“All persons with disabilities have the capacity to proclaim the Gospel and to be living witnesses to its truth within the community of faith and offer valuable gifts. Their involvement enriches every aspect of Church life.” ~ National Directory for Catechesis: Catechesis with Persons with Disabilities (no. 49) Washington, D.C.: USCCB, 2005.
One of the major initiatives of the 2014 OCS Strategic Plan is to celebrate and serve all students in our care and welcome new families to work with us to build more inclusive faith communities. Specifically, the Office for Catholic Schools, in consultation with the Archdiocesan School Board, the Executive Principals, and the Diversified Learners Committee and in accordance with the mission of Catholic education, will develop and promote the implementation of policies and procedures to maximize student admissions, classroom placement and instruction, and educational resources for diversified learners at the local school level. Mental Health needs are great and the Archdiocesan Mental Health Ministry Committee works with us to assist in reducing the stigma of mental health illness through education, advocacy and programs.
Resources to Open Doors
The Archdiocese of Seattle Inclusion Ministry site is a rich source of information for all aspects of mental health and inclusion. There is additional information at: Resources for Families and Resources for Parishes and Schools. To see mental health opportunities offered throughout western Washington, please visit the Archdiocese of Seattle Mental Health Resources to support Parish and School Faith Communities and the Mental Health Ministry Facebook page.
Mental Health First Aid Trainings Mental Health First Aid is an 8-hour course that teaches you how to help someone who is developing a mental health problem or experiencing a mental health crisis. The training helps you identify, understand, and respond to signs of addictions and mental illnesses. 1) The adult Mental Health First Aid course is appropriate for anyone age 18 and older who wants to learn how to help a person who may be experiencing a mental health related crisis or problem. The adult course is available in both English and Spanish. 2) The youth Mental Health First Aid course is primarily intended for adults to learn how to help young people experiencing mental health challenges or crises. It reviews the unique risk factors and warning signs of mental health problems in adolescents ages 12-18 and emphasizes the importance of early intervention. Find a course near you. En Español
Mental Health Guides
This section includes guides to the work of The Mental Health and Faith Community Partnerships, specifically, FOREFRONT Suicide Prevention, and NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness. Navigating a Mental Health Crisis document is a valuable tool from NAMI. This info-graphic calls us all to the importance of mental health care for all students.
While there are many websites that have wonderful resources for parents, the DL Committee is pleased to recommend this resource for parents of children with Learning and Attention issues. The website is in both English and Español and includes a thoughtful Parent Toolkit.
Special Olympics of Washington
The Archdiocese of Seattle and the Office for Catholic Schools supported the 2018 Special Olympics in Seattle. To continue this involvement in our schools we recommend service and extra-curricular opportunities provided by Special Olympics Playbooks intended for elementary, middle school and high school students. These are age-appropriate lessons designed to be taught in the context of class periods. Activities with ties to service learning are completed in a classroom or community setting, as part of a club, an afterschool activity (ie: Unified Drama, Unified Robotics) or a community based event and include involvement with local Special Olympics Programs. The curriculum is free; please log in to establish your account and use generously.