This artwork was originally posted HERE
I made this drawing to help people get an idea about understanding Autism Spectrum Disorders and the stigmas that surround them. I’m sure some of you have noticed that I like posts or make a lot of statuses about Autism.
To explain this drawing, the background images show different sides of Autism and its media portrayal. The images of Adam Lanza, the Sandy Hook shooter and a woman who killed her Autistic child show Autism as a victim and victimizer with a large amount of misunderstanding.
The google search image is one I actually conducted, and these are the first things I come up with. Awful right? Media reports such as those about Adam Lanza have made people afraid of those with Autism, even though they are not prone to violence.
The quote in the top right, is my own quote talking about how those with Autism are often excluded from their peers because of their “strange” interests and social behavior. This exclusion leads to a lot of people on the spectrum to develop depression, anxiety, and suicidal thoughts. Autism itself is a difference, but since society sees it as a disease and fails to understand it, the most devastating effects of Autism are these situational mental illnesses attached to social exclusion.
Even with all this explanation, you may ask, why the hell is the wolf there? Besides the fact that the wolf is my favorite animal, I think it is a good animal to represent Autism. Like Autism, wolves have been hated, persecuted, and killed, often due to misunderstandings. Many people on the spectrum also see themselves as lone wolves as a result of social exclusion. This character herself is my OC and she’s named “Einfari” which is the Icelandic word for “loner.” Social exclusion, anxiety, and depression have left her with scars and damage, similar to people with Autism.
The puzzle piece she’s holding is a torn Autism Speaks puzzle piece logo. Autism Speaks is an organization that claims to help people on the spectrum, but compared the condition to cancer, and donates little to people on the spectrum. The puzzle piece represents the fact that people with Autism seem to have “rearranged or missing pieces” from the norm. Autism characteristics are listed in the puzzle piece, and some of these descriptions seem a bit degrading to me.
The whole image is also very chaotic and noisy because people with Autism often have a difficulty discerning the focus vs. background of a stimulus. Instead, they scan every detail, which can be very overwhelming and lead to sensory overloads and meltdowns that supposedly occur for “no apparent reason.” This also explains why people on the spectrum often have excellent attention to detail. The chaos of the image itself creates a feeling that people with Autism deal with all the time.
I hope this picture can help anyone who is reading this understand how people on the Autism spectrum often feel and let me know if you have any questions.
Remember, “Different, not less.” -Temple Grandin