ASD Arts

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Welcome to the ASD Arts! Page - a showcase for a wide range of creative work produced by people with ASDs and a creative entry point into understanding ASDs and finding ARTS-related resources.

Autism Society Canada invites submissions of original art work from individuals with ASDs to feature on our ASD Arts! page. Please forward no more than three submissions (clear JPEG, or PNG files @ 72 dpi, and a minimum width of 500 pixels) and we will try to post as many as possible. Each file should include the name of the art work and the artist's first and last name. Artists retain full copyright. You can email submissions to: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 



Showcase

Thanks to Grace Culliton for allowing us to use her artwork in the ASC website design. Grace was born in 1988, and was diagnosed with autism at the age of five. Grace demonstrated talent in art at an early age. She has won several awards for her work. Her art is characterized by strong use of colour, and a mature sense for spatial design, patterns and textures. Visit Grace's website to learn more about her, and to view a gallery of her artwork. View Brushes with Grace (Ballinran Productions), a mini documentary which profiles Grace, her family, and their inspiring journey.

"Come Touch his Cheek," a poem by Gary Shulman [PDF].

Faces of ACEing Autism, Palm Beach, by J. Michael Whitaker: Inspired by his teenage son, Maxwell, Whitaker has assembled an exhibit which express his love of photography and his passion for advocating on behalf of persons with ASD.

Abilities, a short story by Anthony Albania [PDF].

Puzzle Pieces [PDF]: A short story by Brody Butts sharing the experiences of living with Asperger's Syndrome, and a performance of his poem, 'Drums [YouTube].'

Samson the Autistic Sand Castle [PDF], and Samson's Sensory Overload [PDF] — short stories by B.T. (Brad) Hall from Autism Society Canada's advisory committee.

Scott James Stuns Audience on X-Factor 2009 Final Auditions [YouTube]. Posted by theytrebel on September 20, 2009.

Creation, a book of poetry by Keara Farnan.

Raw Art Portfolios by Jean-Sebastian Choo now available from Awakening Minds.

Benn Kramer: Climbing through Autism, by Mary Scott (Hancock House Publishers 2013). A biography of Hornby Island's Eagle Man, who overcame the restrictions of autism to live a life of personal accomplishment.

View Sebastien Choo's Watercolour Paintings, shot by Jerome Poudevigne.

Ben Simcoe: Ben is a 24 year old impressionist and a person with a developmental disability (Fragile X Syndrome or we prefer, 'a chronic case of acute individuality'.) Ben has been performing his entire life for his family, however, announced a year ago that he would like to become an entertainer. He has performed his show before numerous groups in the Vancouver lower mainland area. Ben does not have a fee for his show however, will accept honorariums when they are given. Ben and his family's goal is to honour his gifts while shaking up the perceptions many have of people with developmental disabilities. They would also like to offer hope to young families who have a child with a developmental disability. Ben continues to learn new voice impressions and has about eighty different characters. He closes his 15-20 minute show singing, 'What a Wonderful World' in Louis Armstrong's voice. If you are interested in having Ben at your event, please contact him at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., or Debby Simcoe at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

David Beresford is a Canadian illustrator and musician who works in multiple media: "Art is something I have always loved doing since I was 5 years old and I have been working and progressing my creativity ever since then. While I was growing up, I didn't have much social interaction with people, so I found that the best way to get a response from others was from my drawings and paintings. To me, art is life and it never loses its true value when a piece is created." [excerpt from website]

Claire Morrall: The author explores Asperger's syndrome in her latest novel. Danuta Kean, The Independent: The main protagonist in her new novel, The Language of Others, is another enigma. On first impressions, Jessica is a troublesome child, painfully withdrawn and, as Morrall admits, "difficult to deal with". As the story unfolds, her inability to read people, especially Andrew, the tantrum-throwing violinist whom she goes on to marry, is frustrating. Later, her passivity when faced with Andrew's abuse and her 24-year-old son Joel's adolescent reticence is infuriating. But as Morrall reveals Jessica's past and Jessica narrates her present, it becomes apparent that her inability to deal with the mess of human emotion is the result of undiagnosed Asperger's syndrome... [Hodder & Stoughton publishers website]

Zarketh: The Hungering Cold by Matthew David Boyle. Matthew is 19 years old and the youngest brother of four. He was diagnosed with Autism (PDD/NOS) when he was three years old and did not speak until he was four. He struggled through the social aspects of the school system, leaving in grade 10, although he excelled in several courses, especially mathematics. Matthew had no interest in his English courses until he met a home instruction teacher, in Grade 9, who took the time to nurture his self-esteem as well as his incredible imagination. He is an avid computer gamer, to which he attributes some of his ideas and he is currently working on a book series.

