(KUTV) Many Utah children have autism. The mysteries and misconceptions of autism are discouraging many families for attending church. Church leaders are now learning how to work with autistic children. There is a new training tool to educate teachers, leaders and even members about autism. “I think traditionally, church settings are very quiet and very sacred and unfortunately a lot of times, these children with autism are loud and disruptive”
Lisa Ridges works for the Sahara Cares Foundation. She says there are a lot of misconceptions about autism. “A lot of times, parents with children with autism are afraid they are going to be judge,” said Ridges. “And people will think they are not good parents because they can’t control their kids.”
Sahara Cares has produced a video to help educate church members and leaders of all faiths about the mysteries of autism. The video offers ideas on how to integrate autistic children into different religious settings. “Sometimes the solution is kids will go in for part of a meeting. Or sometimes there are other activities that can be provided to these kids to help them get through the meetings,” said Ridges.
The video also offers suggestions on how families can open dialogue with church leaders and members of their congregation. “Utah has such a high number of children with autism and a lot of times there are Sunday school teachers that are put into place who have no idea what to do with these kids or what this disability looks like or means.”
To see the video, visit: www.saharacares.net
For more information on autism, visit: http://autismcouncilofutah.org
(Copyright 2013 Sinclair Broadcasting Group.)