See Me, See My Child

11302015autismA special needs child is a beautiful gift to display God’s unfailing love, yet such children also present unique and complex challenges.

Hannah Fraley knows the joy—and the anguish—of raising a son with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). In her article, “See Me, See My Child,” published in Journal of Christian Nursing, she writes, “My goal is to educate about ASD and shed light on how nurses, who encounter children with ASD and their families, can have an impact on understanding and caring for their unique needs.”

Fraley recounts the story of a nurse who saw the frustration and pain on the face of a mother in her church who was struggling with her son while attending church activities. She wondered how the faith community could become more welcoming for this boy and his family when they attend ministry activities.

Sadly, Fraley describes how parents and children with ASD often feel judged by fellow parishioners and chronically feel alone and isolated, othered.

“The complexity of the family caring for a child with ASD presents a crucial ministry area for nursing, particularly to intervene at the faith community level,” Fraley writes. “We can strive to create environments in which we treat special needs children with special honor, God-like honor.”

In her article, Fraley discusses the causes, diagnosis and treatment of ASD, as well as offering suggestions on how nurses can help children and families, especially within the context of the faith community.

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You can receive the peer-reviewed Journal of Christian Nursing as a member benefit when you join NCF, a professional nursing organization. Or, subscribe to JCN.

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