"Without considered and intentional measures, many aspects of church life can pose challenges for autistic children and young people." - Mark Arnold
'How To Include Autistic Children And Young People In Church' is a new book written by Mark Arnold (Additional Needs Ministry Director) and part of the popular Grove Youth series of books. The book is a practical guide that provides useful advice on how to make church a space where autistic children and young people can thrive. It urges children’s, youth and families’ workers to be agents of change within both their own ministries and the wider church community, building a better place of inclusion, belonging and spiritual development for all.
Mark invites us to develop our understanding of what autism is (and is not), by going on a journey that will help us to include - and create belonging in church for - all autistic children and young people. On the way, we will explore why some of what we typically do in church can create barriers for autistic children and young people, and highlight the importance of children's, youth and families' workers being agents of change.
We will identify how to remove or reduce these barriers and who to do this with with, and finish our journey by showing that if we create a place where autistic children and young people thrive, we create a better place of inclusion, belonging and spiritual development for everyone.
"Twenty five pages packed with information and ideas, this is a must-read book if you work with children and young people in church. Sit down with a cup of coffee and this book for half an hour and it could change your ministry." - Sue Price, Hand in Hand Conference Manager, Kingsway CLC Trust
Mark is also in the process of creating a training programme to go alongside the book, enabling children’s, youth and family’s workers to be able to successfully put the ideas and strategies shared in the book into practice. Watch this space for further details of that training.
“Mark offers a fantastic introduction to supporting autistic children in the church. For both the experienced practitioner and someone looking for information there is so much packed into this short booklet. If every church were to implement these simple suggestions and principles our communities would be the richer for it.” - Olly Goldenberg, Children Can