In this guest article, Dr. David J. Quel shares about his experience raising three Autistic boys. Not only has David been in pastoral ministry for over twenty-five years, he also has a Doctorate in Marriage and Family Counseling and a Master’s degree in Autism Studies.
Over the last twenty-one years, I have had the challenge, joy, and frustration that goes with raising three Autistic young men. Today they are 21, 17, and 15.
These boys have opened my eyes up to a brand-new world that I was not familiar with or that I even had an inclination of how to handle it so many years ago.
The Challenge of Autism
One of the most challenging aspects of caring for children with Autism is that when you have worked with one child with Autism, you have worked with one child with Autism. Even though people may classify children with Autism all under the umbrella, the truth is that each child is unique and special.
This is the challenge–the misunderstanding–that spawned my passion for ministry with this unique population.
Ministry to the Autism Community
Autism is one of the fastest growing disorders within the United States. Recent data shows that about 1 in 44 children have been identified with Autism spectrum disorder, but few churches have ministries that serve these children and their families.
This information compelled me to refocus my research for my dissertation and help churches develop programs for their churches that could minister to the Autism community.
This course is designed for individuals who are looking to design new Autism ministries within their churches and reflects decades of personal experience. My wife and I are parents of three Autistic sons. We have seen good and bad ministries over the years and long for churches to have a new fresh look to reach out to this population. Both time and personal experience have shown us that new avenues of ministry need to be explored if these unique individuals are to come to know the saving love of Jesus Christ!
My wife and I tried many times to start a ministry for our kids as well as others in the church that needed to know Jesus loves them as they are.
Unfortunately, we faced roadblocks each and every time. If we tried to start a worship service, the church would still want traditional music. If we tried to start a class, we were told the teachers didn’t have the proper training. If we offered to train the teachers, we were told we needed to be the teachers.
Learn to Serve the Autism Community in Your Church
Over the past three years, I have been able to finish my education and my doctorate by exploring Autistic ministries that were able to get off the ground and succeed. I also took the time to interview church staff members with Autism ministries and parents of Autistic children to learn the do’s and don’ts of running a successful Autism ministry.
Ministering to those individuals on the Autism Spectrum and their families has been my passion for the last twenty years. And now I have the opportunity to share this passion and this knowledge through a class I will be teaching through BeaDisciple.com.
I would love for you to look over the class and see if God is calling you to engage in this ministry where you live. I promise, you will grow in you relationship with God and discover a part of you, you didn’t know was there!
–Dr. David J. Quel