For persons with autism, a picture can literally be worth 1,000 words. Autism is a neurodevelopmental disorder that disrupts communication pathways. It is a spectrum disorder, meaning that it manifests in several ways, with symptoms ranging from mild to severe in nature. Some hallmarks are speech delays and the formation of words, understanding social cues, social interaction, and processing sensory information (such as being hypersensitive to light or sound). Communicating through art provides an alternative to verbal interactions and also offers a visual and tactile disruption to sensory elements that are hard for people with autism to process.
Art Therapy is a professional psychological discipline with specifically designed exercises and expected outcomes. Parents of children with autism, however, may try making art with their kids and witness the therapeutic benefits on their own . The Jepson Center at The Telfair Museums offers a variety of programs for children to have hands-on experience making art. The Center provides a drop-in studio every day from 1-4pm, and it is free with admission. A studio assistant is always on hand to answer questions and assist guests.
For this and other art-making opportunities at The Jepson Center, click here.