Barbara J. Newman Friendship Ministries
, 2011, 127 pp., $29.99
Statistically speaking, any church of 100 or more members that currently is not serving as a spiritual home for a person with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) should be preparing for the day when it will. Barbara J. Newman's newly updated handbook Autism and Your Church
highlights the significance of this process in every sense of the word—without glossing over the level of adjustment, commitment and involvement necessary to welcome the growing population affected by ASD while reinforcing how meaningful and powerful the experience can be for all involved. This absolute beginners' guide includes general information, specific stories and an action plan for starting a ministry of inclusion from scratch. Newman touches on challenges in communicating faith conceptually, but focuses more on making the physical and social realities of church life and Christian education accessible. Reproducible forms, references to additional resources and adaptable strategies abound: for gathering and sharing information in sensitive and affirming ways, handling transitions, routines, visuals and stories to good effect, and learning to think alongside children and adults on the autism spectrum.