Developing Through Art and Music – Part 2

– by Yvonne

As my son was growing up, he had very limited communication skills. I as his mother knew most of the time what he wanted/needed. The bond between us was/is strong, and I wanted to learn as much as I could, to understand how he was feeling. Why he was getting stressed at everyone/little thing in everyday life.

I had a reply from both the two clinics I wrote to, one in America and the other in Israel. One who said they would see him when he was 8 years old, and the other gave me details of a clinic that may be able to help. The American clinic having a branch in this country.

After asking my son’s paediatrician if there was anywhere/anyone who could help, only to be told to ‘find a home for him’.

Then I got this letter informing me of a clinic I COULD get to. As I didn’t want to wait until my son was 8 years old, I contacted the clinic, which I have to say was the lifeline we needed. Life was becoming unbearable, with no hope in sight. As a mother, the heartache was indescribable. Now, this letter had brought hope. Details will be in my book.

Part of the guidance from the clinic I did go to, explained how drawing/art/sounds/music, can help autistic children/adults. This made little sense to me at the time, because my son’s behaviour was so challenging. I found it difficult to see how he would ever reach the stage to enjoy those activities.

Now, after years and years of working on his behaviour/sleeping/eating issues, he has got to the stage, mentioned by the clinic, of enjoying art and music. For me as a mother, is absolutely AMAZING and WONDERFUL after all the years of extremely hard work. That effort almost took my life through an illness that lasted a number of years, which I talk more of in my book. Having now seeing my son growing in confidence, and helping me to go on understanding how people with autism see their world, is guiding me in developing Uniquely Me and U.

MagicianIn art over the last few months, as I have explained, he has done some pictures that go back to when he was a very young. He did a picture of a magician and wand, hat, gloves,star, magic box. At the time his behaviour was so challenging, I did not think he was taking any notice at all. It was for his sister’s birthday party, I hired a magician, and we had the party in a church hall. I spent most of the time managing his behaviour so the children could enjoy the party. All these years later, he having NEVER said or drawn anything that related to that party. He remembered where the party was and the two white rabbits, and two white doves. Having finished his picture he was communicating to others in the group about that day.

This has been a great surprise , and is showing me how through art, he is bringing out experiences that have stayed in his mind, and not being able to communicate them until now.

Painting FireworksAnother painting he did a few weeks ago of fireworks. Most of his life he has been frightened of the noise from them. Having very sensitive hearing, it has been extremely difficult over the years coping when, it is that time of year for fireworks.

To do a colourful painting of fireworks in the art group helped him to express to the other members about the noise, and talk about the nice colours. Some members said they liked them, some didn’t. So, as a group he was listening to others say how they felt about them. This was wonderful progress, which gave me the opportunity to talk about the noise they make, but not to be frightened of them. Look at all the colours in the sky.

My son is opening his mind now. He is gaining confidence and developing into who he wants to be. He has been locked inside mentally, struggling to fit in with what his father wants him to be, and how he should ‘fit in’ into society. Whilst I have been encouraging him to be himself. Through art, he his expressing himself, and I am hoping he will bring more of his childhood experiences out. His communication skills are improving, but not where he could explain with words his thoughts/feelings.

I have a drawing he did when he was young after spending time with his father, and sister. Having to spend this time was through a court order, which went on for a number of years. Details will be in my book. My son came back from that visit extremely distressed/upset and crying. I couldn’t understand what had happened, and neither could my son tell me. I knew he was never happy seeing his father, but I had no choice due to the court order.

My son picked up a piece of paper on the table and a black felt pen, and drew on the paper a most upsetting picture. I was so heartbroken for him. I put the date on the picture and put it away. I eventually calmed my son down. I had a friend in the house at that time who also saw my son draw that picture.
During the following court proceedings, I tried to have the picture brought out in court as evidence how my son was being treated by his father. The courts said I couldn’t prove it was my son who drew it , and therefore could not show it. To this day, I have that picture hidden away. It upsets me so much to look at it.

My hope is when the time is right, or when my son develops through his art, he will bring up that experience. It is why I fought the long court battle, to restrict the time my son spent with his father. A father who could not accept his son had autism, and tried to bully him into being ‘normal’. Then proceeded to use the courts to TAKE AWAY my son’s right to choose if he wanted to see him. I will explain in detail in my book.

Now through his art, my son has found a way to express himself, without being judged or ridiculed. I am so grateful I have found a way to help my autistic son and others, to be themselves, by giving them the opportunity through art/music. It has been a wonderful and humbling experience for me to develop Uniquely Me and U at their pace.

By putting on musical shows and art exhibitions, we are showing the community, family, friends, what can be achieved through dedication.

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