Supporting churches to include people with Autism and Learning Disabilties

Do follow this excellent blog as it compliments what I long for too – this is a great post about when families with autistic children can’t get to church.


As the mother of a child with autism and a pastor’s wife, I have a passion for special needs ministries. I truly believe the church needs to be willing to adapt and accommodate these individuals. However, the reality is that not all churches have the man power nor the resources to adequately meet the needs of all individuals, and sometimes even with the best of efforts, there are individuals whose needs are just so great, that going to church becomes an impossibility for the individual and their family.

I speak from the heart on this subject, because it seems my own family is on the verge of such a dilemma. We are in a small church, struggling to come up with enough volunteers to serve in children’s ministry as it is, and although I know my son is loved and wanted at church, he is struggling to even be able…

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Comments on: "When an Individual with Autism Can’t Attend Church: How the Church Can Help" (2)

  1. Michael Rowe said:

    There are two particularly good sources of information about the building adaptations and attitudes towards autistic people needed for them to be comfortable and accepted in Church. Oxford Diocese has done a great deal of work with excellent contributions by the excellent Ann Memmott – a lovely person. She also contributed a chapter to a book. Both of these I mentioned in a “Christian Comment” that I wrote last year for our local paper.

    “How will your Church (and you, yourself) welcome a person with disabilities? This coming Sunday (2nd Sunday in February) is “Autism Sunday”. It may be that the welcome given to someone with visible disabilities – wheelchair, white stick etc. – differs from that given to someone with invisible disabilities – deafness, autism, Asperger’s etc. Do you know how to treat people with these disabilities? Can you accept any behaviour that you might consider a bit strange? Many of the adaptations that are needed will actually benefit others who do not have that sort of disability. Statistics show that Churches that have made the effort to be disability-friendly have a growth rate 4 – 8% better than those that have not. The changes are quite simple. Among them, ensure that lighting does not glare or flicker, provide larger type in a clear face on tinted paper, be careful that there are no loud sounds without warning. Autistic people are very literal – say what you really mean and do just that. “Back in 5 minutes” or “I will phone you” must mean exactly that. They also cannot “read” your tone of voice, face or stance (so sarcasm is meaningless to them) and tend to be sensitive to touch. For much more information, Oxford Diocese has produced excellent papers “Welcoming those with Autism and Asperger Syndrome in our Churches and Communities” and “Welcome, Inclusion, Respect: A commitment to a Church open to all” (<>)


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