THE head of Adana’s Health and Education Associations for Autistic Children has made a right prat of himself by claiming that atheism was a form of autism.
Sociologist Fehmi Kaya is reported here as saying:
Autistic children do not know how to believe in God because they do not have a section for faith in their brains. That is why they don’t know how to pray, how to believe in God. It is necessary to create awareness [or religion] in these children through methods of therapy.
Autism associations around Turkey are said to be outraged, with individuals and associations slamming his remarks. The President of the Association of Protection of Autistic Children (ODER), Engin Güngör described Kaya’s remarks “unfortunate”.
“I do not know what purpose the statement serves,” Güngör said, adding that the media should think twice before publicising such garbage.
This is a statement that could upset around 3.5 to 4 million people,. We believe that the press should feel the responsibility of that as well, and should look better into these things before publishing them.
Kaya said that his remarks had been taken out of context, with news reports “fixating on autism”.
The message I wished to give was not about autism and atheism, but to highlight that these children cannot communicate, cannot form empathy, live in their own worlds and are isolated. I meant that we should take them out of their isolation with proper therapy methods.
But Kaya wouldn’t let go of the “faith” thing, saying development came in layers and that as autistic children developed further socially and mentally, a dimension of faith would also be developed.
I meant that they were disabled, in a way, like a hearing disability, because they are not aware of why people believe. I did not say that all autistic people are atheists.
Kaya added that faith “normally” exist in kids.
Kaya also said they would turn autistic children into believers through sessions that would be offered for free at therapy centers in the future.
The sessions, which have been confirmed by the Culture Houses of Adana’s Yüre?ir Municipality, are set to start in June and will be able to serve over 30 children. The same houses will also offer further therapy sessions for children with disabilities.
When asked whether or not the houses aimed at turning autistic children into believers, a Culture House official confirmed the matter, but Kaya denied such objectives.
Every child understands when you tell him or her to fear God, but an autistic child will not. Once he starts to develop normally, belief will come in time. We do not have the idea of creating a section for faith in their brains.
Hat tip: Angela K