Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Entry 15: The Misconception That Autistic People Aren’t Creative

Disclaimer A

Sept. 14. 2012

It's a complete misconception, archaic and outdated, that autistics aren’t creative and artsy. Oh please. It’s also not true that autistic children do not play pretend and aren't creative or imaginative. My son is classically autistic, and he always plays pretend. He makes up his own stories, I'd have to say in his own peculiar little way, but he does.

I have AS and I'm an artist myself. I write and compose music, design outfits, abstract draw and paint, write poetry etc. I love colors and artistic patterns; anything creative.  In fact, I need it in my life or I’m rather miserable.

I definitely am creative in a different way than an NT artist. I don't know quite how to explain it. It's very sequential, logical and precise within the creativity. It seems to need to make sense and adhere to patterns… but it's very creative and imaginary nonetheless.

Little girls especially have been and are continuing to be misdiagnosed and/or not diagnosed at all with autism. This is due to the fact that rather than act out, they are more likely to retreat into their "own little imaginary worlds" for comfort from their social difficulties and sensory issues.

They also tend to be better social imitators, and often have a "sixth sense" of feelings and vibrations, which makes up for the lack of ability to read facial expressions. That’s not to say that some males aren't going under the radar for the same reason, to be fair.

Recently there has been a grant given to Yale University, to study the nature of autism in females, as it does seem to often differ a lot from most males. It also presents differently and more subtly; to the point where the diagnostic criteria fails many little girls. I myself was a "failed little girl"

Back to autism and creativity. My son is quite artistic, musical and imaginative. Many males with ASDs are too and the dry stereotype is nothing more than that.

For example, think Sheldon and Amy Farrah Fowler from Big Bang Theory. Well, I'll admit that I'm pretty Sheldon-ish at the core, underneath my exterior appearance and more feminine, imitatively streetwise mannerisms. However and back to the point, this stereotypical "personality" predominantly presents in that way, in only a fraction of us.

One has to consider personality, gender and life experience/environment to see how core autistic traits could manifest in varying individuals. I feel there is much artistic and creative potential to unlock in most autistic people. After all, we do often have a very high level of fluid intelligence. This means that we can see how many aspects of something, that may not be seemingly connected, can interrelate with each other and produce a new hybrid/compounded result.  We can see things from various angles too.

A great example of this is how a brown-eyed parent and a blue-eyed parent can produce a child who is green eyed, due to the genetic mix of eye colors. This can easily translate to creativity/the arts, as well as logic…and maybe even both at the same time; which is always a great combo.

Let's start broadening our vision on what autism can look like in an individual human being, compounded with their personality and gender.

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