Art Speaks: An Aid for Communication Between Individuals with Autism and Their Parents
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Social and communication impairments are two of the defining features of autism. Due to the language deficits of individuals on the spectrum communication is hindered. With the ever-growing population of individuals with autism a new approach to communication and social interactions are necessary. This paper looks at art created by the individual with autism as a communication aid. This study consisted of parent interviews with four families in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Each family had a son between the age of 14-21 who had autism and created art. All parent interviews focused on concrete artworks created by the individuals on the spectrum. The two major findings of this research showed that artwork may serve as a tool for facilitating joint attention as well as a scaffold for parent-son interactions. Although these tools are beneficial, due to the challenges that remain artwork alone will not eliminate social and communication impairments. In conclusion, the four individuals with autism use their artwork to begin to break down social and communication barriers with their parents, peers, and the public. Artwork is beneficial for communication, but further therapies are still necessary.