Monday, June 01, 2015

Combat Soldiers, Special Needs Parenting, and the Church

According to the Centers for Disease Control, roughly 1 in 68 children in America have been identified as having Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).  Though each child plots differently on the spectrum (some high and others low), one thing that all parents of children with special needs share in common is this:  life can be very, very challenging!

Whether it is ASD or some other issue, parenting a special needs child poses unique challenges.  I know, because my wife and I are the parents of a special needs son.  One of the unique aspects of autism is that it magnifies all things about your child--ALL things.  All are created in God's image, and all are affected by sin.  Through the lens of autism, special needs parents have a front-row seat to the best of the imago dei and the worst of the fall--and they often see both within minutes of each other.

Yet many who are not raising special needs kids have difficulty understanding the experiences of special needs parents.  In many ways, the article below is accurate in describing the role of a special needs parent as that of a combat soldier.  If that sounds like an overstatement, just keep reading.

But beyond the challenges of special needs parents, there is another issue.  The one place where they should feel refuge; the one place their child should feel valued above all other places, is too often the one place where they are merely treated as a burden.  Conversely, many special needs parents see church involvement as a burden.  This simply should not be.

While my wife and I are blessed with a wonderful church family full of folks who understand, I've talked with way too many special needs families where this is not the case.  Overall, the church is failing the families of special needs kids.  If you want to know how, and if you want your church to be a true place of refuge, read the following article by Sheri Dacon.

You can access it here:

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