Do you remember the film ‘Rain man’ staring Dustin Hoffman? Well for a lot of people, that is their perception of someone who’s autistic. In reality, this portrayal is far removed from many people’s reality.
Did you know that April was dubbed ‘National Autism Awareness Month’? Well, if you’re anything like me, you may not have known this, and I ask myself why?
Is this because we’re not directly touched by autism? Or is it that it does not receive much publicity? Despite the lack of awareness, I’m sure most of us have head of autism or even know someone who’s either themselves autistic or have a child who’s been diagnosed with autism.
Autism is the fastest growing developmental disability in the world. Did you know for example that, according to autism.org.uk, one in every 100 UK school children is autistic? Boys are nearly 5 times more likely than girls to be diagnosed with ASD.
As Christians with a duty to take care for those most in need, shouldn’t we be leading the charge to get all forms of disabilities recognised, and that those in our midst who’re dealing with any form of challenges are supported?
I’m so thankful at Pollards Hill Baptist Church (PHBC), we have a forward looking Pastor in our church. He alerted the congregation to the fact that this an important initiative, one which we as a family will be focusing on and that it’s our responsibility to pray for those dealing with the challenges which come with caring for a loved one diagnosed with autism.
In a recent blog, which you can still find on our website, we read how one family, the Marke family, coped with an autistic child during the height of the pandemic and some of the challenges they faced.
Given the focus on this subject this month, I wanted to go back to our sister, Carys Marke, to get first-hand awareness on some of the issues her family faces on a day to day basis.
Autism is our lives
“Part of the issue for us is the uncertainty of not knowing what you are going to wake up to, explains, Sister Carys. Autism is simply a part of our lives.
Autism spectrum is broad. Living with a young adult with Autism who knows exactly what they want, but find it hard to communicate or express themselves, can be a challenge. One size does not fit all. It is important to work with therapist to identify the preferred method of communication for them.
From time to time, repetitive routines pop up but, when you are living with someone with autism, you have to firstly think about the individual, how does your routine relate to their world? Does it make them feel happy, reassured, relaxed or Anxious? You can get a clearer insight into their world by bring part of their routine. This helps us with engaging with him.”
This is just a small glimpse of the day to day reality for one family.
As a Christian whilst our sister prays for patience, understanding and Grace to go through the day, compassion is a tenant by which we all must strive to live our lives.
Colossians 3:12 instructs us like this – “ …. as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.”
If we hold this dear to our belief, and try to live as instructed in Galatians 6:2 “Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfil the law of Christ”. We will not only want to learn more about autism, we will do all we can to support our brothers and sisters in their daily struggles.
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