Nurturing Independence in Prayer

Welcome! This post provides supporting materials for my contribution to the GOARCH Center for Family Care webinar, “Nurturing Independence in Families with Disabilities.”

Encouraging Independence in Prayer


Start with an Accessible Prayer Corner so that everyone in your family or classroom is able to reach the holy icons and interact with them. See my tutorial here.

Next, incorporate action prayers into your home prayer life and church school settings. We already recognize some action prayers from church: lighting candles, kissing icons, bringing flowers, bowing, receiving the blessing from incense, bringing vigil candles, making our cross. We can build on those central action prayers in our homes and classrooms, too. Here are a few slides with examples:


For many people with disabilities, AAC (augmentative and alternative communication) is a helpful tool. You might have a type of AAC called a speech output device (or an app) for yourself or a family member. To help make prayer together easier, you might also print out, make readily available, and pray with these four visual prayer aids:





The communication board for Confession is to be used to help nonverbal or situationally mute people communicate with the priest during Confession. It has been reviewed and approved by my spiritual father as a helpful tool. For simplicity’s sake, I based the pages on the parts of the prayer before Communion in the Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom.

For more about praying and learning with people with disabilities, follow this blog and purchase my book, Of Such is the Kingdom: A Practical Theology of Disability, now available as an audiobook on Audible (aff link)!

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