I have created a series of Autism awareness screenprints and artwork. The project started as a way to raise positive awareness and to give my brother a t-shirt that could make him feel proud of his identity as an Autistic person. My sister later started her own awareness project to help elementary students understand ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder) and to minimize bullying of neuro-diverse students. For this project, she requested that I make additional prints.
Autism, or more recently renamed as Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD), is a subject frequently misunderstood. Although the diagnostic criteria and understanding has made great strides in the last few decades, ASD remains a very complicated issue for Autistic individuals, their families, and the general public. Often popularized in negative stereotypes and used as a fear-mongering tactic in discussions of vaccination, I wanted to create a positive public awareness piece. My little brother is on the ASD spectrum, and is always upset by negative groups like Autism Speaks that talk about ASD as a disorder akin to cancer. It was important to me to create a piece that positive supportive.
During my class on screen printing, we were encouraged to research the history of screen prints as a public awareness tool the transcended class and race. I designed this screen print with my brother in mind, using the similar color blue as Autism Speaks, but with a positive, person-first focus. Later, this poster design was used to sell T-shirts for my sister’s Gold Award Girl Scout project, and helped her fund a classroom project to teach elementary school students about ASD and how to be accepting of classmates with ASD.