Side by Side: A Social Ramp for Teens and Young Adults
Teens and young adults with disabilities seeking a place in congregational life encounter barriers. Youth ministry leaders wonder how to include teens with social or communication challenges. This article describes Side by Side, a model of relationship building within the existing mission activities of a church. By applying the principles of universal design to this social environment, social ramps are developed. Implementation steps are outlined. The author raises limitations of the Side by Side model. Church leaders are challenged to prioritize relationships over program, nurturing friendships among people of all abilities.