Erik Originals. A website showcasing a range of woodwork by Erik Warren. Existing works can be purchased through the site, and the artist can be commissioned to create custom works.

Leah DeMonia, featured in the ASC Arts gallery, is covered by Parents magazine: A Talented Girl with Autism Draws the Friends She'd like to Have. Ellen Seidman, April 3, 2014. Leah was also recently named a Mighty League Autism Ambassador.

Myimagiville and our Imagifriends, D.J. Svoboda. Imagiville and its inhabitants are the culmination of Daniel Svoboda's creative efforts in response to some difficult years at school. An aspiring writer and illustrator, Svoboda's art offers a path from the encounter with difference to its acceptance. The site showcases Svoboda's work and the services that he provides as an artist.

Rudely Interrupted, whose 5 out of 6 musicians share a range of intellectual and physical disabilities, has been making waves in the Australian pop-rock scene. The band was the first ever indie act invited to play at the UN headquarters to mark the International Day of Persons with Disabilities in 2008. [View photo set from UN HQ performance]

Sarah Stup, a writer with autism, discovered the power of the written word when she was eight. Until that time, because she could not speak, few appreciated just how bright she was or the extent to which she absorbed her lessons and environment. Ultimately, Sarah would graduate high school with honours, but it was from her first awkwardly written sentences that her dream of being a writer began.

Steven Wiltshire is a London-based artist, named Member of the Order of the British Empire in recognition of his services to the art world. Best known for his panoramic cityscapes (often drawn entirely from memory), Wiltshire's work has garnered critical attention since his childhood. In 2006, he opened a permanent gallery of his work at the Royal Opera Arcade.

YouTube Clip: Missing Pieces choreographed by Mark Leland, Dance World Cup, Canada, March 5, 2010.

YouTube Clip: Stephen Wiltshire has been called the "Human Camera." In this short excerpt from the film Expedition ins Gehim (Beautiful Minds: A Voyage into the Brain), Wiltshire takes a helicopter journey over Rome and then draws a panoramic view of what he saw, entirely from memory.

YouTube Clip: Alex, ten years old, has been diagnosed with mild-moderate autism since the age of four. This year, Alex overcame many of his fears to start his dream of becoming a comedian, and did a stand up comedy routine for his school talent show (in front of about 500 students!).

YouTube Clip: John "Hai" Knapp, a musician/singer/songwriter and healthcare activist in the United States, performs "Viva la Companie." Knapp expresses a deep concern with the lack of affordable healthcare in the US, and his music as well as advocacy work call attention to a critical need for reform.

YouTube Clip: Little Autistic Drummer Boy [sic.]. "An 11yr old autistic boy (my son, Malikai) goes from 'drifting along...' to 'Full Steam Ahead!' in one 1/2 hr session after 2 & 1/2 yrs of lessons. This has been edited to 10 min. to give you the "feel of it" but I had to take out a lot of really cool stuff. Watch the 3 part series for the full 1/2 hour."

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Arts News

What if different isn’t wrong? FORWARD FAST is an independent film about a young man living at normal speed, in a world where everything and everyone around him is in fast forward, who just wants to be accepted for who he is. It is a fun reflective short about Autism. We are currently seeking sponsors and funding. Please contact Celinka Serre (director) at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Thank you.

Travels with my Brother now available for Video on Demand
, November 12, 2014: Directors June Chua and Christine Alexiou are thrilled to announce that their award-winning, animated/live-action short film Travels with my Brother is now available for streaming at the low price of $2.99 CDN anywhere in the world.

Saskatchewan Artist not Letting Autism Hold her Back.
 CBC News, October 26, 2014: An acclaimed Nipawin artist has returned from representing Canada at the World Autism Festival Scotland. 

Joshua Cochrane has been nominated for an award through the 'International Naturally Autistic Peoples Awards, Convention and Festival.' He is in the top 3 for his category of performing arts-youth, and hopes to fly to Edinburgh, Scotland to represent his hometown of Yarmouth, Nova Scotia. Visit Joshua's GoFundMe campaign 'Wings for Josh' to learn more and to pledge support.

Chicago Children's Theatre's Newest Live Theatre Adventure for Children with Autism. Jo Worgen, Autism Daily Newscast, August 28, 2014: Chicago Children's Theatre (CCT) has teamed with internationally respected theatre management firm KMP Artists to send Red Kite, Brown Box - the company's live theatrical adventure created exclusively for children on the autism spectrum - on a national tour in 2015-2016.

