Mike Huckabee and the Colsons: Beautiful, Christian Autism Segment on Fox News
Chuck and Emily Colson talk church and autism with Mike Huckabee.
Although I am not a fan of religion in general, I love the commitment to family and to love beyond oneself that faith often awakens in others. This segment from Mike Huckabee's show on Fox News demonstrates how Christian values can open up a deeper and more meaningful conversation about people with autism than what we usually see on TV.
The story of how Emily Colson and the people of her congregation figured out how to make her son Max not only feel included, but actually be an important part of their community isn't just about feeling good-- it's a great model. Start with the part that works well, then expand from there. Find what the autistic person can do and let him do it. Pay attention and create opportunities based on what he expresses interest in.
If you don't want to watch the whole video, skip to 5:16 and watch Max greeting people as they arrive for church. You will smile.
But I recommend you watch it all, including the second segment, which explores Max's extraordinary memory. They also discuss in some depth the system of communicating with pictures that has allowed Emily to help Max learn about life and conquer some of his fears. This is a very smart mother, and they wouldn't give her the chance to talk like in detail about a process that worked for her son on The View.
This is one example of how Christian people often express an openness to people who are different and an appreciation of love that cranky old atheists like me could learn from. The last time I mentioned Emily Colson was when her dad wrote a dumb column that suggested only Christians could love their children the way she does. That's stupid.
But it would be equally stupid to deny that this is one of the best talk show segments on autism I've ever seen, and that the faith of the people involved is the most important reason for that. The way Mr. Colson talks about entering Max's world, what he's learned from it, and how truly loving Max can be is beautiful and wise.