People of Diversity,
P.O.D.S. is Art of Autism’s ongoing photo and interview database showcasing the diversity of people who color the autism spectrum.
1: the condition of having or being composed of differing elements: VARIETY; especially: the inclusion of different types of people (such as people of different races or cultures) in a group or organization
2: an instance of being composed of differing elements or qualities: an instance of being diverse
• a diversity of opinion
Interested in submitting? Just inquire at the email above. You’ll be asked to submit a photo, a link to your interests, artwork or blog (optional); and answer a few questions about what you are passionate about.
“I go to another place in my brain when I create. I know the brain reaches a theta wave state during creative expression and I know art in all its forms is a meditation of sorts. But for me, it’s even more than that; it’s necessary, especially when I’ve had high periods of social interactions or extreme stress. My spouse was enduring a terminal illness that lasted several years and eventually ALS took his life. I couldn’t go to my creative place in my head by painting artworks during this timeframe, because I was consumed with his care. So I mimed instead, around my house and as I cared for him; and mime is also art; so this worked because I was often mute and mimes don’t speak!” – Kimberly Gerry Tucker
Video clips: https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=kimberly+gerry+tucker
“I am a words person. I always have been. While other kids carried around toy trucks and Barbie dolls, I was never without a book. It was not until my autism diagnosis at age 36 that I realized that words were more special to me than most. It turns out I am, and always have been hyperlexic and hyperverbal. If I am not reading words, I am usually thinking them and speaking them. But my preference is to take this unusual strength I have with words, and create. Words are beautiful and when put together is just right the order, they make a beautiful symphony of experience. Words allow you to give substance to ideas, thoughts, dreams, and nightmares. It is when I am writing that my thoughts are most clear. It is when I am writing that I am the most me.” – Becca Lory, CAS BCCS
“Art helps me to cope with everyday stress and to come out of the emotional pain of the past. I do painting, writing, poetry, stories, photography, plays and short movies. Here is a poem I wrote about dogs:
They can hear my soul.
I can hear their soul.
I can be expressive in front of them without the fear of judgement. I can cry, I can laugh, I can smile, I can talk about my dreams, I can be silent… etc.
They won’t judge me. They have never judged me. They never bothered that I was a drug addict and an Aspie. They didn’t try to change me. They have never tried behaviour modification with me. They accept me as who I am and how I am. They love me unconditionally.
Dogs, I see God in them.”- Linish Balan
“My name is Leah Seim. I wrap myself up in every day to suit my mood. It’s tweaking a sugary, old homemade waffle recipe into a multi-grain, brain food masterpiece and sneaking the healthy stuff in before my kids wake up and notice. It’s the last video I take of my golden retriever rolling in the snow and acting silly, a few months prior to his life ebbing away. It’s finding the beauty in a tiny plant that struggles to emerge through the rain-soaked earth from the seed I planted last fall. It’s feeling God through the rustling of forested paths when I go for a walk and hearing His voice singing inside me, when the world is screeching distorted echoes in my face. It’s turning up the radio, so I can dance the pain of my life away for a few minutes. It’s finding the right moment to tease and encourage my friends. It’s quieting my mind, so I can write my innermost feelings without letting my thoughts and defenses get in the way. It’s creating five amazing beings of light and beauty that are filled with such wonder and curiosity, it inspires me to be a better Mom and want to make the world a safe place for them. It’s being vulnerable enough to share my hopes, dreams and disappointments with my husband. It’s the fundamental knowledge deep inside of me, that I am just as smart as the next person, even if my brain does occasionally scramble information. It’s feeling a fierce joy as I fight to let everyone know that neuro-divergent people are as human and worthy of dignity as everyone else.” –Leah Seim
“My full name is Elizabeth though I go mostly by Libby. I started painting around 2014; while in rehab. I’d fallen and dislocated my ankle, breaking it 3 different ways. My pain both emotional and physical made me realize I needed an outlet for it all while on the road to healing. I was wheel chair bound 3 months. At first I just dibbed and dabbed with acrylic paints really not believing I would ever be able to paint. A very nice lady that worked in the recreation department where I rehabbed got me started and just kept encouraging me to find my way to paint. I still have not taken any lessons. I paint everyday just for fun.” – Elizabeth (Libby) Berti
“I’m 5 years old, I love learning all by myself. I’ve been reading and writing since I was 2! I enjoy writing in different languages, drawing maps of the US and the world, drawing the solar systems with planets, orbits, and dwarf planets, doing math, music and typing questions on YouTube on mom’s computer. I giggle and jump when learning new things, because it’s so exciting! Right now my favorite things to do are making up crosswords to quiz my mom, and playing piano. I hear every day sounds and figure out the notes immediately. I write them down and combine them in different melodies. I like the sounds of the beeps of elevators, microwaves and car horns, and all the iPhone ringtones! I have my own system with notes, that I made up all by myself, using positive and negative numbers. My keyboard goes from -23 to +29 and skips zero, because I thought that would be funny. All the black keys are the next half decimal from the white ones. I love “making zero” by combining different note numbers together, like +3.5 and -3.5! My mom always tells me I’m awesome, and to keep doing what I love!” – Lamis Jabri