An appreciation of a very private Autistic Artist in our community

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The Autistic community has long appreciated the wonderful art and experienced voice of Sanni Rosenburg, affectionately known to us as ‘Moe’. Moe is notoriously shy yet enormously talented and I have had the p
leasure of speaking to her about her childhood, her present and her recent art exhibition in April.

Moe has told me that as a child she lived in institutions and a mixture of foster homes.

“I was diagnosed as a young child, I lived a lot inside myself and couldn’t interact with people. I stimmed  a lot and had limited interests. I suffered severe abuse for not acting ‘normal’ and got yell
ed at for not ‘trying’ to talk. All my life I’ve been chastised for not acting ‘normal’ and social like the girls should be. Criticised for my sensory issues and stimming.”

Sanni Rosenburg bird2Moe has always been extremely sensory as she explains here, seeking proprioception, olfactory and visual stimuli in order to soothe herself, in what is sometimes a sensory hostile world.

“When I was young I’d lay on the ground a lot and smell to earth, I love to splash in water and look at it. I love furry heavy blankets and heavy clothing. I chew, I love to watch things spin, I smell my hands and arms a lot. I love staring at dust particles  Stimming keeps you young!I don’t understand faces or expressions. Noise and love lights have always bothered me, as well as touch.”

On talking of her past, Moe says she’s been able to live independently since the year 2000, and now has a good life with her beloved cats, enjoys music playing on her antique gramophones and drawing to relax and express herself.

“A routine is what also helped me get independent and learning life skills in the homes like budgeting and cooking.”

She had a successful exhibition of her artwork in April this year and is now selling her work.

Sanni Rosenburg insectsMoe would, she says, like her next exhibition to be on geomorphology.

“I hated Autism most of my life as it made me an outcast. Then I had a big meltdown that almost got me put away, so now I work with it and don’t ignore it. Years ago I forced myself to pass and try to fit in. I’d go out with no preps. I’d have meltdowns especially  from noises, I felt pressured from smells and touch. People complain I’m to sensitive. Autism makes you excellent gaming and art , I love the hyper focus that Autism is. It took me years to learn to love who I am and not hate my neurodifference but I still have meltdowns and bite and self harm from sensory. Fighting to learn to accept Autism as a neurodifference and not a disorder to be ashamed of us I tried to hide Autism to be accepted but I couldn’t fully hide it.”

After discussing therapies with Moe including bad experiences of ABA I asked which therapies she believes helps with Autism.

“Working with animals and music. That helped me more then anything and being in nature.

“Therapies that don’t try to kill your Autism, but help you to manage living in a world not accepting of Autism. The therapies like ABA made feel worthless made me ashamed of Autism. The ABA combined with abuse made me distrustful of people made me feel that I’m not good enough or able to be the person they tried to mould me into and that is Neurotypical or a dryer setting term. Normal. Your neurology is yours and no one can delete it. It’s always been hard for me to communicate and have to talk loudly to get my words out or Autism takes them.”

Moe’s closing statement for her interview?

“Advocacy helps me to educate people about hidden disabilities and that Autism is only a difference not an illness to be shunned or cured. Be loud and proud of the challenges and strength that Autism is.”

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