Model Programs From Various Faith Traditions (May Message from the President)

In meeting with people from faith groups and denominations, I am often asked about model programs that might be closest to the “state of the art” in terms of including persons with various disabilities. Recent research has also caused me to ask that question, particularly from an interfaith perspective. What are best practices in the Muslim community, for example, and where might those best practices be observed? Where is the “state of the art” best evidenced among Mormons? Where can I go to view model programs within the Jewish community?

In meeting with people from faith groups and denominations, I am often asked about model programs that might be closest to the “state of the art” in terms of including persons with various disabilities. Recent research has also caused me to ask that question, particularly from an interfaith perspective. What are best practices in the Muslim community, for example, and where might those best practices be observed? Where is the “state of the art” best evidenced among Mormons? Where can I go to view model programs within the Jewish community? Are particular denominations leading the way for the Christian world, and/or what churches are doing a particularly good job? Additionally, across faith traditions, what “parachurch” organizations (religious organizations that are not necessarily operated within a particular faith tradition), practice models that support the goals of our division because they are not only true to their tradition, the represent what might be called best secular practices like integration, age appropriateness and functional skill faith development?

I would propose that our division begin to collect the names of model programs across faith groups. AAIDD members and nonmembers could refer programs known to them that would be placed on a list, potentially on a webpage.

However, in the short term, I would simply request that both AAIDD members and anyone who happens to receive this newsletter, please send an email to me with good programs that they might be aware of. I would also say, the more faith traditions represented, the better. Perhaps just a name of the particular faith group or program, the location and their website would be great start. These names could be sent to me at mail@jeffmcnair.com where I would create the listing.

Personally, this information would assist me significantly with work I engage in and could also open the door to an informational resource that the larger faith community would benefit from. Please do email me those names and thank you so much for your assistance!

Blessings,
Jeff McNair

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