Michael J. Manacci

Given that it has only been known to the general public for only a few decades, autism is undeniably a part of daily life in the Twenty-First Century.  As part of this, there exists a small but vigorously dedicated group of individuals who cling to and propagate various forms of misinformation about the condition. The direct yet unintended consequence is a sad and harmful consumption of theories as the scientific truth. Regardless of how you view the discussion, one cannot deny the parallels between the autistic person’s struggles and the relationship between mutants versus the general public as portrayed in Marvel’s X-men. 

Who are the X-men?

Keeping in tune with the Greco-Roman mythologies tradition of making your Gods human-like with all the insecurities, faults, and vices of mere mortals, Stan Lee and Jack Kirby created an all-teen superhero team whom both had to deal with the daily endeavors of the American teenager, meanwhile struggling with coming to terms of the team not just being mutants but becoming a force for good in the mutant community. Under the eye of tutelage from Professor Charles Xavier, the first class of Iceman, Angel, Beast, Jean Gray, and Cyclops stormed onto comic books shelves in the spring of 1963. Since that first issue, the X-men have gained from around the world and have lost just as many. They have witnessed Professor Xavier pass the torch and let team veterans such as Storm and Wolverine, allowing them to take command of the team. Its mission is to lead through positive examples and shatter stereotypes of mutants, thus swaying the public’s opinion on them. 

How Do the X-Men Relate to People with Autism?

Much like the treatment of mutants, stereotypes of a hurtful, negative, and counter-productive nature exist about folks on the autism spectrum. To list them would be extremely tedious and the tone the most tiresome. Yet, one of the most prevalent ones is that Autism Spectrum people are totally immune to understanding, let alone fully participating, in religion. But this is wholeheartedly false. To be entirely fair, cases of autism vary in severity and functionality. In short, if you’ve met a person with autism, you’ve only met one person with autism. But to have Autism that is high-functioning is to contemplate the inner workings of the cosmos. To complete complicated calculus and algebra equations like someone does crossword puzzles. To not only reflect on the works of men such as Socrates, Leonardo Da Vinci, and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, but to improve on their work. However, our kryptonite is asking us what a bag of skittles costs. You may ask yourself, “How can this person have so much insight into the autistic mind?” It’s simple, dear reader; this writer is on the autism spectrum. Being diagnosed at age seven, I can assure you that the road I’ve walked has never been easy. But with my close relationship with Jesus of Nazareth, coupled with guidance from God the Father, there is nothing that will be impossible for me. 

My Encouragement

To my fellow Christians on the Spectrum, I only wish to enrich your faith with my writings and inspire other Geeky Believers by showing those in the mainstream church that there can be a balance between geekdoms and following Jesus. Finally, I wish that, like the students at The Charles Xavier School for Gifted Youngsters, we in the autism community can shatter stereotypes of our autistic brothers and sisters and proudly be a voice for the voiceless. 

I leave you with this to all people on the spectrum around the world. Through all your mental and emotional turmoil, you may have felt like the creator, God the father, had abandoned you, that God is not even real, and if he was, why would he have created you this way? I want you to know that God has always loved you and always will. He has never abandoned you and never will. You are His child, His chosen, His creation. He has a plan and purpose for your life. Don’t ever look down on yourself because God doesn’t manufacture trash.