Note: When I say “Lent,” I am referring to the Eastern Orthodox version, which begins March 14. For my Catholic and Evangelical friends, that’s the week before Palm Sunday. But if you belong to a Western church, no worries–this still works for Autism Awareness Month!
I know April seems far away now, but Autism Awareness Month 2016, along with World Autism Awareness Day (April 2), are rapidly approaching. This is a super-exciting time for me. I love having an excuse to spread around some love and understanding for autism!
So, this year, I’m doing something new and fun to help churches incorporate Autism Awareness Month into their Lenten parish life.
On March 14, which is the first full day of Lent, I will have a free downloadable video workshop, “Autism and your Parish,” available on the blog, with free printable worksheets.
It’s designed especially for parishes to use as a three-part workshop throughout Lent. It’s going live at the start of Lent to give priests time to view the videos, review the worksheets, plan how to use them, and get the word out.
Here’s how I pictured bringing your community together to watch the videos and discuss:
But you can use them in lots of different ways:
- Do workshops on Wednesday nights instead.
- Make it one big Saturday (World Autism Awareness Day falls on a Saturday this year, for instance) with your parish community and view all three videos (10-15 minutes each) with discussions and breaks in between.
- Encourage your parish to view the videos independently, and come together for discussion about them. I will also be posting them individually with their corresponding worksheets the first three Saturdays in April.
- Start an email thread with your church community to discuss the videos.
- View the videos independently, and join me at my Facebook page, The Least of These, to ask questions and share thoughts.
So I know the big question here is: what are we going to be talking about?
The three videos in my “Autism and your Parish” workshop are:
#1) What is Autism?
#2) The Function of Autistic Behaviors: What looks strange has a purpose
#3) Meltdowns: Why they happen and what to do
Each one is 10-15 minutes long and discussion is as long as you want it to be.
I am SO excited for this workshop to go live. What do you think?