Do you ever wonder how your child will find their ‘thing’? The thing that fills them up and allows them to express who they are? Hayley, a ten year-old Squagger from Virginia Beach, and her mom Jenn, have found their thing through art. We asked them about their experiences with art, autism, and self-discovery:
How you use art to express yourself?
HAYLEY: I show people who I am by painting and drawing my art. My favorite things to paint are the sun, animals, people, buildings and collages of colors. I like to paint because I make really pretty pictures and I love using all the different colors. And I like to mix them on the palette!
JENN: I was inspired by the beautiful work Hayley started doing at age 6. I hung her work throughout my home to encourage her, and became encouraged myself. I watched her paint, color and draw and she was be so calm and focused. Some children on the spectrum often have such a hard time with these two things. So do I! It began as a way to express myself by releasing emotions and confusion. Its my self-therapy and new talent! Who knew?!?
We created Squag so kids could connect to their interests and ultimately “find their thing”. Describe how finding your talent for art makes you feel:
HAYLEY: Doing art makes me feel happy, excited, surprised and creative. It gives my mind a rest.
JENN: Relaxed, focused and cleansed! And of course very excited!
What do you like about Squag?
HAYLEY: I like the mirror in my Squagpad where I can take pictures and say how I feel. I love watching the videos and looking at the pictures and making messages. I love finding my mom’s messages. I like Squag because it is fun and makes me happy.
JENN: The best thing about Squag is that it is such a safe tool for our kids; it is a great way for kids at all stages to express themselves to their friends and families. Truth be known, as a parent I had a super fun time setting it up and then looking at what Hayley had done. Most of the time, even though Hayley is verbal, it is really hard for her to communicate exactly what she is feeling and I believe Squag is really going to help her with this!
What do you think is important for people to know about autism?
HAYLEY: That having autism is no big deal. Lots of people have different things. I wish all people would be more patient with kids like me. I wish kids wouldn’t call me names and that kids who have a friend with autism should learn everything about autism so they can understand and be a good friend and teach other kids about autism.
JENN: Children with an ASD are most often misunderstood; it is our job to make sure that we teach each other and our children how to be compassionate, understanding and supportive.
My daughter deserves to have friends just like your children do. She is very smart, loving and creative and deserves the same opportunities as any other child. She deserves to be heard.