Six YouTube Accounts To Follow For Information and Advocacy, by Mary Thissen

While YouTube is a well-established player in social media, it’s not often the first resource that is considered when it comes to online information and research. We shouldn’t discount the amazing knowledge we can find on this platform! While YouTube isn’t made for connections the same way that other social media platforms are, YouTube’s ability to direct to other platforms means it can also be used as an indirect way to connect with others who have an interest in supporting those with special needs. Here are six YouTube accounts for you to learn about various aspects of diagnoses, faith, and everyday concerns when it comes to navigating disabilities:

1. National Catholic Partnership on Disability- this organization has a variety of resources on their YouTube channel, including videos regarding Autism, Mental Illness, Theology and Disability, and panel conversations regarding the intersection of faith and disability. Subscribe to their channel @NCPDChannel.

2. Accepting the Gift- yes, Accepting the Gift has a YouTube channel! There are many great videos which discuss the recently published home-based religious education curriculum, saints with disabilities, and how to observe Liturgical seasons as a family. There’s also some great talks from past conferences! Subscribe to their channel @acceptingthegift.

3. Joni and Friends- this is a Christian organization whose mission it is to evangelize and serve those with disabilities. Joni Eareckson Tada was in a driving accident and left quadriplegic as a result. For more than forty years, Joni has desired to bring Christ to those living with disability. On the YouTube channel, Joni gives weekly reflections, integrating those with special needs into church ministry, and personal testimonies of persons with disabilities. Subscribe to their channel @joniandfriendsvideo.

4. Special Books by Special Kids- originally supposed to be a book about his students with disabilities, Chris soon found himself posting interviews of persons with all kinds of disabilities of all ages. Through fundraising and grants, Chris has been able to provide more than $1.3 million to those featured on the channel. A Patreon subscription is available to support this work at patreon.com/SBSK. Subscribe to their YouTube channel @SpecialBooksbySpecialKids.

5. Jaqi G.- walk with a mom who cares for her child with complex medical diagnoses. Jaqi has a section of videos about the faith and wellness, as well as daily routines for special needs children and parent self-care. Subscribe to their channel @jaqi_g.

6. Parenting Special Needs Magazine- Parenting Special Needs Magazine is a digital magazine dedicated to guiding parents through all stages of raising a child with special needs. Find information on their YouTube channel regarding development, recreation, health and employment. The digital magazine can be found at parentingspecialneeds.org/subscribe/. Subscribe to their YouTube channel @parentingspecialneedsmagaz2975.

YouTube may not be the first place one may think of when looking for resources and answers for your children with special needs, but it contains a wealth of information! Though we only featured channels whose main purpose is to educate and advocate for persons with disabilities overall, there are also numerous other videos regarding special education, inclusion and parental experiences of raising children with special needs. Be sure to do a search for your specific topic and get a range of videos which may have the answer you need. Be sure to share your favorite channels below!

Mary Thissen is a St. Louis native living in East Central Illinois with her husband and children. She is blessed with twin boys Earthside and four children now living in Heaven. When she is not working as a healthcare data analyst or caring for her boys, she enjoys studying and writing about the Catholic faith and ministering to women who are suffering through miscarriage or infertility. As the mother of recently diagnosed children with special needs, Mary is learning to advocate for her children and seek out connections with other parents going through the same. You can connect with Mary on Instagram @waitingonmiracles. 

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