Archive for the 'accessibility' Category

Our Church and People with MH Issues

To access:  Is Your Church Healthy for People with Mental Illness? 3 ways your congregation can embrace those with mental disorders, by Michael R. Lyles

Even though people with mental health issues often give rise to fear in others, our Faith, the Orthodox Christian Faith, calls us to love them and seek to incorporate them in our parishes, the Body of Christ in our locales. This article is written by Dr. Michael R. Lyles, a psychiatrist. The suggestions in this article can be incorporated into Orthodox Christian Church life; there is nothing in our Liturgical Life, our Parish Life, that would prevent this. Of course, all of these things must be taken to our God-loving Bishops for their blessing. As St. Ignatius of Antioch has written on the way to his martyrdom in Rome, we must do nothing apart from our bishops. 

Two videos, featuring Dr. Stephen Grcevich, addressing these matters in more depth:

Making Christmas Easier for Special Needs Families

From the blog of Summer Kinard; TO ACCESS:

Holiday Tips for Making Christmas Easier for Special Needs Families

Merry Christmas! Christ is born; glorify Him!

From the You Tube Page of Liturgica– An animated version of the story of Christmas as found in the well known Icon of the Nativity, drawn by Bonnie Gilles, and accompanied with the Byzantine chant rendition of The Kontakion of the Nativity (composed by St. Romanos the Melodist in the 6th century), sung by Fr. Apostolos Hill (Give the video a moment to load):


Embracing All God’s Children

This is a marvelous resource for parents or friends of children (or adults) with special needs!

Children from Bangladesh

The full title: 

Embracing All God’s Children: Including Those with Special Needs in the Church Community, by Wendy Cwiklinski

Ms. Cwiklinski (Matushka Wendy – she’s an Orthodox Priest’s wife) has several children with disabilities of her own and personally knows the challenges.

She briefly explains the nature of invisible disabilities, PDD (which includes autism), ADHD, Mental Health Issues, and Co-Morbid Disorders (LD, Tourette Syndrome, ODD, Anxiety and Depression, SID). She then gets into the many sources of help (a wellness team) for the challenges which must be addressed. And there are suggestion on how the Church family can help to include the special needs person in your family, or in your circle of friends. There are helpful illustrations and pictures in this presentation, including a picture of her family.

To Access:

Embracing All God’s Children


Other Helpful resources by Wendy Cwiklinski for Download

Loving an Autistic Child at Church, by Charlotte Riggle

Charlotte Riggle is an Orthodox Christian mother of children with various neurological conditions. They have grown up now, and in this blog post shared her reflections on seeing children with these issues through to an abiding relationship with a Church community, from their childhood years into their adult lives. She has experienced the challenge of doing this, and speaks from her reflections on her personal experiences. 

Charlotte Riggle: Loving An Autistic child At Church

Here is another Orthodox Christian mother who has taken up the same challenge:

 The Least of These: Raising Autism in the Church, with Dignity


Summer Kinard: Patron Saints of Autism

An Article from Summer Kinard’s website “writing, autism, & theology as a mother of joy:”

The Patron Saints of Autism

Access the Article by Clicking on the Title below):

Patron Saints of Autism

Wikimedia: the Most Holy Theotokos

Wikimedia: St. Antony

Wikimedia: St. John Maximovich

Wikimedia: St. Bartholomew

Wikimedia: St. Panteleimon

Wikimedia: St. Anastasia


Many people probably have Aphasia and don’t even know it!

What is Aphasia?

Aphasia is a language disorder that happens when you have brain damage. Aphasia may make it hard for you to understand, speak, read, or write. It does not make you less smart or cause problems with the way you think.

Signs of Aphasia

Aphasia can lead to a number of different problems. You may have trouble talking, understanding, reading, and writing.

You may find that you:

Can’t think of the words you want to say.
Say the wrong word. Sometimes, you may say something related, like “fish” instead of “chicken.” Or you might say a word that does not make much sense, like “radio” for “ball.”
Switch sounds in words. For example, you might say “wish dasher” for “dishwasher.”
Use made-up words.
Have a hard time saying sentences. Single words may be easier.
Put made-up words and real words together into sentences that do not make sense.
You may:

Not understand what others say. This may happen more when they speak fast, such as on the news. You might have more trouble with longer sentences, too.
Find it hard to understand what others say when it is noisy or you are in a group.
Have trouble understanding jokes.
Reading and Writing
You may have trouble with the following things:

Reading forms, books, and computer screens.
Spelling and putting words together to write sentences.
Using numbers or doing math. For example, it may be hard to tell time, count money, or add and subtract.

Causes of Aphasia

Aphasia is most often caused by stroke. However, any type of brain damage can cause aphasia. This includes brain tumors, traumatic brain injury, and brain disorders that get worse over time.

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On Charlotte Riggle’s Blog: The Logos for My Nonverbal Son, by Summer Kinard

An Orthodox Christian Mom explains the success of an assisted language learning system (PODD) through her own experience with her non verbal son.The mom, whose name is Summer Kinard, also discusses a fuller meaning of the Greek word “Logos” in terms of her son’s developing relationship with her and her husband:

Logos has grown up in a Church filled with words and people and holy images. It cannot be separated from the holy Church or the witness of the icons to the Incarnation. We were never able to know the Logos until He became flesh and dwelt among us.

That’s where I see the Logos growing in my boy. The Logos of God is relationship, not vocabulary. In stilted, simple language, we are limping toward meaning, all the while becoming more and more like God.

And this applies to all who are pressing forward to know the Lord.

The Post: The Logos for My Nonverbal Son

The System: PODD: Pragmatic Organisation Dynamic Display

On You Tube: We Speak PODD



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