While my parents received the diagnosis of High-Functioning Autism when I was very young, I wasn’t told until I was around 17. I never felt any different than others I suppose, but I did notice that adults didn’t treat me the same and that the other kids didn’t play with me. Later I would go to speech therapy and an occasional visit to the counselor.
I’m proud of a couple of things. Proud of my art, proud of my ability to read and spell. I can look at a word and break it down….into it’s meaning and origin. I enjoy reading books on Egyptians and fiction such as Stephen King and J.R.R. Tolkien.
I’ve been drawing since I remember but it wasn’t until around age 12 that I realized I had a true gift. I was able to create and give life to these two-dimensional pieces of paper. My ability to draw is an outlet and has always allowed me to let emotion in….it was a gift. While other people are good at sports…I have my art.
I like to draw people. There are so many different emotions you can do with people…especially around the eyes. One of my favorite drawings is of a bellydancer. (shown). I used to go Middle Eastern restaurant and they would have a belly dancers. I would go drink some tea and draw when one day they can over to the table and noticed I was drawing Disney characters. The teacher came over and commissioned me to draw the graduating class. The picture I kept was my favorite as I liked the way the sun shown down on her.
When asked my advice for those parents just getting their child’s diagnosis of autism? First and foremost, be patient. I wasn’t social or able to make eye contact. Your child may not be able to communicate the way you want them to. Take the time to get to know your child. Try to help them with school as much as you can. Be there for them…it makes a difference.
By: Darby Sparks
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