This week’s resource is a YouTube video of a presentation that was sponsored by the Diocese of Ogdensburg Vocations Society. They invited Darcy Fargo to speak at their annual luncheon on a topic that is obviously near and dear to Darcy’s heart: how to create welcoming faith communities for those who are on the Autism spectrum.
I know that for myself I know several parents who have stopped going to church because of the community’s unkind response to their child’s behavior. That response is often simply because the community judges that behavior as either bad parenting rather than the child responding to stimulation, sounds, smells and sights that are overwhelming their senses.
A parish can help create a welcoming community by letting the parents know that you love seeing them as church and asking the family how they can be of assistance. Another simple welcoming sign would be to have some sensory tools available, such as quiet fidget toys, noise reducing headphones or even a small quiet space where they can take the child if the sensory overload becomes too much.
Every parish has individual who are differently-abled, but all want to be included and loved. There are lots of little things we can do with great love to help others connect and encounter Christ in our parishes, in our sacraments, in our people. Start by being kind.
If, after watching the video, you would like more information, Darcy Fargo would be glad to be a resource for any parish or parishioner. She can be reached at the chancery be emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 315-393-2920.