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First Published Wednesday, 1 April 2009

Autism Art

By Lorraine Connolly, Community Newswire

ARTS Autism Bristol, 31 Mar 2009 – 11:57

The National Autistic Society (NAS) is holding a free exhibition of artwork by adults with autism at Explore-At-Bristol’s cafe until April 24.

The exhibition, which marks World Autism Awareness Day on Thursday, uses art and photography to explore how the developmental disability affects the way people communicate with and relate to the world around them.

The artwork is displayed alongside comments from the artists and photographers, who are all affected by autism in different ways, and highlights the wide range of experiences of people with the condition.

Chris Peach, NAS regional director, said: “There are more than half a million people with autism in the UK – that’s one in 100 – and many adults with autism tell us how important art and creativity are in their lives. The variety and quality of the work on show is just incredible and I’d like to thank Explore-At-Bristol for helping us bring this exhibition to the city. We hope it will show just some of the realities faced by people with autism today.”

Selina Postgate, from Bristol, is 54 and has Asperger syndrome, a form of autism. She said: “Knowing I have Asperger syndrome has changed everything in my world, it’s made me realise who I really am and why I think differently.

“Because I’m articulate, people don’t think I need any help, but my inability to cope with day to day tasks has had a huge impact on my mental health. It took the support of an advocate to finally get me the help I need. I have personal assistants now and that has made a huge difference to my life.”

Danny Beath, 48, from Shrewsbury, who also has Asperger syndrome, is exhibiting a photograph called Children In The Mist, which was taken against the setting sun inside a mist tent at the Missouri Botanical Gardens in St Louis, United States.

He said: “When I took the photograph I felt like the outsider looking in, rather like the third misted out one in the picture.

“It’s really important to me to be able to demonstrate to the public what living with autism can feel like sometimes.

“My difficulties with social interaction and communication often make me feel like I live on the edge of things – like I’m always looking in at groups of other people.”

Autism is a lifelong developmental disability that affects how a person communicates with, and relates to, other people. It also affects how they make sense of the world around them. It is a spectrum condition, which means that, while all people with autism share certain difficulties, their condition will affect them in different ways.

Some people with autism are able to live relatively independent lives but others may have accompanying learning disabilities and need a lifetime of specialist support.

Chris added: “The services and support available to people with autism and their carers are woefully inadequate. While some people with autism may need a lifetime of specialist support, others, given the opportunity, would be able to live relatively independent lives. That’s why it’s so important that we all stand up and speak out in order to gain the right level of help, support and understanding for all people affected by autism.”

NAS, along with 20 other autism charities, is using World Autism Awareness Day to call on people across the UK to Stand Up for Autism – a theme chosen to highlight how many people are personally affected by the condition.

Celebrities including Jane Asher, Eamonn Holmes, Ruth Langsford, Michelle Collins, DJ Judge Jules and Brit award-winning band Elbow, are among those who have already pledged their support.

The NAS relies on the support of its members and donors to continue its vital work for people with autism. To become a member, make a donation or to find out more about the work of the NAS, visit the NAS website www.autism.org.uk

For more information about World Autism Awareness Day 2009 visit www.waad.org.uk.

Source:   http://www.communitynewswire.press.net/article.jsp?id=5632962

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