A young artist creates illustrations for a children’s book about autism

ALBUQUERQUE, NM (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 when he was three years old. “I am an artist, I like marine biology and I have autism. I know what it’s like to have… to be alone and to have anxiety and depression,” he shares.

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 kids about what autism was,” Bassiri says.

The children’s book is titled “Congratulations, You Have Autism” and features original artwork by Zinn. “I think it’s extremely important that when we publish things about autism, we include the voices of autistics and their perspectives,” Bassiri said.

The book focuses on positive and affirmative language when talking about autism. It took Zinn about a month to put his artistic talents 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 he has trouble communicating, he turns to his work to express himself. “It’s easy for me to draw these pictures rather than say words.”

Bassiri wants to convey the message that neurodiversity is important for growth and innovation within communities. “People with autism have unique perspectives and ways of doing things that foster entrepreneurship and creativity and some of the people in society who are making the biggest changes are neurodivergent individuals.”

The best way for neurotypical people to learn about autism is to talk to people with autism. “People don’t understand it well, but over time they understand it. We talk to them,” says Zinn. The “Congratulations You’re Autistic” picture book is available on Amazon.

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