This month is Autism Awareness Month (and May is Mental Health Month if you are scheduling out) so we wanted to help churches figure out how they can participate in their own way. Below are several things you can do, from the very simple posting a social media post to the very involved of implementing a strategy.
The hope is that this first of all shows more alignment from the church with mental health and developmental delays. Beyond this, we hope that conversations start and maybe even revival for people with developmental delays and mental health may begin in your communities.
Note: this is not in exhaustive list, but definitely a starting point for churches.
Social Media Posts
Below are six different social media images that you can share on your social media that we would encourage randomly. If you want to use some facts to go with the images, keep reading.
Whether you are needing stats for your next sermon, newsletter, or social media post, we encourage you to share these
- About 1 percent of the world population has
autismspectrum disorder. (CDC)
- More than 3.5 million Americans live with an autism spectrum disorder. (Buescher et al)
- Autism services cost U.S. citizens $236-262 billion annually. (Buescher et al.) Cost of lifelong care can be reduced by 2/3 with early diagnosis and intervention.
- 35% of young adults (ages 19-23) with autism have not had a job or received postgraduate education after leaving high school. (Shattuck et al., 2012)
- Boys are four times more likely to be diagnosed with autism than girls.
- Most children were still being diagnosed after age 4, though autism can be reliably diagnosed as early as age 2.
- Over the last two decades, extensive research has asked whether there is any link between childhood vaccinations and autism. The results of this research are clear: Vaccines do not cause autism.
- Nearly two-thirds of children with autism between the ages of 6 and 15 have been bullied. (Autism Speaks)
Start Your Own Ministry
This is not a “build from scratch” idea. There are several ideas on how to include special needs inclusion ministry into your church. Here are two:
Nathaniel’s Hope (Buddy Break Respite Care)
Nathaniel’s Hope is dedicated to celebrating kids with special needs (our VIPs) and educating and equipping communities and churches to provide programs and assistance including our free Buddy Break respite program.
Key Ministry (Inclusive Disability Ministry)
Key Ministry was founded to help churches minister to families of children with hidden disabilities. They find themselves uniquely called and positioned to serve churches seeking to become more intentional and effective in ministry with children, teens
What would you want to add to this list?