlanc, France, was founded in 1985, and consisted of two sisters, Line and Veronique. Today the community consists of ten sisters, eight of whom have down syndrome.   They are “little sisters” because they follow the “little path” of the Roman Catholic Saint Teresa Lisieux.

The sisters engage in weaving, gardening, pottery, as well as contemplation and prayer. They have a website entitled . . . 

Little Sisters Disciples of the Lamb.

To access the website:


Look At Me: Why Looking Past Disability is Toxic for Relationships, from Beth’s Blog . . .


 Welcome to your Near-Beth-Experience

Beth is an Orthodox Christian who has been happily married for some years now. Before she was married,  one evening, at a Girls’ Night with friends, the topic of a perfect mate came up. She commented that her future mate would look past her disability (she has cerebral palsy and navigates by wheelchair). Later, though, she thought more about this, and concluded that she would want him to accept and love her as she is, which includes her disability, a  part of who she is. Their life together would include details related to her disability, and this would need to be considered; otherwise, there would be unreal expectations. Let her explain all this herself, as she is a talented writer:

Look At Me: Why Looking Past Disability is Toxic for Relationships

This issue is very important to teenagers and young adults (and middle and old aged people for that matter) who desire a spouse. Her words are wise.

A year after this post, another post by her husband, John Thielman! –  Love, Needs, Giving: A Partner’s Perspective on Disability


Here is a couple who are “interdisabled.”  (1 caregiver/partner + one disabled partner). They have a You Tube page: Squirmy and Grub’s You Tube Page

Here is one of the videos on their You Tube Page:


Disability in the Ottoman Arab World, 1500-1800 by Sara Scalenghe


Disability in the Ottoman Arab World, 1500-1800 by Sara Scalenghe

Image taken from page 349 of 'Narrative of a Journey through Greece, in 1830. With remarks upon the state of the naval and military power of the Ottoman Empire'Free to Download and Read Online:

Disability in the Ottoman Arab World, 1500-1800 by Sara Scalenghe

Book review:

Disability in the Ottoman Arab world, 1500–1800. By David M. Turner


Understanding Invisible Disabilities

Not all disabilities are evident. This creates a difficulty for a person with such a disability – if their disability manifests itself in public, others will think they are strange, or troublemakers. Judging them by their first impression is not fair! As Jesus said, “Do not judge by appearances, but judge with right judgment.” Matushka Wendy had four children with invisible disabilities, and shares her experiences with this dilemma: Church and the Child with Invisible Disabilities

by Matushka Wendy Cwiklinski with an Addendum by Michele Karabin

To learn more, see the website of the IDA, which supports those with invisible disabilities, their family, and their friends: Invisible Disabilities® Association

See also:

Picture from Undiagnosed

St. Nicholas Program: Virtual Special Needs Family Camp (Free online) June 19-23, 2020

St. Nicholas Program: Virtual Special Needs Family Camp (Free online) June 19-23, 2020

From the Orthodox Youth Directors in North America: Youth with Disabilities Resources (20 of them)

From the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of North America &

Orthodox Youth Directors in North America:

Youth with Disabilities Resources

If you’re looking for an official Orthodox Christian disability resource page, here you have it! A concise and compact list of resources for the heart and the hands. One needs to relate to people with disabilities with respect and understanding, which the articles and books will provide. The video and practical resources provide direction for initiating interaction with children, youth, and adults with disabilities. If you are pondering where to start, the first list will get your head and your heart in the right place, and the second will provide a  plan of action.

I write “interaction with children, youth, and adults” rather than “ministry for . . .” because the relationships you will build with these folks will be a two way street. Not only will you minister to them, they will minister to you!” I can honestly say that after 30 years as an advisor in a community home to persons with intellectual disabilities, I feel as though I have received more than I have given. These individuals do not put on a false face for show, nor do they practice guile. Their personalities run the full gamut of human variation. And while these friends of mine can try my patience, frequently, they demonstrate that they are made in the image of God by their sincerely caring hearts (well, not all, but almost all). Some have been so deeply wounded in their souls that they put themselves in a protective shell and are hostile to attempts to get through to them. But most of these persons who come to us with their guard up drop their defenses when they recognize that we seek their good. 

