Sunday, August 5, 2012

Adults with Autism and the Clergy

My brother in law is one of a growing number of adults with autism.

What will their future be like?

My brother in law did not come of age in the (what I call) era of A.D., the after Autism Discovery era.  When Bil was born many people with autism were diagnosed with mental illnesses.  In fact, my mother in law just coped as best she could and it was a friend who encouraged her to take her son for an evaluation - when he was almost 18.

No Child Find.  No schools trying to identify him, other than as a person fit for special ed, to be warehoused in a terrible BOCES placement. (it's a long story, but he was able to get out of it and was somewhat mainstreamed in high school.)

His adulthood has been spent in a sheltered workshop.

But what about other adults?

I have a blood family member with PDD-NOS.  He is a young adult now, in his 20's.  He is a lot more high functioning than Bil, and has had all the proper supports, but he struggles in many ways.  He has an ambitious career aspiration, which he has been working towards for many years - to be a clergyman.

I find that most interesting, given the level of social interaction a clergyman (no matter what religion) or woman must engage in.  Counseling, consoling - it is a lot more than learning the Holy Book(s) of your particular religion.

For this reason I found it of interest when I read an article about a Syracuse, NY pastor who has struggled for years before his diagnosis of autism.

I truly don't know what the future of my blood relative will be.  But I hope he can somehow fulfill his dream.

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