Iris Grace – is a 4 year old little girl who is preverbal and has autism. She has an extraordinary talent; she paints and she expresses herself through her paintings.
This is part 2 of our interview with Arabella Carter-Johnson, Iris’s mother. Part 1 can be read here
Iris was diagnosed as having autism at the age of 2 years. We asked Arabella if she knew during those very early years that something was ‘not right’ and if she had sensed that Iris may be on the autistic spectrum. She told us that she and Iris’s father were aware from when she was a baby that there was something different.
“At first we thought she might be deaf. I found info on the internet that made me think she was Autistic and then we had her assessed but we had to push hard to get there. The system is very slow and you have to chase up on everything. Even when it was confirmed she wasn’t deaf there was no follow up to discuss what was wrong. We had to push things along at every step.”
Iris who is nearly 5 is home educated and Arabella told us that her little girl excels the most when you use her passions to teach her different topics.
“I have found by creating our own syllabus using music, art, wildlife, animals and nature I can teach her effectively and still cover the National curriculum guidelines for her age.”
We were interested to learn what support Arabella and her partner receive in their caring roles. Arabella told us:
“Iris’s father works from home so he is always close by to help if needed going shopping if I can’t get out with Iris and my family is close by and my mother has been a constant support for me which I deeply appreciate.”
We asked Arabella what therapies and interventions have worked for Iris.
“I found Play therapy and Floor time that was done by me to be very effective and we had a private O.T who was fantastic, every week for a year. She had some Equine therapy, Homeopathy, Dietician, Music therapy every week, Yoga therapist. Her art of course and now Thula plays her part.”
Thula is the family cat that can be seen on the many photographs of Iris painting. We asked about Iris’s relationship with Thula, as they seem to share a very special bond and it appears that they are inseparable.
“They do share a very special bond and they spend a lot of time together, but Iris doesn’t pick her up, or hug her very often. They are more like companions/friends that go on adventures together.”
We noticed that in many pictures, Iris wears a ‘superhero cape’, and we wondered why she chooses to do so.
“The cloak is to do with her sensitivities to clothing, for a while it was all she would wear on her top half of her body.”
All profits from the sales of Iris’s art go towards more art materials and her on going private therapists – Occupational therapy, speech therapy, Yoga, Music therapy and her future.
A portrait of an artist video
We would very much like to thank Arabella for taking the time to interview with us and for sharing with the world her daughter’s beautiful and inspiring paintings.
Iris Grace Paintings can be followed on Facebook
Iris Grace Painting website can be found here