Autism also known as ASD- autism spectrum disorder is a range of conditions that affect the ability of a person to communicate and creates challenges such as social skills, repetitive behaviors etc. It has been found that relaxing therapies can benefit children and adults and one such therapy is use of art.
Autism is a lifelong condition and affects every person differently with symptoms ranging from mild to severe. People with autism find it difficult to adjust in social setups and may also experience sensory processing issues causing them to have anxiety and stress.
My son Richard is 16 years old and is verbal. Richard’s hobby is to write and he also loves copying scripts of about 13 language. He likes to write from the Bible only and it makes him happy and calm. – Catherine Sunitha, Parent
Introducing art in the life of children and adults with autism can bring about a lot of positive effects. Some of the benefits are:
- Art can be used as therapy for people with autism, children and adults alike.
- Since around 30% people with autism are nonverbal or have speech related problems, they can use art as a means of communicating.
- Art can help relieve stress and anxiety.
- People feel happier and calmer when they create.
- Art therapy can become a reason to socialize and meet new people.
- Children can also learn various skills such as gross and fine motor skills through art.
- Apart from therapy art can also be used as a learning method involving play and fun.
- Through art, people with autism can express their inner thoughts and find emotional outlet.
- Activities related to art can create enthusiasm and cheer up the children.
- Doing some fun art activity can also help with sensory issues and even reduce self-stimulating behaviors or stimming.
- The act of creating can help improve confidence level and raise self-esteem.
There are various forms of arts that people with autism can be involved in depending on their interests and abilities. Painting, coloring, sketching, music, sculpting, doodling, writing literature, singing, even cooking, there are various forms of art that can be taken up by people with ASD.
Manas Prasad has Asperger syndrome and for him music is an integral part of life. Singing makes him happier and he enjoys cooking as well.
“Manas is a good singer in Carnatic and Hindi music. He is also an accomplished chef and can dish out mouthwatering vegetarian dishes at short notice,” says Meera Prasad, Manas’ mother.
Art does not have to be an expensive hobby and can be done at home. Parents, educators can help children with autism explore various arts and assist them in realising their potentials.