While there are no Special AA Members, many members have special needs. AA as a whole defines AA’s with special needs as persons who are blind, visually impaired, have limited mobility, deaf or hard of hearing, chronically ill or homebound, and those with limited reading abilities or facing language barriers.
The challenge to us active AA members is how do we carry the message of hope to those alcoholics with special needs? This is the primary purpose of the Accessibility Committee.
- Planning Special Events
- Material available for deaf and hard of hearing alcoholics
- Disability Do’s and Don’ts
Please keep this phrase in mind when you hear the following request from the Accessibility Committee of Greater Toronto.
We ask that all future planning of “Days” (such as Information AA Day, Service Days, and others) be fully accessible. “Fully accessible” means people using wheel chairs can take advantage of every aspect of the day speaker meeting, washrooms, panel discussions, information tables every part of the day.
We want our request to be part of the criteria when considering a venue. You already consider the availability of dates, hall rental, sufficient rooms for the panel discussions and speakers and information tables. We want accessibility included with the other major factors.
And, one other note: WheelTrans will not come to a location unless given the full address (the name of the building and nearest intersection are not enough). Please provide the complete street name and number.
Refer to the line above we all have talked the talk; now it’s time to walk the walk.
Do respect the needs of a disabled person regarding communication, transportation, etc. Without the provision for these needs, you make the situation worse. Taking a shortcut “just this once” means the problems for persons with disabilities in the workforce continue.
Don’t be afraid to ask. Most persons with disability have lived with them for a long time, and know how to solve the problem, if you ask. Don’t assume. Ask.
Do try to look beyond the disability to the person. Every human being has something to contribute, and many of the world’s greatest contributors have, or had, a disability (Beethoven, Stephen Hawking, John Milton, etc.).
Don’t be afraid to learn. For example, many people are nervous using a TTY to communicate with a person who has a hearing loss. It is a very simple machine to learn (children use it!). Have an adventure, learn something new!
Do, at least, think about taking a risk on a person with a disability. In Canada, over 50% of the disabled are unemployed or underemployed, compared to about 10% national average.
Don’t assume it’s always someone else. Over 90% of disabilities occur after birth. Ultimately, you may be helping yourself.
I am Responsible
When anyone, anywhere reaches out for help, I want the hand of AA always to be there, and for that, I am Responsible
The committee has a variety of ways you can be involved. Please click on the links below
If you are an AA member, or wish to be one, and you are chronically ill or homebound, if you would like to talk to an AA member by phone, e-mail, or in person, and/or if you would like some things about AA mailed to you, please click above.
- Willing to volunteer:
If you are an AA member and you are willing to phone, e-mail, and visit the homebound and/or chronically ill, and/or you are willing to send e-mail in the case of the deaf and hard of hearing, pleaseclick here.
- Wheel Chair Access :
If you’re a group secretary, let Intergroup know about your meeting space and its Accessibility by using the above link.
- ASL Interpreters Allowed :
If you’re a group secretary, let Intergroup know if sign-language interpreters are welcome at your open and/or closed meetings by using the link above. Please note that the interpreter may not be an alcoholic, but they adhere to a strict code of ethics regarding confidentiality. They are simply there to facilitate for the deaf alcoholic.
- Click here to see the interpreters’ code of ethics for more information.
Material for deaf and hard of hearing alcoholics is available from the Literature Department at the GTA Intergroup Offices, 234 Eglinton Avenue, Suite 202, Toronto, Ontario M4P 1K5, by calling 416-487-9865 (TTY number is 416-487-5062) or by fax at 416-487-5855.
This material includes:
- (VS-1) Alcoholics Anonymous (Big Book) in American Sign Language (ASL) 5 volume set 1/2″ VHS cassettes
- (VS-8) Young People and A.A. In this 28-minute film, four young A.A. members describe what it was. 4 like drinking, what happened to bring them to A.A. and what their lives are like sober today. In keeping with A.A. tradition, the identity of the A.A. members is protected. (Closed-captioned English 1/2″-VHS cassette.)
- (VS-16) Hope: Alcoholics Anonymous explains the principles of A.A.: What A.A. is and isn’t, primary purpose, sponsorship, home group, the Steps and Traditions and basic recovery tools. (Closed-captioned English 1/2″-VHS cassette.)
- (VS-13) A.A. Rap With Us features four anonymous young A.A. members. Rap music and lyrics bridge these four young people’s stories of alcoholic despair and A.A. recovery. (Closed-captioned English 1/2″-VHS cassette.)
- (P-55) “The Twelve Steps Illustrated
- (P-38) “What Happened to Joe …”
- (P-43) “The Twelve Traditions Illustrated”
- (P-39) “It Happened to Alice!”
- (P-36) “Is A.A. For Me?”
- (P-33) “It Sure Beats Sitting in a Cell”
- (P-37) “Too Young?”
Complimentary A.A. Service Material
- List of Central Offices, Intergroups, and Answering Services in the U.S. and Canada. (Some have TTY or TDD equipment – for times and locations of local meetings.)
- Literature: The Twelve Steps for signing purposes
- The Twelve Traditions for signing purposes
- The Twelve Traditions (Long Form) for signing purposes
- .”A Deaf Newcomer Asks …” for signing purposes
- “How It Works” for signing purposes
- “Is A.A. For You?” for signing purposes
- “A Brief Guide to Alcoholics Anonymous”
- The Serenity Prayer for signing purposes
- “Carrying the A.A. Message to the Deaf Alcoholic”
- “Serving Alcoholics with Special Needs”