Eve Samples: A house torn apart by autism, a house of worship united by it » TCPalm.com

This Eve Samples column tells the story of a Florida pastor and his family, including a son with severe autism. Paul and Cecelia Thompson started The Hope Center for Autism in 2002. It now includes a public charter school for autistic students.

Books line almost every square inch of Pastor Paul Thompson’s office, but one waist-high shelf stands out from the others. It is packed with volumes examining the way the church addresses people with disabilities. This is the subject Thompson has been researching for his doctoral dissertation. He has been living his research, too. Thompson, the pastor at First Baptist Jensen Beach, and his wife, Cecilia, are the parents of four children — including 12-year-old Mark, who has a severe form of autism. via Eve Samples: A house torn apart by autism, a house of worship united by it » TCPalm.com.

Founder of ministry for special needs children says his own kids opened his eyes

The newest member of the Smale family wouldn’t stop smiling.

At home in Goshen the other day, 11-year-old Bronté’s face lit up as she posed for a picture with her parents and sisters. She wore the same happy expression while swaying back and forth on a tree swing and riding a three-wheel bicycle in the driveway.

“Mollie’s my new mom,” the girl said, hugging Mollie Smale, who is 50. Then, she hugged her new father, Jeffrey Smale, 51, the pastor of Madeira Baptist Church.

The Smales adopted Bronté, who has Down syndrome, from a Colorado foster home last month, bringing the number of children in their family to seven.

via Couple’s children opened their eyes | cincinnati.com | Cincinnati.Com.