Our Mission & Goals
The Autism Faith Network seeks to spread autism awareness, acceptance and inclusion in local and faith-based communities all over the world.
There are four goals that will help us achieve our mission.
We create awareness about autism.
We promote the need for timely screenings for autism and early intervention.
We work to eliminate stigmas about autism.
We encourage acceptance and inclusion.
Quotes from parents of a child with autism
“I’ve always wanted my kids….even all children, to be able to sit in a sanctuary….and participate in the flow of service, that has always been my goal…”
“It’s hard when people try to make it generalizable, or like, a one size fits all experience…” (This is referring to church service.)
“Low sensory, conversational service is good…greeting your neighbor is hard…”
“touch issues include the need for fidgets or other devices, with use not judged.”
“The clergy should lead the way on reducing stigma regarding verbal outbursts or lack of verbal participation.”
“The pastor…never felt my son was defective…this tells what his heart is like… [my first day at the church] …a member brought me around and oriented me to the church community, happy to have found this place…”.
Quotes from adults with autism
“The biggest barriers are the sensory issues – lights and sound.”
“If the church itself had an area that’s like, here are sensory bags for people who need them and if they make it a thing that is known among the church that hey, these are being used for this reason, that would be helpful too.”
“So there’s just a lot of these social barriers where people don’t really understand autism, they don’t really understand what it means. Not just on a sensory level but on a communication level where people put a lot of intent behind words that are not there. Because as an autistic person, I talk very literally.”
“I think that church and faith, you know, needs to be really accessible.”
“Not once in my entire life of going to church have I ever heard any priest or pastor give a service on special needs and what the Bible has to say about that.”
Quotes from clergy
“It’s important for leadership to set the expectations.”
“All kids may need some redirection at times…some kids on the spectrum have been the most engaged.”
“Clergy need to be open to education on these issues, and also provide leadership to educate the congregation.”
“Our ministry has been training young people, especially [those with] special needs, to be on the equipment, run cameras, side by side with someone. Kind of like creating a buddy system as they’re getting to know [each other]. More and more people learn to accommodate, as well as have the compassion…”
“It’s really valuable to talk to the parents about what supports are working at home and at school and invite that to be a part of what happens at church.”
Is your church autism friendly? If not, we can help!
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Call: (404) 500-8229