The rich inner world of a person on the autism spectrum is the soil from which much of the world’s most amazing art sprouts. Hans Asperger himself said, “It seems that for success in science or art a dash of autism is essential.” Overlooking the absence of a needed comma in that quote—easier said than done, I know—the idea that autism is necessary for the creation of great art is enticing, but it is a bit of an exaggeration. But when you know autism, you know that many of us blessed with the condition find it difficult to find or keep jobs, and when we do find them, they’re rarely in fields we’re actually interested in.
Where would we be if Albert Einstein had been forced to remain a patent clerk his whole life? Would the Renaissance have been the same without the contributions of Michelangelo? What if Thomas Jefferson had given up on the idea of using his writing skills? Name a historically recognized genius, and I’ll name a historical figure who was very likely on the autism spectrum. And it isn’t just historical figures in the past whose (probable) autism helped them to contribute what they did. It was the people who recognized their talents and supported them.
Everyone needs support from others. We are a social species, after all. Nobody can make it completely on their own. John Donne put it well when he wrote;
“No man is an island entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main; if a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as well as any manner of thy friends or of thine own were; any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind. And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.”
The struggles of the autism community are the struggles of humanity. We deserve support not for what we can contribute but for the fact that we are people. We find it difficult to navigate a social world that wasn’t formed with us in mind, but thanks to Spectrum Fusion people on the autism spectrum are being seen more and more as individuals and given opportunities to explore our interests, express our creativity, and use our talents to serve others.
It is in serving others that we express the best of humanity and find meaning in our lives. Many people find meaning in service to the autistic community, and for that we are truly grateful. We, in turn, strive to develop our abilities to be of greater service to people around us. When we get what we need and give what we can, we help bring about a more equitable—and beautiful—world for everyone.
That is why Spectrum Fusion launched its own Spectrum Fusion Studios, a place where creatives on the autism spectrum can use their talents and learn new skills to create audio and video content that is useful and valuable to businesses. We employ a core group of skilled creatives and are developing an internship program to give students real-world experience in an autism-friendly environment. We hope that our example will show other companies what accommodations they can make to ensure that their autistic employees can work comfortably and productively.
Presently, we are putting together materials with information on our programs as well as a newsletter to inform readers about the latest developments in our other programs such as Healthy Fusion and Music Fusion. We have enjoyed success in collaborations with ROCO, Johnson & Johnson, Books Between Kids, SourceAbled, Rangam Consultants, and others. Our Youtube channel is a testament to our skills and ambitions, and our website showcases the recognition we have garnered so far.
The community at Spectrum Fusion strives to remain a place where creative people on the autism spectrum can feel at home while they work toward developing their skills to find a job that appreciates what they bring to the table. After all, an artist should be making art, not pushing shopping carts.