How does the autistic mind view god? Temple Grandin
has contemplated the question of the divine since she was a little girl. She is a high-functioning woman on the autistic spectrum who is famous for her work creating more humane systems of cattle slaughter. Mary talks to Grandin from her home in Colorado.
And then there's Anthony Easton
. He describes himself as religious, but not spiritual--a bit of a twist from what we usually hear on Tapestry. Easton was diagnosed as being on the autistic spectrum at age 14. Today, he is a Masters of Theology student at Trinity College
Mary also speaks with Reverend John Gillibrand
in Wales. His son Adam is low-functioning and this has raised some painful questions about what the sacraments mean for someone who probably doesn't understand them. These questions are especially troubling for Gillibrand because he is an Anglican priest.
Then, we'll pay a visit to Beth Tzedec Synagogue
in Toronto where there is a special program for children on the spectrum as they reach the age of bar and bat mitzvah. As it turns out, the children have some surprising views on autism and what it means for their faith.
Also on this episode, a clip from besidemyselfworld
--a performance piece based on the autobiographical writings of Birger Sellin. Sellin is a teenager in Germany who is on the autistic spectrum and non-verbal. At 17, he learned to type with his mother supporting his arm and expressed unique insights about the question of his existence. besidemyselfworld is by the Canadian art collective, Tones of Voice.