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  Community Center, Cultural Place, Access Unlimited!

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  Friendship and Social Inclusion, Faith and Spirituality, Physical Accessibility, Program Accessibility
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Product Information Congregational Accessibility Network

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 Full Description: 
The purpose of the Congregational Accessibility Network (CAN) is to promote the inclusion of persons with disabilities into the life of communities of faith. It accomplishes this using the three strategies of:

1) Being a point of CONNECTION, both for faith communities and people with disabilities interested in building inclusive worship spaces:

2) Providing ASSISTANCE to any faith community interested in looking at its successes and challenges in including people with disabilities and making improvements, and;

3) Building a NETWORK of faith communities committed to be inclusive of people with disabilities and their families.

All of CAN's resources organize access and inclusion concerns into the four areas of:
1) Mobility. Meaning the building and grounds, including parking, entrances, restrooms, and worship spaces are available to wheelchair users and others.

2) Hearing and Language
- Hearing – Meaning Assistive Listening Devices (ALD) and other aids are provided for persons who are hard of hearing.
- Sign Language – Meaning sign language interpretation is provided to enable communication between hearing persons and those who are deaf.

3) Vision – Meaning visual aids are provided for persons who have low vision or are blind.

4) Support – Meaning the congregation supports inclusion of persons with disabilities through awareness-raising, education, support groups, and provision for individual differences in gifts, behavior, and learning style.

CAN has created the following tools and resources to encourage and assist faith communities in becoming more inclusive (all are available online at www.AccessibilityNetwork.net):

- A comprehensive study process for the assessment and improvement of accessibility and inclusion in the congregation according to the four areas above.


- A "Quick Checklist" giving a faith community an idea of their inclusiveness according to the four areas above.

- Congregational Assessment Survey. An online tool that generates a seal for websites showing features which make the community accessible.

- Individual and Family Needs Questionnaire. A questionnaire for helping to assess congregational attitudes toward persons with disabilities.

Other resources of note:
Creating networks - To promote networking among faith communities committed to becoming inclusive of persons with disabilities, CAN has a Facebook page, a blog site at blog.accessibilitynetwork.net, and email lists for announcements and discussion

Two especially interesting areas on the CAN website are the groupings of links to other materials available on the web. Under the “Resources” tab are separate sets of links grouped according to five aspects of access used by CAN, and under the “Faith Groups” tab are separate sets of links grouped according to faith tradition (e.g., materials developed by Lutheran-based organizations, those developed in the Islamic tradition, etc.).

Based on information viewed on the CAN website on 6/23/11 (Homepage: http://www.accessibilitynetwork.net/)
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This web site is maintained by the Research and Training Center on Community Living with support from the National Association of State Directors of Developmental Disabilities Services, the Human Services Research Institute and the Administration on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities. E-mail weste050@umn.edu.
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