Autistic and Creativity
In defining autism it is stated that there is lack of normal creativity (DSM-IV), 1994; ICD-10, 1994). In 1972 there was a study conducted by Frith, who found that when given the choice to create patterns using different colored rubber stamps or xylophone notes, children with autism produced less different and assorted patterns as opposed to the controlled group. She indicated that they are indeed less creative.
In 1991 Lewis and Boucher examined drawings created by children with autism. The content of the drawings was less varied, implying a lack of creativity. The experiments used the Torrance Creativity Test suggest that imaginative creativity is more difficult for the autistic than reality-based creativity.
Michael Fitzgerald, Professor of Psychiatry at Trinity College in Dublin explains that the relationship between creativity and psychiatric disorders is not a myth. The characteristics linked to Autism Spectrum Disorder are connected to those who are considered to be a creative genius. He said the link between Autism, creativity and genius are common genetic causes and the genes for Autism/Asperger's and creativity are essentially the same.
Telegraph quoted Prof. Fitzgerald, as saying. "These produce people who are highly focused, don’t fit into the school system, and who often have poor social relationships and eye contact. They can be quite paranoid and oppositional, and usually highly moral and ethical. They can persist with a topic for 20-30 years without being distracted by what other people think. And they can produce in one lifetime the work of three or four other people."
Fitzgerald stated in an article entitled, " Genius, Creativity and Savantism":
"The features of autism / Asperger’s syndrome that would enhance creativity would include intense focus on narrow interests. It is rarely possible to make major advances in science without this narrow intense focus. The lack of interest in emotional issues means that there is far more time available for intellectual mathematical, philosophical, and other scientific pursuits. Their time is not taken up with interpersonal relationships and with ordinary everyday life. They are often workaholics and their whole life is devoted to their creative pursuit. Persons with autism often have abnormal brain functioning and indeed brain structure and these deficits in some way enhance creativity. This kind of creativity has genetic underpinning of a type that has not yet been fully elucidated. Heritability factors account for about 93% of the variants in the aetiology of autism / Asperger’s syndrome"
From personal experience I have witnessed those with behaviors considered autistic and creativity - having witnessed some beautiful artwork come from their minds. I do believe that some autistics may be more prone to creativity especially if it is in the house and they are around it every day. I have even witnessed a very imaginative book being created by a girl with autism who aspires to be a published author at the age of 9.
We may never know whether Mozart was truly autistic. What we do know about behaviors considered "autistic" and creativity is that they can sometimes appear side-by-side.