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Special Needs Churches
updated: Dec 01, 2012, 6:05 PM

Are there any churches in the Santa Barbara area that are currently offering a worship service specifically geared toward families with children and adults who have sensory issues, autism or ADD/ADHD? (Loud noise, music, lights, smells, sitting issues, time issues... etc.) Are there any churches that successfully work with children that have similar special needs in their children's ministry programs/Sunday School classes?

Places People Are Talking About:

Santa Barbara CommunityUnitarian Universalists

What People Are Saying:

 COMMENT 349313 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-01 06:14 PM

In my experience, Catholic churches typically have the least amount of loud music and the services reliably extend for less than 1 hr.

Evangelical Christian churches are the worst for what you're looking for--lots of noise, and they seem to want to keep you locked in the pews for an eternity.


 COMMENT 349331 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-01 06:39 PM

Thumbs UP Julian


 COMMENT 349339 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-01 06:55 PM

It's a shame our society has lost so much compassion that people have to look for an opportunity to voice their agenda. I'm an atheist too, Julian, but both my child and I have ADHD. It's extremely challenging to function in society sometimes. I applaud the OP for seeking advice in search of ways to practice their beliefs in a way conducive to the needs of his or her family. The challenges we ADHDers face with seemingly simple tasks like going to church or school can be insurmountable, keeping many of us housebound. I hope the OP finds a welcome church setting. I have always heard wonderful things about the Unitarian Church being very open and accepting of everyone. Best wishes to you, OP, and thank you 313 for responding in a helpful way.


 COMMENT 349343P agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-01 07:15 PM

I used to work at St Vincents forever ago and they had their own chapel, it was AWESOME! Then worked at Devereux and we took the kids to the Trinity church on near Foothill & 154 but I can't think of the name, they were so tolerant!


 COMMENT 349391 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-02 03:15 AM

Unitarian Universalists, accepting and loving and tolerant of all, easy to sneak out the back. One downtown and in Goleta


 COMMENT 349434 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-02 08:46 AM

I am not trying to be rude, but what or why would you take someone to church with these such issues? what would he or she get out of something they can't understand? Are you just trying to go to church yourself and have someone baby sit for you for free?
Maybe church is not what you need, because all churches should except all and everyone regardless of disabilities. I don't understand why a church of god would be intolerant of reality. People are real living creatures and the ones with real disabilities are the ones who need the most help and if you need to find a special church just to cater to a need i would stop trusting in church


 COMMENT 349436 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-02 08:49 AM

Yep, the Unitarian church in Goleta, Live Oak, is very caring with special needs kids and their families. Kids are kids and each need their unique needs respected and accepted.


 COMMENT 349444P agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-02 09:00 AM

@434: I was thinking that exact same thing: (a) if a kid is that distractable he/she probably shouldn't be subjected to going to church in the first place; and (b) I'd think that people with any kind of disability would be welcome in any church without reservation. But if noise is a consideration, you definitely want to avoid any evangelical church, as the churchgoers can get a little enthusiastic and rambunctious, often with loud crying, wailing and howling, which can be a little scary to anyone, let alone a child with any type of autism or attention deficit disorder.


 COMMENT 349451 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-02 09:35 AM

There is a wide spectrum of behavior amongst ADHD and autistic children. I think we ought to trust that the parents know the limitations of their own children. The children have spiritual needs as much as anyone.


 COMMENT 349462 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-02 10:11 AM

The Scientology Church downtown is your best bet.


 COMMENT 349494 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-02 11:20 AM

You might want to try Christ Presbyterian Church on Victoria and Anacapa. No flashy lights or loud music, and it's small enough to be accommodating to kids with special needs.


 PJG agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-02 11:33 AM

First United Methodist Church. They are the best. Our family along with our son with autism since he was 8. He is now 24 and remains actively involved. It is a wonderful caring church.
Open Hearts, Open Minds, Open Doors.


 COMMENT 349521 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-02 01:52 PM

You want a good church? How about the Chuch of FSM?


 COMMENT 349522 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-02 02:26 PM

Goleta Valley Church on Fairview across from Goleta library has a peaceful and accepting quality to it. "Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle."


 COMMENT 349623 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-02 09:54 PM

I'd suggest Santa Barbara Community.

That is a family oriented church. Bible based. Has good kids program.

BTW, I don't go there. I go to another place but I think you would say it's too loud.

SB Community is filled with solid families and I think they would be a great place for you and yours.


 COMMENT 349926 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-03 07:37 PM

Take your kids to the beach


 COMMENT 350729 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-05 08:37 PM

I appreciate UCLAFANATIC's comment. I am a 3-4th grade Sunday school teacher at Santa Barbara Community Church. Elementary school children are with their parents for the first ~15min of the service then they break into a two groups (1st & 2nd, 3rd &4th) for about 30 min, then they break down into small classes of 5-8 kids each for another 30min. There's lots of parental involvement, and groups are small enough so that it's not overwhelming for the kids or the adult helpers. If some kids need extra help, more helpers can be assigned...and I've utilized extra help before. Elementary Sunday school is at the 9am and 11am services. Please drop on by and see if it works out for your family.




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