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Autism and the God Connection Paperback – April 1, 2006

4.3 out of 5 stars 51 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Stillman's latest volume about autism hovers startlingly close to the edge of reason (or, arguably, abandons reason entirely) and invokes a cosmic cornucopia of ghosts, spirits, angels, miracles and past lives to make the case that "the seemingly sudden and mysterious surge of children identified with autism ...is our Creator's purposeful plan to refocus us on the importance of reverence for all of humanity." Tales of telepathy, direct communication with animals, spirit interaction, mind reading and previous lives abound. This barrage of hokum distracts from the touching stories of connecting with autistic people, and though he writes gently, Stillman, who has Asperger's Syndrome, mixes unsettling and unbelievable stories with summaries of scientific research and clinical studies. Some open-minded readers may value the idiosyncratic point of view, but claims like, "His grandmother's deteriorated physical state, while in the final stages of Alzheimer's here on earth, was of no consequence when it came to contacting Justin" and, "It certainly makes good sense that telepathy is one such mode of communication available to autistic people" strain the author's credibility.
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From Booklist

In certain cultures, people with illnesses affecting the ability to communicate are thought to be visited by spirits. The sufferer may be regarded as a messenger for a deity, an anointed one to be revered and honored. Sadly, Western culture often relegates those diagnosed with autism and related disorders to the ranks of the incurably crippled. Worse, almost everyone, from family members to friends to primary caregivers, too easily writes off the intelligence of a person who has difficulty speaking. So written off, the sufferer is discounted and ignored. Stillman, who has Asperger's syndrome, a high-functioning form of autism, speaks out on behalf of the wisdom of considering people with autism as not just intelligent but also highly spiritual. Drawing on testimony from dozens of parents, teachers, and autistic individuals, he builds a solid case in favor of not just his mantra--"always presume intelligence"--but also of thinking that God's most challenged people possess a deep, abiding spirituality. Donna Chavez
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Sourcebooks, Inc.; 1 edition (April 1, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1402206496
  • ISBN-13: 978-1402206498
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.6 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (51 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #342,703 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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Several years ago, I penned an article for "Angels on Earth" Magazine (Loving David), regarding my young daughter's belief that an angel often visited, and watched over her brother, David, who has autism. I had no idea when I wrote that story of reverence for my nonverbal son, that the severity of his autism would lead us full circle back to our core beliefs about his diagnosis.

Now, years later, while reading this luminous work by William Stillman, I felt validation of a truth we had always suspected, but came dangerously close to losing touch with: our autistic children are creations of God and a manifestation of His Divine Plan. It feels so good to come out of my closet again! :)

William Stillman has woven moving, haunting accounts either by people with autism, and/or those who love them to explore spiritual realms where clinicians often arrogantly refuse to acknowledge as anything beyond "hogwash". Buried in this sensitively treated text, Mr. Stillman reminds us, above all things, to show the same sensitivity and respect in our daily dealings with people who have autism as we would our "neurotypical" acquaintances. More importantly, he builds a compelling case as to why we should always assume the intellect and competence of persons with autism.

The arrogant presumptions by those who label themselves "behaviorists", "educators", and "clinicians" drive home a painful, common message: autists, especially nonverbal ones, are hopelessly retarded, largely ineducable, and spiritually "empty" souls. As a parent of two with autism, I am often left with the the feeling that these "professionals" have spent little, if any time at all, truly getting to know, and understand, a person with autism.
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Format: Paperback
Wow! What an incredible book! I'm a psychologist who spends a lot of time in classrooms with autistic children and I appreciate that Stillman puts to words the thoughts I've had many times. The spiritual component is so very important and so left out of most frameworks used for the experiences/behaviors that we call autism. The word autism has been given power; too much power and in the wrong ways. I am so grateful that someone has had the courage and insight to challenge the present system. Letting parents/teachers know of the possibility of identifying their children's gifts and not just their limitations will relieve the suffering of many children as well as their parents/teachers. Too often we create pathology by focusing on deficits rather than the abundant spiritual gifts. The universe of consciousness is large; we as humans take very small pieces of that largeness and define that as reality. We need to open to greater possibilities. Thank you, William Stillman, for this incredible book! It is one I highly recommend that others read, especially if you are a parent or professional working with young children. It is a book that opens up life to people neurological differences and those accompanying them on their journeys. I seldom read books cover-to-cover, but I could not put this one down and I intend to read it again.
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I loved William Stillman's book. I find that I communicate much more effectively with the children I work with as this book has widened my scope of understanding. We are participating in an event which supports Autism research and we are borrowing William's motto: "Presume Intellect" (with full credit to the author, of course) in order to help educate the local population. Wonderful job, William! My clients' parents have all loved the book too!
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A friend recommended this book to me. We had recently met and spent time at a conference in Upstate NY. Both of us have independently met hundreds, if not thousands of people in the course of our working lives, but there was something very unique that we mirrored to each other, like no other person we had met. It wasn't something that we could put into words, but the similarity in the ways in which we operated or 'coped' in the world were uncanny. Shortly upon my return to Hawaii, I received an excited e-mail from her. Eileen, you MUST read this book! It's about us!!!!

Even though the title had the word "Autism" in it, which other than the distant rumblings of the experience of others really had nothing to do with me, I read the book because my new friend encouraged me to do so. I have always had a special feeling about autism, that it was something way more than meets the collective intellectual eye, but that was a familiar feeling to me - being the quirky, on the fringes of acceptable intellectual behavior, 'artist type' that I am.

Surprisingly, I found myself in this book. As a result of reading it, the inspiration to just let go and relax into myself has been dancing within ever since. I wouldn't be surprised if someone said that I was walking just a little bit taller in the world, and standing out more in the crowd - in a good and radiant way. What Bill Stillman gifts us with, whether we are actually diagnosed within the autism spectrum or not, is a sort of thirst-quenching permission to accept our own differences in how we learn and perceive the world around us, and be proud of them! I have also gained more confidence and joy in sharing my spiritual gifts - ones that don't necessarily fit comfortably or conveniently within the religious or scientific framework.
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