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booked a party for an autism group...

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booked a party for an autism group...

Post by a_better_man_now on Tue Oct 22, 2013 11:39 am

So, I'm booked to do a Christmas party for a local autism Asscoiation, and i'm wondering if anyone has done anything similar to this before and could offer any advice.

It's a Christmas party for autistic kids and their families. These kids are wonderful, but i know that autistic children can sometimes be over stimulated by the smallest things, and I'm wondering if maybe I should simplify some designs and use fewer colors so that the brush is on their face less, and the myriad of colors doesn't aggravate them. I do have some experience with people with autism, but not a whole lot, so if you have any advice, it would be greatly appreciated. I'm really looking forward ti the event and bringing some smiles to those wonderful kids and their families.
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Re: booked a party for an autism group...

Post by pjhamel on Tue Oct 22, 2013 12:23 pm

I interned at a school for autistic children last year, and painted at a party we had during the middle of the year, so perhaps I can offer some advice.

For the most part, the kids were okay with the painting. However, there was one lower functioning boy, who, while he wanted to be painted, could not stop wiggling violently every time the brush touched his face. To combat this, I got him used to the feel of the brush by giving him one that had no paint on it(just water), and letting him stroke it repeatedly on his palm. It did not get rid of the wiggles completely, but it did calm him a lot once he got used to the sensation.

One thing that was pretty common with all of the kids is that they preferred not to have any paint around their eyes. So be prepared to re-work some designs to avoid the eyes. Also, a lot of autistic children (the ones I've encountered, at least) struggle with decision making, so limit the amount of options that you have.

As far as colors go, nearly every child I painted wanted rainbow colors on their face. So I wouldn't worry about them being overstimulated with the colors. However, apply them with a sponge, rather than a brush, whenever you can. I found that the students I painted preferred the sensation of the sponge to that of the brush. So what I ended up doing is laying down base colors with a sponge(avoiding the eyes), and then doing the most minimal outlining possible.

I hope that this helps you some. If you have any specific questions, please do not hesitate to ask them.
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Re: booked a party for an autism group...

Post by a_better_man_now on Tue Oct 22, 2013 2:18 pm

Thanks, pjhamel...helps a lot. I was thinking about redoing designs for speed, because in my experience with autistic children, most don't like to sit
Still for too long. I like the giving them a brush to get
Used to it idea...and yeah I thought about the sponge work as it covers area faster than a brush. Good point about paint around the eyes...a lot of kids wiggle at that part anyways, so ill take that into consideration.

Since its a Christmas party, I was trying to think of some Christmas or winter designs. Any input on simple yet colorful Christmas/winter designs that would work in this situation? I'd really appreciate the input.
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Re: booked a party for an autism group...

Post by a_better_man_now on Tue Oct 22, 2013 2:19 pm

I'm keeping a lot of my animal faces, since all kids love them, but being mindful of no paint around the eyes.
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Re: booked a party for an autism group...

Post by Miss Ronnie on Tue Oct 22, 2013 11:37 pm

Dear Man,

I have worked extensively with both autistic children and special needs adults... I would give you similar advice as pjhamel. There are a couple of painters here on the forum who have autistic children themselves and, if they spot this thread, will be more than happy to give you the best advice they can, too!

My best advice is to treat everyone that sits in your chair the same as any other.... even though they may require more adjusting and attention and whatnot, never talk to them them as though they do. Even so, there are some children and/or adults, autistic or not, who require special coaxing and softer words and lots of reassurance. I love that for the beautiful intimacy involved in making someone feel so special and important.
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Re: booked a party for an autism group...

Post by l!zzie on Wed Oct 23, 2013 2:07 am

I also worked for 14 years with autistic children and yes, they can be very sensitive! But also in the right way! Sometimes they absolutely dislike the feeling of having something on their face (paint their arms), but others just looooove the feeling of little brushstrokes on their face and are relaxing so much, they almost fall asleep!
I do wish I had some starblends those days, because they're so much more comfortable on the face!
And don't put any examples out there, because it makes picking one very difficult, and they might complain if there's a little brushstroke different from the original!
Just my two cents!

Oh. And above all.... HAVE FUN!

Oh. And on top of that... You can always give them a wuppie on their hand to take care of!
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Re: booked a party for an autism group...

