Taking my/ your child to church...how autism affects participation in religious community

So, since I believe in God I've almost always gone to church. When I had my son I just assumed I would take him to church too (this was long before his autism was either diagnosed or apparent), and when he was an infant I did. But, now that he's old enough that he's expected to sit quietly and respond appropriately this is more of a problem. Sometimes I'll take him out of the room and let him get the noise out and then go back in. And, he has learned to ask to use the restroom as a coping skill instead of just saying he needs a break to get out of the room and move around a bit. He wants to go to church and is the one initiating it, so it's not like I'm forcing or imposing it. I've tried bringing paper and pens, or other small items to keep him occupied. Having to sit still and be quiet actually makes it harder for him to sit still and be quiet. And, of course, he needs my near constant input and attention (just estimating this is about 5-10 times his normal demand for attention). He really is a good kid, and feels good that he gets to go to church.

So, how does your child's autism affect your experience of / connection to religious community? I am very disconnected from mine since the effort it takes to let him make it through the service is so draining, little is left for any kind of connection.

I have found the people in the church to be kind and understanding.

I'm just wondering if others have any advice or would like to share their own experiences.

God bless you and keep you!

  • Mine won`t sit still and be quiet.The Big screen TVs,loud music are to much for him.For me too.I`m sure they don`t have big screen Tvs going in the church service.What the pastor is saying,would flash on the Tvs and the microphones were to loud,the music.I don`t go.My daughter went to a different church with her friend.They were playing Loud rock music during the serve,it was to loud for her,she had to leave the building.
  • I don`t think most churches are autism adaptable.Some ASK kids are sensitive to sounds,smells.Many women and some men wear perfumes Some bathe in it.Many have delayed reactions to foods they have eaten,and it makes it hard for them,to sit still.I`m not getting anything out of it,if I have to take my son out of the room.I`m getting anything out of it,If I leave him there.He will not sit and be quiet.To stressfull to even bother with it.I bet,they have lost many members over ASD kids not being able to sit still and be quiet in church.
  • Wow A.Momma, that sounds a lot like my experience. I've asked my son if he wants to wear headphones to cut the noise, but he doesn't. He still wants to go, so I take him, but we miss a lot. I thought of taking him to the infant room, but that's probably not appropriate - it's probably full of infants and breastfeeding mom's. As long as he wants to go I'll keep problem solving. Maybe one day it'll be easier for him to sit still. The people are kind as he some even friendly, so I hope one day he'll participate more.

    I'll bet you're right that a lot of churches have former members who don't attend anymore because their kids have autism or other issues and it's just too hard for them to sit still, and quietly. Too bad there couldn't be an "older kid room", or a "motion room" where people can watch by CCTV or something similar and still be able to be up and move around. We went a couple of times to a church that had that set-up, but I still end up feeling disconnected, especially if it's just me and him down there.
  • My doesn`t talk and his undertstanding is limited.
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