Jesse Weiman is looking for pirate costumes for his next special needs Halloween video. Check out last years video with performances by the students with special needs at Bethlehem High School in Saskatoon: Bethlehem F.I. Productions - Monster Mash / Gangnam Style "Official Music Video" [YouTube].

Michael McCreary may only be eighteen years old, but he's already well on his way to fulfilling his lifelong, albeit short, dream of becoming a stand-up comedian. The young comic, a high school student in Orangeville, Ontario, was diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome at the age of five. In an act of self-preservation, combined with the desire for constant attention and the inability to stop talking, stand-up comedy seemed inevitable. Visit Michael's website, 'Aspiecomic,' to learn more and support his upcoming tour.


Artist Tyler Holgate is generously donating a portion of the sales of his beautiful drawing, "The Dragon" to Autism Society Canada. A big thank you to Tyler for helping us to raise awareness of autism in Canada! "I was in love with the dragon voiced by Sean Connery in the film DragonHeart (dir. Rob Cohen, Universal Pictures 1996). My fascination with his reptilian, and scaly physical appearance is what inspired me for this artwork. I wish to contribute part of the sales of this artwork to Autism Society Canada. I feel that autism is a condition that is not recognized enough in our society. As a person who has lived with this condition, I believe the awareness of autism needs to be more profound for future research. It is with this proper research that one day a cure can possibly be found or it can be prevented."

To support ASC and Autism Awareness, Matthew Kitchen is volunteering his time to make necklaces and bracelets on his Rainbow Loom! Matthew is an 11 year old volunteer with an ASD. He will be selling his Autism Awareness jewellery in stores in the Orillia and Barrie Ontario area with proceeds going to Autism Society Canada. So watch for Matthew's Rainbow Loom creations and show your support today!

Shawn Belanger, a Canadian artist living with Autism, will exhibit his work Figurative Realms at the Agora Gallery in New York during the month of June. Learn more about the artist and his work at the gallery website.

Those Who Will Not See, by Laurn Woodcock, illustrated by Sarah Hill (Createspace 2013). A young boy's life path is changed forever when he receives the diagnosis every parent fears. Matthew Pickering has always known that he is different. Loud noises never seem to pierce other people's ears the way they do his, or bright lights burn their eyes as intensely as they do his own ...

Ballet Helps Autistic Girl Connect to the World Around Her. Wendy Gillis, thestar.com, December 25, 2013: The Nutcracker score still playing in her head, Clara Bergs hummed, danced and conducted on the subway platform, awaiting the train.

Artist Coping with Autism makes it Big. Peter Imbong, Rappler Arts and Culture, September 8, 2013: "Just before we came back here to the Philippines, there was a gentleman in Vancouver who's an art collector and saw his painting in the studio," recalled Mari Zel Tan, mother of abstract artist, J.A. Tan ...

Autcards is a small business run through the partnership of Art for Autism and Seeds for Autism in Phoenix, Arizona. Autcards sells art by people on the spectrum, and returns a portion of each card sale to the artist and an organisation which provides services to people with Autism.

"I was recently asked to write a story about a hero of mine. My neighbour immediately came to mind. She walks with her autistic son past my house at exactly the same time, taking exactly the same route, every day. She is quiet, unassuming and the most unselfish person I know. This story honours all caregivers of autistic children and is dedicated to the hero in all of you. " Sincerely, Wendy de Feydeau. [Download PDF]

School Daze - Autism Goes to School by Dr. Sharon A. Mitchell (Amazon Digital Services 2012) now available for Kindle and other devices. After suddenly receiving custody of his five year old son, Ben must learn how to be a dad. That fact that he'd even fathered a child was news to him. Not only does this mean restructuring his sixty-hour work week and becoming responsible for another human being, but also Kyle has autism. [Read more]

Dot by Joshua Dyer (Amazon Digital Services 2012) available for the Kindle. A little dot feels that he should be more than he is in life. He goes on a journey of discovery to become a knot, a slot and even a slingshot. In the end, Dot finds that being himself is the best decision.

Explore Jessica Kingsley Publishers' Books on Arts Therapies.

Teen with Autism Tells Her Story. CTV News, March 26, 2012: A Toronto teenager with severe autism whose remarkable and touching story CTV News has followed since 2008 has co-authored a book -- "Carly's Voice: Breaking Through Autism" -- with her father.

