What’s that sound? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

I didn’t even know about this term until a few years ago when I was working at a Wal-Mart and a co-worker familiar with people on the spectrum told me about this. She heard me humming a tune and usually I hum video game tunes. Sometimes, there are others, but these tunes really put me in a sort of mood.

For instance, when I heard that Nabeel Qureshi had died, I opened YouTube on my phone as I was out in public and listened to an extended version of World of Ruin from Final Fantasy VI. That was a tune that resonated with me then. Having played games for several years, I have several tunes floating through my head that I can use at any time.

Many people do this kind of thing called stimming. For a lot of people on the spectrum, it’s a way of relieving stress. It can be repetitive movements. I do know from my experience that when I get stressed out, I start doing things with numbers mentally. I can get some numbers stuck in my head and just go through them over and over again.

Sometimes, it can be done to show excitement as well. Either way, it is usually a sign of some intense emotion which yes, it means that those of us who are on the spectrum do have emotions. For many of us, we just don’t know how to express ourselves well any other way. I have said before that I will try a variety of motions when I need to get a barrier at the supermarket so I can start putting my order down. Sadly, it never seems to work.

What needs to be kept in mind for Christians is that sometimes, this could happen to a person on the spectrum in a setting where they could be seen as behaving inappropriately, such as a church setting. At this point, treating the person or the parents if they’re there with shame will be highly counterproductive. The person doing this often will have no desire to do anything that would be remotely seen as disruptive. They could have just been stressed out by something and don’t know what to do.

Churches then should have a place for people who are on the spectrum and anyone else such that if a person has to step out of a service for whatever reason, they can. I don’t think this should be a problem seeing as we have the same if, for instance, a mother has to take a crying baby out to deal with a problem. Perhaps if it is known that there is someone in the church who is on the spectrum, that a room can be set aside that could have various tools in it that can get the person to a calm state again.

It is up to the parents to let the congregation know if their child is on the spectrum. For members of the congregation, this could be no problem. For people who are visitors, this could be a problem and it would be a shame to have a family be turned away from Christianity because they had a child on the spectrum who was treated like a problem.

One statement I have often made about being on the spectrum is that this is invisible. When you see someone in a wheelchair or someone with a cane and closed eyes, you know you have someone with a disability. When you see someone on the spectrum, there are no certain identifying markers that will tell you someone is on the spectrum. We look the same as everyone else, but we are quite different from everyone else.

Please keep this in mind.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

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