ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – A young autistic artist from New Mexico is helping educate the community about autism with a new children’s book. Dylan Zinn was diagnosed with autism at age three. “I’m an artist, I love marine biology and I have autism. I know what it’s like to have….to be lonely and have anxiety and depression,” he shares.
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Zinn recently teamed up with clinical counselor Katie Bassiri and her husband to create a positive book about autism. “There was definitely a practical need to create a book to talk to children about what autism was,” says Bassiri.
The children’s book is called ‘Congratulations You’re Autistic’ and includes original artwork by Zinn. “I think it’s incredibly important that when we’re putting things out about autism that we include autistic voices and their perspectives,” Bassiri said.
The book focuses on positive and affirming language when talking about autism. It took Zinn about a month to put his artistic skills to work and help bring the book to life. “She had the writing but I did the illustrations on my iPad Pro and that’s how I made the book.”
He explains when it’s hard for him to communicate, he turns to his artwork to express himself. “It’s easy for me to draw these pictures rather than saying words.”
Bassiri wants to spread the message that neurodiversity is important for growth and innovation within communities. “Autistic people have unique perspectives and ways of doing things that promote entrepreneurship and creativity and some of the people in society that are making the biggest changes are neurodivergent individuals.”
The best way neurotypical people can learn about autism is from autistic people. “People don’t understand it well but after time goes on they do. We talk to them,” says Zinn. The picture book ‘Congratulations You’re Autistic’ is available on Amazon.