Drawing Autism (mbp) by Jill Mullin now available as a paperback. Drawing Autism celebrates the artistry and self-expression found in the drawings, paintings, and collages created by people diagnosed with autism. The work of over fifty contributors exhibits an array of unique perspectives on how these individuals see the world and their places in it.

Cork Paintings for UN Autism Stamps. Fiona Gartland,Irish Times.com, February 1, 2012: A stamp being issued by the UN to mark World Autism Day is to feature the work of an Irish artist ...

Trueman Bradley - Aspie Detective, Alexei Maxim Russel (Jessica Kingsley Publishers 2011). Trueman Bradley - Aspie Detective is a fantasy adventure that will capture the imagination of anyone interested in Asperger's Syndrome.

Architecture and Autism [PDF]. Simon Humphreys, Autism Europe Link, No. 55, June 2011. My late brother Mark was autistic and I noted the things that affected him, such as bright light, unpredictable sounds and heat, as well as his obsession with detail over the bigger picture, order, sameness, stimulation, stability and calm ...

View Santa's Littlest Elf Has Autism, by Amy Ames and James Martinez [YouTube].

Special Attention Towards Handicapped (SATH), a non-profit based in Pakistan is selling hand made art cards to support its work with persons with disabilities. Cards may be ordered by contacting SATH by This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Artist Hopes Autism Installation Prompts People to Reassess Fortune. Paul Liberatore, Marin Independent Journal, August 25, 2011: In a tiny gallery in West Marin, an avalanche of 1,000 red and white folded pieces of paper is slowly disappearing as visitors take the "fortune tellers" home with them one by one, along with a better understanding of children and families…

Autism Song "Driven to Distance," A Sensory Journey through Autism. Pediatric Neuropsychology Child Development Centre.

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Films and Other Media

Adam
This film is a love story about a man named Adam (Hugh Dancy) who has Asperger's Syndrome, a high functioning form of autism. Adam finds it difficult to be with others and often escapes into his love of space exploration. When Beth (Rose Byrne) moves into the apartment above him, he uses his unique, often funny, and sometimes painful social skills to begin to build the personal relationship that he so desperately desires. Adam is a romantic character piece about the obstacles to intimacy and the compromises we all make for love.

After Thomas
U.K. BBC TV movie. 2007. A true story about a couple's struggles to meet the challenges of their son's autism and his increased ability to communicate through the family dog.

ARTS: A Film About Possibilities, Disabilities & The Arts.
U.S.A 2009. Painting, drawing, writing, music, drama and other forms of arts are expressed beautifully by and through individuals with disabilities in Keri Bower's new film, ARTS. - Sharing the power of the arts used to improve social, emotional, cognitive, expressive, and life skills in individuals with challenges is at the heart of this glimpse into pure talent demonstrated by people with disabilities.

Autism the Musical
U.S.A. 2008. Autism the Musical is a documentary that follows the lives of five children with autism that write and produce their own musical. Available on HBO On Demand.

The Boy Inside: Canada. 2006. Filmmaker Marianne Kaplan turns the camera on her own family, creating a rare and intimate first-hand portrait of living with Asperger Syndrome (AS). The film follows Kaplan's son Adam as he makes his way through Grade 7. His condition creates many challenges for him among his schoolmates and he is painfully aware of his separateness.

The Horse Boy: U.S.A. 2009. An intensely personal yet epic spiritual journey, The Horse Boy follows one Texas couple and their autistic son as they trek on horseback through Outer Mongolia in an attempt to find healing for him.

Loving Lampposts: Living Autistic.
What would you call a four year old who caresses all the lampposts in the park? Quirky? Unusual? Or sick? Such labels are at the center of the debate about autism: is it a disease or a different way of being-or both? In Loving Lampposts, we witness this debate and meet the parents, doctors, therapists, and autistic people who are redefining autism at a moment when it's better known than ever before. Motivated by his son's diagnosis, filmmaker Todd Drezner explores the changing world of autism and learns the truth of the saying, "if you've met one autistic person, you've met one autistic person."

Mary and Max.
Australia. 2009. "Spanning 20 years and 2 continents, Mary and Maxtells of a pen-pal relationship between two very different people: Mary Dinkle (Collette), a chubby, lonely 8-year-old living in the suburbs of Melbourne, Australia; and Max Horovitz (Hoffman), a severely obese, 44-year-old Jewish man with Asperger's Syndrome living in the chaos of New York City" - excerpt from US Press Kit.

Mozart and the Whale
U.S.A. 2005. Starring Josh Hartnett and Radha Mitchell, Mozart and the Whale is a story of two individuals with Asperger's Syndrome who develop a romantic relationship after meeting at an autism support group. Shows that individuals on the autism spectrum can and do have happy, loving relationships.

