7 Things Churches Need to Know About Autism

One of my goals is to equip churches to minister to families dealing with disabilities, especially autism. I have an ebook planned on this very topic.

This post is aimed at the mid-sized to small church that suddenly has a family with a child with autism attending. What is it that the church needs to know?

Autism1. Not every child with autism is the same. You may have known a child or had a family member with autism. Do not assume that the child attending your church is the same. It would be safer to assume that the child is different.

2. Anticipate safety concerns. Not every child with autism has safety concerns but it is better to be prepared. Find out if they can be aggressive to others or if they tend to run. If so, put a plan into place.

3. Do not assume that non-verbal means unintelligent. Some children with autism do not communicate with verbal language (either by ability or choice). That does not mean that they are incapable of learning.

4. The siblings need ministry. Often it is the child with autism that gets the attention. If that child has siblings, this is an opportunity for the church to minister. Make the effort to give them the attention they need.

5. The parents need ministry. It is exhausting (physically, mentally, spiritually) to parent a child with autism. Try to arrange date nights for the parents. Look for practical ways to make their life easier.

6. Children with autism make noise. I know that people like a nice peaceful and tranquil worship service but children with autism make noise. The glare you give during the service will not make a difference. The child will not notice or will not care.

7. The family did not come to find a cure for autism. There are dozens of “cures” for autism floating around the internet. There is no need to pass these on to the family. They are much more informed about autism than you are. The family came to worship God and have fellowship with people.

If a family with autism has started attending your church that is a great thing because it is much easier to stay home. The best thing to do is welcome them and love them. They have made themselves vulnerable to the church, please respect that trust.

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5 thoughts on “7 Things Churches Need to Know About Autism”

  1. I really appreciate you advocating for families and you are so band on with all your points. I appreciate that the siblings are not being left out, as many times they are the ones without a voice. I do see one area that is missing and as a church we support the unity of marriage and two parent families, but sometimes the reality in our broken world is many are doing the journey of Autism and other special needs and disabilities as a single parent. We need to remember to minister to their place of brokenness too. I know many and I have also walk this journey for over 20 yrs, not by a choice of my own. Many single parents feel the effects of isolation, with no spouse to sound off of, which is amplified when raising a child with special needs/disabilities, we have an opportunity to minister God’s love to them as well. Thank you again for bringing a voice to the ministering to families with Autism.

      1. Thank you Stephen. I would be delighted.

        Please email me at iblongsociety@gmail.com with any question or areas you, your network or followers would like touched on in the post. I will do my best to address them, in regards to Single Parenting, Single Parenting-Special Needs and Autism in the post.

  2. Thank you so much for this post, so hard to find information to hand especially in Christian Book Shops, seems the only was it to go online or to order books.

    More awareness needed in the Church Communities a most.

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