, 22 tweets, 9 min read
Autism and the arts: why this really isn't an unusual combination, despite the perception of #autism that exists in the public eye.

Please share, as ever. Raiding understanding a bit at a time. /1 #autism #Thread #Neurodiversity
The stereotype seems ancient and unarguable - #autistic people are science nerds, maths geeks, engineering boffins. They wear glasses and have strange habits. /2
But only one if these is typically true (the strange habit one, strange at least to neurotypicals). All the rest is an extreme tunnel-vision view of #autism, rather like looking at a birch tree and assuming all other trees are exactly the same. /3
There *are* plenty of #autistic mathematicians, scientists and engineers of course. Plenty. But there are also loads and loads of autistic artists, musicians, actors, writers and dancers. /4
If this seems odd to you, or unbelievable, then I'm afraid you've been blinded my misunderstanding of what #autism actually *is*. There's a feeling that autism and science go together perfectly, thanks to our logical minds and deliberative actions. /5
But #autism is much more than a methodical mind. In fact, I'm increasingly of the opinion that this need for logic and consistency is a result if something else - the thing that may be central to #autistic experience: sensory overload and sensitivity. /6
Our #autistic brains seem to be tuned to react very intensely to any kind of stimulus, whether light, sound, touch, interest, focus, person - whatever. This can be helpful, making us single-minded and hard working, but if can also cause problems such as overload. /7
So we are careful and methodical in our approach with the world, to minimise the risk of overloading our #autistic brains. This suits science and maths. Great stuff. /8
But this extreme sensitivity to stimuli of all kinds lends itself even more strongly to the arts, as its highly emotional. #autistic emotions are massively misunderstood - they are generally strong, potent yet often chaotic and hard to control. /9
But what better source of art is there than this?! Extreme emotion, high sensitivity to light, sound, feel, colour, often there's a splash of synesthesia too (smelling colours, for example). This is a fine set of ingredients for talented artists of all stripes. /10
I'm not for a moment saying that all #autistic people are potential artists. In fact that kind of generalisation is against everything I stand for. But it *should* destroy this daft myth that autistic folk can't do art. It's just silly. Autistic brains are arty. /11
So illustrating, painting etc, using our sensitivity to shape, colour, light, texture - perfect. Leads to amazing #autistic artists like @soundcube, @SilentKW, @DT_MrGriffiths. It makes sense to me that some autistic people would become fine artists. /12
There are loads of autistic musicians out there too, which again makes sense. We have a good ear for sound, too sensitive too if often, plus we have the single-mindedness to master an instrument and understand the theory. Any autistic musicians out there? /13
Then there's writers and comedians. I'm a writer of sorts, for example. There's @Sara_Rose_G who makes a living from humour and there are lots of other #autistic comedians out there (my silly minds gone blank though - add them below!!) /14
Actors? When you consider how we are basically acting every day of our lives, it's no surprise that drama is a real draw for us. I think there are a lot of undiagnosed #autistic actors out there... /15
Then there's the odd cross over zone of video games - part art, part science. Thousands of #autistic people in this field. And it's not *just* for the coding. The character creation, world building, storylines will all appeal to lots of autistic people. /16
Dance is stimming, people! Of course some #autistic people love dancing. It's a great way to communicate emotion. I know that @lilririah and @pintsizedMB are both dance folks and there are plenty more. /17
And behind all this, we must consider that other big 'thing' that is behind much #autistic behaviour - our struggle to understand other people's points of view, the whole theory of mind thing. Thing is, artists work for themselves. They express, they transmit. /18
They don't necessarily need to know how folk will react. In fact it's best if we don't. We just create, and see what happens. Create create create, and if folk like it, then great. But it's *self*-expression. /19
I think we need to get rid of this idea that artistic people can't be autistic too. It must stop loads of people seeking diagnosis ('I'm not sciency enough!') and that's no good. Anyways, there's my thoughts on the subject. /20
As always, check out my Patreon page for all me writings and videos.

patreon.com/pwharmbyautism
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