Autism and Creativity

The night was winding down. Dishes were washed, showers were taken, lunches were made (we shower and pack lunches the night before), and homework was checked. I walked back through the house, ready to return to working in my office, and I did my nightly perimeter check, shutting off lights and checking doors. A bunch of Lego and string cheese wrappers greeted me in the living room.

“Nigel,” I said as I walked by his room, “why haven’t you picked up your stuff in the living room yet?”

His response: “Can’t you see I’m making a Chimera?”

Some of you may recall about two months ago when Nigel removed the stuffing of several of his stuffed animals and collected the stuffing in a bag with the plan of making something else at a later date. I figured that this bag of stuffing, like many of his well-intentioned projects, would sit around forever and nothing would actually ever come of it. Over Winter Break, while he was at his dad’s house, I considered getting rid of it before he spread it all over the floor. His room is messy enough already. But for some reason I didn’t throw out the bag of stuffing.

And as I entered his room that night to try to ascertain what the hell he was doing, I saw the bag of stuffing on the floor, and the stuffing was profusely billowing out of it. Nigel was on his bed with one of his stuffed animal carcasses in one hand and a threaded needle in the other. He was sewing.

Nigel has done some sewing before, since a few years ago I taught him how to sew his Boy Scout patches onto his uniform. He has also sewn “bear hands” (gloves made from a previously stuffed bear) of his own design, and a few other minor projects. But his Chimera was quite an undertaking. He combined the body of a lion with a wolf’s head coming out of the back and an eagle’s head coming out of the chest, sewed them together, and then restuffed the body. A close look at the finished creature:

 And the proud creator:

Maddy, I’m sending him your way.

17 thoughts on “Autism and Creativity

  1. M

    that creation is a beautiful metaphor for his life.

    he’s going to make it at his own pace. it’s going to be different, unique to his own interests…and it’s going to be wonderful to see the way it all turns out (especially if it’s accompanied with a big smile like that).

    creativity is important. dedicated moms fostering that creativity…just as valuable.

  2. Fearless Females

    Wow, I think he has found his calling–you should market this line of …of ….pet friends.. –Pet friends ‘n more…Nigel will be a millionaire–really! I’m totally serious!

    You should have everyone send Nigel their old stuff animals for Nigel’s custom made one…

    then get a website… Am I the only one thinking big business here???

  3. jess

    that is AMAZING!

    i love it .. and i am sooo with fearless .. the possibilities are staggering

    and its so nice to see his big smile! i’m thrilled to be able to put that handsome face to the name and the stories. thanks so much for sharing all this.

  4. Maddy

    Oh my goodness what a star. [Owen was just peeking over my shoulder and he was pretty impressed too! He suggests Spore for the computer such that you can enjoy creating virtual creatures – but he would say that!]

    Cheers [and thanks for the offer of baby sitting!]

  5. Anastasia

    That is just so priceless! It looks impressively constructed too! Has Nigel gotten even bigger since last month?! He was taller than me! :-O

  6. Tanya Savko Post author

    Thanks for the compliments, everyone!

    M – I really like your lovely idea that Nigel’s creation is metaphor for his life. He put so much effort into it – and that’s what he does with everything in his life. Thank you for saying that.

    Fearless – I will certainly propose to Nigel the business potential of this! That’s a great suggestion.

    Jess – There are a few more pics of him in the “Family” category 🙂

    Maddy – I will have to look into Spore; it sounds like something he would love!

  7. mama mara

    At first, I found the Chimera somewhat frightening, but he’s growing on me the more I look at him. I could see other kids really enjoying doing this, perhaps having gatherings where they can show off their new hybrid animals to each other. Very cool.

  8. Grandma Madeline

    I don’t know what a “chimera” is, but I gather it is a mythical, symbolic creature of one’s personal design and reason? I am always proud of my grandson Nigel, and this is most impressive on many levels. Since I am talented in sewing I’m going to believe he got those genes from me!! (heh-heh!) I notice in the photo lying behind him on the bed is the Mrs. Brisbee (is that the right name?) I made for him a few years ago, because we couldn’t find one in the stores and he wanted one. Hm-mmmm. I like this business idea….does he need a partner?

  9. Mollie

    I am a 20 year old college student in search of some activities to do with a pre-teen I work with at a summer camp in Cincinnati, OH…I just wanted to share with you the amount of happiness you just gave me by sharing such a silly, genuinely creative story. I LOVE THIS! I’m addicted to your blog!

  10. Jesse C

    This is quite possibly the coolest thing I have ever seen in my twenty-three years on this earth….I want one so badly. He should totally get an etsy account.

  11. Tanya Savko Post author

    Hi Jesse,

    Thanks for stopping by, and for your compliment. I’ll pass it along to Nigel – I’m sure he’ll appreciate it!

    Best wishes,

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