William Stillman Speaks About Autism and Spirituality

Autism Interview #41: William Stillman on Autism and the God Connection

William Stillman Speaks About Autism and Spirituality

William Stillman, also known as “The Autism Whisperer” for his ability to connect with and interpret people on the spectrum, is a psychic and an award-winning author of multiple books, including Autism and the God Connection: Redefining the Autistic Experience Through Extraordinary Accounts of Spiritual Giftedness. This week he offered several resources for parents interested in learning more about the autistic connection to the spiritual world.

How did your spiritual foundation begin?  How did you first begin to recognize or understand your ability to connect with the spiritual realm? 

I was raised in the Episcopal Church. I first started to recognize my abilities as a child, and then I revisited them as an adult. This is all documented in detail in my books.

Where did you first start to develop the theory that autistic people are better disposed to connecting with the spiritual realm? 

This theory came from thirty years in the field, meeting with many families/individuals with common experiences but unknown to one another.

You’ve mentioned that silence helps people connect with the spiritual realm, which is why nonverbal autistics may be predisposed, but how does this theory extend to verbal autistics? 

The theory extends to include us all. Silence is a founding principle of spirituality.

In a previous interview, you offered the advice for neurotypical people to “presume intelligence.” Have you ever been in a situation with someone who didn’t presume intelligence? Or have you witnessed this in others? What was the effect? 

Constantly. It is the norm. The effect is the vicious cycle of the self-fulfilling prophecy; you become what others project upon you.

You’ve mentioned that you can “pass for socially acceptable under certain conditions.” To what extent do you think this is important? Are there situations where “passing” shouldn’t be necessary, and how can parents healthily coach their children in this area?

This is situational. For example, it is important for me to pass for socially acceptable during speaking engagements, book signings, and work-related activities. But this shouldn’t be necessary among loved ones or in privacy of one’s own home.

What made you decide to share your gifts with the world through your books, interviews, readings, or other presentations? 

It’s the right thing to do.

It is important for caregivers to maintain a healthy skepticism as well as bear an open mind in investigating the information observed or shared by the individual.

This is explained in detail in my books, and I offer several examples of common spiritual experiences in the protocol posted to the “God Connection” portion of my site.

What mistakes do you see neurotypical autism advocates make?

Being unpresuming of intellect, and presuming to be the voice of those with autism.

Interested in hearing more about William Stillman and his work with individuals on the spectrum? Visit his website.

Source: https://www.learnfromautistics.com/voices-spectrum-41-william-stillman-autism-god-connection/

The Soul of Autism

William Stillman Speaks About Autism and Spirituality

More children will be diagnosed with autism this year than with AIDS, diabetes, and cancer…combined.

In Autism and the God Connection, William Stillman presented extraordinary accounts of spiritual giftedness in autistic children and adults, persons often deemed intellectually inferior.

Now, in The Soul of Autism, Stillman shows:

  • Why the unaccountable and dramatic rise in autism—with no single known cause—is a necessary part of our spiritual evolution.
  • The secret component that makes autistic telepathy possible for us all, and how we can learn to use it.
  • How certain autistics communicate with animals and how what the animals are saying is pertinent to the rest of us.
  • How anyone can tap into the multi-sensory giftedness possessed by many autistic children and adults.

We have much to learn from our autistic friends about transcendence rising, a new humanity accessible for all. The Soul of Autism, a Nautilus Book Award winner, illuminates the way.

More children will be diagnosed with autism this year than with AIDS, diabetes, and cancer…combined.

In Autism and the God Connection, William Stillman presented extraordinary accounts of spiritual giftedness in autistic children and adults, persons often deemed intellectually inferior.

Now, in The Soul of Autism, Stillman shows:

*Why the unaccountable and dramatic rise in autism–with no single known cause–is a necessary part of our spiritual evolution.

*The secret component that makes autistic telepathy possible for us all, and how we can learn to use it.

*How certain autistics communicate with animals and how what the animals are saying is pertinent to the rest of us.

*How anyone can tap into the multi-sensory giftedness possessed by many autistic children and adults.

