When art transcends the artists – art and autism advocacy



Advocacy usually focuses on the negative aspects of autism: difficulties with communication, socialization, and impulse control.  While discussion of differences helps change mindsets and lead to improvements in our institutions, discussion of how we are the same changes hearts and leads to acceptance and true inclusion.

More advocates are attempting to change people’s hearts – not by soliciting sympathy but by helping people understand that they are already familiar with the creativity and beauty associated with autism –   Debra Hosseini not the capital “A”  Autism label, but the lower case “a” that describes individuals credited with some of the most significant contributions to culture, society and even world history.




Between the Fall from Grace a

nd the Fall from Space much of our progress can be attributed to individuals who have may have been autistic.    who have

 profoundly affected the cou.  I don’t need to know Siddhartha as a man, to be affected by Buddhism.   I find odd is that some of these people were autistic. We know them from their contributions.  We may know something about them as people.   mean, there had to be some outrageously autism is part of the normal Human Spectrum.


I don’t intend to debate the classifications  .  Therefore, I find it odd that most people claim to have only have a passing understanding of autism.        – generally thinking of autism as an assortment of behe acknowledge the lives and work of many individuals who are or have been suspected of being on the autism Spectrum. aviors and difficulties with social settings, communication and stress. the road leading f and   difficulties and  and on’t understand that are universally ignorant about their society and culture -W What we do not do is It’s actually that they don’t equate autism with some of the  he most creative, dedicated, accomplished and angst-ridden countrymen whose contribution to for such a long time…. well, forever actually.  But that’s not the subject of today’s blog.My statement was that most societies don’t understand autism and I’ll prove it to you.  Pick a country, any country.  Look at your country. Good!  – Don’t show me!  I’m using ESP here. Let’s see…. does your country understand the special gifts and abilities bestowed by autism?  Hmmmmmm. No. They do not.  Am I right?… Am I right? Of course I’m right because your country has only a few people who know anything at all about autism.  Thats true of most countries.  The most important people – family, teachers and the medical community –  want to understand more but the general population is kind of fuzzy about why they need to understand autism better.  Aside from the U.S. only about 30 countries participate in the Global Autism Public Health (GAPH) Initiative to promote recognition, awareness and service delivery as governments or grass-roots organizations.  That doesn’t sound like a majority of societies attempting to serve their autistic people.  In fact, I’d wager money that in your country autistic people are kept home hidden behind curtains. No, my friend. Throughout most of history, other than isolated cases in which a culture embraced autistic members, autism has been misunderstood and under-appreciated. Until now! Now, for the first time, you too can now download a Mental App that will enable you to spot the autistic person in the room. Never again be flummoxed by wondering why that guy at the annual company picnic laughs too loud at your jokes. Get the inside scoop on why that guy at the Halloween party seemed so natural in the Chewbacca costume.   This App includes the entire X-Men series and Entertainment Tonight analysis of all of those fabulous, new television programs starring Aspie over-achievers. Anyone today can learn to recognize all the warning signs of autism.  Imagine enjoying a cup of java and a scone at the church social when – BAM!  You spot somebody flopping like a fish out of water…  and you just know that they are autistic….  and that they are not diseased (autism is not a disease… well it probably isn’t…  its just that sometimes….)…. You too can understand the terrible inconvenience it is to live with autism as so magnificently conveyed through Claire Danes’ and Julia Armond’s portrayals in the Temple Grandin Story – which also taught us that bullying was never the clean, simple fun we used to take it for.  (Boy, the news media. Bullying here. Bullying there. Then all bullying suddenly stopped at 8:57pm on July 4th, 2014 and never reared its ugly again again.  And they lived happily ever after.) And the App teaches us that – thank goodness  – those people are not being able to FEEL emotion like the rest of us. (But people with Asperger’s are called Aspies and they are smarter so when they get bullied they become mass murderers…… don’t they? So that must mean they really do have feelings too. Negative but what the Hey.  Hey! Whats up with these communication boards (isn’t technology just marvelous?).  That oughta take care of the communication problem, right?.  Don’t you listen to the news? Act today and be upgraded free.  Enjoy all 49 Star Trek episodes with Dr. Spock at no extra charge.   And, for being such a willing propaganda subject you are excused from reading my new book entitiled “The Human Spectrum – A history of how the Autistic perspective helped shape the world”. What’s my point? Autism is no longer the mystery is was in the past.  While we don’t know enough about autism, we do know enough about how to make their lives better right now – changes that could be made to improve educational options, medical treatment, financial and social support.  There is more about autism in the media.  But let’s not confuse quantity with quality. The rapid growth of the autistic population is forcing the issue but there is no easy fix for the problem of how to get society to integrate and provide meaningful employment for autistic people. How will we care for millions of autistic senior citizens? Advocacy’s most urgent concern is about finding ways to share this information where and with whom it belongs ASAP. So what’s the problem?  People are the problem. We are asking people with full and busy lives to inconvenience themselves by giving us their attention and precious time. We can’t lecture them. We are asking them to question their own belief systems. How can advocates entice people to drop their mental barriers? By using a more interesting, kinder and non-demanding approach. This is exactly what The Art of Inclusion project has been succeeding at for the past four years by challenging people to use art to voluntarily consider autism and respond … with a dash of creative thrown in.

Art – the medium is the message “Art provide(s) a means to express the imagination in non-grammatic (sic) ways that are not tied to the formality of spoken or written language. Unlike words, which come in sequences and each of which have a definite meaning, art provides a range of forms, symbols and ideas with meanings that are malleable.” (courtesy Wikipedia)   Art is concerned with the use of form, genre, style, skill, novelty and craft as a means of self-expression. Art is well suited for autistic people – especially those with limited      communication skills. For many autistic artists studio time is more than a time for self- expression, it is a positive personal challenge as well as a social experience. Spectrum artists are represented in every way and everywhere in art.  Of course, some are better than others. Some are excellent, (Debra Hosseini)   Great Art – the medium is the message  Blogger Jeff Goins makes an insightful observation: “Great art is transcendent. It points to something beyond itself and the one who made it. This is why the Greeks believed in essences and muses. They knew something that we’ve forgotten: (Great) Art describes the invisible world; it hints at the hidden story.” Autistic artists are capable of producing Great Art. Name 2-3: who and why their work is insightful   Beyond Great Art – the medium is the message Elegant symbols of a universal theme – Great Art touches you personally. Whether the connection is esthetic, emotional, intellectual, moral or political…  it mines a vein in your life. It may reinforce your belief system or open new doors for you. Either way, it is an outsider’s perspective of something within your personal world. In order to move beyond Great, Art must define a universal truth, be iconic, touch people’s lives, ask a significant question, make a thoughtful statement or provide others with a mirror to examine themselves.   Wouldn’t it be nice know how that perspective could benefit before you expend effort to understand it? Wouldn’t it be great if the process of learning turned out to be a pleasant one? To move beyond Great, Art must do all this plus engage you.   The Art Of Inclusion project – the creation of autism advocate artist Gee Vero – promotes tolerance, inclusion and acceptance of autistic people by asking public figures to contemplate autism by completing an image she has drawn for them. Since 2000, more than 100 celebrities and public figures have met the BareFace challenge. The growing body of co-artist work has drawn crowds to dozens of museum and galleries in Germany and Australia, stimulating observers to consider what life is like for autistic people and their families What is the value of this project? H The project has merit and is a wonderful alternative to the Puzzle Piece. BareFace is a statement of our need for sharing.  It challenges, but does not dictate.  It asks for your attention but does not criticize how well or how deeply you respond to that challenge.


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