aka: Making it up every freaking day.
Ethan is autistic. Most of the time his blindness is the main disability I pay attention to, but there are times when the autism just wants to be the most important. Sunday was one of those days.
We left our old church the very tail end of 2012. Ethan mostly felt comfortable there and people were pretty good with him. Everyone was in elementary school, so it was no big deal if he was with the younger ones. Our “new church”, which doesn’t really fit into that category because we attend in fits and starts and when we feel like it or I feel guilty and then not at all for months, has been an interesting lesson in “I don’t know what I’m doing” with Ethan.
Bennett and Laura, who are, remember, the exact same age as Ethan, go to the middle school program. Catie has, until two days ago, attended the elementary school program. Ethan tagged along with her because I felt that it was a better fit. Even though he was in 7th grade and elementary ends at the end of the 5th. Whatever.
But now Catie is going into 6th and has “graduated” into the middle school program. All the kids in middle school start in the main area with the adults, do worship time with them and then make their way back to the youth group room. Ethan was somewhat overwhelmed by worship–his hands were over his ears and he just sat in his seat or reached out and held my hand. I walked him back to the youth room and left him sitting next to his sister. Mistake #1. Apparently the boys and girls voluntarily sit on opposite sides of the room. Mistake #2. Ethan doesn’t understand rhetorical questions and answers them. Mistake #3. Ethan doesn’t understand that there are things we just DO NOT DO in public and put his hands down his shorts. Yay.
So, do we just keep him with us and have him listen to the sermon? Or go back to the elementary program where the kids are a LOT younger than him now (he’s going into 8th)? Or try again the middle school program, where he embarrasses himself and the kids around him (and his siblings)? I have NO FREAKING IDEA. There is NO guidebook on this one. Suggestions from you, dear readers?