Meet Alice Darlington, a local woman with a passion for creativity and a will to help others, who has just started art classes specifically designed for individuals with Autism in her community. Darlington is the coordinator of Create and Sell classes and was first exposed to art as a form of expressive therapy upon the sudden demise of her mother on June 2014.
Alice herself was diagnosed with borderline Autism at the age of 12. Unsurprisingly, after her mother’s death, she struggled not only to cope with the loss but also to deal with autism on a day to day basis. This was until she heard about a pottery class taking place in her community park.
Alice, Art class coordinator for Autistic Children says, “Though it was impossible to forget the pain that I was going through, still, for that 1 hour my mind was focused on something different. It was a welcome change and such a huge relief!”
This was an eye opener for Alice! She made up her mind to seek support from the Department of Health to be able to deliver art sessions geared more towards children with autism. Studies have already confirmed that Art is an extremely effective teaching strategy for Autism that allows a patient to express their feelings and showcase their talents without any inhibitions. However, Alice believes that there are at least 3 additional, yet very important advantages:
- It significantly boosts the confidence of the participants and helps them open their circles, very much like floor-time play therapy.
- Also, since many of the participants have not had any previous exposure to art, it generates a sense a curiosity among the students as they begin to ask questions
- Though the sessions are designed for individuals with Autism, they are inclusive i.e. offered to other children and individuals without any disability as well. This improves the social interaction of Autistic people as they get to communicate and work with other regular folks.
Needless to say, these are all considered massive steps in terms of the development of Autistic children.