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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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Our family & church

If you hear Nick vocalizing, he's just worshiping

Editor’s note: This article was printed in newsletters at churches where the Tresslers have been members.

Have you been wondering about some atypical vocalizations during the 11 o’clock service?

Nick Tressler (center) worships with
Nick Tressler (center) worships with his parents, Charles and Gloria. His mom describes Nick, who has autism, as “the gentlest, sweetest and most innocent person we know—a person who does not know how to be mean, sarcastic or petty.”


We’d like to help you better understand our son, Nicholas, 23, as a member of our church. Nick lives with the challenge of classic autism with severe language impairment and anxiety that manifests itself as obsessive-compulsive disorder.

Transitions from place to place, even familiar ones, can be difficult for Nick. So we show him photos of church before we come on Sundays and arrive early. You may hear him making loud vocalizations—either in protest or joy. Then he usually settles down and is determined to go choose our seats.

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