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So my story today is not actually about me but the people I work with. They inspire me daily and have taught me so much about perseverance, not worrying about what other people think and overcoming fears. I have the privilege of working with children with autism. Autism is a condition which affects someone's social ability and their communication skills. Those on the profound end of the spectrum, like who I am with, may not use language and maybe 'hard to reach' in a conventional way. What can be the most frustrating aspect of autism is that there are no physical signs- the children look 'perfect'. This often leads to misunderstanding from others and labels such as 'naughty' or 'bad parenting'. It can be a struggle for children and their families to achieve basic day-to-day life. Even today, autism awareness is limited. It's surprising the number of people who say 'oh, the kids really good at maths' when I say what I do! It's also worth noting that people with autism are more different then they are similar, an individual approach is always needed.
My job is, at times very challenging and heart breaking as well as rewarding. What I've learnt over the years is that actually, all of these children are held by the One who loves them the most.
Jesus is not afraid of autism. He's not freaked out or wary of it. He doesn't feel awkward being around it. Jesus is more powerful than autism. His perfect love can embrace it. Having autism doesn't make someone less valuable to Him.
There is not currently a cure for autism, there isn't even a definite cause. I fully believe that every single person on the earth, autistic or not, is worthy of and able to have a relationship with Jesus Christ. They are also able to FLOURISH in life and find their fit within the body, his church. I pray that we are always as open and encouraging to people who seem a little 'different' as to others.
So I do my best everyday, but ultimately trust these children and their families to His perfect care, God loves them and has good plans to prosper them.
He's got their amazing future in His hands.