My Name is Khan
India 2010. Two of Bollywood's biggest superstars, Shah Rukh Khan and Kajol, deliver powerful performances in this epic romance that proves true love knows no boundaries. Rizwan (Khan), an Indian man with a unique way of looking at the world, moves to San Francisco and meets a vivacious single mother named Mandira (Kajol). They form a special bond and fall in love against all odds, but fate and tragedy conspire to tear them apart. That's when Rizwan embarks on a remarkable journey across America to win back the love of his life.

Rain Man
U.S.A. 1988. Golden Globe Winner for Best Film. Actor Dustin Hoffman portrays Raymond Babbitt, an autistic savant, who is being cared for by his younger brother played by actor Tom Cruise.

Snow Cake
U.S.A. 2006, Snow Cake stars Sigourney Weaver playing the role of Linda Freeman, a high-functioning woman with ASD. The story follows her friendship with a stranger and others in her small home town.

The Story of Luke
U.S.A. 2012. Sheltered by his grandparents, Luke, a young man with autism, is thrust into a world that doesn't expect anything from him. But Luke is on a quest for a job and true love. And he isn't taking no for an answer.

Temple Grandin
U.S.A. 2010 (TV). Based on the writings by its title subject, HBO Films' Temple Grandin is an engaging portrait of an autistic young woman who became, through timely mentoring and sheer force of will, one of America's most remarkable success stories.

Today's Man
U.S.A. 2006. Today's Man follows Nicky as he struggles to leave the safety of his family's home and the comfort of his favorite TV shows in order to find a job and an apartment. Made by Nicky's sister Lizzie Gottlieb, the film is a sister's search to understand her brother's mysterious inner life and a larger effort to comprehend Asperger Syndrome and the people who struggle with it.

Travels With My Brother
A short, live action/animated documentary (using computer 2-D cut-out elements) explores the relationship between Vas - a high-functioning autistic man - and his older sister Christine, who will one day be his official guardian, as they travel about their hometown of Toronto, Canada.

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Cultural Resources and Links

An Exact Mind: An Artist With Asperger Syndrome, Peter Myers, Simon Baron-Cohen and Sally Wheelwright, Jessica Kingsley Publishers, 2004.

Applied Theatre Research and Autism Network (ATRAN): An online network uniting professionals and parents interested in applying theatre techniques to help individuals with autism.

Architecture and Autism [PDF]: An essay from architect Simon Humphreys RIBA FRSA. View Simon Humphrey's consultancy profile [PDF].

Arts Club [Facebook]: Arts Club is an emerging non-profit dedicated to the artistic expression of persons on the Autism spectrum. Like the Facebook page to stay in touch and learn of upcoming workshops.

The Art of Autism: The Art of Autism is a collaborative project that brings awareness to the general public of the creative abilities of people with autism.

Asperger's Syndrome and High Achievement: Some Very Remarkable People, Ioan James, Jessica Kingsley Publishers, 2005.

Conversations on Creativity with Daniel Tammet. Scott Barry Kaufman, Beautiful Minds: Musings on Intelligence and Creativity in Society, Psychology Today Blogs, January 2, 2010: Daniel Tammet on his personal journey, future goals, and lessons learned.

Drawing Autism, Jill Mullin (Mark Batty Publisher 2009) [Book]: Drawing Autism celebrates the artistry and self-expression found in the drawings, paintings and collages created by individuals diagnosed with autism. The work of over 50 international contributors exhibits unique perspectives on how these individuals see the world and their places in it.

The Genesis of Artistic Creativity: Asperger's Syndrome and the Arts, Michael Fitzgerald, Jessica Kingsley Publishers, 2005.

Ideal Way: An Ontario based not-for-profit organization which is dedicated to enriching the lives of intellectually disabled individuals and groups through community education, poverty relief and a range of unique programming including but not limited to: recreational arts and literacy, arts contests, and social networking through pen pals.

Velvi Online Course on Drama for Autism. View Info Sheet [PDF].

Making Art Special: A Curriculum for Special Education Art, Helen Goren Shaften (Second Edition, CreateSpace 2012). [Amazon][CreateSpace][Facebook]

Midnight in Chicago by Elyse Bruce:An international culture and tourism initiative that raises awareness of, and funds for, Autism.

Writers on the Spectrum: How Autism and Asperger Syndrome have Influenced Literary Writing, Julie Brown (Jessica Kingsley Publishers, 2009).