I’ve learned a lot of things through my job over the last two-and-a-half years. This month, I’ve learned something very sobering.
Many special needs families don’t get to church.
Some can’t make it–their child just can’t leave the house or handle being at church. For others, they tried, and it didn’t work. What makes me really sad is that there are many families who have been ostracized from their church due to outspoken actions and attitudes or subtle hints that they’re not welcome.
My church is not one of those churches. Over the last year I have watched how they reach out to the five families with kids on the autism spectrum. I excitedly ponder the potential as we grow and expand our ministries.
This summer was Community Bible Church’s first-ever Vacation Bible School (VBS). Prior to this, they did not have their own facility to host such an event. I didn’t volunteer to work during the week because I didn’t know what my husband’s schedule would be. I did get there four out of the five days, and it was very exciting. I watched through the eyes of a special needs mom, and this is what I saw that my church did right…. Continue reading
Many times special needs parents and caregivers plug along, feeling as if they don’t make a difference anywhere. Perhaps they know they make a difference to that one person in their life who needs a bit of extra care, but they often feel swallowed up by the daily grind. Life seems to pass by.
I’ve been there.
Recently God took time to let me know I do make a difference, and I have a message for you. You do, too. How do I know? When you read these three stories, you’ll know. Continue reading
This post contains an affiliate link to Home Educating Family Magazine. If you choose to subscribe to the magazine, I receive a small commission. (*)Coupon code at end of post.
Many of you know I was at the 2:1 Conference a few weeks ago. One of my favorite things to do at this blogging conference is to connect with other special needs moms. These ladies are my online friends, my support group. There’s no pretense, just instant hugs! They live with autism or other special needs, too.
As we sat around the table Friday night, I let them know that I will be writing an article about special needs and church for my column in Home Educating Family Magazine. I asked them what churches could do to help special needs families. At first they just kind of sat there, surprised to be asked such a question.
Then the ideas came. Here are a couple, in case you work in a church or other public venue.
~A buddy to attend class with those kiddos who need one-on-one attention.
~Don’t clearly label a child with the name of her disability on their nametag to ostracize them.
These are great ideas, but what stuck in my mind the most was one autism mom’s story of a church visit. She dropped her two children, 9 and 10, at the child care offered during a church Bible study. She explained that her son doesn’t talk, wouldn’t talk, dont’ expect him to talk. When she came back to pick up her kids, her daughter said, “Mommy! That lady was so mean!” The daughter then explained that her brother had to use the bathroom, and asked her to get him permission. The lady in charge of the room would not let him go until he asked himself. She even told him that. She also would not let him get a drink of water unless he asked himself. Remember, he was asking permission through his sister, not just trying to leave the room.
I was heart broken, and dumbfounded that it happened in a church.
Please, please. If you ever work with special needs kids in any situation, don’t be so cruel! That child will never want to visit that church again, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he had a fear of any church for a long time.
I am blessed to be in a church who is seeking to expand its ministry to autism families and other special needs families as well. But I know that is rare.
So, here is my research question. I know many special needs families have a hard time getting to church for a variety of reasons. Whether you simply can’t get there, or you just need a more helpful church, what can churches do to reach out to special needs families? How can they help those who can’t get there, and how can they minister to those who attend but need accommodations? Please let me know in the comments below. It will help me write a better article!
*The link to Home Educating Family Magazine is an affiliate link. You can use coupon code mag15 (case sensitive) to get a $15 subscription!
This post is a hard one to write. It may not be very popular. But, just like I felt I should write about how weary I was two years ago, I think I should write this because I’m probably not the only one who feels this way. I do not intend to offend anyone, just share a glimpse into my world.
A puzzle piece is the autism symbol. It’s meant to represent the conundrum that is autism.
I have my own autism puzzle piece, and it’s not my son.
Today’s Wednesday’s Woman approached me about something else for my blog. When I heard what she had to say, I decided she needed to be a Wednesday’s Woman! And now, here is Heather in her own words.
My Name is Heather Von St James. I am a mesothelioma cancer survivor. When I was just 36 years old, I was diagnosed with this killer. Mesothelioma claims the lives of 90-95% of those who have it. I am one of the very few lucky ones to have beaten this disease. Continue reading
SURPRISE! Wit & Wisdom from the Parents of Special Needs Kids has made its Amazon debut early! That means it’s time to get this giveaway STARTED! WOOOOOOHOOOOOO!
You can now read a piece by yours truly that has never before been in print. And, no, I won’t be putting it up on the blog.
You can now laugh and cry as you read heartwarming stories from parents of children with autism spectrum children. Continue reading