DiscoverDivergent ConversationsEpisode 45: The Creative Sides of Autism + Advocacy Through Art [featuring Bret Malley]
Episode 45: The Creative Sides of Autism + Advocacy Through Art [featuring Bret Malley]

Episode 45: The Creative Sides of Autism + Advocacy Through Art [featuring Bret Malley]

Update: 2024-03-15


Creativity is a medium of expression and connection that often works well for neurodivergent individuals.

In this episode, Patrick Casale and Dr. Megan Neff, two AuDHD mental health professionals, talk with Bret Malley about the intersection of autism and creativity.

Bret shares his journey of autism advocacy, inspired by the desire to support his son, using creative outlets, as well as shares his process and inspiration for creating a documentary that seeks to provide a more authentic understanding of autism, reflecting on the creative process and the balance of vulnerability and representation that comes with such a responsibility.

Top 3 reasons to listen to the entire episode:

  1. Understand the importance of presence and how creative endeavors can help individuals, particularly those with autism and ADHD, to feel more connected and alive amidst the struggles of an overactive mind or an uncooperative body.

  2. Learn about the role that environmental factors can play for Autistic individuals in the ability to concentrate and be present in work, as well as the benefits of creating a designated space and time to dedicate to entering a zone of hyperfocused creativity (or the “vortex” as described by Megan Anna).

  3. Identify how from the devastation of the pandemic there was also a rise in virtual engagements that fostered unexpected creative synergies and closer relationships.

Creativity and art can be powerful means for autism advocacy and personal expression. Think about how your creative expression can affect how you connect with the world around you, and lead to more compassion and understanding.

More about Bret:

Bret Malley is an award-winning filmmaker, full-time career and technical educator, college professor in Visual Communications and Multimedia Arts, professional photographer, and author of Adobe Master Class; Advanced Compositing in Adobe Photoshop CC.



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A Thanks to Our Sponsors: Freed & The Receptionist for iPad


I would also like to thank Freed for sponsoring this episode.

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✨ The Receptionist for iPad:

I would also like to thank The Receptionist for iPad for sponsoring this episode.

The Receptionist offers an iPad list check-in option where clients can scan a QR code to check in, which negates the need for you to buy an iPad and stand. Go to and sign up for a free 14-day trial. When you do, you'll get your first month free. And don't forget to ask about our iPad list check-in option.

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Episode 45: The Creative Sides of Autism + Advocacy Through Art [featuring Bret Malley]

Episode 45: The Creative Sides of Autism + Advocacy Through Art [featuring Bret Malley]

Megan Neff & Patrick Casale