Skip to main content

Autistic Artists and Creatives

As a creative writer, I find that a handful of autism advocates dismiss the creativity of HFA/AS individuals as evidence that artists are "really" autistic. These critics suggest that the savants with autism are genuine, but not those of us with careers.

Yesterday, I ran across yet another mention of the "Shining Aspie" narrative, and how artists and educators with various diagnoses don't really represent "genuine" autism.

Are you an artist? A creative? (And aren't we all "creatives" to some extent?) How do you respond to claims that art, which is emotional and empathetic, represents autistic experiences?

Comments

  1. During the school year, I work with a group of high school teens who have Autism and I have to say, they are some of the best creative writers I've been around (I'm a writer, as well). They are very passionate about their writing and, just like any writer, do not like to not be taken seriously in their craft. They have to endure not just their peers, but also their teachers, tell them that they can't really be "creative", because of Autism. But I know this is not true; these students are amazing and would agree with you that creativity is an inherent quality in everyone. Thank you for this post!

    ReplyDelete
  2. The whole thing about how autistic people are supposed to be all mathsy and logical and if you're creative or artsy you can't be on the spectrum makes me cross. I think that stereotype can make it harder for autistic people who don't fit the stereotype to get support or diagnosis, or even start to suspect they might be on the spectrum in the first place. (Years before I was diagnosed, I suspected I could have Aspergers but counted it out on the basis of my hopelessness with maths and science.)

    A while back I put together a list of creative people on the spectrum here, if it's of any use or interest: http://www.lettersfromaspergia.com/2013/09/a-roundup-of-creative-autistic-people.html.

    ReplyDelete
  3. hi, I'm autistic and think it's because I'm logically / litetally minded (get headaches when trying to understand e.g. metaphor 'rich' poetry) that I first turned my artistic side to drawing
...I didn't have to worry about how people interpreted my portraits, because whether they liked them or not didn't affect the quality of my life, whereas talking and writing gave people more chances to find fault with me & hinder me than they did when I was quiet.

When I accidently found some poetry that I actually liked (because both the style and content made sense to me) I couldn't help but use poetry to express my views...it was like a pressure valve had been opened.
I still didn't like the idea of being mis-interpreted though, so I spent years editing that first out-pouring, dictionary in one hand, thesaurus in the other ...which was a nightmare because my spelling was poor and my vocabulary below average ~ I'm dyslexic, and had some serious catching up to do.

Some people think I'm too critical of my work, but I know when my poems say exactly what I want them to say ...those people do not.
And I think my 'perfectionism' makes me a better editor and critic than some professionals, whose appreciation of the writing they proof-read is quite superficial. (JJ, London)


    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Comments violating the policies of this blog will not be approved for posting. Language and content should be appropriate for all readers and maintain a polite tone. Thank you.

Popular posts from this blog

Autism, Asperger's, and IQ

"Aren't people with Asperger's more likely to be geniuses? Isn't genius related to autism?"

A university student asked this in a course I am teaching. The class discussion was covering neurological differences, free will, and the nature versus nurture debate. The textbook for the course includes sidebars on the brain and behavior throughout chapters on ethics and morality. This student was asking a question reflecting media portrayals of autism spectrum disorders, social skills difficulties, and genius.

I did not address this question from a personal perspective in class, but I have when speaking to groups of parents, educators, and caregivers. Some of the reasons these questions arise, as mentioned above, are media portrayals and news coverage of autism. Examples include:
Television shows with gifted characters either identified with or assumed to have autistic traits: Alphas, Big Bang Theory, Bones, Rizzoli and Isles, Touch, and others. Some would include She…

Listen… and Help Others Hear

We lack diversity in the autism community.

Think about what you see, online and in the media. I see upper-middle class parents, able to afford iPads and tutors and official diagnoses. I see parents who have the resources to fight for IEPs and physical accommodations.

I see self-advocacy leadership that has been fortunate (and hard working, certainly) to attend universities, travel the nation (or even internationally), and have forums that reach thousands.

What I don't see? Most of our actual community. The real community that represents autism's downsides. The marginalized communities, ignored and excluded from our boards, our commissions, our business networks.

How did my lower-income parents, without college educations, give me a chance to be more? How did they fight the odds? They did, and now I am in a position of privilege. But I don't seem to be making much of a difference.

Demand that your charities seek out the broadest possible array of advisers and board members.…

Life Updates: The MFA Sprint

Life is okay, if more than a little hectic at the end of this first month.

With one month down, I'm 11 months away from my MFA in Film and Digital Technology. Though things might happen and things do go wrong, so far I'm on schedule and things are going well —— though I'm exhausted and working harder than I did for any other degree. Because the MFA requires projects every week, this isn't as easy to schedule as writing. Even researching a paper can be done from the comfort of home, at any hour.

You cannot make movies by yourself, at any time of day. It doesn't work that way. Filming takes time, and often requires a team of people. It's not comparable to working alone on a degree in writing or rhetoric.

The team-based nature of film is exhausting for me, but I enjoy the results. I also like the practical nature of the skills being taught. You either learn how to adjust ISO, f/Stop, shutter speed, and other variables or you don't. You can have theories …