Altogether, 1% of the world’s population has autism. That is how much a group of people there are who have autism, and it is a very small amount. It seems that less and less people know what autism really is or think they understand it because society has become obsessed with “Autism Awareness.” But as everyone should know, awareness does not mean understanding . In fact, most people do not fully understand autism at all so why would we expect to be able to explain it accurately? Of those few who claim to actually understand autism, many have never been diagnosed with the condition so their opinion doesn’t count. People should avoid making assumptions about autistic people just because a bunch of random guys on the internet said it was okay.
Autism and Creativity
Anyway, what I wanted to talk about was creativity and autism. This is a difficult topic because it can be hard to know whether or not a person’s creative abilities are related to their autism or just part of their personality. However, there has been some research done on the subject which I will share with you.
First of all, it is important to realize that autistic people have different levels of creativity. Just like any other group of people, there are those who are more creative than others. There is no one “type” of autistic person who is automatically more creative than anyone else.
Secondly, being autistic does not automatically mean that someone is good at art or music. In fact, many autistic people struggle with tasks such as drawing and playing an instrument. This does not mean that they do not want to learn how to do these things, it just means that their brain works differently than most people’s and therefore they have trouble. Just like a neurotypical person would find it difficult if their school suddenly decided to teach Mandarin Chinese instead of Spanish, someone who is autistic can struggle with learning new skills such as playing an instrument when the way their brain learns things is different from what teachers are expecting them to be able to do.
Thirdly, many autistic people love drawing and making music (or at least they enjoy it when other people draw or make music). A lot of artists who create work in the “fine arts” such as paintings and sculptures report having been on the autism spectrum when they are being interviewed. This does not mean that if someone is autistic then they will automatically be good at art or making music, but it does mean that many people on the autism spectrum love creating and enjoy it very much.
Fourthly, there has been scientific research done which shows a link between creativity and autism. While studying twins and their families in an attempt to locate genes for bipolar disorder (a mental illness), researchers found what they called “autistic savants.” These individuals were both diagnosed with bipolar disorder and also said that they had experienced symptoms of autism when growing up such as having trouble communicating with others, feeling socially isolated, etc. However, despite these difficulties with communication and socializing these individuals seemed to have skills which set them apart from most people. Many of them were very good at math, music, art, or some other skill which seemed to come “out of nowhere.” This led the researchers to believe that there may be a link between autism and creativity.
In conclusion, it is hard to say for sure whether or not autism causes creativity or if creativity just happens to be common among autistic people. However, there is evidence which suggests that there may be a connection between the two. So next time you see an autistic person do something creative, don’t be surprised! It’s just another thing that makes them special. 🙂