It's Just Too Hard

Posted by Rebecca Black on Tuesday, May 6, 2014 Under: Autism Parents
I hear this on a daily basis. I know, I get it. Establishing a pattern of regular worship with a family member on the Autism Spectrum IS hard. We'd like to say it's not, we'd like to say it's a breeze, no problem. But that isn't the reality. The reality is, it is STINKIN' hard.

Church is hard from a sensory standpoint. Churches tend to be "echoey" places, where sudden loud bangs from dropped kneelers are not at all uncommon. Any music being played is often quite loud and orchestral (split into parts) which can make for a very uncomfortable sensory experience. The worst is (at least from a sensory viewpoint) hard angular pews. For people who can be driven to tears by a seam in a sock, these are all potential sensory nightmares, leading to anxiety, leading to meltdown.

Church is hard from a social standpoint. Even the friendliest church is a landmine of social expectations which are hard to teach and, for a person on the Autism Spectrum, very difficult to learn. Most of our assumptions of social behavior, "Good manners", "friendly behavior" is learned from those around us as we grow up. To make those social rules explicit is the particular challenge of all of us who teach or raise people on the Autism Spectrum. Such rules will never be learned by those on the Spectrum "naturally' or by observation. Churches in particular utilize social rules without an attempt at explicitness.

So Church is Hard. The wealth of support and love for our families is worth the work, though. The abundant peace of God, and the opportunity to be with the Ground of Our Being is not to be missed, even though its hard. Just remember, for every service we can get our kids to, another person learns a little more about what its like to know the amazing, funny, quirky people we know God loves.

Hard but worth it.

In : Autism Parents 

Tags: religion autism