It is amazing how every child has an innate ability to create beautiful art. Children start their formal table work with art because it’s an activity that they can successfully accomplish and, as they get older, they are encouraged and directed to more “disciplined” skills like reading and math and comprehension and the art component of their education fades away. Working in the arts all of my life, it’s disappointing to see that the arts are not integrated in everyone’s education. For Nate, I can promise you that won’t happen.
Why? Because my son is a genius at art. Okay, okay. Every parent thinks their child is a genius. But mine, well, he really is. Okay. Maybe not genius…but how about prolific? Nate’s really gotten on an art kick lately. It started with stickers. Nate LOVES stickers. He will find a bag of zippers, toddle on over to a person, thrust the bag in the person’s hands, and stand there until you open the bag (as he’s vigorously signing “open” and “my turn”) and take the backing off the stickers. We have found stickers on the wall, on the floor, on Nate, on us, on the couch, and, yes, on paper. We are working very hard to encourage and redirect Nate to adhering stickers to only paper. Our endeavors are paying off.
On October 7 in therapy, we used stickers as a PECS Phase IV activity. Nate made sentences faster than anyone can in order to get a sticker. Usually, he spaces his stickers out as far as possible on the paper; stickers should not touch. But then Nate started to do something he has never done before. See for yourself.
Here’s the side view:
It was a double session of therapy, meaning that two therapists were present at the same time. There was a moment when Miss Susan (Speech) and Miss Katy (Occupational Therapy) considered re-directing Nate to space his stickers out. Then they realized it didn’t matter. Nate scored 100% on all five steps of PECS Phase IV; what he chose to do with the item he requested was a moot point. Besides, who were they to direct Nate’s artistic expression? This is Chad and my favorite work of art of Nate’s. We’re going to pin it into a shadow box and frame it on the wall.
On Wednesday, we had a wonky day. Nate had therapy from 9-10:30 with Miss Liz (BCBA), and 10-12:30 with Miss Marilyn (therapist). Then we had to visit Chad at work for lunch, sneak in a nap for Nate, and be alert and happy at 4:00 for speech therapy. So, when Chad left for work at 7:30 that morning, I plunked Nate in his high chair and gave him stickers. Why not start the day off with art? I figured he’d enjoy the activity for fifteen minutes and then we’d head off to the grocery store. I couldn’t be more wrong.
We started by decorating a pumpkin with stickers.
And then we started putting stickers on paper. As you can see, Nate is still working on 3-D sticker art.
After completing those two projects, Nate wanted more. Out came the watercolors. Nate has been obsessed with circles for months now. This day was no different.
Nate started to get antsy in his high chair, so we moved on to the easel.
By this time Miss Katy arrived, Nate had been painting for more than an hour. She smartly recognized that Nate was highly engaged in a project and allowed the activity to continue throughout her session. As watercolor discs became depleted, we moved onto washable paint at the easel and, later, at the table. (Nate got tired of standing. He stood at the easel for 45 minutes!)
For washable paint, we bought a ton of fun paint tools for Tater to use, all from Discount School Supply. He has brushes of all sizes, rollers that “paint” a pattern on paper, and brushes made from unique materials like mesh, yarn, and plastic. With all his art tools at his disposal, here’s the library of art that Nate created. All told, he did this activity for two-and-a-half hours. He was so focused that he refused snack and water. It was the longest sustained activity Nate has ever completed and I love that I have a portfolio of work to show for it! Enjoy!
And the pièce de résistance….
Here’s a closeup.