Primitive Christianity Revived, Again
My son has autism. When he was little I was able to bring him to meeting and just leave if he got disruptive.
He is 15 yrs old now and I find I cant bring him anymore. All the kids that he knew, grew up, and he just doesnt have the social skills to be part of the group anymore.
I feel very sad about this, as I am finding I cannot bring him anymore.
If I go alone, I leave him home, but right after meeting I run out to go home and do not stay afterwards.
I guess I am feeling isolated and not sure if there are any other parents out there with a special needs child that just kind of 'out grew' going to meetings.
Yes, we're in the same situation. My son is 11 and for years the meeting provided a one on one teaching assistant to keep him company and help him manage RE. Once we got Medicaid and started having some in home respite care, we started leaving him at home because it seemed as though every time we went something awful happened. (Which meant that his resistance to going just kept getting worse and worse, too.) Friends recently told me that they miss my son and wish he could be part of the meeting in some way. He has no desire to go there or see almost anyone from the meeting (like so many Quaker kids, it's worth remembering.)
It's very hard. I don't have any answers, but you're not alone. One thing I think you should consider is asking your meeting for help so that your needs can be met, even if your son stays home. You still need to have rest and spiritual refreshment and community, you know? Your ministry and counsel committee could consider how they could help you. I was so glad I asked the meeting for help years ago. It really increased my sense of connection to them and well-being in general.
I am wondering if this needs to be discussed with your overseers/elders (not sure which tradition you belong to so I will use the term interchangeably).
I see this as a concern that needs to be addressed by your meeting to care for you as a member. Could there be an arrangement once per month where there is an adult who could take your son for 1:1 time while you attend meeting? Is there some way you could have meeting bought to you on a monthly basis?
In my experience people hold back from asking if families who have "special needs", need extra help and support because they don't want to be seen as questioning whether the family is coping - but if asked most meetings can come up with terrific processes to support vulnerable people.