In these important episodes of Mormon Stories, we interview JaLynn Prince – President and Founder of the Madison House Autism Foundation and wife of our frequent past guest on Mormon Stories episodes as a Mormon scientist and historian – Dr. Greg Prince.

We focus on JaLynn’s background in the LDS Church and how she learned her son Madison was a child with autism.  We also have a discussion on some of the general characteristics of autism and other related disabilities, and how the LDS Church serves these individuals.  We then have a frank discussion on possible areas of improvement in the LDS community to offer more support, opportunities, and hope for adults with autism.  In our final segment of the interview, JaLynn fields questions from our live listening audience.

Our featured image is the work of Madison Prince, an artist living with autism. The image communicates the idea of people that are not fully seen in our society, including those that are adults on the autism spectrum.

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4 Comments

  1. beth March 1, 2018 at 2:52 pm - Reply

    Thank you Jon for another very interesting interview, god bless you jay lynn with your son for the future, may you continue to receive all the help you need and more.

  2. Rick Ferguson March 3, 2018 at 12:31 am - Reply

    Awesome interview! Thank you for opening up this topic and thinking about how to involve those who are not fully seen. I have a 14 year old daughter who is mostly nonverbal. I struggle to communicate with her every single day despite developing a mean arsenal of impressions (Elmo, Barney, Snuffy, Bert & Ernie. Etc). She’s growing up but the characters give more incentive for her to talk rather than just Dad. My goal is to reach out to others this year and be more pro-active in helping with her social skills. That’s great that you have done so much for Madison. It breaks my heart to see my girl withdrawing more as she’s getting older (15 in a few weeks). Thank you for sharing all you have in this interview. Thanks John for all you do too!

  3. EDiL13 March 13, 2018 at 8:11 pm - Reply

    Thank you both for some wonderful insights.

    I’m thinking this could be the beginning of a new miniseries on Mormonism and its relation to other forms of “neurodiversity,” (besides autism) since I’ve known a number of LDS people that fall into this category — schizophrenia, bipolar “disorder”, ADD, etc. (to name a few).

    For example, in my case, being told by a former bishop that I should not go to the temple at times when I’m suffering from depression (or when I feel like I might have an emotional meltdown during a session) was probably the beginning of the end of my membership in the Mormon church (with a very long and complicated story in between, ultimately resulting in my resignation). Since my episodes of depression are unpredictable, and since I’m never sure what might set them off — not even the temple was a safe place — he was effectively telling me that I couldn’t go to the temple at all anymore, until and unless I was “cured,” and there has never really been any lasting “cure.” It’s the way I’m “wired.”

    In all fairness to him, it probably was not his intent to exclude me from the temple “forever.” He apparently had the mistaken idea that medications could “fix” me, not realizing that I had already tried enough of them to know that they either make me crazier than I already am, or they don’t work at all.

    I believe that there are many “non-neurotypical” people who could live happy and productive lives if they could just find (or be placed in) an environment that both accommodates their “disabilities” and allows them to use their unique abilities. I have seen it go both ways — some seem to get their needs met very well in some LDS communities, but others are sometimes dealt with in ways that aggravate their condition and/or taught beliefs that are not healthy for them. Lots of room for improvement if church leaders are willing to listen…

  4. David Udy March 13, 2020 at 7:21 pm - Reply

    Very interesting, I wonder how many of the people that experience a faith crisis are on the autistic spectrum since there are studies that show high functioning autistic people are much more likely to be atheist than are neurotypical people.

    https://csjarchive.cogsci.rpi.edu/proceedings/2011/papers/0782/paper0782.pdf

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