Crews were called to 608 Equestrian Circle in the Blount County section of Seymour just after 3:00 a.m. Monday morning for what was originally a robbery call. Once officers arrived, they discovered an active meth lab.More >>
Five people are facing charges after an early morning meth lab bust in Seymour. Crews were called to 608 Equestrian Circle in the Blount County section of Seymour just after 3:00 a.m.More >>
SWEETWATER (WATE) - A couple of young autistic artists from Sweetwater are getting recognition for their artwork. Art therapy is helping them improve their social skills.
Autism is the fastest growing developmental disability in our country, according to the National Centers for Disease Control.
It is a neuro-biological disorder, usually striking children before their third birthday. It affects cognition, social interaction, and communication skills.
Some researchers have found art therapy is providing an educational breakthrough for autistic children, helping them do better in school and life.
Nine-year-old Jalyn Weston was sitting at his kitchen table recently drawing an intricate picture of a dinosaur. It is easy to see he has a talent for art and hard to believe he was ever developmentally delayed.
"The autism part is like having a different life than anybody else," Jalyn explained. "I just like to draw dinosaurs, ghostbusters, and tornadoes. I also love sharks -- Carcharadon Megalodon, the most fearsome great white shark."
Jalyn's Sweetwater home is his art studio. He has received national recognition for his artwork.
Jalyn's mom says he didn't speak in complete sentences until he was five, but always liked to draw. Today his art and school work go hand in hand.
Jalyn says science provides ideas for his art.
"What's really frustrating is I like science and I don't like math, and science and math go together," he said.
Art has also helped Sam Moses communicate better. The 22-year-old Sweetwater native was diagnosed with autism at the age of three. He just graduated high school.
Sam showed how he draws flowers from his mother's garden from memory.
"I just start drawing very, very slow," he explained. "It takes lots of patience to draw very good detail lines."
The artistic strokes seem to come easy to Sam. He's even started writing children's books with the help of a school provided voice recognition program. It records his story and types the words.
Before turning to this therapy, Sam's mom says, he could not read or write.
"When he was three years old he would just sit for hours and spin a bicycle tire," recalled Tammy Moses, Sam's mom.
Today, his art and storytelling provide an escape.
"Look at that, see how I did all these stars," said Sam, pointing to one of his storybooks about space. "It looks really good, and I did shadows of all the moon craters."
Sam showed yet another passion of his, building things.
"This is my room with all these airplanes, and boats, and cars," he said.
The room is a workshop of intricate models, all created by hand from found objects. There are planes hanging from the ceiling and shelves of engines, models of go-carts, and all kinds of other vehicles.
Sam and Jalyn are also among a group of artists that have their works displayed now at the Emporium in downtown Knoxville.
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