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Artist and Autism By Sarah Daisey Van Diesel


Posted by Kelly Green on January 17, 2011


Artist and Autism

  • January 16th, 2011 4:19 am ET


When is the first time you heard that word?

Was it when you watched the Rain man with Dustin Hoffman and Tom Cruise in 1988 ?

Or, maybe you have a friend or family member you has Autism?

Did you learn about Autism through watching the Movie

"Temple Grandin" starring Claire Danes,Julia Ormond and  David Strathaim? 

Wiki describes Autism :  a disorder of neural development characterized by impaired social interaction and communication, and by restricted and repetitive behavior.

I know first hand about Autism, I myself have Autism.  Wiki outlines what Autism is, but, on a more multi -fauceted level, Autism has many faces, ages, levels , and descriptions. Every person with Autism, is like a grain of sand, each individual, with Autism, is different in their own way. Each person has their own niche on the spectrum.

For example, people-you, may see children in your local store crying, having what is called a "Melt down" . Many people think a "Melt down" is something that the child, his or her parents can control with disciplinary actions. Just let me try to define what a "Melt down" is. 

Imagine you have a flash light in your eyes, two loud speakers magnifying the sound around you in both ears, and colors are one hundred times brighter and defined through your minds eye. Then you have to focus on your walking, talking, and where your'e going all while watching this planets never ending loud, bright movie around you. In simple terms, that's just the sensory interpretation of someone with Autism. Now , that child you see in the store, crying, maybe screaming, is not misbehaving, he or she is having something called "sensory overload", and not misbehaving, as some may think. 

That child in the store, is in agony, in pain, hurting from sounds and light-so instead of staring, or giving that "I would teach that parent a thing or two, how to parent" look, ( we all know ) offer words, saying " It'll be alright",or,  "Hang in there". Parents and children alike affected by Autism, need real support,and societies understanding- even from onlookers, in my opinion. 

Autism is a complex disorder. It's  not a one dimensional. it's very complex in nature to each individual who has Autism.

Artists with Autism, paint with their souls, draw with there hearts and create using their autism as loving tool of art. People with Autism are using "Art Therapy" while at the same time, making a viable living without using supplemental Government subsides and they are also creating job for themselves. Whereas, in some cases, physically and or mentally , art is all they are able to use as a resource, to make a living. Outside work, as in working a 9-5 job is not stereo-typically what most Autistic people are able to cope with, being their social interaction is somewhat, ( as said before every one is  different) limited.

Achieving the avenue of art, is not easy for a  Neurotypical ( person, imagine the hurdles one must forgo having Autism. 

"Just going to the art store to buy canvas's is a little hard for me" Kari , age 22 say's . Kari is an artist with autism who currently is painting cats.

Kari adds "Hopefully people will realize that people with Autism as artists,whether it may be actors,singers,painters or just anything,that we are living our dream, but its just a little harder ,sometimes a lot harder, finding the right balance with our Autism  to live our dreams like anyone else." 


Sarah Daisey Van Diesel


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