USA (MNN) – Earlier this month, a Michigan woman faced harassment for bringing her autistic 6-year-old son to the grocery store.
A Terrible Experience
WOOD TV reports Brittany Miller’s son, Granderson, was imitating fire alarms as the two shopped. Granderson loves fire alarms and focuses a lot on learning as much about them as possible.
One of the ways he does so is by imitating their noise. Yet, he wasn’t only imitating fire alarms because he loves them, but also because it’s a coping mechanism when surrounded by a lot of other noises.
And at one point while shopping, Miller turned away from her cart to help her son with his shoe. In that moment an anonymous passerby left her a rude note in her cart which read, “Buy that kid a muzzle!”
With no idea to who planted the note, Miller took her story to a local news station in hopes of raising awareness.
But that’s the problem isn’t it, very few people are aware of autism and other disabilities. So when encountering someone with special needs, many people don’t recognize a disability or simply don’t know how to handle the situation.
Sally Gallagher with King’s Table Ministries says, “For a parent, it’s devastating. You know, I’ve been in that situation where people have made comments and you love your child, you love your sister or brother, and it’s devastating because you know who they are as a person.”
Gallagher, who’s sister and daughter both have special needs, has dealt with unkind people nearly her whole life. But these sad interactions have given her a heart for ministry to special need individuals and their families.
Why King’s Table Ministries Exists
King’s Table Ministries, a non-profit organization, strives to advocate for special needs people and their families. Doing so includes operating an office at the Grand Rapids Public Schools special needs campus – Lincoln schools, as well as through its presence in the Hampton House and local churches.
However, King’s Table Ministries also connects with individuals and their families to help anyway possible. And in the process, King’s Table Ministries is sharing the Gospel, too.
“Parents are exhausted, they have enough problems trying to access the system trying to get help for their child,” Gallagher explains.
“There’s just a lot going on and so that’s kind of like the straw the breaks the camel’s back when you can’t go to the grocery store because somebody’s going to alienate you and your child.”
But this alienation can change — beginning with the Church.
Families with special needs children need a safe haven. They need people who love them, accept them, and try to understand their struggles. They need support.
And that support can be as simple as bringing over cookies to a tired mom, hanging out with a family on their own turf, and treating special needs people and their families with Christ’s love.
After all, for these individuals and their families, they experience a lot of heartache in society. But being loved by Christ’s body speaks volumes, not about Christians themselves, but about God.
It’s a living testimony of the Gospel where actions speak louder than words. Christ didn’t die for only the physical and mentally adept, but for all who believe He is God’s perfect son who isn’t dead in the grave, but alive.
Be a Solution
So if you would, help. Be a part of the solution in a society that is seemingly unaware of some of its peoples’ struggles. It can start with a simple hello, special needs education, and loving people.
“I’m available to speak and share [about] the different disabilities. Basically, though I go at it about their personhood, because that’s what it’s really about,” Gallagher offers.
“The disability helps you to understand maybe why they respond or react or behave the way they do. But understanding them from a personhood perspective is a much better foundation to build relationships.”
Gallagher is willing to speak in front of churches, organizations, and even just friends gathered together in a backyard. Just contact Gallagher at [email protected]
But also, please pray for the protection of special needs individuals, their families, and for a solid support system.
Pray for special needs awareness, for people and communities to see people with special needs not as someone who acts weird or is incompetent, but as someone just like them who lives a little differently and still needs love.
And pray especially for churches to open their doors to the special needs community. As for King’s Table Ministries, pray for its expansion from Grand Rapids, MI into the Muskegon, MI area as well as for the finances needed to sustain the ministry.
Lend a Helping Hand
Another big way to help King’s Table Ministries is through volunteering. The non-profit organization is always in need of extra helping hands. So take a chance and join their team!
To volunteer with the King’s Table Ministries or to learn more, just contact Cathy Tyska at [email protected]
Another way to join the King’s Table Ministries in its work is coming this October. The King’s Table Ministries is hosting a fundraising dinner at Cornerstone University. Tickets can be bought for individual seats or entire tables (seating 6).
To learn more about this fall’s fundraising dinner, contact the King’s Table Ministries at [email protected] or call 616-648-4301.
Want to tangible help the King’s Table Ministries? Then click here!
Contact King’s Table Ministries via postal service using the following address,
PO Box 225, Ada, MI 49301