Saturday, November 26, 2011

Creativity is the Key

In this blog post, I wanted to explore an idea that I came across while participating in the blog radio show a few days ago.  It is well known that those with autism possess great creativity, but how often is that creativity encouraged?  Many parents and teachers are focused on giving those with autism the skills they need to function in school and eventually in the workplace.  But, is enough attention being paid to the creative abilities of those with autism?  I know that as a writer of both blogs and fiction, if creativity is suppressed, it can create turmoil in my head, an unrecognized need that is only fulfilled through a creative outlet.

Please excuse the expression, but sixth grade was when a lot of things hit the fan for me.  I was struggling with a chemical imbalance, depression, and I was doing poorly in school.  During that time, a first year teacher's assistant started helping out in a few of my classes, to replace a teacher who moved to another job half way through the school year.  I was very compulsive at that time.  I would always draw pictures of epic Star Wars space battles on paper when I should have been studying. 

This was in early 2000 so I was also interested in the "Inspector Gadget" film starring Matthew Broderick  that had just been released. I created my own little Inspector Gadget out of paper and staples with many of the features, such as extend-able arms that folded up, the helicopter hat made of paper and staples and other such things.  I hid this little creation under a notebook whenever a teacher came by because I didn't want it confiscated.  This teacher assistant saw it one time before I could put it away and was completely amazed by what I had created.  Once I had decided that her amazement was real, I wasn't quite sure what to think.  It was not the reaction I was expecting from a teacher, when all I had received prior to that time was misunderstanding.  She encouraged me to bring out my creativity which no one had ever done prior to that time.

This teacher's assistant would later go on to work with children and teens with autism.  I am still friendly with her today and keep her up to date with my success.  She has really impacted my life.  Parents and teachers, please be aware how important creativity is to any autistic person, no matter whether it is writing blogs or creating a make-shift toy out of paper.  Creativity is the outlet that those with autism use to express their deepest feelings, the ones that are too complex to put into words.  I cannot stress enough how important this is.  Thank you for reading.

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