Taking a child with Autism to church can be a different type of struggle.
Finding a good church home can be difficult for anyone. Add in a child that doesn’t always do or act the way everyone else does makes it even more complicated.
We have been trying to find that mix between going to a church we believe in, with people who are loving and welcoming, where our kids can learn about God and Jesus. We have attended great churches where we just didn’t agree with the theology as much as we would have wanted to. We have gone to great churches where the pastor was amazing but it just didn’t work for our kids. Especially our child with Autism .
Last June, with my husband deployed, I took a little break from church. I didn’t know which church to go to and I didn’t have it in me to look for a new one. However, a few months of not going to church really got to me. I missed it. I decided to try a church I had heard about before. I was told they were really good with special needs kids. I hadn’t tried it before because it is about 20 minutes from our house. I know that is not too far but I really liked the idea of being really close to church.
I took my boys there and ended up really loving it. The people were so friendly and helpful. The pastor was very nice and I loved the service. I joined a Sunday school class and now nine months later we finally have found our home church. That being said, sometimes it is hard to go on Sunday morning.
My child with Autism just finished the 1st grade and was in a Sunday school class with 1st and 2nd graders. His teacher is really amazing. She has a family member with Asperger’s and she totally gets my son. This made me feel so comfortable. When he had a rough morning, she seemed to know what to do to help him. Other people at the church have been very helpful and understanding too. It really has worked out well for us.
Still, I feel sad sometimes that church is so challenging.
It is another place we go where it can be very stressful for my son. I know that in the end it will be worth it and he will get a lot better about it in the years to come. I want my children to have what I had. A strong church background. I want them to know the Bible stories, experience church camp and all of that. If they decide church is not for them as an adult, at least I know I gave them that background.
Little things like the church Easter egg hunt or a longer than normal service can make for a frustrating day. for a child with Autism. Even things you wouldn’t even think would set him off, sometimes do.
Some mornings I just can’t do it. I want to stay home and relax and not have to worry about it for that week. I know church is important though so we do try to go almost every Sunday.
A couple of months ago I met a couple at church with a son with Asperger’s who is about 21. They talked to us about some of the struggles they had when their son was our son’s age. That really helped. It made me think about how as the years go by he will be able to understand how to act a little better. And that when he is 21, he hopefully will be able to have a job, go to college and be an independent young man. Finding other parents with a child with Autism can be very helpful.
I am thankful we finally found a church that really works for us and our family. I am so thankful that it is filled with people who are willing to be patient and help my son when he needs it. Even if the time at church is challenging, I am so glad we have finally found a church home.
If you have a child with Autism or another special needs kid, have you found church challenging?