My whole life I lived directly across the street from two boys (fake names for privacy reasons of course), Rick and Matt. Our moms are best friends so they are basically my brothers. The younger of the two, Matt, is 15 and Rick is turning 18 on Halloween! Growing up, the two of them never failed to impress me. Even as a little twerp Matt was advanced in any sport you could think of. He was on every club sports team in the neighborhood and was one of those kids that you had to drag by the hoodie to get him to ditch his basketball and come inside for a 20 minute dinner. He was also one of those rare sporty tween boys that amazed you with his kindness, responsibility, honesty, and willingness to kiss his mother on the cheek in front of the whole baseball team! You don’t find those kids often. As big of a place in my heart that I have for Matt, Rick is outrageously special to me. This boy writes screenplays, builds lego castles, designs video games on computerized softwares, films clay stop motion short films, photographs landscapes and nature, writes original lyrics, can recite every single line from any Drake & Josh episode, knows the title and artist of every top hit song on the radio, makes perfectly timed witty jokes, and the list goes on and on. There’s one thing, however, that I forgot to mention, Rick is diagnosed with Autism.
I know this intro is lengthy, but this topic means a lot to me and connecting this to something personal makes it much more comprehensive. I don’t need a scientific publication to tell me that Rick is one of a kind. Matt is above average in regards to athletic talent for his age, but he does not have a diagnosis of Autism. Rick is above average in creativity and artistic talent, not necessarily for his age, but for having special needs. Both of these boys excel as individuals, but are there different causes behind their abilities? Fortunately, I found an article that links Autism to creativity.
- Autism → Creativity (direct causality)….what is believed to be happening
- Autism ← Creativity (reverse causality)….this is definitely ruled out….creativity cannot make someone Autistic
- Autism ← Z → Creativity (Confounding/3rd variable)……because Rick is significantly less social than most kids his age, he spends a lot of time by himself…..his frequent alone time is usually when his creative antics take place; thus, it could be possible that Z= lack of social skills because that goes hand-in-hand with a common Autistic lifestyle and more time to be creative.
- Chance……can always be a possibility….Rick could be creative just like everybody else
According to the University of Stirling and the University of East Anglia’s team of psychologists, when Autistically diagnosed individuals were asked questions that have no definite answer, their responses were thoroughly more imaginative and unique than those without a diagnosis. Rick exemplified this claim all the time. When we were much younger and the seasons would change from fall to winter, Rick and I used to try and catch the leaves. When I asked him why the leaves fall from the trees he replied that the weather gods are having a celebration for another successful autumn. Not only is that absolutely heart-warming, but it’s pure originality that not just anyone can have. The founded evidence of this was that people with autism tend to think more cognitively. This would mean that the more typical answer would be their first thought, but they would trail off into a sequence of word associations. For example in my previous leave-catching story, Rick may have thought to think of the answer in an order such as: wind, sky, clouds, heaven, god, christmas, celebration.
Considering the unique method of their thinking process, their abstract way of calculating an answer is evidence that people with Autism have an open highway to creativity when it comes to thought and imagination. For myself or others without a diagnosis, our minds are more likely to respond with a quicker and more logical answer that sounds common and rational….ugh boring.