Quinn Price has been completely blind since the age of two.
The Utah native and member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints said he feels empowered to participate fully in his faith because of the many online disability resources that the Church has provided on ChurchofJesusChrist.org and through the Gospel Library app.
Price said he generally uses the Gospel Library app to find Church materials that have been published in electronic braille—a resource that has helped him feel like he can “more efficiently contribute as a member of the Church.”
“Long before I was born it was possible for blind people to access all kinds of Church materials,” Price said. “However, I am confident that it wasn’t nearly so easy. These resources have been an incredible help to my personal gospel education, as well as have helped prepare me to teach classes and give talks in Church.”
The Church of Jesus Christ has a history of trying to extend its reach to all who have physical, mental, and emotional needs. Recent efforts have facilitated navigation on Disabilities.ChurchofJesusChrist.org by implementing sections that relate to certain groups of people and specific topics.
- • Individuals
- • Parents and Caregivers
- • Leaders and Teachers
- Teaching Strategies for Children with Disabilities
- • Videos
- • Policies and Guidelines
- Teachings and Doctrine
- • Additional Resources
- • Accessible Formats
Sections may contain scriptures, quotes from Church leaders, teaching tools, frequently asked questions, and videos to provide hope, faith, and enlightenment to all who either have a disability themselves or to those who have a personal relationship with someone with a disability.
Katie Steed, disability specialist manager for the Church, said the Disabilities.ChurchofJesushrist.org website helps the Church accomplish its vision, which is to “help members with disabilities and their families belong, contribute and progress.” Instead of focusing on the needs of most Church members, Steed said she and her team put all their efforts into addressing the needs of “the one.” This means addressing the needs of more individuals than people might think, she explained.
Steed said the United States’ most recent census determined 19.6% of the population has a disability. “So, if we translate that into our worldwide Church member numbers,” Steed continued, “it would be about one in five Church members who has a disability.”
Through its website and app resources, the Church hopes to assist not just those with a disability, but also Church leaders, parents, and others with tools, resources, and materials that will uplift and spiritually enlighten all. While there are many resources for the blind and deaf, there are also resources for assisting individuals with autism, Down syndrome, and other disabilities.
The resources can be found under Disabilities on the Life Help section of the Church’s wesbite and on the Gospel Library app. All resources are research-based and approved by volunteers who are either deaf, blind or the parent of a child with a disability or have professional experience in the disability field. The disability team at Church Headquarters began meeting with these volunteers more than two years ago to provide meaningful suggestions and feedback about the tools and resources the Church is providing for the public’s use.
“We try not to make assumptions on what people would want,” Steed said. “It all goes back to a common motto in the field of disabilities, ‘Nothing About Us Without Us.’ We want to elevate their voices. So, we will look at the research, and then we will talk with our members to be certain we are truly listening to and meeting their needs.”
This philosophy, along with constantly listening to external voices, helps bring problems into focus that may have been disregarded or unnoticed before.
“There have been several things that have been brought to my attention that could never have been brought to light without the heart of a mother reaching out and telling me about her child’s needs,” Steed said. “It would be hard to find those insights without listening.”
She said she hopes more people will take advantage of the resources the Church has provided and recognize the Church is trying to ensure that each person feels like they are being heard: “We are doing our best to reach all of God’s children,” she said.