Doing Church with Autism Spectrum Disorder

The Gospel Coalition | 7/10/2019 | Staff
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Imagine this scenario:

You’re in a crowded room with people who bump into you or gently touch you with their hands to “sneak by,” without realizing that every touch sends your mind into panic mode.

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On top of this, your brain begins to be overwhelmed by the different smells surrounding you.

While you’re still trying to adjust, music begins playing over the sea of noise.


You freeze as you fight to not let your anxiousness overcome you.

Would you volunteer to have such an experience? Would you believe it if I said enduring such a scenario is actually good for you?

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Well, that’s a depiction of the first five minutes of a typical church service for some people with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Someone like me.

What Is ASD?

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Autism Spectrum Disorder (referred to as ASD going forward) is a neurological disorder commonly characterized by difficulties with social interaction, communication, and sensory sensitivity.

Typically, someone with ASD is unable to read body language or distinguish things like jokes or sarcasm. They also probably exhibit a lack of eye contact during conversation and struggle with handshakes. Thus, having to face social interaction can cause anxiety that only compounds as the people in an area increase. People with ASD also typically have a topic they find extremely interesting that they could talk about for hours. Personally, mine is video games.

ASD - Disorder - People - Spectrum - Article

However, ASD isn’t a cookie-cutter disorder, meaning it doesn’t manifest the same in all people on the spectrum. This article reflects my experiences, but others who have ASD can experience church differently.

The opening scenario only focused on sensory sensitivity, so you can imagine what it would be like when communication and socializing are thrown into the mix.

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But while a church service has many levels of difficulty for someone with ASD, the command of Scripture is clear: “Let us...
(Excerpt) Read more at: The Gospel Coalition
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