If you’ve read my blog, then you are probably aware of the fact that I am a photographer. I have been taking photos since I was six.
Now, this and of itself, has nothing to do with my condition… But the way my thought processes and perceptions have evolved were completely dependent on this lifelong obsession and interest.
My work can be seen at the link above this post… PLEASE NOTE: these are not safe for work.
Recently, my permanent partner and I were discussing my work and my obsession with it, and she brought up an interesting point. My camera(s) allow me to do something that I would not be able to do otherwise – I am able, when in public, to use the lens as a way to distance myself from what is going on around me.
Many Autistic Spectrum Individuals have sensory issues (which I discuss HERE) – myself included. And this makes it difficult to interact and survive in the outside world. When overwhelmed by sound, lights, sights and sensations, it can be difficult to do anything more than walk… Irritability, irrationality and anxiety can result.
Somehow, I have managed to cobble together a self defense mechanism based on my special interest.
The lens of my camera, since it views the world differently that my eyes do, allows me to take a step back from the situation. I have spent a lot of time working on learning to view the world and see what my camera will see. This has led to my being able to analyze the way light falls on an object, the way form and color make up the world and the way focus effects everything. In situations that aggravate my sensory issues, I can use my camera.
Part of it is the different way it allows me to see the world. Part of it is the fact that I can (almost literally) hide behind the view finder like it was a shield. Part of it is that, when you are wielding a camera, people will leave you alone. For some reason, the very presence of a lens acts like a force field… Most people don’t want to get in front of a camera.
I think that has a lot to do with the fact that most people really don’t really know how they look and seeing photos of themselves causes cognitive dissonance…
Anyway… The reason that I brought this up is that I believe this may be applicable to other Autistic Spectrum Individuals. After discussing with a couple of other Austists and Aspies, I have developed the theory that focus can help alleviate the issues in question.
Part of the reason we get overwhelmed so easily is that we process massive amounts of data in ways that most NTs do not. If you can find something that your Autist can focus on, it may take some of that processing power and divert it from sensory processing and into something less intrusive. I could be completely wrong about that, but I suspect that I’m not…
Try it and let me know?