There is an increasing amount of awareness and resources about ministering to children with autism. Of this, I’m grateful. In fact I hope that this blog and my book are contributing to this.
In many cases, it is not difficult for churches to have a heart for children with autism. They can be pretty cute and adorable. Everyone who meets our children fall in love with them immediately. They really know how to grab hearts.
But our son is fifteen and in three years he will be an adult (that makes me feel old!). It sometimes feels like people forget that all these autistic children will grow up into autistic adults. Adults with autism, while still amazing, are usually not as cute.
There may be some implicit assumptions that the church has a responsibility to minister to the children but later these people can be safely shifted to the periphery of church life or disappear all together. I’m not trying to condemn the church here. I think the media is partially to blame with massive coverage on children with autism and very little on adults.
If a church wants to be autism-friendly, definitely prepare to minister to children and their families. But as you do, remember that these children will become adults. What role will they play in the church then?