Thanks to Lucy Berrington of the Asperger's Association of New England for sending me Johnny Medlar's fantastic music video "Aspergian Pride (I Don't Fit the Template.)"
“The song and video started as a school project during my junior year of high school. My biology class was doing projects about diseases or conditions that have a genetic factor. Since I have Asperger syndrome, which is believed to have a genetic link, I persuaded my teacher to let me do my project on Asperger’s so that I might have that personal motivation to do the project well."
The video is impressive on several levels-- the music, the animation, the message:
Some say I ain't got no emotions
That I'm a mule who's good at math
And I may not know how to show it
But that don't make me a sociopath
Some folks hold me in disfavor
'Cause I can be inflexible
So I get punished for behavior
Over which I have no control
So, ya, I stand out from the natives
But that don't mean I can't survive
Give me a chance to be creative
And on this planet I will thrive.
Transformations and Self-Distortraits
I first encountered Jaefinn Austin Carr's photo montages through the Facebook page Artists and Autism. This is the second time I have been so inspired by the work of an artist from that page that I asked him to work on a video project with me. The first was Steven Coventry.
Jaefinn's art excites me because it combines images in ways that I find unexpected and moving. In creating this video, I tried to emphasize a dreamlike experience of one image constantly shifting into aother. My friend Adam Bailey composed and performed the music. Both Adam and Jaefinn are diagnosed with Asperger's syndrome.
I'm 30. I grew up in New York City and moved to Oklahoma after 9/11. The city became to much for me, too loud and crazy.
My family said they knew i was "different" from the first week I was born, but I did not always get the treatment I needed, and by the time I was a teen, I was sick of going to doctors and therapists. I fought everything. I thought i was "normal." I did not see the difference that everyone else saw. It was not until I was in my twenties that I finally understood and started to truly get the treatment I needed, because I was better educated about autism and how it affected me....
My, work, most of it is made late and night when i cant sleep. A lot of it was made when I was very frustrated, and isolated..... I combine self pics with other pics I made or found, using different colors and textures. My work never looks the same to me twice, most of the time it looks very different the next morning... I see the world "different"-- things tend to move, float bye, change colors, so that's why my work is "different" or hard to see right away.
I see how some can view the work as pessimistic, because it's dark and creepy, but I feel it represents hope and the future. Life changes can be scary, but there's always light.
Mathew Ryan Morin shows you his tomatoes.
In his new book Be Different: Adventures of a Free-Range Aspergian, John Elder Robison explains how the education of a young person with autism should be focused:
"Greatness happens when you find your unique strengths and build upon them. Building up a weakness just makes you less disabled."
One thing that's very scary about having autism is that mediocrity tends not to be an option for us: we tend to be very successful or. . . not. The way to become successful is to do what John Elder and Temple Grandin did: find your unique gifts and find ways to show other people that they have value to them.
And the way to find those unique gifts is through special interests, the things that we become obsessed with and need to learn everything about. James Durbin's special interest is music, and it's allowing him to compete on American Idol. Jacob Barnett's special gift is math, and it's allowing him to study college physics at age 12.
Above, Mathew Ryan Morin explains his special interests, which include video (duh!) and tomatoes. I'll be sharing some more videos and other stuff that show people with autism interacting with their special interests today, and writing a little about some of mine. I hope you'll join us on the thAutcast Facebook page and post a link to one of your own special interests.