NEWS - It can be tough experiencing the world through the lens of autism. But media personality Scott Christian Sava has found the tremendous joy that travel can bring despite his unique perspective.
The Struggle Traveling With Autism
People with autism, like Scott Christian Sava, are typically sensitive to sensory stimulation. Sensory bombardment can limit one's interactions with people, places, or objects.
This was the case for Scott because (unbeknownst to him) autism ultimately deterred him from locations and interactions that seemed to cause sensory overload. Some examples include fireworks, crowds, and strong smells.
Aggressively avoiding these scenarios filled Scott’s mind with anxiety. Most of the time, he had to wear a headset and a face mask to help reduce his discomfort.
I got myself tested earlier this year and found out what everyone suspected. I'm autistic.
But... after living undiagnosed for 53 years... it's really hard to do the things I need to do for myself without feeling like I'm "faking it".
— Scott Christian Sava (@ssava) November 3, 2022
But it wasn't until 2022 that Scott went to a professional to learn his diagnosis. Before that time, he knew something was amiss but only took preventive measures to reduce the risks of sensory overload. That year, Scott was 53 years old.
Artistic Coping Skills
Scott is a man of many skills. According to his IMDB profile, he’s an animator, director, illustrator, and writer. He’s also a part-time Hobbit. Scott has always found peace through artistic expression.
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Oftentimes, he would find a cozy spot and start creating art. Although Scott still wears a headset in public, he’s now more at peace with himself about using such coping tools.
The Greatest Gift
Now, Scott accepts his autism and finds ways to accommodate his lifestyle so that he can best enjoy those travels and events that interest him.
His wife, Donna, can now focus on her journal while they’re out traveling instead of being frequently worried about Scott’s well-being. The couple’s 30th-anniversary travels were full of fun and excitement.
How amazing that after all this time, and for our 30th anniversary, the best gift that I could give my wife was me being able to be… me.
-Scott Christian Silva (@ssava)
Autism In The Spotlight
Professionals in different industries live with autism every day.
One example is actor and writer Dan Aykroyd. Aykroyd has a mild form of Asperger's syndrome. He mentions in an interview that being absorbed in what he needs to do helps him deal with potential sensory overload. You can watch a clip of that interview below:
Actor Sir Anthony Hopkins behaves similarly to Aykroyd. He refers to autism as nothing more than a label. Instead of focusing on what could happen, Hopkins concentrates on the things that matter foremost.
Certified autism travel planner Nicole Thibault said in an interview with Youth Today that some parents with autistic children might choose not to pursue their vacation plans. It's because parents fear a meltdown might occur while the family is on a trip.
However, Thibault also expresses the important matter of establishments being autism-friendly. For instance, she highlights this importance in the hospitality industry as her affiliated company. “We train staff to be aware and to understand the depth and breadth of what autism is.”
Thibault also says that autism is different for each individual. It's vital to make someone with autism feel comfortable with their surroundings.
Art’s Impact On Autism
Suha Hussain, an author at the online publishing and charitable organization Autism Care Today, mentioned in one of her posts that art and autism go well together. This is exactly what Scott Christian Sava has demonstrated to us.
Those with autism can use art to express themselves. It's because these individuals may find it difficult to explain their emotions without their feelings and senses becoming overloaded.