Congregants are hostile towards sufferers

A recently published study by National Survey of Children's Health discovered that religious communities within the United States have failed children suffering from chronic health conditions like conduct disorders, autism, depression, and learning disabilities. This has been happening for a long period of time and not a new phenomenon.

Multiple reasons can be attributed to autistic and ADD children for not attending church. The research done in this aspect indicated that congregation-erected barriers are a big impediment. These are of various types, starting with an absence of programs and training to less-than-welcoming attitudes which include having a patronizing attitude or questioning whether such children get any benefits from participation. Family members themselves became victims when church members turn hostile and ask them why they cannot control their own children.

The survey, conducted on the inputs gleaned from subjects scattered all over the United States, has revealed troubling issues. Foremost among them is the finding that autistic children have fewer chances of attending services. The academic exercise showed that other children are twice as likely to attend church services than children suffering from autism. Those with anxiety and depression fair a little better, with anxiety-ridden children about 1.73 times less likely to attend church compared to healthy children.

The odds of children suffering from an oppositional defiant disorder or any conduct disorder which were never treated were about 1.48 times more than normal children. When it came to learning disability or developmental delay, the odds against were about 1.36 times more. For children suffering from ADHD or ADD, normal children enjoy 1.19 times more probability to attend church services.

Research done in the field has consistently proven that health outcomes can be improved with greater religious involvement for children suffering from chronic health conditions. Not many studies have turned the lens on how attendance of religious services is affected by chronic health conditions. A majority of studies concentrate on older Americans. Repeated studies have consistently revealed that fewer children with chronic health conditions attend worship services compared to children enjoying normal lives. It is seen that children suffering from chronic health problems are unable to interact in a fruitful manner and communication socially is much harder for them.

Not all congregations are hostile towards children suffering from chronic health conditions. A few go beyond the normal to accommodate the minority attendee. They are willing to work with all children keeping in mind that these children love in different ways.

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