By Alicia Ewen
Coulter Keller is four years old and loves dinosaurs.
[quote_center]”I’m making an obdominous rex,” says Coulter Keller, 4 year old Anne Carlsen Client.[/quote_center]
This budding artist also has autism.
“Autism is a neurological disability that can create problems with communication, problems with social skills,” says Charles Van Zee, Autism Expert.
Charles Van Zee works with many kids with autism. Through his class, he offers a way for the children to express themselves.
“There are a wide variety of symptoms and every kid has their own unique combination of the different possible outcomes. And that’s something that we really see a lot in our glass art is that the style reflects the kids” says Van Zee.
“This is what you made last week. Do you like it?” says Van Zee, showing Coulter his work.
“Yea” says Coulter.
Van Zee says his class is the only one in the country that specializes on working with autistic students.
He says someone with autism can benefit from creating 3D art in many ways such as improving hand eye coordination, critical thinking and individual expression.
“I think with Coulter it’s the level of enthusiasm. For a lot of kids with autism getting them to transition into new activities can be a little more of a chore but most of the kids that have done it just jump right into it,” says Van Zee.
“They’re chunks!” says Coulter, scooping out glass pieces from his jar.
“That really illustrates what autism is. People think of it, like with some other types of disabilities as this set standard, this is what you’re going to get, but it’s really not,” says Van Zee.
An art class teaching a lesson that every child is as unique as their creations.
Van Zee says he has high hopes for the class in the future and wants to make Christmas Ornaments with the kids for the holidays.