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How can a church meet the needs of a disabled person and his or her family?

As the Spanish proverb says, "The beginning of health is to know the disease." Likewise, ministering most effectively to someone with a disability will greatly depend on the nature and degree of the person's disability. However, in general, I think there are three practical steps we can take in order to best meet a person's spiritual, emotional and sometimes physical needs.

We can be assertive in reaching out toward someone. People with disabilities will often shy away from asking for particular types of less obvious need, such as nurturing and emotional support. If we fail to ask, we may never discover a person's greatest unmet need and may instead offer them helps they've already received from someone else.

We can also be proactive in learning as much as we can about a specific disability. By developing our understanding with accurate knowledge, we can more readily offer a compassionate response to a person in need and may be in a better position to reach out to the person's family.

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