I think that there has been some improvement in the church’s willingness to embrace and minister to people with autism and their families. But often the people with autism that the church has in mind are those on the severe end of the spectrum.
What about those with mild autism?
These are the people who have what was once called Asperger’s Syndrome but is now just mild autism. You may not even know that they have autism. These are people that have intense interests that they want to talk about all the time. These are the people who struggle to know what is socially appropriate. You likely think of them as quirky rather than autistic.
There is a certain amount of compassion for those who are on the severe end of the autism spectrum. But those who are more mild do not necessarily benefit from this compassion. They may be easily left out and isolated.
Remember that autism does not always look the same. Have the same love for that teenager who always talks about airplanes as you do for the child who is nonverbal.
There is now a section on mild autism in the second edition of my book, How to Make Your Church Autism-Friendly.