MORE AUTISTIC PAINTING THERAPY
In my previous post about autism and painting therapy, I described how Jess had been introduced to painting, and then it turned into a form of therapy for her. This post includes videos that demonstrate even better how the therapy part of it works for her.
Jessica recently learned the news that her precious devoted aunt who calls her every single day is really sick. For the most part, Jess is being brave and strong about the news. But, this video shows that she is also deeply sad and worried.
Jess started perking up as soon as I began getting out the painting supplies. I asked if she wanted to paint with water colors or acrylics and she choose acrylics. She is also keeping track of how many ‘books of paper’ she has. We currently have one book of acrylic paper, and two of watercolor paper.
Jess wasn’t sure what she wanted to start painting, so I suggested she just pick some colors she wanted to use. She chose black, purple, and her favorite, blue.
And VOILÀ, look at that smile…
This is a video of “8 Bottles of Medicine” in progress. Notice the self-discussion about the things that are on her mind. This is typical of the way Jess chatters to herself all of the time.
Jess wanted to paint four pictures during this session. For painting number 2, she asked for brown. I tried something different and just put a little paint in a smaller area on her pallet. She did okay with it, but it was definitely more difficult for her to manage because of her vision impairment.
When she first started painting and we switched from water colors to acrylics, I watered down the colors, thinking that might be the best for her. For this next painting, the color was not watered down and she used a smaller brush.
Painting without watering the color down went fine, except that she went through what I had poured out rather quickly. Watch her irritation here:
Painting “Sad That Aunt Sue is Sick”
Painting is more than just therapy for Jessica’s emotions and moods. It also becomes vision therapy. With her cortical vision impairment, she can see, but it requires effort, focus, and concentration. One reason Jess can see as much as she does it because of vision therapy she had throughout school. The more she used her vision, the more her functional vision increased.
This series of pictures show her looking at her artwork as she paints. This was also a turning point in the therapy. This painting was a series of ‘signs’ that said things about various people. She picked one of those signs as the title of this painting. (see Finished Product below for title)
They also show her concentration on what is on the paper to help her decide what move to make next.
Four is Enough
Jess said she wanted to paint another picture after she finished her fourth, but then decided that four was enough. She felt much better after her painting session and stayed calm. Talking through what is on her mind while painting it on paper seems to work very well as therapy. There is little doubt that we will be doing lots more.