Arthur’s Dream Autism Trust (ADAT)
The setting up of Through the Roof was out of obedience to God’s voice. For a long while, there had been a prompting to create space for Parents of Children with disabilities to come to Him. I made excuses for a while and was always saying “they” (other people, should do this work. The Lord is persistent and He kept asking me why I wasn’t doing it and instead was pointing to others to do it. The issue of the absence of children and adults with various disabilities and their families from the Church is a big one. They are the marginalized communities amongst us Through The Roof has been a long way coming and I cannot wait for others to join me in advocating for inclusion of children and persons with disabilities in churches.
The inclusion of special needs children cannot just focus on one disability. In Mathew 9:14 Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” Nowhere in God’s word does it say only those able bodied, or neurotypical should come. Our God wants ALL to come to Him just as they are. I am mom to a teenager who is on the autism spectrum and this does not mean that the people I fight for have to be on the autism spectrum. Inclusion to me has to be for the wider disability community.
Through the roof is a way to engage our churches, pastors and other leaders of churches to see whether they are making space in churches for those with disabilities to come. These children grow up to be adults with disabilities. If we do not make space for them in our Sunday schools it means we have a big percentage of persons with disabilities who are un-churched.
The same benefits that other people get should be the same benefits that people with disabilities should get in terms of accessibility to places of worship. People with disabilities face the same challenges as other people, they have financial challenges, marital challenges etc. This does not exclude them from services the church offers. They also need to understand that God loves them, Jesus loves them and is not absent from their current circumstances.
Through the Roof will succeed in its advocacy effort through parents of Children with disabilities. Parents of kids with disabilities are a community that is left out in the church. You find that most of them will not come to church because their child is not included. That’s a double tragedy as not only are you not having kids come but the parents and sometimes siblings do not come because you have not taken the initiative to include their children in the church.
By welcoming the kids in churches you will make the parents understand that they are also welcome in the church.