On Wednesday, June 22, we welcomed author and poet Daniel Bowman, Jr., (MFA, Seattle Pacific University) who is associate professor of English at Taylor University in Upland, Indiana, where he codirects the Making Literature Conference. He writes and speaks regularly on neurodiversity, including for the SBC's Facts & Trends website, The Mighty, Ruminate magazine, and at the Association of Writers and Writing Programs (AWP). Bowman is editor in chief of Relief: A Journal of Art & Faith, engages in several in-person and online communities addressing neurodiversity and mental health, and mentors young people on the spectrum.
Daniel shared with us key points from his memoir, On the Spectrum: Autism, Faith, & the Gifts of Neurodiversity, which won the 2022 Book of the Year Award, Academy of Parish Clergy. “Nearly everyone knows someone on the autism spectrum…. One in 54 children has autism, according to the CDC, and autism is reported across racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic groups. Yet most of what people think they know about autism is wrong. On the Spectrum debunks myths with a realistic yet hope-filled deep dive into the heart, mind, and life of a Christian. Daniel Bowman, a novelist, poet, and professor, received an autism diagnosis at age thirty-five after experiencing crises in his personal and professional life. The diagnosis shed light on his experience in a new, life-giving way. In this captivating book, Bowman reveals new insights into autism, relationships, faith, and the gift of neurodiversity. Rather than viewing autism as a deficiency, Bowman teaches readers--through stories of his heartbreaks and triumphs--authentic ways to love their neighbors as themselves, including their autistic neighbors who are fearfully and wonderfully, if differently, made.”