When my nephew was about two years old, at some point, we realized that he wasn’t talking. He would mumble incoherently. The kids at church in the nursery, when he attempted to speak, did not understand him. Concerned about this, we took him to the doctor and we discovered he had autism.
I had no idea what that meant. I’d heard of autism. In fact, there was another child who had it at the church too. So I knew of it but what did it mean? Through early intervention, counseling, and other methods, he is growing up to be able to interact with people and develop interpersonal relationships. Yet, some of the children at the church (where most of his time spent) were standoffish toward him. For a while even, there was some bullying involved too. As an auntie, this upset me (more than I can put here in this box) but it made me realize that churches need to be sensitive to children and adults who have various brain disorders.
According to AutismSpeaks.org, “Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and autism are both general terms for a group of complex disorders of brain development.” Furthermore, “..1 in 68 American children as on the autism spectrum–a ten-fold increase in prevalence in 40 years.” Chances are, there will be a child in your congregation who has autism. What can a congregation do to make their church autistic friendly?
Join me as I discuss this with Stephen J. Bedard of Hope’s Reason Ministries. Call in at 646-595-2083, press 1 to be live on air. Click on the link here:http://tobtr.com/s/7920617, or download the mobile app. Tune in!