Post by Jody Rife on Wed Oct 23, 2013 8:32 am

I love painting for our local Autism awareness group. I second all of the great things that have already been said.
I have had so many great experiences painting for autistic children. One child that would never let anyone other than mom or dad touch her, now is always one of the first to come to me. Another girl would always walk to my table, smile and then leave quickly, has now finally let me paint her twice. One day she just sat down for me, I was in shock.

I will say that I haven't had to change my designs up or colors . Other than a few children that just can't sit for it, everything goes smoothly.

Have fun!
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Re: booked a party for an autism group...

Post by a_better_man_now on Wed Oct 23, 2013 8:33 am

Lizzie, so you think just have some designs prepared for them, but just don't put up a menu board? Maybe a book and the parents choose?

Btw if u care to share any simple Christmas designs to help me out, I'd really appreciate it (promise I won't use the photos or copy exactly lol).
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Re: booked a party for an autism group...

Post by fesspenter on Wed Oct 23, 2013 11:21 am

Dear ABMN:
I have been volunteering at SickKids Hospital in Toronto for 16 years on October 31, 2013.
I don't know if this will help you at all. I am not really known for my helpfulness.
When I am in a room with a child who is on the autistic spectrum, I have the luxury of TIME. I can paint on the Mum's arm. Leave behind a damp sponge to play with, and then I go to the next child's room. I come back and sponge a rainbow on my arm and leave behind a rainbow loaded sponge. When I come back, the child may or may not want painting. Every child is different. EVERY child is different, whether on the autistic spectrum or not. I do not use photo references in the Hospital. A few times people have their own. For me, the Art of Face Painting....is NOT a function of how well I paint. The Art of Face Painting is making sure that every child feels special. I have painted a portrait of Jimi Hendrix on a boy's arm, complete with guitar, and I have also done simple whiskers and kitty nose and both were crowed over with the same adulation.

Paint with Love.
It is the secret ingredient.

Well...
it's not a secret anymore since I told you this.

Happy Painting!
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Re: booked a party for an autism group...

Post by nikkili26 on Wed Oct 23, 2013 11:52 am

Use sound effects as you sponge. Just a little boing boing boing.

I've had many parents tell me after painting that their child is autistic and usually never wants anything like this and they're surprised.


I think the kids like the cold smooth sensation of wet paint.


As for Christmas, get a Christmas rainbow cake, and just use it to replace your base color on every design....red and green tigers look awesome.
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Re: booked a party for an autism group...

Post by a_better_man_now on Wed Oct 23, 2013 4:53 pm

Fesspenter, I agree, paint with love, that's the best advice anyone could give, especially when it comes to autistic children, because most are more sensitive. I don't know about the time in this particular situation, but I was thinking maybe about those kids that are scared or hesitant with it...maybe letting them use a rainbow sponge on my arm or face, or maybe their parent.

Nikilli, yeah, I was looking at the Christmas cakes... Though my mind didn't imagine a red and green tiger...I'll have to try that. I love the sound effects idea lol...sometimes I tend to sing quietly while I'm painting anyways, so that'll be a natural evolution for me Wink.

Keep the advice coming, you awesome, beautiful people
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Re: booked a party for an autism group...

Post by l!zzie on Wed Oct 23, 2013 6:28 pm

a_better_man_now wrote:Lizzie, so you think just have some designs prepared for them, but just don't put up a menu board?  Maybe a book and the parents choose?

Btw if u care to share any simple Christmas designs to help me out, I'd really appreciate it (promise I won't use the photos or copy exactly lol).
I just ask the kids what they would like!
If it's something I can't do, I'll tell them and suggest something else.
I had a word-menu once, worked well too, just didn't use pictures.

And for the christmas designs: http://www.facepaintforum.com/t8320-starting-up-christmas-designs?highlight=Christmas

And don't believe everything Fesspenter says... She is so helpfull to all of us!! Besides being helpfull, she's kind and adorable and never fails to brighten up our days!
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Re: booked a party for an autism group...

Post by nikkili26 on Thu Oct 24, 2013 2:03 am

Lol Lisa is, you forgot to mention her vulgar candor and wit.lol.
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Re: booked a party for an autism group...

Post by a_better_man_now on Thu Oct 24, 2013 8:59 am

Lizzie, thanks for posting the link to that thread, a lot of great ideas on there. I think another important thing for me to work on between now and the gig, is speed and tighter line work.
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