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Autism, Asperger's Syndrome and God

Parents and caretakers may face challenges when introducing religion to children and adults with autism.
Photo by Chris Hondros/Getty Images

There seems to be a high population of atheists among persons with Asperger’s syndrome and autism.

For those that are religious, the degree of devotion depends on how the person sees the experience.

Some follow their religions in the same way as their special interest projects. They take everything literally and follow the demands of their church to the letter.

Others, however, are a bit more skeptical.

The autistic brain tends toward the literal. They like systems that are proven and predictable.

While they may strive to please and obey, they also tend to question.

Whatever a parent's beliefs about spirituality, they must be prepared for some tough questions. Of course, this is true of all children, but an autistic child will usually want to hear the facts, the history and even the loopholes. They really need to know how everything works.

How a person introduces spirituality to a child or adult with autism is a matter of personal choice. The words may vary from tradition to tradition, but it is important to note that the speaker may face some challenges.

There will be questions. Answers such as, “ Because it’s in the book,” or “because it’s tradition,” will likely not be the end of the discussion.

The autistic child or adult might want to know, who wrote the book, or how old the tradition is.

They might ask the reason for certain rituals and why they are necessary. They may inquire exactly what baptism does to a person, and why one church sprinkles water over a baby’s head and another waits until the person is old enough to be dunked into a pool of water.

They may ask how a person can tell they have picked the right church and inquire what happens to people of other faiths.

Older children and adults might even do their own research and come up with little known historical facts which lead to even more difficult questions.

Whatever path a family chooses to follow, it’s important to remember that the autistic person or child is not being unspiritual or difficult.

They have amazing minds that, simply, want the answers, and the questions they ask could be of interest to the entire family.

It is probably best to have one hand on the holy book of choice and the other on Google. Patience is a virtue.