Our experience has been both wonderful and terrible as far as going to church as a family with special needs children. It has been a very long process but now we are at the point where we all attend church together. We worship together and then the little ones go to their own classes. Kyalynn goes to a wonderful special needs class and she LOVES it! The class includes all ages from little on up to adult. The room isn't filled with special toys or items. In fact, there is nothing truly remarkable about the room at all except for the people!! The volunteers love on these special ones and allow us parents time together to learn and grow in church. I'll admit, at first I felt like I was just allowing them to babysit Kyalynn and that felt selfish to me. When I finally stepped back from myself and realized what she was getting I felt humbled and truly blessed.
My girl gets loved on by a whole slew of wonderful people each week. She looks for her "teachers" and runs to hug them whenever she can break free from our grasp. LOL! Her Hippotherapy teacher is still one of her very favorite people and Kyalynn has tried to bring her home with us numerous times. LOL! The really cool thing is this precious lady adores all of our kiddos and loves on them every chance she gets. Of course, they adore Ms. Donna too and if they spy her in service they will let out a "there's Ms. Donna" chant. :)
Although our girl is such a sweet treasure she has her moments when she's hard to handle! :) Lucky for us(!), some of those moments have been at church. Instead of pushing away (as so many tend to do when they feel awkward) these volunteers have reached out to her and us, encouraging and supporting us as we try to help Kyalynn to navigate thru her fears. Kyalynn has grown so much in the last year! She is making progress little by little and we couldn't be happier with that!!
It saddens me to read reports about the abuse that happens to autistic children whether in specialized schools or in public schools by their teachers and other school students. http://youtu.be/tfkscHt96R0 http://www.cafemom.com/articles/big_kid/131888/school_that_allowed_students_to
Especially knowing how vulnerable and fragile these children are and how trusting too. Breaks my heart to even think of someone hurting my precious girl like that. I'd definitely become a momma grizzly on them! :) It makes me all the more thankful for the ones who willingly give of themselves each week and treat our loved ones with respect, love and dignity.
And although my church welcomes those with special needs there are still those that attend whose actions and words bring hurt to our hearts. They don't mean to (at least I hope not!) they just don't understand or feel awkward or have never been around those with disabilities. It's a learning process for all who share life with these special ones. I'm praying that as others get to know our girl and our family they will come to realize how blessed we truly are to be her mommy and daddy! :)
Oh, and how much they can learn from this little girl with a huge heart for God!