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Mom Fights Church Ban on Autistic Son

post #1 of 24
Thread Starter 
http://abcnews.go.com/TheLaw/Autism/...4980885&page=1

I kept expecting someone to post this, but I guess I'll do the honors.

IMO, the kid is the size of a large man and behaves in ways that scare and sometimes endanger others. His parents have to sit on him and tie him up sometimes!

I feel for the family, but think the mom is coming across as somewhat unreasonable.
post #2 of 24
I saw this,
how i understand why the church did what they did.
I feel they(the church) are in the wrong.
post #3 of 24
I heard about this yesterday on another forum. I agree with you.
I side with the church on this one.
post #4 of 24
The only other option I can see the church having (if they have the money) is to build a glassed (maybe plexiglass) room for him and his family, near an exit. In the back of a church I attended, they had rooms for crying babies or young children and their parents, with speakers inside so that they could still hear the sermon. The deacons could still bring them the Lord's Supper, etc. and they could still be part of the congregation, while not disturbing anyone. Otherwise, I think the video feed was a decent option, as long as they were still offered the sacraments.

It's a sad situation, but there is a reality to it that his parents don't seem to want to aknowledge.
post #5 of 24
An autistic child that big is hard to control. My MIL's best friend has an autisic boy who is now over 20 years old. He isn't near as big as this man, but he is still a handful. I can understand why having him in the congregation for mass isn't a good idea, and I would think the mother would understand that. I would agree, if they could set up a special room where he can't harm anyone, or a video feed. The problem is, if he is used to going to church on Sundays, keeping him from it may be problematic. Changing any routine can cause major problems. I wish his family luck, but I think the pastor did what he had to do to protect his congregation.
post #6 of 24
I'm torn - I understand the mother's position, and ordinarily, I would put her in the right. But if her son is a danger to himself and others, and also disruptive to the Mass, then the Church has many reasons to do what they did. I think it is clear that the Church is trying to do what it can, but I don't think there is a win-win situation here.
post #7 of 24
I think the church is missing out,on a chance to inform its members of this subject.
post #8 of 24
I work with autistic children on a daily basis. They is a wide variation of abilities and behaviors in autistic children - just as there is in "normal" children.
There is a catch-22 going on. Autistic children do not recognize social signals and need exposure to others to learn appropriate behavior. But sometimes their behavior is so disruptive that it is difficult to take them into public places.

My church has the youngest members join the first part of the service, but excuses them to go to a children's service. The kids get some exposure to appropriate behavior, but not so long that they get bored. The biggest issue is that there are very few adults who are trained in helping autistic children and it wouldn't be fair to require the church to provide one.
post #9 of 24
In my opinion the parents have more faith that the church and Jesus/God would be able to help their child and that's why they want to bring him in person. The pastor is more concerned with "rules" and "disruption" of his church then to be teaching what Jesus taught.

If you read Mark 16:15-18 - these are Jesus' words on if you have faith and the Holy Spirit in you, you can accomplish the things he did (in healing the sick, etc.). In part "In my name they will drive out demons;..........they will place their hands on sick people and they will get well."


I'm picturing if these parents would have brought their child to Jesus and asked him to heal him. Jesus would have reached out and made the child well instantly
post #10 of 24
If this child is being abusive the church has a right to remove him. This child is the size of a grown man and is capable of hurting people. I'm sorry but spiting and urinating in public, let alone church, is just not acceptable.
post #11 of 24
If it was enough to get a restraining order, in my mind she is breaking the law and that alone is enough for me to disagree with her.

I am sure they have tried everything before removing a member of the congregation, but I certainly wouldn't keep going to a church where someone was spitting and hitting me, autistic or not and nothing was done about it.

The news report states that they offered him a room in the basement with a video feed - if the religion meant that much to her, she would take any form of it until arrangements could be made.

My mum teaches special needs children, including autistic children, in a Catholic school. They attend mass each week and when they are acting up they are removed and sit in a room outside until they have calmed down or until mass is over. Perhaps if the mother had done that too, it wouldn't have come to the point where a restraining order is needed.
post #12 of 24
They did try alternatives. They offered them the cry room. They offered them a video feed in another room. I think they even offered a private Mass for the family.

I don't agree with some people (not here) who have said that "Jesus wouldn't turn him away". In my opinion Jesus wouldn't have forced the boy into a situation he couldn't handle. If he had "meltdowns" (his mothers term for it) so bad that the parents had to sit on him to calm him down during Mass, he wasn't happy there, wasn't getting anything out of it and couldn't handle it. It is cruel to force him to endure it every week.
post #13 of 24
I visited a few times at a local church where one of the families had a child like this. At the time, the boy was, on, about eight - ten years old, I'd guess. I thought he was quite distracting, but apparently the regular members were used to him and he didn't seem to bother them. My own impression is that permitting him to be in the service showed great tolerance on their part.

However -- I don't know how it is now. This must have been five or more years ago, and one of the posters here made the point about how scary it must be for other people if a large male person behaves in such a way as to be barely controllable. The comment about sitting on him and tying him up was not a pleasant picture. It would be interesting to find out if this church I visited still allows this person, who would now be a young adult, in their services and whether or not he's learned to sit still for that long or not. I guess I have to sympathize with the church on this one. It's a difficult choice to make, and apparently they tried to accomodate before arriving at this point.
post #14 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Telynn View Post
They did try alternatives. They offered them the cry room. They offered them a video feed in another room. I think they even offered a private Mass for the family.