And of course, they also have abilities. Focus on the abilities.

Videos from the list: the first one comes from the Orthodox Youth Directors of North America, the creators of the list: 

The second, third, and fourth, from Maura Oprisko:


The Greek-American Girl (which is the name of her blog), in her About Me page, writes, ” I am especially interested in using creativity to

Flicker: Adohnes

Flicker: Adohnes

heal, in the service of health.” Her blog addresses the everyday life she knows as well as serious issues. She has a lot to say about the disability of bipolar disorder; her father was bipolar. This is a painful memory for her, and she digs deep into the matter. 

To access:


She does talk about her Orthodox Christian faith in the blog, under the category It’s Your Saint Day.

 After all the Orthodox Church is about healing (nous, soul and body – in that order), which is her stated goal. (What is the nous? There is no equivalent word in English for it. Read this to get a clearer picture of what the nous is:

The Nous

Autism and the Orthodox Church, Executive Function, Diets, and Meltdowns at School

2 Posts and a Blog

A mother with an autistic son becomes an Orthodox Christian; with time she realizes the multi-sensory quality of Orthodox Christian worship was beneficial to her son. She also came to another conclusion in regard to her son and the Church:

Our Lord places a person with autism in an Orthodox parish for the salvation of that parish. The Church ministers to autism by letting autism minister to the Church.

She continues:

[Her son] Willson is not angelic. He is in need of forgiveness and redemption just like those of us who are more typically developing. But Willson’s spiritual life shines forth a beautiful simplicity that ministers to the rest of us strugglers.

This post directs the reader to some of her other posts of interest, such as her journey from Protestant Evangelical to Orthodox, Communal Salvation, and two other posts concerning autism. 

To access:

Autism and Orthodoxy – A Few Notes

The Blog of an autistic mother of an autistic child consists of five posts. She writes about diet, an aid to executive function, acceptance, and her experiences with the Orthodox Church, as well as reviewing a book: Goodreads – I Love Being My Own Autistic Self: A thAutoons Book by Landon Bryce. 

To access the blog:

Not of this World

From The MIGHTY:

This Is Why Some Kids on the Autism Spectrum Can Have Meltdowns After Their School Day

For those of you are not familiar with the multi-sensory nature of Orthodox Christian worship:

3 Children’s Books With Main Characters Who have a Disability

Reviewed by Charlotte Riggle

Horace Pippin (self-portrait)

Charlotte’s Website:


From the website of  angela m isaacs, children’s book author & freelance writer:

3 Children’s Books With Disabled Main Characters: Kidlit Karma August 2018

The Three Books:

Picture Book: “A SPLASH OF RED: THE LIFE AND ART OF HORACE PIPPIN by Jen Bryant and Melissa Sweet (The Book’s Goodreads webpage: Goodreads: A Splash of Red . . .)

Middle Grade: “INSIGNIFICANT EVENTS IN THE LIFE OF A CACTUS” by Dusti Bowling (The Book’s Goodreads webpage: Goodreads: Insignificant Events in the Life of . . .)

Middle Grade: “HANDBOOK FOR DRAGON SLAYERS” by Merrie Haskell (The Book’s Goodreads webpage: Goodreads: HANDBOOK FOR DRAGON SLAYERS)

A newly published Ancient Faith Press book by Angela M. Isaacs: I PRAY TODAY

From the Antiochian Orthodox Department of Christian Education:

Orthodox Christian Parenting: Gleanings from a Book: “I Pray Today” by Angela Isaacs

Also by Angela M. Isaacs: Goodnight Jesus

Charlotte Riggle’s Books:  Catherine’s Pascha & The St. Nicholas Day Snow





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