A bold and brave admission from my friend and blog neighbor Father Matthew Schneider:
As he explains on Facebook:
A little announcement for World Autism Awareness Day: I am autistic. I am coming forward to help present the Gospel to other autistics & to help Catholic autistics and their families.
Check out his page Autistic Priest for more.
I’m not aware of any other high-profile priests who have declared publicly that they have autism, so this may set a precedent.
He explains on his blog:
My whole life I felt a little different. I never really fit in and I never understood why. I was a good student, passed all my classes got into engineering, did okay there, but I was never cool. The biggest trouble I got into as a kid was when I got grounded for two weeks for being out late… at a chess tournament.
And there were always certain signs that in themselves don’t necessarily mean I’m autistic, but put together, kind of point in that direction, such that I would have been investigated; I would have been probably diagnosed back in the 80s as a kid if the criteria then were the same they are now. I was picked on. I had bad handwriting. And I always kind of had little things like that, that just were a little off that would have pointed towards an autism diagnosis.
And I think when we talk about the growth of the numbers who are diagnosed with autism, we have to think of cases like my own. In the 80s I wasn’t diagnosed, not because I wasn’t autistic but because we had criteria for diagnosis that wouldn’t have included me.
This will certainly be a tremendous gift — and a source of hope and encouragement — to so many others out there.
God bless him.