School of Behavioral Sciences


Doctor of Education in Community Care and Counseling (EdD)


Richard Green


autism, inclusion, church, children, organized religion, spirituality, disability


Counseling | Education


The purpose of this phenomenological study was to understand the gap that exists within the literature concerning the parent’s perspective for incorporating Autistic individuals into the life of the church. The theory guiding this study is Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. In Maslow’s hierarchy, there are five level of needs. These areas are physical needs, security needs, love and belonging, esteem needs and self-actualization. These are the most basic needs whether someone is disabled, has special needs, or has no problems at all. The problem remains, far too often, those individuals who are on the Autistic spectrum are looked at as being sub-human. They are looked at as being different and unable to grasp the concept of God. Scripture tells us in Matthew 4:4 “Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God”. Maslow was precise in identifying the basic needs, but man has a basic need for God above all else. Man’s self-actualization is becoming like Christ. Autistic children deserve the chance to develop a relationship with God as well if churches are willing to become more inviting. This is not happening enough. The individuals who can explain why this phenomenon is not happening are the parents of Autistic individuals. This study aimed to examine the research to gather data and a perspective that is missing within the literature. The methods that were used to gather this data was questionnaires, surveys, and phone and personal interviews.