Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Two Steps Forward, Two Steps Back

My friend Abel Koegh, the author of Room for Two, sent me this article, which I will call "two steps forward". http://www.sltrib.com/ci_9525303
Basically, a man named John LeSieur created a computer program to help children with autism navigate the web. I think it's fabulous that people are taking the initiative to create solutions for children with disabilities. With 1 out of every 150 children suffering from autism and still more suffering from intellectual challenges there is a great need for such a program. My husband and I found it interesting because we could really use something like that. Our son sneaks on to the computer and punches in animal names and cartoons in the Google search engine and has gotten some pretty interesting things.
The next article I will call "two steps back". http://www.comcast.net/articles/news-national/20080601/Church.Autistic.Child/
A thirteen year old boy has been ban from worshipping at his church because he has autism and is large for his size. I can understand to a certain extent that his priest has concerns about the liabilities he poses, however, I feel that there should be some options and some compromises for the situation.
I took my younger son, diagnosed with PDDNOS to get his hair cut, explained that he is a difficult one and hates getting his haircut, and I was informed that if he gets upset they may not be able to serve him. Again, I understand that they are worried about getting sued or whatever, but what are my options, if I can't take my son to get a haircut? It's very hard to hear things like that. As a parent of a child or, in my case, children who fall on the spectrum our choices are very limited. While I was very upset that they reserved the right to provide a service for my son because of his disability, I can not imagine being told I am not welcome to worship at Church because of it.
It is reminiscent of a scene in Keeping Keller when supposedly religious and pious people feel that Keller should not be brought to church because he is disruptive. I look at it this way, these children are as innocent as is possible. Therefore, they are closer to God than any of us 'normal' folks. They have more of a right than any of us to be in a house of worship. The way that we treat them is a test to see how Christlike we are. So I say shame on the priest who is attempting to bar this boy and his family from their right to worship.

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