Church Bars Family of Autistic Child from Church

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KingdomOfRats
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19 May 2008, 1:30 pm

this is disgusting.
they have no idea about autism,seem to have not attempted to learn anything about autism and ban him from church when every detail of it has been part of his long term routine,they also attempt to criminalise him/his parents for doing what everyone else in that church is doing just because he has autism and as a result of autism,his challenging behavior.

there does need to be a balance of disability accomodating,and affect it has on others though,as it would not be fair to allow complete disruption,they should accomodate him by offering him the back [like has been said] and at the side,so he does not affect anyone else if he tries to get out,if he has a meltdown,they can then take him out the door a lot quicker than if he was further down and that would mean less disruption.
but...have they thought why he is having challenging behaviors in church,and what the setoffs are? could it be that he cannot tolerate the sensory onslaught? could it be he finds it very difficult to sit still for that long? could it be that he does not have enough understanding of what is being said,so he kicks off as hes fed up trying to understand? could it be he is trying to communicate something to them? could it be that he does not feel comfortable been closed in from others around him?
is he only going to church out of routine,and does he hate it or like it?
if he likes it,the church should do the christian thing and try and accomodate him,wouldnt they be breaking the DDA otherwise?


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EvilKimEvil
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19 May 2008, 1:51 pm

It sounds like the goal here is to protect the other members of the congregation. No one deserves to be the recipient of physical violence. If this kid cannot control his violent behavior, measures should be taken to prevent him from hurting anyone. It is the care-giver's responsibility to take these measures. Private organizations can only do so much to accommodate people with extreme behavior problems like this. They don't have endless amounts of resources, and even if they did, sufficient accommodation might not be possible.



Zwerfbeertje
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19 May 2008, 1:57 pm

Nobody seems to notice, but apparently going to the church is too much for the boy to handle. Why does the mother insist on going to the church if it upsets the boy so much? Sounds to me like this is a power struggle at the cost of the boy.



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19 May 2008, 1:57 pm

If someone is a danger in any social situation, they have to take action to protect people there and then, and plan safer alternatives. They cannot and should not 'ban' unless they have exhausted all possibilities including offering quieter services.

How does this lad see the world, and this church? Is it a confusing social mess with flickering lights, sudden noises, smells, physical contact with other people, no clue what happens next, etc? In many churches, that's the reality of how it feels/seems to some of us. It can be a very, very overwhelming place to be unless people "think the way we do" and realise what makes some kids on the spectrum have a meltdown or behave in disruptive ways. I'd like to have seen a really good involvement from the autism experts, and a congregation that were willing to offer some alternatives in the short or medium term to help this family to cope. Did they?



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19 May 2008, 2:24 pm

Everyone belittles the interests of the community. I'm alone, it seems, in defending community interests. WrongPlanet, plesae be responsible citizens of a world bigger than your own emotions. Blindly and deafly defending every violation perpetrated by autistics will destroy what we are working for. Who's gooing to respect people who aren't socially responsible for anything, ever?



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19 May 2008, 2:32 pm

I was really ticked of when I heard about this on the local news. There has got to be some way they can find a way to accommodate the kid's issues without banning him from the church. Apparently instead they took the easy way out. Severely autistic people have no right to go to religious services of the religion they believe in, apparently, how despicable. This kid can't control what he's doing, he's not intentionally being violent, and thus not finding a way to accommodate his issues is discriminatory.


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slowmutant
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19 May 2008, 2:37 pm

Violence is violence, intentional or not. Everyone must face the consequences of their actions, or else the laws of the land are a joke. A joke played on good churchgoing folk. The effect matters more than the cause, in this case.

Being physically attacked in church, that is despicable.



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19 May 2008, 2:46 pm

slowmutant wrote:
Everyone belittles the interests of the community. I'm alone, it seems, in defending community interests. WrongPlanet, plesae be responsible citizens of a world bigger than your own emotions. Blindly and deafly defending every violation perpetrated by autistics will destroy what we are working for. Who's gooing to respect people who aren't socially responsible for anything, ever?


That's very true: we cannot blindly and deafly defend all who carry a label on the autistic spectrum.
Though I think you hit upon a very important insight as well. Emotion does tend to obscure logic--Mutant, you have excellent logic and a good heart.I think other people will pick up on that (indeed,if they haven't already.) Real respect takes time but it'll come.You'll see. :)



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19 May 2008, 2:46 pm

There is a point between reasonable accommodations and unreasonable sacrifices. I am all for autistic rights and neurodiversity, but this kid is actually putting people in danger of physical harm. I don't blame the church. If the mother doesn't have enough respect to obey a restraining order (regardless of what she thinks is fair), then clearly she is a person who thinks the rules do not apply to her. If the kid has such issues that he must be physically restrained throughout the service, I think the parents are just determined to make a statement, not attend mass.

