Autism and the Arts

I recently read a comment about there being a strong link between Autism and the arts. I have been unable to stop thinking about this point since.

It is known that Autistic people can have extremely high IQ’s, leading to them excelling in subjects such as Maths, Science and Technology. Proof of this is exampled in ASD sufferers such as Albert Einstein, Bill Gates and Charles Darwin.

But, what if this theory also applies to subjects often thought of as ‘un-academic’; the arts. For me, the arts would include literature, music, dance, drama, film and photography. The arts are an integral part of a child’s education. Schools choosing to cancel these subjects as they feel they are not beneficial to a child’s development truly saddens me.

“Without a song or a dance, what are we?” – Thank you for the Music, ABBA

I let my love for the arts shine through in my dance. I embrace every move and feel the music through every extension of my limbs. I feel an equal connection when I watch others dance. There is something mesmerising about watching a performer connect with the music – it’s infectious. I always received feedback that I really stood out when I danced on stage, that my choreography was unique. Given, these people may have just been being supportive and kind. I do think, if their comments were true, maybe it is because I heard something in the music no one else could or that I visioned a sequence different to my peers due to me experiencing the world differently to a neurotypical?

My brother is also talented in the arts. He has self-taught himself multiple instruments, primarily bass guitar. He plays better than most I know, he also writes music which could easily sell records. My brother is a keen photographer and film maker too. Some of his photos are breath-taking leaving you wondering how he saw such beauty and knew it must be captured? His film edits are equally as individual and ‘wow-ing’. I believe my brothers ability to hear how music should sound and produce media showing the world how no one else could possibly see it is due to his Autism.

A good example of somebody with an Autism diagnosis who has a connection to the arts is Tim Burton. T. Burton is famous for his dark, strange film making. His films are different to any other directors. From watching his films you get the impression that he sees the world differently. I would bet Autism is the reasoning behind his distinctive film style.

Mozart and Michelangelo are both suspected to have suffered from Autism. Both are highly thought of in their retrospective areas. Each has contributed to the arts in ways others have not. Perhaps their talents stem from their potential ASD?

A large majority of individuals on the spectrum have a special interest in non-fictional worlds. I refer to Doctor Who, Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, etc. This may be because we can appreciate them on so many levels: the literature, the cinematography, the drama and the soundtracks. A love for the arts is what has created these fandoms. These worlds have all been created because somebody visioned our world a different way. They were inspired by what the world could be and created one similar. This is what people with ASD do all day, everyday. We live in a world similar to the one inhabited by neurotypicals but, our world has distinct differences which only we can see, hear and smell. Perhaps this is why we connect strongly to stories of non-fictional worlds – because, we live in one ourselves?

ASD sufferers are thought to have no imagination, and yes we may struggle with imaginative play or improvisation but, give us time and support to express ourselves and I guarantee we will present you with the highest-standard of art.

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