World Autism Awareness Day

Today is World Autism Awareness day and well worth marking.

I’ve known a couple of people receive a diagnosis of being on the autistism spectrum in the last year or so, each in their forties and each with a whole new growing awareness of who they are.

I know more about Asperger syndrome than other points on the spectrum – but what I’ve learned its that there are just as many differences between people who have such a diagnosis as there are those who don’t.

So, just to point to two resources which I’ve found helpful in the last year. The first is a description of those who don’t have Asperger’s by someone who does. The author of this piece calls those of us who don’t have Asperger’s neurotypicals and goes on to describe the condition using the same kind of language that people use when trying to pin down people who do live with asperger’s syndrome. You can find it here: Understanding Neurotypicality

The second is a guide for churches wanting to make a more inclusive welcome to those who live with Autism and Asperger syndrome. Its a good read for any member of the clergy and particularly anyone working on welcome and inclusion issues in congregations. Well worth a browse for sidespeople, welcomers, stewards etc. You can find that one here: Welcoming those with Autusm and Asperger Synodrome (pdf)

Go on – have a look, it even has cartoons by Dave Walker and comes from the Diocese of Oxford.

One of the suggestions is that churches should offer the chance to people to have a look round a church building before coming as that makes going to church for the first time easier.

I’m very happy to make that offer. To everyone.

There’s also a written description of what its like to come to St Mary’s on the website. I’d be very happy to receive constructive suggestions as to how that could be improved.