Going to church is no walk in a ball park for families with children on the spectrum....most for families raising children on the severe end. For three and a half years, almost four years, I have been getting the boys ready for church every Sunday by myself. The dreaded anxiety of what may unravel that morning during church always and still does haunt me every Sunday.
It is not being easy being "that mom" that walks in to church every Sunday after going through WWIII in our own home. Yet, I go and walk in with a smile on my face ready to serve the Lord. It may be five minutes or it may be fifteen minutes after we walk in where Trenton has hit his limit of sensory overload.
Why is attending church so hard for autism families? Kids on the spectrum have a very difficult time being in an environment with a lot of people, noise , and unfamiliar objects and sounds. Even though my boys have grown up going to church and the routine of church is not unfamiliar to them, it is still hard.
Some days Trenton does ok and we make it through the first half of church but too often than none, it is extremely difficult to make him comfortable during his time spent at church.
It is beyond stressful on me. I know EVERYONE knows that the boys have autism, yet it is still stressful to be "that mom" in the back with the unruly children.
There have been many times that Trenton has got away from me and ran up front during preaching or singing. What else can I do other than run up there, grab him, and give a nice big wave and smile to the crowd. We always get smiles and laughs in return which makes it much better:)
I know a lot of autism families. A LOT!! The majority of them have gave up going to church because of the stress and anxiety. I just think it is extremely sad that there are situations...disabilities that are so severe where you can't even go to church...or anywhere else for that matter.
It is not easy. In fact it is my hardest weekly task but I keep on trying:) One day we will stay for the whole service.....I just know it!
I found a few great articles on autism and church so I thought I would pass along:)
This week we have VBS. Andrew is so excited. In fact, Lincoln is here to go with him tonight.
The boys were both very excited. Very thankful for Nana who came up today to watch Trenton so I could actually step out of my house past 6 in the evening to pick up the boys!