Autism Awareness Month: a time to celebrate gifts and support the arts

by Debra Hosseini

Despite the negative media and the intense societal focus on conformity and curing autism, these young people feel positive about themselves.

“What is the most important thing a parent can do for a child with autism?” the reporter asked me.

That question gave me reason to pause. Most parents wish for their children to be happy and productive with a healthy self-esteem. They want their children to have meaningful relationships and to find livelihoods that sustain and inspire. It is no different for parents of autistic children.

Dani Bowman at Mr. Musichead

Last week at our opening reception at Mr. Musichead in Hollywood, Dani Bowman, a dynamic autistic teen who started Powerlight Studios at the young age of eleven, interviewed many people on the spectrum (videos are below). Dani asked each and every person on the spectrum how they felt about their autism diagnosis. Not one person said they felt ashamed or badly about autism. In fact, emcee Alex Plank founder of Wrong Planet the most popular social site for autism on the web, said that he felt it gave him a unique way of seeing the world that was positive.

Artist Dylan Zinn with Alex Plank

This has nothing to do with functioning level. The Art of Autism project has a significant number of participants who are nonverbal. They write poetry, create music and beautiful pieces of art. They make friends at our events. Sometimes they sell their books or art pieces. Creativity crosses all functioning levels.

Despite the negative media and the intense societal focus on conformity and curing autism, these young people feel positive about themselves. They came to share their art, their music, and their song. They also shared their enthusiasm which was contagious. These artists and musicians are living proof that investment in the arts is often the best therapy.

Dylan Aragon with Nick Guzman

April is Autism Awareness Month. The Art of Autism would like people to be aware that creativity can be the catalyst for growth. We would like people to invest in the arts, creative programming, and organizations that support people and their families who are living on the spectrum.

We encourage people to memorialize autism awareness month by purchasing art or buying CDs, books, or calendars created by people on the spectrum. Much of the art in the galleries on this site is for sale. The Art of Autism often arranges with the artists for prints of their work. Please email the Art of Autism if interested.

The Art of Autism’s exhibit at Mr. Musichead in Hollywood runs through April 2, World Autism Day. In addition the Art of Autism has April exhibits planned in Lee, Massachusetts; Nashville, Tennessee; and Carpinteria, California. We encourage people to post their events on our facebook page.

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