Like most people on the spectrum, I need some structure and predictability. Surprises are challenging. Unwanted physical exchanges can be difficult. I often can’t sustain eye contact, and shouldn’t have to. Some weeks, I’m overloaded and simply cannot participate in activities that fall in the category of fellowship; therefore, my church attendance is spotty. Among the many things church is, it’s a complex, multilayered social environment, a gauntlet of unspoken rules and expectations requiring vigilant navigation. If it’s already been a long week, I may need a Sabbath that includes much more rest and time away from people – including staying home from church.
From “On the Spectrum: Autism, Faith, and the Gifts of Neurodiversity” by Daniel Bowman Jr.