Using Art Therapy To Help Children With Autism
15 April, 2017

Using Art Therapy To Help Children With Autism

Seated in front of an easel, student Jhovan Stevenson, 17, holds a colour palette in his left hand and brushes strokes of pastel hues with oil paint colours on a canvas. He peers intently at the painting, and continues to paint the petals of pink flowers.

BY / 3 years ago

Seated in front of an easel, student Jhovan Stevenson, 17, holds a colour palette in his left hand and brushes strokes of pastel hues with oil paint colours on a canvas. He peers intently at the painting, and continues to paint the petals of pink flowers.

His mother, homemaker Shamini Stevenson, 56, praises him for his cheery colour choices.

“I’m not sure what he sees in the details. However, looking at his art pieces, I’ve realised Jhovan notices what most people take for granted. He has (an eye for) detail and the end result is always beautiful and artistic,” she says, admiring his drawing, which features water lilies in a pond.

Jhovan was born premature. In the incubator, he developed an infection that affected his right tibia. Today, he requires custom-fitted shoes as his right leg is 3cm shorter than his left. He is semi-verbal, has attention deficit disorder and suffers from hearing impairment, too.

However, the teen bears the surprising gifts that autism can offer. His colour resolution, detailing and strokes have allowed him to create lovely art pieces, some in the style of the French artist, Monet.

Jhovan attends a vocational training centre for people with special needs in Petaling Jaya, Selangor. Besides speech and occupational therapy, his parents introduced him to art. Little did Shamini realise there was a budding impressionist artist in her youngest son.

Within a year of art lessons, Shamini could see her son’s artistic strengths and the positive effects of his new-found skill on him. Jhovan’s ability to focus and enthusiasm for painting increased, more so when he saw his works on canvas.

“Jhovan loves art, especially experimenting with colours and engaging with his creative side on canvas. He looks forward to his art classes and helps to pack up his art materials hours before each lesson,” says the mother of three proudly.

Shamini is relieved to have found the spark that ignites her special child.

“Jhovan loves to work with colours and express his thoughts through themes surrounding nature and water. Art and attention to detail fascinate him,” said Shamini. She added that her daughter Cassandra, 23, has also helped to develop Jhovan’s interest in art.

World Autism Day is celebrated on April 2, and April is Austism Awareness Month. During this time, efforts are made to raise awareness about people with autism. This year’s theme is Towards Autonomy And Self-Determination.

Read more at The Star Online

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