Children and adults with intellectual challenges and developmental disabilities have many obstacles to overcome in order to lead a life full of meaning and quality. One of the obstacles is societyís perception that areas such as art are out of their capacity to understand and enjoy. Such societal attitude deprives chidlren and adults with developmental disabilities of the opportunity to develop their talents, learn new skills, experience and enjoy art, and demonstrate their artistic ability.
I often find myself having to ask myself, what if I actually have a brain that functions differently and there is nothing I can do to change that to fix it? What happens is I begin to accept it and magic happens I begin to focus on the abilities I have and not worry so much about the things I canít do and life becomes happier, easier and I find those things I canít do so well are not so important to me. What if I love sitting by myself and staring for hours at the water and I donít care for team sports TV and gossip. Is that so wrong or weird. To some "normal" people it is and as a child I was often made wrong for it, by my dad, kids at school and even some teachers.
LARRY BISSONNETTE is an artist who lives in Milton, Vermont. Since he was a young child, Larry has been drawing and painting. His work has been exhibited regularly in well known local and national exhibitions such as the annual Outside Art Fair in New York City. Currently Larry is one of the featured artists of the GRACE (Grass Roots Art and Community Effort) project based in Hardwick, Vermont.
Brian Henson, a native of Ontario, is an older adult who was not diagnosed as being on the autistic spectrum until fifty years of age. He did have problems, though, from early years, in cognition and friendship. Without any answer, unfortunately, his parents were not able to find out what was going on in elementary school, secondary (high) school or in adult years before their passing.
Jonathan Lerman is an autistic artist. His has limited verbal ability so we cannot ask what inspires him or what triggered him to suddenly begin drawing at the age of ten. Today, at seventeen, Jonathan is prolific and shows no signs of slowing down. He has been featured in the New York Times, 60 Minutes, with Dan Rather, on The Today Show and more.
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