Betsy Falco's Tips for clients working with people who are both Autistic and artists

This next artist perspective piece has been written by Betsy Falco, and I hope you agree is a very helpful, useful, informative and heartfelt one! This we felt is something handy to share with you; April 24; especially as its National Autism Acceptance Month

The saying goes ‘If you’ve met one Autistic person, then you’ve met one Autistic person.’ And for the most part I believe this to be true. However, I can make an abstract exception when it comes to those of us who are both Autistic and artists. I like to think that we are a kind of creative anthropologist, that we are entirely dedicated to our work, we are steadfast perfectionists, and we continually strive to understand what it is that makes art so important. Because of this there are a few things that set us apart from neurotypical (non autistic) artists.

Here are my tips for clients working with people like me, and the kinds of things that will make the project far easier for the both of us.  

1. Communication is Key.  

You can never email too many times. As long as the context of the email is beneficial to the overall project, it’s helpful for us artists to be updated as we go. It’s difficult to understand why we wouldn’t be included in major changes to the creative side of work, and this can often lead to disorganisation or a feeling of added pressure to work faster. Don’t leave huge gaps between communication, and reach out occasionally for updates. You’re not pestering or being annoying as we’d rather know now than later.  

2. Organisation Within The Team. 

If you, the client, is made up of a number of people working together then please make sure that the final decision is the final decision. Software like Google Docs are helpful to neurotypical people, but many Autists find the threads of conversation and draft discussions overwhelming. A better option is to send a separate email to the artist once you’ve settled on the final choice or change. That way there is no confusion to run into, and updates and instructions are clearly laid out in one place. Another suggestion would be to have one dedicated liaison to correspond with the artist rather than multiple members of the team.  

3. Major Changes 

It’s understandable that sometimes a project can take a turn in a direction that wasn’t initially expected. However, if you’re working with an autistic artist then it's important to know that change can be one of the most difficult things to deal with. If you’re not yet 100% sure what the project or subject will entail, steer away from mentioning multiple angles and wait until the brief is more fleshed out. As fun as it is to be part of the initial brain storming, a lot of autistic artists would rather have everything laid out in certainty rather than be unaware of the kind of project they’re signing onto. That way everyone gets a head start and feels comfortable with their role on the project. 

If you’d like more info, please contact: [email protected]

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