We have much to learn from our autistic friends about transcendence rising, a new humanity accessible for all. The Soul of Autism illuminates the way.

“The Soul of Autism reveals the often unrecognized spiritual gifts of those `on the spectrum' and explains how they can help all of us. William Stillman believes the world needs autism. After reading this moving and inspiring book, you will see why.”

–Melissa Chianta, managing editor, Mothering magazine “I believe the world owes William Stillman a debt of gratitude for the courage it took him to research and write this book. It is filled with rare wisdom and amazing stories that will totally surprise you!”

–P.M.H. Atwater, Th.D., author of Beyond the Indigo Children

William Stillman is the author of the groundbreaking book Autism and the God Connection, the first study of the profound spiritual, mystical, and metaphysical gifts of some individuals with autism.

His other books include The Autism Answer Book; The Everything Parent's Guide to Children with Asperger's Syndrome; and Demystifying the Autistic Experience. Stillman also writes columns for The Autism Perspective and Children of the New Earth magazines.

As an adult with Asperger's Syndrome, a mild “cousin” of autism, Stillman endeavors to highlight the exquisite sensitivities of our most valuable, wise, and loving “teachers.” Stillman lives in Pennsylvania.

William Stillman is the author of the groundbreaking book Autism and the God Connection, the first study of the profound spiritual, mystical, and metaphysical gifts of some individuals with autism.

His other books include The Autism Answer Book; The Everything Parent's Guide to Children with Asperger's Syndrome; and Demystifying the Autistic Experience.

As an adult with Asperger's syndrome, a mild ''cousin'' of autism, Stillman endeavors to highlight the exquisite sensitivities of our most valuable, wise, and loving ''teachers.

Source: https://www.amazon.fr/Soul-Autism-Looking-Spiritual-Secrets-ebook/dp/B07J1B42XD

Is There a Connection Between Autism and Spirituality?

William Stillman Speaks About Autism and Spirituality

What do we know of autism and spirituality? Bill Stillman's book, Autism and the God Connection, is largely a collection of anecdotes from parents who feel that their children with autism have a special connection with the spiritual world.

The book has received very positive reviews — and a great deal of parental interest. Bill kindly agreed to answer a series of questions, some posed by me and others sent to him directly by Verywell.com readers.

As a member of the autism community himself (he is diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome), Bill brings an unusual perspective to the conversation.

Question: How do you decide whether a reported event is legitimate, a fraud, or the result of an hallucination or other health problem?

Answer: In discerning the truth of what’s being reported, I use a couple of criteria.

First, is there a ring of truth to what someone is reporting? In other words, it doesn’t wash with me that someone reporting would completely sugar-coat and glorify the autistic experience as “God’s little angels” because that’s not real life; and I think it can be an extremely challenging lifestyle for the individual on the spectrum as well as her parents, caregivers, and educators. That doesn’t mean that spiritual giftedness can’t manifest, but when it does it’s amidst daily trials and travails of mutual learning and living.

And, second, does what someone’s reporting “fit” within the themes that have already emerged in my work, or that correspond with the research of other spiritual authors? Being in the mental health-mental retardation field for nearly twenty years, I know enough about the inner workings of mental illness to spot “red flags” or symptoms of grandiosity in what someone is telling me; where my research is concerned, this has only occurred very rarely, a couple instances. Most often, people just feel relieved to know that they’re not crazy, not alone in the experience, and have found someone who understands.

Question:Is there any research that supports the idea that people without verbal skills may be more attuned to other types of input?

Answer: Only my own research, but, to me, it makes total sense.

This whole “God connection” concept is still very, very new, and, as your readers are well aware, persons with developmental disabilities including autism, have historically been marginalized, devalued, degraded, and abused.

As a Western culture, we’re not “there” yet in terms of our perception that such individuals have value in their “beingness”, and may hold intimate insights, wisdom, and giftedness; though Native American culture does subscribe to this concept.

