"We had a good time serving last weekend. I was quite worried, having a 12-month old and a 36-month old to tend to. I am so glad that we still came. I was not able to minister much to the families at the motel we served, but surprisingly, in a very simple and quite way, my young daughter was. My daughter Sarah, just turned 3 last month. She has a diagnosis of mild Autism. She is very high functioning, and in a typical preschool, but she has extreme social anxieties and shuts down a lot in social settings. She's very good out in the community and I did not expect her to be a problem at all for the outreach. She came and sat down in a little chair and was quite and well-behaved. I had on the other hand had the daunting task of chasing my 12 month old around.
One of the families living at the motel we went to had at least two children, girls, probably around the ages of 7-8 and 4. The 2 girls came outside, but the mother would only peak her head out the door. She would not come outside the entire time we were there. The older girl brought the younger girl out and they got food and the older girl ran around the parking lot playing with the older kids both from our group and those living in the motel (that was really special too - our group host had orchestrated a lot of outdoor games such as Simon Says and Red Rover for the older kids to play). The younger girl avoided all of that and seemed very timid and afraid. Other adults from our small group including myself tried to approach her and interact with her and she only drew back more. She never verbally responded to any of us. She saw my daughter sitting in a small chair and there was another similar chair about 10 feet away. On her own initiative, without anyone suggesting it to her, she grabbed the chair and dragged it over to where my daughter was sitting, pulled it up beside her and just sat down next to my daughter.
Thank you for this opportunity to allow my family to serve, and give my daughter such a special and meaningful experience, be it all such a simple one, for a child that truly has significant social challenges.