The Autism Art Project Begins
March 19, 2011
"Never let the odds keep you from doing what you know in your heart you were meant to do."
~ H. Jackson Brown, Jr
Well, here goes nothing. I'm about to embark on the scariest journey of my life. I could succeed as an artist, or I could fail. But I figure I might as well try...
My 3 year old son Derek is autistic. He is in therapy 25-30 hours a week. My husband and I hired someone trained in ABA (applied behavior analysis) and four college students to come to our house 7 days a week and teach Derek every day skills and how to communicate. He has come a LONG way in the past year. He is now potty trained, has better eye-contact, and can even say a few words...just to name a few of the things he has learned. Anyway, all of our spare money goes to therapy. It is worth every penny.
I am an artist. A printmaker, to be exact. I make monotypes, etchings and screenprints and then sew them all together. I can get some pretty neat effects by layering things that are nearly IMPOSSIBLE to get by painting or drawing. That's why I love printmaking. But we have no money. In the very near future, I'm going to put something on a website called kickstarter to see if people will help me raise money...I don't have the art materials I need to continue. I'm praying for a miracle.
The Autism Art Project has been floating around in my mind for over a year now. I have two pieces completed already. I don't just want to do pieces about my son, I want to tell other kids' stories as well. Most children with autism can't communicate very well. Some can't speak at all. I want to be their voice; tell their story. My first goal is to have a gallery show (more than one, if possible!!) I would also like to tell Derek's story at autism conferences and eventually publish an illustrated book. I think this idea could go far and reach a lot of people. The numbers are growing and this project has the potential to raise a lot of autism awareness. More than that, however, it will help to connect families who are feeling alone and don't know who to turn to for help. When Derek first started going downhill, I had no idea where I was supposed to go for help. I knew that early intervention was key, but it was surprisingly hard to find. I live in a small town. As far as I know, Derek is the only autistic child that lives here. I feel very, very alone sometimes.
That is what this is all about. To tell Derek's story and other kids' stories and to bring hope to others on this journey. Wish me luck!