Jennifer Laszlo Mizrahi is the President of RespectAbility, a nonprofit organization working to empower people with disabilities to achieve the American dream. She works regularly with disability organizations, national, state and local policy leaders, workforce development professionals, media, employers, philanthropists, celebrities and faith-based organizations in order to expand opportunities for people with disabilities. Mizrahi has led numerous national polls and brought significant visibility to the issues of America’s 56 million citizens with disabilities. She is the co-author of a major toolkit on best practices on employment for people with disabilities and frequently hosts webinars on this topic. Mizrahi has published dozens of op-eds and publications on disability issues, including in USA Today, Huffington Post, The Hill and other publications. Dyslexic herself, she also knows what it means to parent a child with multiple disabilities. Reach her at JenniferM@RespectAbilityUSA.org.
Do you have ideas on helping people on the Autism spectrum to feel God?
I am looking for ideas on this front. Scientific studies have shown that people on the Autism spectrum are much more likely to be atheists than others. Indeed, according to these studies, it may be impossible for some people on the autism spectrum to grasp G0d.
It is important when working with people with disabilities to understand the difference between can’t and won’t. There are people on the Autism spectrum who, because of family or other pressures, have really tried to find God, or faith. But they can’t see it, any more than a blind person can read without assisted technology or brail.
What are we to make of this? And should we keep pushing to help them find a way to find God, or should we find the part of God inside ourselves that might say, “This is just the way it should be for this person. And who knows, maybe they’re right, and there isn’t a God.”
Alternatively, if someone on the spectrum want to have that experience for him or herself, what assistive technology or supports will help?
Thoughts? Experiences? I am all ears!
Jennifer Laszlo Mizrahi is the co-founder of RespectAbility USA and the co-director of the Mizrahi Family Charitable Trust. She is dyslexic and could not read and write well until she was 12.