by Jill Mullin
New York: Akashic Books, 2014
Jill Mullin has a clinical background in Applied Behavior Analysis and many years of experience working with individuals on the autism spectrum. What she would like people to understand, especially those who don't have any first-hand experience of autism, is just how broad that spectrum is. In "Drawing Autism" she endeavors to display art from individuals at all different levels of that spectrum who enjoy expressing themselves via art. She asked each selected artist to complete a questionnaire about his or her art, including why the person began making art, what is exciting about art, how subjects are chosen, and whether art helps others understand one's view of the world. Some were able to answer independently, others needed help with reading or writing; others were completely nonverbal and unable to reply.
Both the art and the responses offer an interesting glimpse into the autistic brain, and illustrate that art can often be an expressive medium for those who lack the ability to communicate in other ways.