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Monday, February 02, 2009

The Impact

I owe Pastor Dan an email about the autism ministry I'd like to see Heartland develop. I've been mulling it over, trying to think of what the most important things to get across are. But this video, I think, tells a big part of it. It shows a family with an autistic daughter a little older than Mo. And the family has clearly gone astray in serious ways, letting the symptoms dictate more than is healthy.

But expedient solutions, like letting Marissa hog the family computer, are not as far out in this case as it might seem. When you're exhausted, and take it from someone who knows, autism is exhausting for the whole family, expedient solutions are the only ones that count.

I know a lot of families with autistic kiddos and I know only three intact marriages among them. Of those three, the wife of one couple has mentioned more than once wanting a divorce and the husband of another has confided in me details that sound alarmingly close to the 'You have been served' stage of marriage I'm familiar with. The third family? I don't know them well enough for such confidences, though they appear to be holding up.

I think that tells the story about as well as this video: the divorce rate for families with autistic kids is astronomical.

And as it's mentioned at the end of the video, the professional help this family is enjoying in exchange for offering themselves to the CNN cameras, is $20,000 for five days. How many impacted families, and we're talking about a disorder that is diagnosed in 1 out of 150 American kids, has resources like that?

Heartland draws something like 2000 people a week, but only two autistic kids I know of, mine being half of them. And watching this video, do you get some idea why all those other families aren't at church on Sunday?

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