Friday, October 21, 2016

The Biggest Need For Families With Disabilities

I may be too presumptuous in making a judgment about all families with disabilities, but I'm at least confident that this applies to a good majority of families. I believe that the biggest need for families with disabilities is respite.

What is respite? Respite is when someone watches your child so that the family can either get some rest or do some activity that they wouldn't normally do. It could be for a couple of hours or even for a weekend. This is not babysitting, as caring for a person with a disability is more complex.

The biggest need is not finding money to pay someone, the biggest need is finding someone to do the respite. There were many times that we had funding to pay for respite but had no one who would do respite for us. I have recently heard of other families going through the same thing.

Why is it so difficult? I assume that many people are intimidated by the idea of caring for a person with a disability. While it isn't for everyone, it is also not as overwhelming as some assume.

If you are a church that is looking for a way to minister to families with disabilities, offering respite would be a great place to start. There is a huge need and actually doing it is not that difficult. Consider how your church might be able to make a difference in this area.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Autism and Sensory Overload

One of the things that many people with autism experience is sensory overload. There are too many sounds, sights and smells and it becomes overwhelming. This video was created to help people without autism to understand what people with autism often experience.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Preaching on Disabilities

I truly believe that the pastor needs to take the lead on helping a church to become disability-friendly. This can happen in many ways, but one is to preach on disabilities. There are a number of passages that deal with disabilities that would make for a good sermon.

Here are some suggestions:

Now Jonathan, Saul's son, had a son crippled in his feet He was five years old when the report of Saul and Jonathan came from Jezreel, and his nurse took him up and fled And it happened that in her hurry to flee, he fell and became lame And his name was Mephibosheth. - 2 Samuel 4:4

You shall not curse a deaf man, nor place a stumbling block before the blind, but you shall revere your God; I am the LORD. - Leviticus 19:14

'Cursed is he who misleads a blind person on the road.' And all the people shall say, 'Amen.' - Deuteronomy 27:18

"In that day," declares the LORD, "I will assemble the lame And gather the outcasts, Even those whom I have afflicted. "I will make the lame a remnant And the outcasts a strong nation, And the LORD will reign over them in Mount Zion From now on and forever. - Micah 4:6-7

"Behold, I am going to deal at that time With all your oppressors, I will save the lame And gather the outcast, And I will turn their shame into praise and renown In all the earth. - Zephaniah 3:19

Friday, October 14, 2016

Top Five Posts!

Top Five
I have enjoyed sharing information about autism and other disabilities on this blog. There have been certain posts that really seem to have connected with people. Here are the top five posts from this blog.

1. What to Do When You See an Autistic Child Having a Meltdown
2. What I Would Look For in an Autism-Friendly Church
3. 5 Things You Should Know About Autism Parents
4. What If Your Church Can't Start a Disability Ministry?
5. Autism Infographic

If you are looking for more, I blog from to time on autism on my personal blog.

Monday, October 10, 2016

Autism and Holiday Dinners

As I write this, it is the Canadian Thanksgiving. We were blessed to have extended family with us for a delicious turkey dinner. It was an enjoyable time. However, our children with autism did not join us for it.

We did have our children with autism visit this weekend (they live in a group home). They came yesterday and left this morning before the rest of the family arrived for dinner.

We could have had our children with us for the larger dinner. However, larger groups tend to stress them out and it generally makes things difficult. We had a much more pleasant pizza dinner with them last night with just my wife and I and our five children.

It is not that we are embarrassed of our autistic children that we feel pressured to separate these events. Forcing our two children into a stressful situation would not be fair to them.

Why do I share this?

Because most families take it for granted that they can gather for a holiday dinner. Most families have no idea that there is a segment of the population for which this is very difficult.

I share this not to complain. We actually had a nice Thanksgiving, including (especially?) the visit from our children. I share this to spread awareness. Now you know.

Stephen Bedard

Friday, September 30, 2016

Disability Ministry is Not Just to Those With Disabilities

Disability Ministry
Disability ministry is extremely important. Churches must be reaching out to those with disabilities. But that should not be the only goal for disability ministry.

While not taking away from the needs of those with a disability, disabilities affect the entire family. Much of the contact that I have is with parents of children with disabilities. I know from experience that it is not easy. There are all sorts of financial, physical, emotional and spiritual challenges that go with being a parent. The same is true with being a sibling.

If your church wants to become disability-friendly, you need to take a wholistic approach. Yes, provide a safe and welcoming place for the person with the disability. But consider how you can minister to the rest of the family as well. You can really make a difference.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Why Do People With Autism Stim?

If you met our son, you would find him with a square-shaped toy in a sock covered with some plastic. If you met our daughter, you would find her with a CD or DVD held up to her face. This is called stimming. What is stimming? Find out in this video.