To me, existing in silence, as a number of autistics do, isn’t any different than the person of high religious standing who takes a deliberate vow of silence—why would it be? So there’s a double standard in who and what we value: people who meditate, pray, practice yoga want to reach the same spiritual plateau that some autistics attain naturally by living in silence, focusing on a repetitive movement or a perseverative vocalization (a mantra), and perceiving all things seen and unseen. And there is scientific research to support this, as I write in Autism and the God Connection.

In addition, we know that the sensory sensitivities of many autistics can be acute and extremely painful to endure; but this may also lend itself to a multisensory perceptive ability in the way that the person who is blind has finely-sharpened, compensatory senses.

Spiritual giftedness relates to how we receive information on a high-frequency, vibratory level corresponding with our sense; not all input is verbal and plain to us.

Oftentimes symbolic communication requires some decoding, the autistic man who played with a blue toy truck; some thought it was because of stereotypes—that he was autistic, retarded, and mute.

But deciphering the hieroglyphics of the communication, and presuming the man’s intelligence, I discovered that he was very close to his deceased father and had spent many happy times riding with dad in his truck—a truck identical to the man’s toy. As the man was without any other tangible reminders of his father ( photographs or personal mementoes), clearly the toy truck was the catalyst for triggering visual mind-movies of those happy days.

Question:

Answer:Absolutely, and first and foremost is the concept: “presume intellect.” I have befriended many autistic individuals over the years who, outwardly, present as severely incapacitated because they don’t speak, have limbs that are unreliable, and are labeled “mentally retarded.

” However, again, there’s a double standard in that we usually and automatically presume the intellect of persons who present in similar ways, such as those with Cerebral Palsy, ALS or Lou Gehrig’s disease, Parkinson’s, Tourette’s, Hodgkin’s, and so on.

Some of my friends use speech alternatives to communicate, and have revealed a profound intelligence filled with compassion and vision beyond what may be considered typical because of suffering in silence (an existence with which some have reconciled).

Our challenge as parents, caregivers, and educators is to shatter myths and stereotypes in order to bridge gaps in understanding. We have much to be learning from one another.

The second piece, which builds from the fundamental premise “presume intellect”, is the three steps (or “miracles as I refer to them in Autism and the God Connection) to enact that can create a ripple effect of change. The three steps set a tone for reverence and respect, and poise us to become agents of transformation in our interactions with the autistic individual as well as others around him.

Question:Do you think that some of the interest in your book and your ideas may come from parents' need to find special talents in a child who appears to have few special abilities?

Answer: Let’s acknowledge that parents of individuals with autism can have intensely complex lives. No one who has contacted me has asked for anything other than the opportunity to be heard, so there’s no personal gain involved.

And I’m not exploring anything that’s not already very well known to countless families; I’m merely illuminating it, bringing an aspect of autism to light that was previously “closeted.” So I’ve not “created” this whole “autism and the God connection” movement, it was already there, unfolding silently but surely.

All children are precious and, as human beings, we are all blessed with gifts and talents regardless of who we are.

Question:

Answer: I believe that we all hold the capacity to tap our spiritual giftedness with which every human being has been blessed; and the neat thing about being human is that’s going to look differently in every person, because we’re all unique individuals.

The trouble is many neurotypical persons are “blocked” from perceiving this aspect of themselves because they are immersed in the stresses of every day life; or, worse, they’re self-absorbed, greedy, power-hungry, and concerned only with gratifying their own desires.

Persons who spend time in solitude observing and revering nature; expressing gratitude; praying or meditating; committing altruistic, selfless acts consciously and on a daily basis are, in my opinion, better attuned to perceive their own spirituality—and this concept is supported by other spiritual authors and theologians.

I also believe that individuals who are born into extremely challenging lives, such as those with autism, are pre-destined to do so, and are not simply thrust into this world to fend for themselves without any protection or compensation.

I’ve had dozens of parents contact me to express that they are better people than they would’ve been—that they are now spiritual where they hadn’t been previously—because of parenting a child with autism.

Many other parents have reported that their children told them they were chosen before birth.

My friend Michael sums it up best in Autism and the God Connection when he discusses being a “whole soul in a broken body” which he contends is the reverse from what’s typical; the compensation he experiences is direct access to God and immediate answers to his silent questions in order to make sense of a chaotic world and his place in it. Michael states that, ordinarily, for those “broken souls in whole bodies” such responses are made known to others only once they pass on.

