Debra Hosseini Muzikar is the author of The Art of Autism: Shifting Perceptions and Keri Bowers is the producer of Normal Films. Together they started a collaborative featuring autistic artists, authors, and entertainers from around the world. In the last year, The Art of Autism has produced Autism Unveiled: 90 blogs from autistic people in six weeks, the Beijing international art exhibit, an exhibit at the All Autism Wedding, and the 2016 Art of Autism Calendar…to name just a few of their successful projects involving the autism community.
The Art of Autism blog covers a variety of topical subjects which effect the autism community and it’s one of our picks for our #Impactful Blogs series.
Your City, Country:
What inspired you to write a blog?
My son Kevin , an artist on the autism spectrum, is the inspiration for the project. I wrote a book called The Art of Autism: Shattering Myths featuring artists and poets on the autism spectrum. I collaborated with friend Keri Bowers to create a blog that showcased writings, poetry, and art of autistic people. Keri’s son Taylor is a film director on the autism spectrum. The blog also features other perspectives from parents, therapists, physicians, and educators as well as neuro-typical students who write about inclusion. Since the inception of the Art of Autism blog I’ve compiled another book The Art of Autism: Shifting Perceptions and a 2016 Art of Autism Calendar which features art work of artists on the autism spectrum (including Temple Grandin).
What’s your intention or mission?
The intention of the blog is to showcase the gifts and struggles of autistic people. The blog has morphed over the years from being me writing about autistic people to autistic people sharing their own writings and perspective. Autistic people are marginalized in society. Giving a platform for them to share their writings, poetry, and art empowers them. The blog is also relevant with articles about the power of creative therapies, cutting edge educational programs, creative work programs and nonprofits, transition issues, gender identity issues, sexuality concerns, housing and advocacy trends. It’s pretty much all-encompassing.
What kinds of topics do you write about and how often do you post?
I try to post blogs at least twice a week. The blogs are submissions. Sometimes when I’m doing a project I will post much more often. For example, I did a project called Autism Unveiled – 90 blogs from autistic people – what it means to be autistic in 2015 – earlier this year. That was 90 blogs in about 42 days. It was very intense. Currently I’m doing a Dear Me blog series which features letters to our younger selves.
*UPDATE 2018: Art of Autism contributors across the United States explored digital art as a new medium using iPad Pro with Apple Pencil. What they created was amazing!
Do you have a proud moment, inspirational story, or moving feedback you’d like to share?
I receive many emails from people who feel empowered by their blog or being included in the books, calendar, or magazine articles. I have a regular column called Mind’s Eye which features an artist in each issue of the online magazine The Autism File. I also write articles for other magazines on occasion.
Share your top 3 favorite posts:
It is very difficult to single out 3 blogs I like on the Art of Autism because there are so many wonderful perspectives. I would like to post four instead of three to show the variety of people who submit to the Art of Autism.
The reason why this is a favorite is that it shows that typical kids see what is wrong with our educational system and inclusion. To me it’s one of the most powerful and insightful blogs I’ve posted.
Leanne Libas is a young woman who talks about her parent’s hiding the diagnosis and how she felt about that. She finds pride being autistic. The blog is the most popular on the Art of Autism site. Leanne has become a regular contributor to the Art of Autism blogs.
Lori Shayew who has the project The Gifts of Autism talks about when she was an educator and she shifted her views about autism. I think it’s a powerful blog about seeing people in different ways.
The reason I like this blog is because it talks about how physicians marginalize patients and promote negative stereotypes. I remember my first interaction with a physician when Kevin was diagnosed and how devastated I was by what he said about Kevin’s future. Physicians need to be more sensitive and realize autism is a different way of being.
When people visit your blog, what do you hope they’ll take away from the experience?
I hope people will be inspired when they read the Art of Autism blog. I hope they will understand that each person is a human being and has aspirations, hopes, dreams, strengths, and weaknesses. We all are participating in a journey together on Planet Earth.
Is there anything else you’d like to share?
We have a great art gallery on the blog and a resource list. I put out a regular newsletter which includes opportunities for artists, writers, photographers, and poets. People can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to submit.
Now it’s time to share your geeky side with us…after all, we are Geek Club Books!
Superhero: The Invisible Woman because of her power to use light waves to hide herself
Theme Song: Wear Your Love Like Heaven – Donovan
Book you couldn’t put down until you finished it: That could be one of a hundred books. I’ve always been an avid reader. A classic I’ve read many times is Les Miserables by Victor Hugo. More recent book – Neurotribes by Steve Silberman
Where would live in Middle Earth: The Shire
Quote to Live By: “Do unto others as you’d like them do to you.”
Thank you Debra! May you blog long so we can prosper 😉
Go visit The Art of Autism on:
Images courtesy of The Art of Autism
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