On the Spectrum: Autism, Faith, and the Gifts of Neurodiversity

On the Spectrum: Autism, Faith, and the Gifts of Neurodiversity

by Daniel Jr. Bowman
On the Spectrum: Autism, Faith, and the Gifts of Neurodiversity

On the Spectrum: Autism, Faith, and the Gifts of Neurodiversity

by Daniel Jr. Bowman


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2022 Book of the Year Award, Academy of Parish Clergy

Nearly everyone knows someone on the autism spectrum, whether it's a niece or nephew, a student in their classroom, a coworker, or a sibling, spouse, or child. One in 54 children has autism, according to the CDC, and autism is reported across racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic groups. Yet most of what people think they know about autism is wrong.

On the Spectrum debunks myths with a realistic yet hope-filled deep dive into the heart, mind, and life of a Christian. Daniel Bowman, a novelist, poet, and professor, received an autism diagnosis at age thirty-five after experiencing crises in his personal and professional life. The diagnosis shed light on his experience in a new, life-giving way. In this captivating book, Bowman reveals new insights into autism, relationships, faith, and the gift of neurodiversity.

Rather than viewing autism as a deficiency, Bowman teaches readers—through stories of his heartbreaks and triumphs—authentic ways to love their neighbors as themselves, including their autistic neighbors who are fearfully and wonderfully, if differently, made.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781587435065
Publisher: Baker Publishing Group
Publication date: 08/10/2021
Pages: 256
Sales rank: 1,000,536
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.40(h) x 0.70(d)

About the Author

Daniel Bowman Jr. (MFA, Seattle Pacific University) is an author, poet, and associate professor of English at Taylor University in Upland, Indiana, where he codirects the Making Literature Conference. He writes and speaks regularly on neurodiversity, including for the SBC's Facts & Trends website, The Mighty, Ruminate magazine, and at the 2020 Association of Writers and Writing Programs (AWP). Bowman is editor in chief of Relief: A Journal of Art & Faith, engages in several in-person and online communities addressing neurodiversity and mental health, and mentors young people on the spectrum.

Table of Contents

Prelude: You Always Hurt the Ones You Love 9


Why You Should Read This Book (and How) 35

Diversity and Dignity 46

Speaking the Words 49

A Portrait of the Autist as a Young Man 55

The Neurodiversity Paradigm 63


Living Maps 77

Autistic Culture Making 90

Riding while Autistic 101

Community, Worship, and Service

Autism and Church 109

Shining like the Sun 114

Service and the Spectrum 121

Dancing in Fields of Wheat and Tares 131

Writing, Teaching, and Learning

Autism and Poetry 139

The Insidious Nature of Bad Christian Stories 143

Beautiful Loser 149

Meaning and Estrangement 153

The Tracks of My Tears 160

Family and Identity

A True Name 165

Loving the Expanse 181

Peace in Terabithia 184

Spectrum Interviews

Interview by Molly 191

Interview by Jenna 203

Interview by Brian 209

New Directions

Falling and Autistic Representation 219

Therefore Let Us Keep the Feast 225

SEND and the Future of Neurodiversity 233

Acknowledgments 243

Notes 245

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