I don't agree with some people (not here) who have said that "Jesus wouldn't turn him away". In my opinion Jesus wouldn't have forced the boy into a situation he couldn't handle. If he had "meltdowns" (his mothers term for it) so bad that the parents had to sit on him to calm him down during Mass, he wasn't happy there, wasn't getting anything out of it and couldn't handle it. It is cruel to force him to endure it every week.
That is a good point. It may too much for him to handle. They should have accepted the basement option. For him it might have been less stimulating. I think it is rather cruel of the parents to force him in to be in a situation that is too hard for him to process. The Priest has to think of all of the families there not just them. What about the small children he is scaring and the elderly people he almost mowed down.
I have all the compassion in the world for this young man. But the mother is being unreasonable. She is ignoring the right of all of the other people who come each Sunday to worship and get spiritually fed.
She says that she has never gotten any complaints but is ignoring that fact that people most likely didn't feel comfortable calling her. From her actions it doesn't appear that she is a reasonable person. She would have received much more help from the church if she had worked with them.
post #15 of 24
I will give a unusual viewpoint here.. The mother is TOTALLY WRONG... I happen to be HIGH functioning autistic , I AVOID large social gatherings 90% of the time, i have learned to go to things like the fair mid day mid week etc..... I sit in the back of the congergation to avoid some of the "stimulation" .... This boy is not as well off as I am and thus should NOT be placed in that type of situation... the basement sounds likea good plan IMHO
post #16 of 24
It seems that Mom thinks, the needs of the one outweigh the needs of the many.
She is just trying to make a statement about Autism I think and using this church and it's congregation as kind of guinea pigs IMO.
post #17 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by GoldenKitty45 View Post
If you read Mark 16:15-18 - these are Jesus' words on if you have faith and the Holy Spirit in you, you can accomplish the things he did (in healing the sick, etc.). In part "In my name they will drive out demons;..........they will place their hands on sick people and they will get well."


I'm picturing if these parents would have brought their child to Jesus and asked him to heal him. Jesus would have reached out and made the child well instantly
how do you know they haven't? perhaps they asked, but the answer was, "not yet" or "not during this life".
i've requested healing from my chronic migraines for 40 years, but have yet to be delivered. i've come to terms with the fact that this is something God feels i need to have in my life - i just don't understand why yet.
on topic - i've worked w/autistic children, both low & high functioning. even when young [& physically small] they can be quite strong & extremely determined - i had an 8-year-old girl manage to pull me to the floor [we were walking down the hall, & i had her hand in mine - i didn't let go, so ended up on the floor].
if this were my child, i would've accepted the 'crying room' option. IMO, this mother is in denial about what her son is capable of handling [& what other members are willing to put up with].
if all he was doing was rocking & making noises, that would be different. but he's endangering the other people at the church w/his actions. i realize he doesn't understand, but that's no reason to endanger others.
post #18 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by ckblv View Post
It seems that Mom thinks, the needs of the one outweigh the needs of the many.
She is just trying to make a statement about Autism I think and using this church and it's congregation as kind of guinea pigs IMO.
I agree with you, and don't think it appropriate.
post #19 of 24
Quote:
Race said that church officials offered to have Adam watch mass from a video feed in the basement. She rejected that offer. "From a spiritual standpoint, there's nothing that says watching mass on TV is the same as being present," she said.
There would be any number of TV preachers willing to debate that.
post #20 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by ckblv View Post
It seems that Mom thinks, the needs of the one outweigh the needs of the many.
She is just trying to make a statement about Autism I think and using this church and it's congregation as kind of guinea pigs IMO.
In my opinion she is ignoring even the needs of the one, her son, for her own needs. Her son does not need to be put into that situation. It is her own need of showing the world what she has to live with that she is satisfying by pushing this issue.
post #21 of 24
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Telynn View Post
In my opinion she is ignoring even the needs of the one, her son, for her own needs. Her son does not need to be put into that situation. It is her own need of showing the world what she has to live with that she is satisfying by pushing this issue.
You make a good point. She may very well be suffering from some sort of martyr complex. With a child so affected by autism, church may well be one of her only social outings. The other churchgoers might be one of the only "positive" things she has in her life. Maybe they're the only ones who recognize and tell her what a hero she is for being so kind and patient with such a difficult son. Kind of hard for everyone to tell her what a great person she is if she can't "put on a show" for them, so the basement idea was rejected.

Regardless of her motivation, I think the general consensus is that she's wrongwrongwrong.
post #22 of 24
To me dragging her child to church sounds like a torturous experience... For the other church goers... and for him. And to be forced into that every single week? No wonder he lashes out...

Personally I don't think going to church is required to be spiritual... and the church offered many acceptable alternatives that would allow the people to be in accordance with the beliefs of the church (mass and sacrements and such)... The mother just wants a scene and she's making herself look awful.
post #23 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Forensic View Post
To me dragging her child to church sounds like a torturous experience... For the other church goers... and for him. And to be forced into that every single week? No wonder he lashes out...

Personally I don't think going to church is required to be spiritual... and the church offered many acceptable alternatives that would allow the people to be in accordance with the beliefs of the church (mass and sacrements and such)... The mother just wants a scene and she's making herself look awful.
That's it exactly. When my Grandmother was dieing a priest would come to her home and say mass for her and my Grandfather. It's not only possible to have that done, but the priest/minister/spiritual leader would consider that part of his or her job!

I have a feeling this woman wanted the attention put on her, and not the child.
post #24 of 24
I am glad the conversation has turned to the way it has. When I first saw the story in the news I was like "that is horrible, mean of the church to do." And that's what the media wanted you to think. The naturally democratic media twists things so that you hear about only what they want you to hear about. We heard about discrimination against a human being by an organization.

I am sure the church meant no harm to the boy. They are looking out for him it sounds like and the church family.
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