“Does the Church provide materials for handicapped members?” Ensign, Aug. 1981, 28–29
Goldie Despain, Coordinator of Materials for the Handicapped, Curriculum Department. Yes. The Church produces materials in various formats for those with handicaps and distributes these materials worldwide. Some of the materials are also available through non-church distributors.
For the visually handicapped, the Church produces on 8-rpm soundsheets the Ensign Talking Book each month. The subscription price is $8.00 per year or whatever the person is able to pay. Those who cannot pay any amount can still receive the Ensign Talking Book and are assured they are welcome as subscribers.
The Melchizedek Priesthood Study Guide and Relief Society Courses of Study are produced on 8-rpm soundsheets yearly without cost.
For the visually handicapped who are called to leadership positions, the Church produces teaching and administrative manuals and handbooks on cassette tapes or in Braille. Church service readers, people who donate their time, record these materials.
To order these manuals or the Ensign Talking Book, write to Coordinator of Materials for the Visually Handicapped, 50 East North Temple, Room 2445, Salt Lake City, Utah 84150.
Many more items are available at very modest prices through the Salt Lake City Distribution Center, 1999 West 1700 South, Salt Lake City, Utah 84101. The Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants, the Pearl of Great Price, Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, Doctrines of Salvation, and Gospel Principles are produced at 8-rpm on hard records. Many other Church books, such as The Miracle of Forgiveness, A Marvelous Work and a Wonder, and Jesus the Christ, are available on 16-rpm records. Scriptures, lesson manuals, general conference proceedings, hymns, scripture stories for children, missionary discussions, and general Church books are produced on slow- and standard-speed cassettes. (A $40 machine that plays and records both slow-and standard-speed cassettes is available.) Some materials are available in Braille.
The 8- and 16-rpm records require a slow-speed record player. Any visually impaired or physically disabled person in the United States may receive a slow-speed record player by contacting his regional library or his state agency for the blind and presenting certification from a doctor. The machines, produced and distributed by the Library of Congress, are available to the handicapped on a loan basis, for as long as they may be needed.
The Church produces materials also for members with hearing impairments. Church films on video tape with captions or signer inserts are available for loan or purchase. Write Special Curriculum, 50 East North Temple, Room 2445, Salt Lake City, Utah 84150. At the present time there are five video tapes containing nineteen Church films.
One of these tapes includes Priesthood Ordinances, a film produced specifically to clarify the importance of priesthood ordinances and how to perform them. This film also helps local priesthood leaders understand the importance of involving the hearing-impaired in performing ordinances.
These materials are produced on 1/2-inch VHS video tapes; each tape runs two hours. Approximately twenty-eight wards and branches for the hearing impaired have purchased video equipment on a Church participation basis.
Video tapes of general conferences, produced live for the deaf, can be borrowed or purchased from the Salt Lake City Distribution Center. An interpreter addresses the deaf in sign language. Hymns and special musical numbers during the sessions are also signed.
Since some members with hearing impairments are not adept in the English language, they may use the easily understood lesson manuals—Gospel Principles, Duties and Blessings of the Priesthood, Parts A and B, the Latter-day Saint Woman, Parts A and B, and Walk in His Ways, Parts A and B.
A roster for Services for Deaf Members, a Dictionary of Sign Language Terms for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and captioned filmstrips are available. Also, an Interpreters’ Handbook is being written for Church interpreters. This handbook will establish guidelines in the ethical and moral responsibilities of Church interpreters and will help priesthood leaders set up interpreter services where needed.
Materials for the mentally handicapped include captioned filmstrips, Gospel Principles, and scripture stories for beginning readers.
Teaching the Handicapped is a self-instruction packet for teachers and administrators. And a new Guidebook for Parents of Handicapped Children is currently being written to help parents understand the position of the Church on handicaps and to aid and support them physically, emotionally, and spiritually.
For complete listings of the materials available to the handicapped, write the Special Curriculum office (see address above), and check the Salt Lake City Distribution Center Catalog in your ward meetinghouse library.