Social Ramps

The Principles of Universal Design Applied to the Social Environment

  • Jeff McNair, Ph.D.
  • Bryan McKinney, M.A.
Keywords: universal social design, social ramps, inclusion, universal design, fellowship, social skill deficits, disability


This article considers a next step in the application of universal design principles, that being universal social design. Using the idea of “social ramps,” we consider seven principles of universal design from a social perspective. Social skill deficits in persons with disabilities has arguably been the reason for exclusion of persons with disabilities. But if the traditions of those without disabilities leads to the exclusion of those with disabilities, then one must wonder who has the social skill deficits? This is particularly the case from a Christian perspective. This article challenges the reader on a variety of levels to reflect on social practices with an eye toward changes leading to inclusion.

Author Biographies

Jeff McNair, Ph.D.

Jeff McNair, Ph.D. is a professor of Special Education and Disability Studies. He also is the Director of the Public Policy Center for the Christian Institute on Disability. He and his lifelong partner in marriage and ministry, Kathi, direct the Light and Power Company ministry at Trinity Church in Redlands, California.

Bryan McKinney, M.A.

Bryan McKinney is an “ecclecentric” believer who loves to serve and advance the gospel wherever the Church is pushing outward into a suffering and dying world. Bryan has an M.A. in Missions, emphasis on Judaic Studies and Jewish Evangelism, from Fuller Seminary, and is pursuing an M.Div at the Master’s Seminary in Sun Valley, CA.

How to Cite
McNair, J., & McKinney, B. (2015). Social Ramps. Journal of the Christian Institute on Disability, 4(1), 43-68. Retrieved from