How You Could Help Make Your Place of Worship More Inclusive for People with AutismA. Stout
If you practice a faith—whether that’s Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, or anything else—you may have the desire to share your faith with your children, especially if your religion is very important to you.
However, if you are the parent of a child with autism, practicing your religion in traditional ways, such as attending regular services at a place of worship, can be difficult. Such places do not tend to be sensory-friendly, unfortunately, and most of them require worshippers to be reasonably quiet and undisruptive in order to allow everyone attending to hear the service properly.
And while those rules make perfect sense for most people, it can be nearly impossible for some parents to keep their autistic children from verbalizing and stimming during the service. People with autism shouldn’t be excluded from religious services just because they act a little differently. So how do we find a balance between keeping a feeling of reverence in our places of worship and also practicing total inclusivity for all people?
Luckily, some places of worship are recognizing this problem and making changes to become more sensory-friendly. The Church of the Nativity in Maryland is one of them.
In this episode of Real Look Autism, we get a glimpse inside the church’s “Buddy Ministry,” which specifically works with children who have special needs. In addition to providing these children with special support, the “Buddy Ministry” also works to integrate them into the larger children’s ministry.
It’s pretty neat, and it’s a great example of how churches and other places of worship can help include individuals with special needs.
Learn more about it in the video below!