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Autism and Spirituality Psyche, Self and Spirit in People on the Autism Spectrum

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Book - Autism and Spirituality Psyche, Self and Spirit in People on the Autism Spectrum

by: Olga Bogdashina
Foreword by Christine Trevett

About the author:

Olga Bogdashina, MA, PhD, is Co-founder and Programme Leader and Lecturer at the International Autism Institute, KSPU. She has worked extensively in the field of autism as a teacher, lecturer and researcher. Since 1994, she has been Director of the first day centre for children with autism in Ukraine and President of the Autism Society of Ukraine. She is a visiting lecturer at universities in Europe, presents at national and international autism conferences and is an Autism Consultant for services for children and adults. Olga has a 25-year-old son with autism and lives in West Yorkshire, UK.

ISBN: 978-1-84905-285-6

Year: 2013

Publication Info: 272pp


Olga Bogdashina argues persuasively that, contrary to popular belief, spirituality plays a vital role in the lives of many people with autism spectrum disorders (ASD).

Drawing on interdisciplinary research from fields as diverse as psychology, philosophy, anthropology, linguistics, neuroscience and religion, as well as first-hand experiences of people on the spectrum, she shows how people with ASD experience their inner worlds and sense of self, and how this shapes the spiritual dimension of their lives and vice versa. She presents a coherent framework for understanding the routes of spiritual development and ‘spiritual giftedness’ within this group, offering insights that will inform understanding of how to support and nurture spiritual wellbeing in people with ASDs.

This book gives a voice to both verbal and non-verbal individuals on the autism spectrum whose spiritual experiences, though often unconventional, are meaningful and profound. It is essential reading for all those interested in the spiritual wellbeing of this group, including pastoral carers and counsellors, ministers of religion, spiritual leaders, parents and carers and individuals on the autism spectrum.



Acknowledgements. Foreword by Christine Trevett. Introduction. 1. What’s in a Word? 2. Defining Autism. 3. Defining Spirituality. 4. Sensitivities in Autism. 5. Different Realities: Constructed Worlds Created through the Filters. 6. What Is a Self? Or, What/Who Is “I”? 7. ‘Autistic Personality’. 8. Spiritual Experiences. 9. Sense of Right and Wrong. 10. Spiritual Development. Afterword by Nancy Getty. References. Subject Index. Author Index.



One can read Autism and Spirituality: Psyche, Self, and Spirit in People on the Autism Spectrum through any one of several sets of eyes, or filters, as Olga Bogdashina might put it, and come away enriched. She has done an amazing amount of research, so at one level it is a very careful and helpful delineation of theory and definition related to terms like autism, spirituality, psyche, self, and religion. At another, she uses personal narrative from a number of writers on the autism spectrum to illustrate those definitions. To use her own understanding of autism and that of others as “intense world syndrome”, “hyper connectivity”, and “hyper sensitivities”, i.e., people without the “typical” filters to help sort through the overwhelming amount of sensory information coming toward them, the gift of this book is to provide a filter that helps a reader like me sort through the overwhelming diversity of theories, studies, and personal understandings of autism, spirituality, and the self in ways that help people build connections between them and then come away with deeper and richer understandings of them all.


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