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Should we be discussing the latest autism-vaccine controversy?

January 8, 2011

One of this past week’s top news stories has been about the autism-vaccine study and the alleged falsification of its research methods.  I think most parents (special needs and typical) have been interested in the story and the newly discovered information from the late 90’s study.  As we engage in conversations on recent headlines, it is important to remember that many families affected by autism still hold strong views on both sides of this controversy.  As children’s ministry team members, advocating a position on this topic may potentially dilute our influence in the lives of families affected by autism.

Never short on opinions, I certainly have my views on this controversial subject.  But frankly my opinions are irrelevant to my calling…which is to help churches successfully include children with special needs.  I care more about a family’s connection inside a church (and ultimately with Christ) than I care about their views on the autism-vaccine link.

Encourage children’s ministry leaders and volunteers inside your church to remember their calling.  When conversations arise about the autism-vaccine controversy, listening and learning about a family’s specific experience is far more important than expressing a personal view.  For more on this subject see my earlier post:  Avoid Controversial Topics & Remain Focused on the Mission.

8 Comments
  1. taradawn permalink

    well said… and honestly it just doesn’t help us when people without autistic kids tell those of us with them what we should be thinking- either way. The last thing we need is more people giving us parenting advice or reasons to feel bad or guilty for how we caused our child to have Autism.
    🙂

  2. Susan Williams permalink

    So true! Also important to remember is the fact that, while this specific study is controversial, it doesn’t negate the fact that some families might have experienced that very scenario! (Just because everyone struck by lightening wasn’t holding an umbrella at the time doesn’t mean that some people holding umbrellas weren’t struck by lightening!) Great insights once again, Amy!

  3. I appreciate your comments on this topic and completely agree with your views on this. I am glad you decided to speak about it.

    It is hard enough when a church pushes a particular style of child rearing or discipline without being aware of the needs of a particular child, but adding individual medical decisions to the discussion makes it very difficult to feel any sort of love or acceptance.

  4. Taradawn, Susan, & Trish – I really appreciate your comments on this post and I think they provide value for the blog’s readers.

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. Tweets that mention Should we be discussing the latest autism-vaccine controversy? « The Inclusive Church -- Topsy.com
  2. 5 Things to Know about the Mother of a Child with Autism – Part 4 « The Inclusive Church
  3. When a Child Shows Signs of Autism – Part 2 « The Inclusive Church
  4. Parenting and Christian Freedom Revisited | SojournKids

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