Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 19:14
In light of recent studies showing a link to suicide and autism, focus on the spiritual needs of a person with autism is paramount. In autism, there are built in tendencies to isolation, so in some respects, the findings are not surprising. While many parents of children with special needs seek spiritual guidance through prayer and their place of worship, they also run into obstacles.
Some may believe that people with autism would not respond to religion; that they would not have the capacity to understand such abstract ideas like the existence of God, or why it matters. Indeed, our culture at large has become more secular, with more people declaring themselves as having no religious affiliation.
Autism by definition, is a condition where socialization is difficult. There are language barriers and sensory issues that make going to church, synagogue or other places of worship difficult. Sometimes, children with developmental delays make noises during the service, or act up, which may cause parents to feel embarrassed about going to worship.
But with autism being a household word now, most churches and other houses of worship are used to accommodating those with special needs. Some have special areas, like "cry rooms", or even enclosed booths, that shut out distractions.
With the upcoming Easter and Passover celebrations, this series will explore ways in which parents seek to include the spiritual needs of their children with autism and other special needs. There are many organizations that minister to children with special needs.
One expert described autism as a sort of "mind blindness". But that does not mean that there should be spiritual blindness as well.