Dear Aunt Sevvy,

My son is mildly autistic. In kindergarten through third grade he was in the Adventist school—but he was doing worse and worse. Now he is doing very well in a public school under an Individualized Education Program that includes in-school tutors, occupational therapists, and school counselors. It’s working!

But when we enrolled him in the public school my mom was furious. She says his soul is more important than his academic and social success. She doesn’t have to see the daily meltdowns and pain this boy was feeling when he did not receive proper help. 

I think the Adventist school is great. But my son needs more services than the Adventist school is able to provide. Am I making the wrong choice? Am I endangering his soul by sending him where he has a better chance at success?

Questioning mom

Dear Questioning,

People who have children who are neurotypical—whose brains that function the way society expects—don’t understand the difficult choices for parents whose children who are neurodivergent—whose brains function differently than society expects. 

It isn’t the Adventist school’s fault that they can’t provide the same kind of comprehensive access to services that public schools can. They don’t have the resources. Your child deserves to feel supported and successful, and the public school has the ability to do that. Letting your child feel miserable, unsupported, and like a failure at school is not going to be helpful for his spiritual journey no matter what school he attends. Try to ease your mother’s fears by reminding her that you are faithfully teaching him about your love for Jesus at home. 

John 10:10 says, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” That verse (and many others) tells me that God wants our lives to be fulfilling and joyful in all aspects, not just spiritually. Forcing your child to attend a school where he is not getting the support he needs will not help him spiritually, academically, or socially. 

I’m glad your son has an advocate like you. Keep it up. 

Aunt Sevvy

You can write to Aunt Sevvy at Please keep questions or comments short. What you send us at this address won’t necessarily be, but could be, published—always without real names. Aunt Sevvy writes her own column, and her opinions are not necessarily those of Adventist Today’s editors.

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