Explanation of Autism
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. Parents usually notice signs in the first two years of their child’s life.
Studies also show that autism is four to five times more common among boys than girls. An estimated 1 out of 42 boys and 1 in 189 girls are diagnosed with autism in the United States. ASD is estimated to affect more than 2 million individuals in the U.S. and tens of millions worldwide.
There is a lot of information on the Internet about Autism. Pinterest is also a good source when looking for activities for children.
Here are some insights on how to work with someone with autism:
- Keep your language simple
- Teach specific social rules/skills
- Give fewer choices
- Avoid using sarcasm
- Avoid using idioms
- Give very clear choices
- Repeat instructions and check understanding
- Set a daily routine
- Provide warning of any impending change of routine
- Use various means of presentation
- Avoid overstimulation
The symbol for autism is a multi–colored ribbon with shapes of puzzle pieces. For a centerpiece you can use puzzle pieces scattered in the center of the table. Also enlarge the autism ribbon symbol and print on cardstock. Cut it out and attach to a stick. Then place in a container with a floral foam block and shredded gift bag paper.
One suggestions when dealing with someone with autism is not to give too many choices. Your refreshments could be very simple such as cut up fruit and cookies, or chips with two types of dip.
Program Ideas — Information Page
Make up an information page from material gathered on the Internet to help explain this disorder.
Calming Down Helps
Children with autism often need help in changing their focus when feeling upset. Here are a couple of ideas. Fill a clear soda bottle with rice and tiny objects like buttons and small toys. Fill the bottle with paper clips. Add a magnetic wand to move the paper clips around. Add clear pony beads to the bottle. Fill the bottle with water and glitter.
Invite a speaker who works with children with autism to share with the women. A good place to start is the local school. Another possibility would be parents who have autistic children and who would be willing to share the impact this condition has on their family.
Jesus Loves the Little Children
Read Luke 18:15–17.
As children in Sunday School we sang the song:
Jesus loves the little children
All the children of the world
Red and yellow, black and white,
They are precious in His sight.
Jesus loves the little children of the world.
In Luke 18 we see the fact that Jesus loves children. He wants us to bring them to Him. The parents in this story are great examples to us as they brought their children to Jesus. They knew how important it was for Jesus to touch and bless them.
Children are teachable and reachable. We can help them come to know Jesus in a real way because they are open to the truths about Jesus. We can help them grow in their spiritual walk throughout their life. When they are older and have difficulties in their lives, they will remember that Jesus is close enough to touch, can pick them up when they fall, and is there to protect and keep them safe.
The disciples scolded the parents for bothering Jesus, but Jesus told the disciples that they were wrong for not allowing the children to come to Him. If we look back in history we will find many great leaders of our time were saved and heard the call of Jesus at a very young age. They lived their lives serving Jesus.
Verse 17 of Luke 18 sums it all up: “I tell you the truth, anyone who doesn’t receive the Kingdom of God like a child will never enter it.” We must be spiritually born into the family of God. We do this by receiving Jesus as our Lord and Savior. We must ask for forgiveness and trust in His love. Come as a reachable and teachable child.