We are devout Catholics and I am amazed at how little the church community understands about autism. Our son made his First Communion last year, but it was a struggle. I am now teaching the first catechism class in our diocese specially designed for kids with autism but I found the parents are very self concious about bringing their kids to church. Do you bring your kids to a faith community or place of worship and, if so,… read more
You know its funny I was just thinking about this today. I am catholic and I am lucky because our church runs a special needs pre k for children with autism called St. Gerard House. Our priests who are frasician friars are very supportive however I feel is the exception and not the standerd rule. It is very disappointing to me. Espicially since I recently saw a publishment of another christian newspaper that was even recognizing the importance of including children with special needs in church services. I really do not feel this is really been practiced in the Catholic church. I was thinking today of writing to the cardinals and asking why the church turns its face away from those with special needs. I think this goes completely against what the gospels and church. I feel if the church as a whole was more supportive and had programs for people with special needs then oppinions of people attending mass might change. I think that the current pope is just the type of person to help encourage that change. Look picking up a child with cerable palsy during the easter mass.
Great question! We are a practicing Catholic family as well, my 10 year old attends a private Catholic school (not on spectrum). His class recently hosted our Sunday mass and we brought our two little ones.
My little guy had multiple "flareups" and required us, of course, to escort him out of the church. I definitely do my best to come equipped - snacks, juices, Kindle, toys of all kinds but I think my DS gets overstimulated with the amount of people and being constrained in one spot amongst other factors. Hence, we do not go to church as a family because of the challenges.
Outside of becoming a spectacle at mass when he begins screaming, the purpose of going to church is defeated since we spend majority, if not all the time, outside of the church or just focusing on keeping the children at bay. I tell myself that God understands :-I
I am a Christian and my son is now 17 and pretty low functioning. My advice to parents is to start slow and build church attendence slowly. We live close to our church so at the beginning I just took him to one or two songs (his strength). I gradually increased the time that so eventually we were able to stay through the entire music piece. We played similar songs on the radio and in our home so he learned to enjoy the music. He even started singing to some of the songs which was a wonderful moment for me.
After this success, we started staying during some of the talking. But I always honored his desire to leave. We had a few violent episodes during church (when I didn't read his signals right) but the church was supportive. Then our church added a second service. So I would go to the early one and my husband to the late one and we would juggle my son into those services as much as possible.
Finally the day came that we sat through an entire service. It had taken a few years to build up to this but it was worth it. We went to church together for about a year but then he had some regression. Fortunately at that time, our church opened a "video cafe" which is an overflow room with the service piped in. We now go to that room because I can give my son coloring to do during the service. Sometimes we still have to leave but its good. I personally don't like the video cafe as much but its worth it for safety and so my family can attend together.
The key is to build slowly. Leave when there's still success. Don't push so hard. If there's a period that you know is tough for your child, come up with a solution, go into the hallway etc.
A friend of mine has built a special support system for special needs kids in her large church which is also successful. But my son's issues are so huge, that I know I have to provide the supports myself.
We are methodists. We have been bringing our kids since they were born. Church is sometimes a stressful event. We are small church community some know Dan is on the spectrum some don't. Some accept it and some don't. God accepts and loves Dan and if there are people who can't acceptt him the way he is, then I do't think they are true Christians.
Im a Catholic as well and I bring my 8 year old things to play with and snacks and keep her close by ma @ all times and comfort her any way I can cause what everybody needs to understand is that my child is unique and my church loves that I bring her with me