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Autism and the God Connection: Redefining the Autistic Experience Through Extraordinary Accounts of Spiritual Giftedness Paperback – 1 Apr 2006

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Product details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Sourcebooks, Inc (1 April 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1402206496
  • ISBN-13: 978-1402206498
  • Product Dimensions: 13.3 x 1.6 x 20.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 636,829 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By K. Cavaretta on 3 Dec 2011
Format: Paperback
I have high funtioning autism and have also had precognative dreams through out my life. I never thought there was a relationship between the two. This book opened up a whole new perspective for me. I loved it. The best thing it did was to get me talking about my experiances with others, and while not everone with ASC has had my precongnitive experiances, a surprising number have. I tend to shy away from anything new agey but I think this is a very sound book and well worth a read.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By prima donna on 2 May 2011
Format: Paperback
I got this book for my daughter who has an 8 yr old son with autism, she has found it very helpful
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
It gave me a new understanding and challenged me to review my established ideas.
Very good. Easy to read.
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1 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Cara Dovecott on 8 Nov 2012
Format: Kindle Edition
Do not buy this book. Autism does not give people the power to talk to ghosts. This sort of writing makes me despair. Autistic people have a sea of misinformation to navigate which is hard when living with a communication disability.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 49 reviews
177 of 194 people found the following review helpful
A "must read" if you love someone with autism. 10 Mar 2006
By Amazon Customer - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
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.

While our youngest son who has autism was always verbal enough to make his intelligence apparent to would be skeptics (J. was born knowing how to read--nobody taught him), our older, nonverbal son struggled greatly to "prove" his intellect. His extreme sensory dysfunctions complicated things further. A brief spell of beautiful, peaceful years when David used pictures to communicate brought him some welcome respite, and access to more "intelligence assuming" curriculums. Then as he aged out of early intervention, his pictures began to fail him as a trustworhty form of communications. Our beautiful boy had more to tell us than what he wanted to eat, drink, or wear, and his pictures could not account for his maturing communications needs. Predictably, as his world narrowed, his behavior began to grow severe. In response, his "teachers" and "behaviorists" began to narrow his world further in response to his anger and frustration. Mental Retardation was slapped onto his list of labels, further narrowing his options. The light in my son's blue eyes grew painfully dim. We were losing David.

No amount of arguing could budge his school district into moving him towards intensive augmented communications training. They felt they'd done their job. Our child could communicate basic wants and needs. While we struggled to find resources to advance our little boy's communications further, we lost our child. His marathon episodes of aggressions and self abuses became so frequent and severe that his school district placed in a behaviorally focused group home in a program designed to force him into "compliance" with a rigid set of behavioral tasks. We were told by experts, that this was his only hope for a life outside of an institution. He grew worse, and worse. In the name of "treatment" our son faced injuries, human bites, pinching, hitting, food deprivation, falls through windows, and finally, witnessed and documented sexual molestation. Against all "expert" advice, we bought our little boy home, where at least we knew he'd be safe. Nobody could argue that he never got wounded or molested on our watch.

It wasn't until we set aside "expert" notions about autism, and began to operate on our original assumption that our nonverbal son was an intelligent and competent human being that we finally began to get over the hump of his seemingly insurmountable "behaviors". Seeing some changes from the first day of our "new attitude", we committed ourselves to previously "Unthinkable" approaches--the only ones we hadn't tried.

Here, during my son's eleventh year, we abandoned everything we were taught to believe about "how" to teach a person with autism. Daily, we are rewarded with increasing amounts of time where our son feels able to reveal the bright, luminous, funny--and wounded, traumatized individual that he is.

Today, our eleven-year old is an amazing young man by anyone's standards. He communicates with a letter board, he has pen pals, he writes poetry, he craves material about astronomy and ancient cultures, and no, we don't facilitate. He accesses grade level curriculum using the Rapid Prompting Method, and we are in the process of trying to convince his school district that behavioral approaches do not work for every child.

In trying the one thing clinicians warned us to never do---assume our child a capable, intelligent human being---his lost childhod was unearthed and reborn--hopefully before the wounds ran too deep to salvage his boundless spirit. While I can't change the painful mistakes we made in trying to help him live with autism, our son understands that we did the best we could with the tools we had available at the time.

In truly accepting autism, and embracing it as an integral part of the children I have, all of our lives are once again filled with reverence, joy, and miracles. I often find myself describing myself as a woman redeemed by her children's struggles. The best there is to say about me....or anyone in my family....revolves around having known, loved, advocated for, and accepted as the miracles God intended---two amazing children with autism.

Does that mean that in accepting our son's autism as a gift, we don't seek improvements which will ease their paths and broaden their worlds? Absolutely not! We simply operate on the same set of assumptions for our children with autism that we would for any child---we want them to become happy, healthy,contributing human beings.

In closing, my son David, has a message hew wants to share with Mr. Stillman, which he wrote in response to reading some of Mr. Stillman's work on the fundamental rights of autists to communicate:

When you look into the sky

The stars are all you'll ever see.

I have chosen instead to see

The possiblities lying in between.

"Autism And the God Connection" is a book about just that...choosing to see the possibilities beneath the label. Thank God we revisited that choice before our son's radiant spirit was dimmed forever.
27 of 30 people found the following review helpful
Finally ... a book about something other than limitations 25 April 2006
By Jen Elam - Published on
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.
19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
Wonderful, insightful, and helpful for a clinician 15 Sep 2006
By Annette L. Becklund - Published on
Format: Paperback
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!
17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
Presume Intellect and More! 26 Aug 2006
By E. M. Meyer - Published on
Format: Paperback
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.

Wake up world. This book heralds a new age for humanity. And it starts by becoming aware of what is right here, right now, right under our noses. These gifted beings who do not 'fit' into the tight little spaces of what we think we know are so beautifully teaching us to stretch and grow into our own "God Connection". The author's mantra is a good one, "presume intellect". I say, "presume intellect and so much more!".

I certainly hope that Bill Stillman will continue to share his insights and breakthroughs in understanding from his ongoing work with these amazing and inspirational beings. It not only supports those who are living daily with these family members who have been born 'different' in this way, it also gives us more 'high functioning' autistics a pep talk, a pat on the back, and a certain appreciation - just for being who we are.
34 of 41 people found the following review helpful
The spirit within the diagnosis 10 Mar 2006
By Dorita S. Berger - Published on
Format: Paperback
Bill Stillman's book is essential reading for any clinical health worker. I am a music therapist and author of several books on music and physiologic function, including "Music Therapy, Sensory Integration and the Autistic Child (2002, JKP Londonm), and the recently published The Music Effect: Music Physiology and Clinical Applications (Daniel J. Schneck and Dorita S. Berger, 2006, JKP, London). I work predominantly with persons on the autism spectrum and have concluded that perhaps we "typicals" should be the diagnosed persons instead! The sensitivities you read about in Stillman's Autism and the God Connection, the insights, the intuitive "messages" received by persons on the spectrum far exceeds any discussion psychologists and spiritual leaders have regarding what the definition of "soul" is.

Bill Stillman not only provides us with an inside look at the soul and sensitivities of person on the autism spectrum, but he causes us to change attitudes in how one tends to approach and treat those persons.

I fully recommend this book to anyone, and especially to persons that have limited knowledge of what "autism" is about.

Clinicians, pay attention. One cannot take things for granted. The person inside the diagnosis is in there --- it is up to us "typically functioning" individuals to understand this.

Bravo Bill Stillman.
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