Skip to main content

Spectrum: Autism Research News

Artist with autism illustrates ‘invisible disability’

by  /  22 December 2015

This article is more than five years old. Autism research — and science in general — is constantly evolving, so older articles may contain information or theories that have been reevaluated since their original publication date.

Sounds, smells and social encounters are just a few of the challenges that Leironica Hawkins, an artist on the spectrum, faces every day. Here, Hawkins uses comics to illuminate what she calls her “invisible disability.”

Andrea wants to relax, but her roommate has sprayed the apartment with a disinfectant. The strong fragrance makes Andrea sick, and she loses her temper.

Andrea is interviewing for a job at an art gallery. She has difficulty maintaining eye contact and is reluctant to admit that she’s had trouble keeping previous jobs.

A loud voice on the supermarket intercom interrupts Andrea’s shopping. She later leaves the cereal aisle after beeps from an employee’s scanner disrupt her concentration.

On her way to her new job, Andrea decides not to board two packed trains. She is afraid she might panic in the crowd. She is late for work and lies about why because she doesn’t want to reveal she has Asperger syndrome. She is afraid of getting fired yet again.