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American Churches Exclude Children With Autism, ADD, Study Says

Many American churches have ministries dedicated to helping the poor, hungry or sick, but a study published in the Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion revealed that those with mental disabilities that effect social interaction are often overlooked. In America, the chance of a child with autism never attending church is two times higher than children with no health conditions. The families of these children report feeling unwelcome due to their child’s behavior, and church leaders lack the training to break down barriers that keep these children of God estranged from their local church community. Andrew Whitehead, sociologist and lead researcher and at Clemson University, told Relevant Magazine that he has two non-verbal children on the autism spectrum. He hopes the new study will be a “wake up call” to churches and religious institutions in our nation. “There is no effective, cookie-cutter approach to welcoming (people with Autism),” he said in an interview with Relevant. “However, having a system in place where families are seen, heard and valued will go a long way toward preventing a religious community from becoming yet another bureaucracy these families have to navigate. Instead, these communities can become places of rest and refuge.” Source: Christianity Today By Keshia McEntire

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