As far as the mother showing up in spite of a restraining order, she's an ass for that. There are better ways to make a point than breaking the law. It tells me she has no respect for authority, and she's probably the type who excuses every one of her son's behavior because he is autistic. Perhaps she does not discipline him, as the priest said. Both of my children are autistic, I have AS. Discipline still works, just takes more persistence and patience.


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PunkyKat
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19 May 2008, 2:53 pm

That's just awful. Churchs should be accepting of anyone no matter what. I am Catholic myself and hearing babies cry during Mass is a pretty common thing. I suppose next the priest will exclude them from mass as well. The actualy tied him up? That sounds like abuse.



Last edited by PunkyKat on 19 May 2008, 3:05 pm, edited 1 time in total.

slowmutant
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19 May 2008, 2:57 pm

Crying babies are not as disruptive or dangerous as a 200 lb. teenager manhandling churchgoers.



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19 May 2008, 5:27 pm

You seem to be, lets say, overreacting a bit. There's more then one side told int the story, one of them says it's clumsiness, the other says it's threatening.

There's another side to the story that is not told and that's the boy's story. Shame on everyone on the spectrum who doesn't recognize how the situation might have taxed his ability to cope with crowds and sensory overload.



KingdomOfRats
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19 May 2008, 6:35 pm

Zwerfbeertje wrote:
You seem to be, lets say, overreacting a bit. There's more then one side told int the story, one of them says it's clumsiness, the other says it's threatening.

There's another side to the story that is not told and that's the boy's story. Shame on everyone on the spectrum who doesn't recognize how the situation might have taxed his ability to cope with crowds and sensory overload.

agreed.


another thing not being recognised is that this boy is profoundly autistic and has severe challenging behavior,in no way can high functioning,fully aware thinking be applied to an autist who is not at that level,there is a lot less awareness/connection with others,and understanding of what is going on can be greatly impaired for various reasons such as language problems,communication ability,severe sensory impairment making things a blur, 'challenging behavior' is also used by a lot of auties to communicate-some cannot communicate in anything but challenging behavior.
there are many reasons for which this boy could be showing those behaviors,if are truly 'working for' autistics like have said, and not just one specific group on the spectrum,would at least try to understand the causes behind his behaviors,and not just defaultly view it as being bad and intended to be bad.

it sounds like he wont be suitable for organised religeon anywhere if this church is unable to accomodate him and fairly for everyone,so his family should look at an alternative,online church maybe.


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19 May 2008, 6:48 pm

Frankly the idea of taking young children into church always puzzled me. Even my parents who are believers think it is ludicrous. Then again it comes with the territory.

Personally I think the mother may be making assumptions about what is beneficial. If it causing that much trouble them maybe it is not a great environment for him.

I love music but church organ has a signature that make my head hurt. A sitars sound just as complex, but it is within what i can tolerate and actually really like it. But to others it is the most horrible thing they ever heard.

What is uncharacteristic is the catholic church/priest taking the matter outside the church for something like this. I grew up a catholic. Usually they will try and find a solution within the diocese/parish. Technically they are not even supposed to close their doors to visitors at all, but in this day an age things would get stolen.



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19 May 2008, 7:26 pm

Seems to me that keeping the boy from church is the best thing for the boy, who cares what his mother thinks.

My son would probably go nuts at church if I brought him there. The huge crowd of people, the strange smells and sounds, the loud bells, the long quiet sermons, I would be insane to make my son sit through all that. Hell, I don't even like church myself for many of the same reasons, and once passed out from overstimulation.

Some autistics can handle church, but I'm guessing most can't, especially ones with lower functioning. There's no reason to make the poor boy go to church except the mom needs to complain about something.



Shelby
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20 May 2008, 4:35 am

It's not a matter of autism, it's a matter of behaviour. A lot of autistics wouldn't act like that. I think it's very popular to scream discrimination in these cases, but I've worked with violent autistics and they do need to be separated from people. It's a shame there wasn't another way, like when I was a kid our church had a "crying room" which was a glass room. If they had something like that the boy could go in there.

But honestly, it's probably not the best place for him. Like Mage and some others said, it's too overwhelming for him and it's not fair to torture him every week. They should find a babysitter or some kind of care for him while they attend without him. It's not fair to him or the churchgoers who don't want to be hit or disrupted.