God Loves the Autistic Mind: Prayer Guide for Those on the Spectrum and Those Who Love Us
Author: Father Matthew P. Schneider, LC
Pauline Books and Media 2022
The first part of this book is an exploration of the unique strengths and challenges faced by individuals on the autism spectrum from the perspective of a priest who himself is on the spectrum. As is often said, if you know one autistic person, you know one autistic person, and not every topic will relate to every neurodiverse person, because there is a great diversity in the autistic community. Yet, the book helps the reader gain insight and understanding of what it means to be autistic from the inside out. Society tends to view autism from the disability perspective, but it can also be seen as an asset, a strength and a unique way into a relationship with Christ and his Church.
The second part of the book is a series of 52 meditations to assist the autistic individual to develop that deeper relationship with Jesus. Each meditation includes a story, a biblical passage, a reflection, and a short prayer to help the reader enter into prayer in whatever unique way they are comfortable communicating.
This is book is primarily aimed at the autistic individual, to assist them in prayer and navigating the challenges of their unique neurodiversity within the Church and faith environment. But this book is also for those who love someone on the spectrum, equipping them with a deeper understanding of the autistic experience and providing insight in how they can support and accompany autistic individuals on their spiritual journey. This book should also be read by catechists and other leaders of parish ministries to help them create welcoming and inclusive spaces for neurodiverse persons.
What struck me as I was reading this book is that when we make accommodations for people who are differently abled, whether it is a physical disability or a matter of neurodiversity, it accommodates everyone. Although the 52 meditations in the second part of the book are written with the autistic individual in mind, these meditations would be fruitful for anyone, whether on the spectrum or not. If you are looking for practical material to help you deepen your own prayer life, this might be the book for you.