Great article by Daniel Bowman, a Professor of English at Taylor University:
While we share a constellation of symptoms to various degrees, people on the spectrum are unique individuals who land in many denominations and churches. We will be in your congregation, and I pray your mind and heart are open to us. For we, too, are fearfully and wonderfully—if a little differently—made.
Creating a church environment that is friendly to adults and children with autism is hard, esp. because autism is quite a spectrum, some crave visual stimulation, others are allergic to it.
One good ministry I’ve heard about runs out of Lakewood Church in Houston – YES, I said Lakewood Church – is called Champions Club, which is “a specially designed developmental area for kids, youth, and adults with special needs. Our goal was to develop a program that would meet the developmental needs of children in four important ways: SPIRITUALLY, INTELLECTUALLY, MENTALLY, and PHYSICALLY. Our focus is on spiritual growth through God’s Word, developing the intellect of each participant through the five senses, educationally through various learning tools, as well as engaging the child physically during active gross motor fun. We can adapt Champions Clubs to a school or public facility environment. Now there are Champions Clubs in schools, churches, and facilities all across America and around the world.”
Church, let’s lead the way toward a safe and welcoming environment for our children and adults – and their families – who have autism spectrum disorder. April 2 is World Autism Awareness Day. That would be a good day to covenant together to learn about autism, to invite the child on the outskirts to the birthday party, to notice the one who sits alone and make room on our pew for them.