I’ve written about baptizing kids with special needs before. There is NO one size fits all option. There are just each person individual experience that leads to their individual decision. You can read more about our decision with Parker in my post On Down syndrome and Baptism.
I received this comment from Brianna a few days ago, and wanted to share it with everyone. I could have just approved it, but then it would have gotten lost in the old posts section.
I’m thinking that this experience might help others.
Hi there! I have four children with autism. Our oldest is my step-daughter who also has MMR-(mild mental retardation)
From the moment she turned 7, we tried our best to teach her about baptism, the atonement, and forgiveness. As time got closer she started saying “I don’t want my daddy to push me in the water.” So I knew we still had our work cut out for us! Especially because of her EXTREME anxiety and fear of being tipped backwards.
We had several sessions with the Elders to help teach her. We met with our bishop at the time. He talked to us about the special needs kids and whether or not baptism was necessary. His answer to me has always stuck out in my mind. He said (and I’m paraphrasing) That our Savior was perfect! In every single way! He didn’t have any sins to obtain remission for. But He knew it was a step that was necessary to enter into the kingdom of God.
That being said, our children will remain just as pure and innocent and perfect as the day they were born, until the day they return back to our Father in Heaven. He also explained to us, that it was not something that HAD to be done at 8yrs old.
It is important that they understand the promises and covenants they are entering into. We ultimately did baptize her at 8. We did a LOOOOOOT of teaching and preparing. We went to a bunch of random baptisms so she could SEE what happens. Our bishop allowed us to have our own private baptism just in case there were any issues that may cause a scene or if we had to bail all together.
Her baptism was one of THE MOST spiritual experiences I’ve been blessed to have taken part in! She was GLOWING! Beaming from ear to ear. I’m glad we made the decision we did. It was the right one for her and our family. That’s just it though. That was right for US. It doesn’t mean it would be right for anyone else in a similar situation. I can’t say that when my other kiddos reach the same crossroad, it would be right for them.
I guess the important thing is to remember whatever the decision may be, The Lord will sort out the details. He would NEVER want baptism to be a traumatizing experience. No matter their status on baptism, they are and forever will be PERFECT!!
I (this is Tammy again) just wanted to add one more thought here. Our religion believes in doing ordinances for those who have died without having the opportunity to make the choices to have those ordinances done for them.
I also believe that if baptism is indeed required, then Parker will be given that opportunity in the life after this.
When it comes to baptizing kids with special needs, I am at perfect peace with this. The Spirit has spoken peace to my heart and I know that my energies need to be placed elsewhere. It’s one of the few things in life that I have an utmost and perfect peace in.
I just wish I could feel the same way each time Parker had a cardiology appointment.