The mother of a 12-year-old autistic boy reviewed my book in the National Catholic Register. I will include an excerpt from her review and a few notes. A few points she brings up in her review might help others looking at my book.
Katya Fitzpatrick’s Review in the Register
Here’s the start of the review:
“Communicating with God does not need words,” Father Matthew Schneider, a priest who has gained a large following on social media for embracing his own “neurodiversity,” explains in his book God Loves the Autistic Mind: A Prayer Guide for Those on the Spectrum and Those Who Love Us. The much- awaited prayer book was released by Pauline Books and Media in June, and I was thrilled when my copy finally arrived in the mail. Since then, I’ve read it several times. Here’s why:
As a mom to a 12-year-old son with autism, as well as three “neurotypical” kids, Father Schneider’s wisdom is helping me share my faith with all my children, but especially with my autistic son in a new, powerful way. The following passage was particularly eye-opening: “Communicating with other humans requires audible words. There is a whole process for most communication that we struggle with, but it isn’t needed to communicate with God.”
The book is light-hearted, deeply insightful and easy-to-read. Father Schneider takes complicated topics and breaks them into digestible pieces that a busy mom can reflect upon as she muddles through the day. Father also deals with myths about autism and lays out the challenges he sees autistics facing in their prayer lives — challenges he’s faced himself.
Some Points to Take from This Review
Mrs. Fitzpatrick’ review brought out 3 points that I had not made explicitly or not seen elsewhere, but which I think can help. Here they are:
- She calls the book light-hearted and easy to read. I specifically designed it so it would be at a middle-school reading level as that is a level that works for both adults and teens. (If you look at newspapers or most non-academic adult books, this tends to be the range they aim for.) I wrote it in the middle of writing a doctoral thesis so had to switch the style of my writing quite a bit. I actually have a presentation at an academic conference this fall that takes some elements from the beginning of the book and expresses them in a more academic manner.
- She notes she read it several times. I hope yot can read it a few times through if you find it helpful. I think the repetition of the two parts would be quite different. The first part is an outline of autistic prayer so would be read straight through. The second part of individual devotions might be taken to prayer more than once. I have personally prayed through another book of devotions, See Yourself Through God’s Eyes, multiple times. (A very attentive reader might note some inspiration in how I structured the meditations from this book: I base it in a variety of books of devotions but prior to my book, this was my favorite.)
- She notes how I talk both about challenges and advantages autistics have in prayer. I think too often we only focus on the negative and that is not as helpful to people.