Thursday, July 4, 2013

Autistic Child's Paintings Fetch Thousands of Dollars

Photo credit: Arabella Carter Johnson/ABC News
Today is Thursday, July 4, 2013.

Iris Grace Halmshaw is only 3 years old, and she's been diagnosed with autism, but her paintings have caught the eye of discerning art critics.  Originals have been sold for up to 1,500 pounds (US $2,280).  On a website dedicated to her work, prints are being sold for anywhere from abut $60 to $460, in U.S. dollars.  They are amazing paintings, with a definite "impressionist" feeling, like Claude Monet's paintings of his garden. 

As with many autistic children, Iris doesn't talk much except for a few single words, and she doesn't like making eye contact.  Her mother, Arabella Carter-Johnson, explains that Iris did not tolerate being around other children, and that her sleep patterns were "all over the place."  One doctor to which the parents took Iris for intensive therapy suggested that she take up some kind of activity.  That activity was painting, and Iris loves it.  Her mother says that when she paints, she can "de-stress" and that the activity calms and pacifies her.

Iris loves to observe nature, the subject of most of her paintings.  “She inspects everything, leaves, flowers, trees, stones.  She watches the movement that the wind creates and will dance for hours in the rain if I let her.  She will watch water in the bath and play with bubbles studying how they move,” says her mother.

The parents have not kept track of exactly how much money they've made by selling Iris's paintings, but it's been enough to keep Iris in therapy for this year, at least.  All the proceeds from the sale of the originals and prints are being used to fund therapy for Iris. 

I'm glad to see that someone has recognized Iris' art talent, and that her parents are finding a way to pay for her therapy.  So many parents of autistic children are cash-strapped and cannot afford the type of therapy that can increase the quality of life for their autistic children. 

To read the ABC News story, click here.  :-)

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