Acting Up at a House of Worship
Situation: This can be the hard one, because we all know that at any house of worship, especially during prayer service, parishioners must be respectful, often quiet, and properly following rituals--all things that can be very difficult for many autistic children. But we parents (who are religious) still want to go to the church, mosque, temple, or synagogue. So how should this be handled?
Don’t … immediately call out a parent if their autistic child acts up and disrupts the service. Again, if you take a minute to observe the child, you may be able to recognize that he has a disability rather than being a naughty kid. Parents usually inform their worship leader about their special-needs child and what might happen, as we do with the imam at the mosque we frequent.
Do … take a deep breath and give the parent some time to get control of the situation. If I’m in the middle of prayer at the mosque and my son starts running around in front of us (a no-no), I quickly finish the prayer before leading him out. And I’m grateful for the people around me who don’t say a word.