A new study shows that people with autism and learning disabilities often demonstrate greater creativity than others.
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Autism affects roughly 1 in 100 people in the United Kingdom, where the study took place. Many struggle to interact with other people, which is one reason why many people with autism have a difficult time finding employment.
The study, which was led by Dr. Catherine Best of the University of Stirling, involved just over 300 people. The study found that people with autism or learning disabilities provided far more unique answers to creative problems than people without these issues. Overall, Best’s team concluded that there’s a visible link between autistic traits and original idea development.
“We speculate that it may be because they are approaching things very differently,” Best’s team said in their report, which has been published in the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders. “It goes a way towards explaining how some people with what is often characterised as a disability exhibit superior creative talents in some domains.”
Cian Binchy, a Scotland-based actress who has frequently spoken out about her own autism, says it’s time people changed their interpretation of the disorder. “It’s time people with autism and other learning difficulties are seen as people first,” Binchy said.
“I want to educate people without learning disabilities that I’m not all that different to them, and I want people who do have learning disabilities to feel better about themselves by showing my problems. They are not alone.”