In the UK alone, over 100,000 children are affected by autism. Autism can range in all different levels, from severe to minor, but generally impairs an individual from properly interacting in social situations. They may not like loud noises, or understand why people act the way that they do.
While most autistic individuals are not keen on hugging or social interactions, they do have incredible talents. For example, 5-year-old Grace from the UK may be young but her attention to detail and artsy abilities allow her to create some of the most incredible artwork you have ever seen, especially for someone that is only in Elementary school.
With her short sandy-brown hair, and sweet angle-like face, Iris is absolutly adorable! While most kids learn to speak by 2-years-old, Iris is just now learning to use words to communicate. In spite of her language barriers, Iris uses another form of communication with stellar success… her paintings.
Iris’s comprehension of colors and how they all work together is extremely advanced for anyone, let alone a child of her age. She is able to combine colors in a very unique fashion that creates the most stunning works of art, good enough to hang in any art gallery!
Arabella Carter-Johnson, also known as Iris’s mother, writes on her official website, “We have been encouraging Iris to paint to help with speech therapy, joint attention and turn taking. Then we realized that she is actually really talented and has an incredible concentration span of around 2 hours each time she paints.”
While most children Iris’s age grow tired of anything within no time at all, leaving scribbled artwork unfinished and forgotten, Iris gets really into her artwork. Her mother goes on to explain, “Her autism has created a style of painting which I have never seen in a child of her age, she has an understanding of colors and how they interact with each other.”
Iris uses a number of tools to craft each one of her creations. She plays with rollers, textured rollers, brushes, and sponges. After she’s done she walks away from the project and gives it time to dry. Soon as it is dry she makes her way back to the drawing board to add her final touches. Thula, her adorable kitty cat is often nearby while she creates her artwork.
When she is not busy making art, Iris enjoys reading books, hanging out with Thula, doing yoga, listening to music, and just being an everyday kid. Last year, in 2013 her art and story went viral for the first time–in over 207 countries!
Since then, Iris has sold paintings to private collectors all over the world and has gained over 58,000 followers on Facebook. All profits from her artwork go towards more art materials as well as Iris’s other therapeutic activities, such as occupational therapy, speech therapy, music therapy, and her future as a whole.
Iris’s artwork is also made into beautiful greeting cards offered for sale through her website.
Autism is a life-long condition that impacts ones’ developmental skills in relation to communication and relating to the rest of the world. Perhaps you can recall a time when you didn’t feel like you were connecting with the people around you, but imagine feeling like that everyday. Just like any disorder, it’s not easy to be autistic for the diagnosed individual or the family members involved.
Yet, out of every struggle comes a wonderful gift, in Iris’s case that gift is her breathtaking artwork. While she may not be able to connect with people in the same way you or I do, she is able to speak to all of us through her artwork in incredibly rich ways.