I can talk all I want about my experience of autism in the Church or how I can apply this from autistic books to Catholicism. However, as they say, “If you’ve met one autistic, you’ve met one autistic.” Other autistic people’s experience will inevitably be different from mine. To get a wider perspective of various autistics, it is good to have studies. They are able to interview a wider selection. Today, I talk about one study recently done by a grad student.
Valarie Boles is recently did her master’s thesis titled “Understanding the Religious Experience of Children with Autism in the Catholic Church: An Overview of Contextual and Behavioral Factors.” She went out and talked to parents and autistic kids about their experience. I did a slightly longer video (16 minutes) summarizing and analyzing her thesis. I hope you enjoy this.
In the video, I examine all the different aspects of how autistics are accommodated in Church and how much autistic kids express certain aspects of faith. It even has specific questions that autistic kids ask. For us, questions are important but we tend to ask different questions than neurotypical individuals.
I think that we autistics tend to one side or the other: we will be atheists or seriously religious. We won’t fall into socially acceptable religion where you go to church or synagogue a handful of times a year.
If you want more, I appreciated reading the Master’s thesis and have Valarie Boles permission to post a PDF for you all. As she follows current clinical terminology, she uses “Children with Autism.” ALso, I don’t think this stuy is conclusive; it offers a good start on a scientific study of autistics in the Church.
We need to use the strengths of the Church, such as charity, to serve others such as autistics.