Autism mural shines awareness on a communityMar 16th, 2011 | By admin | Category: Creative Kids, Learning Kids, The Creative Kid
Autism Mural Shines Awareness On A Community
Story and photographs by Tammy Faulkner-Smith
“Children with Autism worked together with parent volunteers to create a vibrant mural. “Autism Shines” was sponsored by Chattanooga’s Department of Education, Arts and Culture and was led by parent volunteer, Tammy Faulkner-Smith.”
The American population is growing at 16% while Autism is on the rise at 173%.
Twenty-four children with Autism Spectrum Disorders, gathered and painted a mural. Their enthusiasm and art raised awareness about a spectrum of disorders that impact so many Chattanooga-area families.
”Autism Shines” is a new mural sponsored by the Department of Education, Arts and Culture and is on the Forgotten Child Fund Building at 1715 Main Street, in Chattanooga, Tennessee.
Parents and volunteers joined hands to make the project a success and in 39 degree weather they painted with hot cocoa in one hand and paint brushes in the other. Local Christian Pop artist, T-Ran Gilbert, entertained the children.
Kids were assigned to groups and they began to raise awareness. The media gathered, captivated by the energy of the children! Everyone got the chance to climb the scaffolding, paint the mural and place their hand print on the wall.
Helping the children with their hand print was an exciting highlight for the adult volunteers. Cheers rang out for the kids as each one chose the perfect spot on the wall for their hand. It was a large, blank canvas, just for them!
Facebook contributed to the success of the project and modern technology is spreading the word, increasing awareness like wildfire. Many of the connections necessary to the project were made through the social media site.
A California mother, founder of AutismHwy.com, created the original design and Steve Selpal, an adult man living with Asberger’s Syndrome, scaled the design to fit the size of the wall and scope of the project.
Thanks to modern technology, the mural is spreading like wildfire with image requests from India and Australia.
Autism and art go hand in hand. Children with ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorders) excel in the arts. Projects like Chattanooga’s mural help all children realize they can express themselves through art and these children left that day with new talents and ways of self-expression.
Autism Facts – It might not just be the ‘Terrible Two’s’
- The American population is growing at 16% while Autism is on the rise at 173%.
- The Centers for Disease Control reports that 1out of every 110 children have Autism.
- Early warning signs include walking on tip toes, lining toys up in a row, slow speech or verbal regression and meltdowns.
- Many children with Autism also have sensory issues, they may be sensitive to sounds, smells and light.
If you suspect Autism or developmental issues, have your child evaluated. Trust your
instincts and consult your primary care provider. Early intervention is key!
In the Chattanooga area, contact the Chattanooga Autism Center at 622-0500.
For more information, check out www.chattanoogaautismcenter.org and www.teamcentersorg. Review our comprehensive summer camp listing section for information on camps that serve families with Autism and other disabilities.