Neurodiverse Quilter?

 

So you may have noticed that I have "Justanotherautisticguy" on my instagram handle. Yes I am Autistic.

For those who are un aware Autism is a non verbal social communication difference with a narrow focus and or repetitive stereotyped behaviours. 

Let's break that down backward.

"Repetitive stereotyped behaviours" are also know as self stimulatory behaviours and even Neurotypical folks do this. Neurotypical are normal brained folks. swimming can be toe tapping, rocking back and forth spinning in circles and many other variations of repetitive behaviours. It's often a sign of anxiety. it actually helps me quilt by hand much better as I find a natural rhythm of sewing. A narrow focus is simply that an area our brain wants to focus on. for me its quilting and business.

What is the non verbal social communication stuff? Well I'm not subtle at all I don't do nuance even though I'm accused of it that is a Neurotypical thing to do. I have a hard time with metaphors the first time I hear them. Taboos are not available for me to participate in because that all involves nuance and social communication.

Being honest so often can make Autistic people seem like A- holes so its not easy for us but we really do better with knowing the truth. Its hard living in a world where the standard to communication is to politely lie to or sugar coat the truth toone another.

I once taught a class where I regrettably stated the value of a quilt that didn't go over so well. apparently their is a taboo in the community around making money from your hobbies. Of course I don't see myself as a hobbies and rather this is my career.

That brings us to a long tradition of Autistic people and other Neurodiverse folks being put into "sheltered workshops" organisations like goodwill where they make us work keeping us away from the general population and not really paying us often not paying us at all. Many organisations worked around arts and crafts like making pottery and selling our wears and not paying us rather paying the organisation and their  "babysitting" fees.

I don't regret making a living off my work and I will never be rich from this work and I'm super fine with comfortable making quilts. Almost 80% of autistic people are university educated but still are unemployed.

Quilting can be a wonderful activity for Neurodiverse folks its repetitiveness can sooth the soul and bring peace and focus to a chaotic world. It certainly has gotten me through the pandemic. 

I host a group on Facebook called Neurodiverse quilters. If you are Neurodiverse diverse or want to simply learn more follow us here.

3 comments

  • Brandon, we celebrate you! I think I may have been in that class with the price of the quilt, and it really did not bother me at all. I love honesty. I don’t think I am autistic, but I have been called seeing things “black or white”. Keep on keeping on. The only thing I find a bit unsettling is maybe I would say something that you don’t ‘get’, because I’m not sure what you say you don’t get and I won’t want to unsettle you. Be happy!

    Terrie
  • Interestingly, I read it as “Justanotherartisticguy.” Maybe you should let it go as that. Every one of us has characteristics that pull us out of the “normal” catagory, which is highly overrated..I look forward to seeing your work.

    Chana
  • Hey There Brandon, Thank you so much for posting this enlightening information. I’ll be the first to profess my ignorance on the topic of autism. I have a rudimentary knowledge of it, but of the little I do know, it always had me wondering and asking a lot of questions. I’ve always been curious about this, and particularly you and your life with it and how it manifests itself with you (as I might carelessly assume, it may be different from individual to individual?) I’ve always been reluctant to approach you about this, as it does seem like a rude invasion of your privacy (and I have no idea if it was something you’d ever want to talk about with a stranger like myself). I’ve grown to really appreciate your gorgeous work over the last year or two since I’ve ‘discovered’ you and we connected, but this was a side of you I never thought know enough about. It’s been a real education today. I learned something! Thank you!! And, as always . . . I eagerly await whatEVER comes from your direction!! Most Sincerely, Todd DuBay

    Todd DuBay

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