Invisible Needs

When churches embrace the disabled, everyone benefits.

Two things were immediately apparent about five-year-old Joshua: he was highly intelligent and he was passionate about phones. Each Sunday morning in my kindergarten classroom, Joshua would report the latest factoid about AT&T or recite his litany of memorized phone numbers. But when Joshua was asked to join the sitting circle with his classmates, he was often unresponsive.

To the casual observer, he might seem oblivious to the activity around him—but ask him a question and his clipped response was almost always correct.

One morning when Joshua would not stay in his seat, a new assistant held him in his chair, determined to discipline his unconventional behavior. Joshua began to scream.

Although Joshua looked and sounded like a normal child in so many ways, I had long suspected he shared a diagnosis with my own two sons. Months later it was confirmed. Joshua had Asperger's syndrome, a high-functioning form of autism.

Once considered odd, or simply unruly and misbehaved, we now ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe to Christianity Today magazine. Subscribers have full digital access to CT Pastors articles.

Homepage Subscription Panel

Read These Next

Related
Six Types of Small Groups to Help Churches
Six Types of Small Groups to Help Churches
An excerpt from Leadership Handbook of Outreach and Care.
From the Magazine
Hope Is an Expectant Leap
Hope Is an Expectant Leap
Advent reminds us that Christian hope is shaped by what has happened and what’s going to happen again.
Editor's Pick
Your Preaching Is Not God’s Work. You Are God’s Work.
Your Preaching Is Not God’s Work. You Are God’s Work.
How inner transformation shapes outward proclamation.
close