Creativity and Autistic Spectrum Disorders

Creativity – the use of the imagination or original ideas to create something. 

Creative individuals share numerous personality traits including: –

Motivation. Creative breakthroughs occur as the result of perseverance and hard work. The creative individual pursues their hobbies and interests with an unusual amount of dedication and, as a result, has an in-depth understanding of their specialist field. 

Independent and original thinking. Creative individuals day-dream, often engaging in fantastical and magical ideas. Many will be more creative when working independently: group work can tend to stifle some voices in preference to others. 

Extreme sensitivity and empathy. Creative individuals are sensitive to the emotions of others, and care deeply about social, political and environmental issues.

An ability to problem solve in unconventional ways. Creativity is an essential part of problem-solving, particularly for those problems where conventional solutions do not always work. 

Individuals on the autism spectrum share numerous personality traits including: –

  • An overwhelming desire to engage with their personal interest. This will include focusing and concentrating on their hobby to the exclusion of almost anything else. As a result, many autistic individuals will gain an encyclopaedic knowledge around their specific area of interest.
  • A keen sense of fair play. The autistic individual will pursue what they feel to be right without compromising their standards or ideals.
  • Independent thinking. They are not influenced or deterred by the opinions and beliefs of the majority, but possess the ability to think independently and devise ingenious solutions to problems. 

Can you spot the similarities between these two groups?!!

Three famous autistic individuals who use(d) their creative strengths for the benefit of the wider community.

Alan Turing is regarded as one of the most innovative mathematical thinkers of the last century. Turing helped to crack the ‘Enigma’ code through his work at Bletchley Park during World War II. Turing struggled at school, and was a concern to his teachers because of his obsession with mathematics, and his disdain for the classics, which he felt to be of little importance. 

Greta Thunberg is a political activist and environmentalist. Greta’s ability to hyper-focus has enabled her to develop a comprehensive understanding of environmental issues: she does what she believes to be right, refusing to conform to society’s expectations of a young woman. 

Chris Packham is an English naturalist, photographer, television presenter and author. Chris accepts that some people see him as an extremist. However, he doesn’t mind about his reputation as an activist, as long as climate and the environment are discussed as a consequence.  

Chris says that, ‘People like me have a very aggravated sense of injustice, and I think that has been highly motivational throughout my life.’

Autism Awareness Week runs from 29 March – 4 April. 

April 2022 is Autism Awareness Month.

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