I started painting with acrylics in 2012. I wanted to use that medium to illustrate aspects of my autism. To date I have written several articles and books along with speaking in three countries about aspects of autism. Painting is one more way to explain some of the nuances of autism to those who might be interested.
I think in colors. My thinking colors have sound and movement. When I hear spoken words my neurology automatically goes for the match. When I was a girl, I heard the saying, “I got the world by the tail.” Immediately, the matching pictures of tail started popping up in my head. It’s like having a personal version of Google Images.
As an autistic, I have difficulties in the social arena in a multitude of ways. This was especially true during my growing up years. Even today as an adult, automatic social understanding is not my strong suit. I am, however, able to continually learn new things that enable me to do and be all I want in this world.
Starting Third Grade is a poem illustrating my experience as an autistic youngster in the 1950’s as I started the school year. The unconventional spacing represents the space of time for my brain processing to “catch up” so the next word can plop out of my mouth. This manner of speech isn’t a behavior I decide to engage in, but instead, nothing more than the way my brain does business – similar to the way your brain does business by not inserting spaces of processing time between your words mid sentence. Both the poem and the illustration are excerpted from pages 38-39 of my first book Making Lemonade: Hints for Autism’s Helpers.
It has been one year since the murder attempt on Issy Stapleton by her mother, Kelli. During that year there has been an outpouring of sympathy for this mother only because Issy is disabled with a severe autism diagnosis. In our society we not only excuse murderers who’s victims are disabled, but we put the murderer in the victim role and dismiss the life of the murdered person – a “not real human being” in the eyes of our society. This is wrong.