I RECENTLY READ AN EXCERPT FROM A RATHER INTERESTING BOOK ABOUT ASPERGER’S AND SPIRITUALITY. ADAM WARD IS A REAL PERSON WITH ACTUAL AS. HIS FAMILY MEMBER AND NOW AUTHOR, ABE ISANON, WROTE HOW HE SAW ADAM’S SPIRITUALITY AS A CHILD — AND THEN LATER AS A MAN…
My cousin Adam is autistic. He’s one of the lucky ones. He’s a functional autistic now in his late 40’s and working as a gas station attendant.
My most vivid memory of our childhood was him coming to visit on Christmas Day. My father always had a full fire going in the fireplace to warm us in the cold Detroit weather. When Adam came by he took a seat on the couch in front of the fireplace and stayed there the entire visit. Sometimes I would watch him as he sat there and occasionally rocked quietly. At first I would go to him and sit nearby and say a few words. But as he rocked and fixated on the fire it was clear that he was not going to answer me.
His mother, my first cousin taught him to communicate through sign language. Evidently this was a great decision for him because I believe that this is part of the reason he is functional in society today.
As I watched him I used to imagine being inside of his head. He seemed like he had some type of communication going on but it was within himself. In my mind I thought he was just talking to God. He seemed to have a full life inside of his head and he just tuned all of us out – almost as if we were the invisible ones.
Later when I majored in early childhood development in college I would often think of Adam. Part of my education was learning about autism. Then as I moved into a focus on children’s spirituality I deepened my interest in autism. I observed more children and read more research and drew my own conclusions.
Perhaps autism is a deeply spiritual experience.
Quite frankly as I got older I met other people who reminded me of Adam in various ways. I began to learn that some people have a deep connection with an inner voice that speaks to them daily. All of us have this inner voice but some people focus on it quite a bit. At the other extreme are people who are so focused on the outer world that they do not even recognize that the inner world exits. I’ve learned that to some degree people who are deeply spiritual have a deep focus on this inner voice.
People who are autistic have a deep focus on their inner voice. Perhaps it is a deep connection with the spiritual side within them. Perhaps their communication connects them with a world of unseen supporters that we believe in but cannot access. Perhaps people with autism are the liaisons to connect us to our heavenly reality. Perhaps autism is a deeply spiritual experience.