Question: How did you come to define “autism and the God connection?”

Answer: I’ve always had an interest in circumstances and events that defied rational explanation or scientific logic—I was always intrigued with the concept that human beings don’t have all the answers. And I was fortunate enough to grow up in a family in which such things could be discussed openly and with wonder, not dismissed as impossibilities.

I began to notice the “God connection” in my work as an autism consultant about six or seven years ago. At the time, I was working in a couple counties in rural Pennsylvania counseling several multidisciplinary teams unknown to one another.

However, I began to observe—and learn about—a strong spiritual way of being for the persons with autism for whom I was consulting.

A number of themes began to emerge such as precognition (knowing what was going to occur before it actually did), telepathy (exchanging, or tapping into, thoughts and images with another), animal communication (silently intuiting and interpreting “animalspeak” from domesticated or feral animals), communion with a loved one in Spirit, usually a grandparent (a strong focus on the deceased’s photograph and intimate, previously-unknown knowledge about their lives), apparitions of wayward souls (“ghosts”), and communion with benign, ethereal entities, defined as angels by some. I came to understand that, for those predisposed, these experiences were very common—natural, not supernatural.

As I learned more and more about these areas, I thought, “My gosh, if I’m seeing this happen in just a couple counties in rural Pennsylvania, what’s happening in the rest of the country?!” So I put out some cautious “feelers” by way of Internet postings and message boards, and was pleasantly pleased to have my suspicions validated by dozens and dozens of parents and professionals who began telling me of their experiences. People hundreds of miles apart—who had never before met—were all telling me variations of the same themes. This material formed the basis of my research in composing Autism and the God Connection, but I can also tell you that it’s only just the tip of a very large iceberg.

As a result of all that I was learning, I was also obliged to undergo a spiritual transformation myself.

My original, working title for the book was Autism and the Clairvoyant Connection, but I soon realized that it was far more reverential than that; that the loving families I encountered often felt a deeply spiritual or religious sense of responsibility, and I knew there could be no title other than Autism and the God Connection.

Question:

Answer: First, understand that this doesn’t apply to all persons with autism anymore than it applies to all neurotypical individuals. Second, let’s acknowledge that it’s very real for many people, and that there is a community of folks who are sharing these experiences—you’re not alone.

Third, allow it to affirm your own purpose—whether you’re an autistic individual, parent, or professional—as a co-collaborator in a relationship, raising the consciousness of others to demonstrate respect, regard, and reverence for others free from limits such as prejudice and rigid, authoritarian control. And finally, support the individual to recognize that her life is not without purpose; that she is loved, and that her giftedness originates in a Higher Power—not something to dread; and that we all have a mission to employ our gifts and talents in order to be of good and great service to others.

Question: What are your upcoming projects, and how may people contact you about them?

Answer: I’m in the process of mobilizing the first-ever statewide autism self-advocacy coalition, here in Pennsylvania.

We’re already established since March 2006 with representatives on the spectrum located regionally; now we’ll be partnering to co-present an autism training curriculum to mental health workers supporting children and teens with autism. It has the potential to be replicated nationally.

We’re also planning the first-ever autism conference presented exclusively by—or co-presented with—persons with autism in an effort to educate others from the “inside-out.”

A documentary based upon Autism and the God Connection is in development as well.

I was contacted several months before the book was published by a brilliant young filmmaker, Teo Zagar, who rendered a gorgeous film called Mind Games, a love story about a doctor experiencing a debilitating and terminal disease who spiritually willed himself to live longer than he was intended. That will take a couple of years of planning, preparation, and on-site production.

And I’m composing a follow-up book to Autism and the God Connection that reveals more of the iceberg’s tip; I plan to revisit the concepts in the original book, but delve deeper. For example, if some autistics can communicate with animals, exactly what are the animals saying and how might that impact the rest of us.

Your readers are always welcome to contact me through my website. Thank you for the opportunity to discuss my work and research!

Source: https://www.verywellhealth.com/autism-and-spirituality-260300