Friday, October 8, 2010
Families Care for a Person with a Disability
If you have been watching, listening and paying attention to what is happening in the world of medicine, health care, education, counseling and modern stress you probably already know what I am about to say. The Western World of Europe and the USA are in the midst of an epidemic. It is not an epidemic like the Black Plague that killed off some 1/3 of Europe or the Spanish Flu Epidemic that killed as many as 20 to 30 million mostly young men and women. No, the casualties are still living and the health care, interpersonal and family life costs are astronomical.
The current epidemic has to do with such things as Autism, Asthma, Anxiety, Depression, Learning Disabilities, Sensory Confusion, and so forth. It is estimated that Autism affected one in one thousand people at the turn of the 20 the century and now touches one in 100 children. This is an astronomical increase and so are so many other problems and sensitivities that children face, and none has a good diagnosis or treatment.
What can we who follow "The Great Physician" do to help these people? We could ignore the problems and when the families facing these overwhelming problems stop attending our church move on to other potential members. In the research we recently completed as a result of a grant from The Hatton Foundation found, parents who have a child with special needs experience two things when it comes to spiritual support.
1. Their desire for spiritual support, insights and action go way up! These folks desperately want and need Christians to come to their assistance. They want prayer, teaching on how to pray for their child, someone to listen to them, practical help and so much more.
2. The availability of spiritual support falls dramatically. In fact, several of our parents indicated that they had not received a single Pastoral call since the birth of a child with special needs. Many churches may pretend to be interested in outreach, missions, justice and the other fad buzz words but almost none do anything to help their own members who are in a crisis. Why reach out to people who are not interested and neglect those desperately wanting your fellowship?
If you want to understand what parents and their children want and need, go to the web for Sweeten Life and read about our upcoming Fall Family Gathering. Your life can be enriched by getting involved.