I have spent a lot of time on this blog talking about how great our church is for Logan. It is a phenomenal church full of phenomenal people. It is an integral part of our family’s life. But I don’t want you to get the idea that church works all the time for Logan. There is also quite a bit of work that is entailed to getting church to work in a Logan friendly way.
First, our church is full of people that want church to work for Logan. They are involved with him in all aspects of church. I ALWAYS feel that they are as heavily vested in Logan having a successful experience as I am. That said, there are a few precautions that I take knowing Logan’s strengths and weaknesses. One such example would be praise time during youth on Wednesdays. I know it’s loud and boisterous. I know that it will put Logan into sensory overload which is not a good thing before class. I also know that there is social time beforehand that could stress him. So, we arrive when the worship is in full force and with only a few minutes left before class. Logan has his earplugs in and sits near his teachers. They are attuned to his needs and don’t require more of him than he is willing to give at that moment. Because at that moment, all he can give is keeping it together and getting to class. Why not just send him to class and skip worship you say? He loves it! He may not sing and do all the other movements that the other kids are doing but he is listening and drawing closer to God at that moment. I can’t and won’t take that away from him just because the music is too loud.
Sometimes even the best intentioned people can get it all wrong. There are various reasons for this. One could be that they don’t understand autism. Or they don’t understand that what worked for another child with autism doesn’t always work with the next child with autism (don’t we parents know that all too well!). Or they are not interested in making it work or listening to your suggestions. Whatever their reason, I have to decide if it is detrimental to Logan to continue the activity. I could go to the person in charge or volunteer in the area myself. I try not to volunteer a lot in Logan’s events because I tend to overcompensate for him. I also take it personally when I feel like the other person isn’t doing what is necessary for him. In the end , I have to be the advocate for Logan at all times. There is no break for me. I don’t get to leave church and not think about autism anymore. It is with me 24/7 and only through God’s strength can I make it through some days.
I do have to tell the truth in love. I have to continue to love the person at all times even when I’m angry that I can’t make it work for Logan. Yes, I have to sometimes be the bad guy and tell Logan that he can not attend that event anymore. This is a worst case scenario though. I try to exhaust every available option before this happens. To be honest, I have never had to do this at this church until now. It’s uncharted territory for me. But I can’t make it work , no matter how hard I try. I have tried everything in my power to make it work but it just won’t. In the end, autism won and that sucks.