Celebrating World Autism Day

I thought about the title of this post for awhile before deciding on “Celebrating World Autism Day.” At first I was going to title this “Honoring World Autism Day”, which would be a correct view of the day, but I decided to use of the word celebrating. Celebrations are happy, joyous gatherings with cake and balloons. Celebrations are a joyous recognition of something wondrous, such as the birthday  of a loved one; so ‘celebrating’ is the correct word.  What are we celebrating joyously with cake and balloons? The joy of sharing the world with wonderful people who have autism.

What is autism? The autism advocacy group Autism Speaks defines it as “Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and autism are both general terms for a group of complex disorders of brain development. These disorders are characterized, in varying degrees, by difficulties in social interaction, verbal and nonverbal communication and repetitive behaviors. Wikipedia describes autism as a disorder of neuro development. People who have autism interact with and interpret the world differently than more typical people. People who have autism are complexly different and complexly similar to other people. Today we are celebrating those differences and similarities. Today we are celebrating the lives of the 1 in 68 children who have autism around the globe.

What are we, as people of faith celebrating? All people are amazing gifts from God to each other. Today we are celebrating the wonderful gifts that people who have autism bring to the world. We are celebrating the opportunity that we have to journey through life with people who have autism, their families and their caregivers. We are celebrating the joy of sharing our faith with people who interpret the world differently. We are celebrating God at work across the entire spectrum of humanity.

Faith Community Inclusion

Hopefully you have had the opportunity to read a few of our posts that introduce to some of our wonderful experiences and friendships with people who have developmental disabilities.

Our first several posts are intended to invite you into our growing community of people who believe that God loves everyone. No exceptions. God loves the person who never speaks a word. He loves the person who never seems to stop speaking words. God loves people who have forgotten their names. He loves those who sing loudly, those who sing off key, and those who sing with their hands or hum to the melody. In addition to loving everyone God desires each person to be part of a worshiping community. The contributors to AbleFaith are sharing these words and their hearts to open your heart to the possibility of being part of a faith community that embraces all people, just as God does. We are excited about being part of contributing our expereince and knowledge about inclusive communities and worship.

What questions do you have? What has been your experience when extending hospitality to people with disabilities and their families and caregivers?