Autistic or Artistic?
Siao displays amazing talent and creativity
Siao Siang – the artist at work
Siao was born via an emergency C-section. The newborn was found to have the umbilical cord around his neck, and he was born with cyanotic hands and feet. The next day, he was severely jaundiced.
First signs of a problem
Parents recall “We noticed that Siao Siang had a problem when his speech was diminishing and he was also no longer making as much eye contact when he was 13 months old. By 18 months he totally lost his speech and no longer made eye contact with others.” Siao Siang did not interact socially and was isolating himself increasingly. Their concerns grew to alarm as their son was clearly hyperactive and sleepless at night. He developed asthma at 2 years of age, and was hospitalized five times for asthma attacks. “The paediatrician we consulted disagreed with us that Siao Siang had a problem and he told us that Siao Siang was just one of a number of boys who were late bloomers.” Finally Siao was diagnosed as autistic, a frightening and concerning diagnosis.
“We knew about Autism, but we didn’t know that he had a brain injury.”
“We knew about Autism, we knew that he might be given that diagnosis and placed into that category. Of course, we were sad and anxious, but my wife and I felt and knew we could do something to help him. We definitely started to love him more, but we didn’t know that he had a brain injury.”
When their son was three years of age, Siao’s parents attended the “What to Do About Your Brain Injured Child” course, and learned how to help him. At three years of age, he was still not speaking and did not understand his surroundings well. He continued to be hyperactive and inappropriate in his behavior. Both his respiration and his sleep were poor and he had difficulty using his hands in any practical way. He seemed unaware of sirens yet he was bothered by household sounds. He often used humming to drown out the noise of crowds. He was insensitive to pain, he walked on his tiptoes and he was not able to run.
“After the first lecture, we found hope that we can recover our boy.”
After attending the course, parents began a treatment program at home.
Father remembers “The single most important thing we learned is that Siao Siang is a complete human being with a lot of potential, just waiting for us to bring it out. He is just trapped by the injuries and he desires to be loved and treated like everyone else. After the first lecture, we found hope that we can recover our boy.”
After three years of an excellent nutritional program, a carefully designed basic neurological program and a very stimulating intellectual program the now six-year-old Siao Siang had improved substantially. He could now read three years beyond his age level. It was hard to get a book out his hands. He understanding was age level or above and he reacted appropriately to loud sounds and pain. He was able to run 100 meters in one minute, and was able to speak in sentences. He able to write for the first time in sentences.
All hands on deck – team work rules!
By fourteen he was a speed reader, loved the sciences and was typing on the computer and writing beautiful poetry.
A speed-reading bookworm is born
As part of his problem solving program Siao Siang builds a wine rack
Artist before artisan: In a spirit of play Siao Siang cannot resist showing another possible use of the bars of the wine rack
Parents did not stop there – After each visit to The Institutes they had an updated and revised home program. This helped to speed his progress and enabled him to reach new heights.
Siao Siang loved to write, draw and make calculations
Their devotion was incredible, and the results from the program showed. By fourteen years of age, the young man was now a speed reader of adult level books. He especially enjoyed scientific topics such as geology, zoology, and genetics, and read two books each day. He was typing on the computer, and creating beautiful poetry. He could ride a bicycle and became skillful at gymnastics, he was now running 100 meters in 22 seconds’ time. He had been 100% healthy for over six years, not even a slight cold.
Evaluation: Siao Siag at The Institutes with Mother and little sister and his staff advocate, Miki Nakayachi
An extraordinary artist emerges
Today, Siao is a successful artist, creating lush and gorgeous landscapes and portraits, most especially of animals. He has written and illustrated a book, emblazoned bags and blouses, and displayed his work in professional settings.
The beginning: What started as intricate doodles and then drawings develops into something really special that communicates his message about all of nature and the world around him.
Pencil on paper: A Fantasy
The artist with a completed work. Agrylic on canvas on four panels : Otters and Carp
How do parents feel about Siao’s accomlishements?
“We are simply proud of him! Overcoming his many challenges at every moment is an heroic act, for there is too little applause given the effort. He is an inspiration to his mother, father and sister and, indeed, everyone who knows and loves him.”
Some of Siao Siang’s Accomplishments:
- He has developed a deep love of animals and nature.
- He has taught himself Chinese phonetics (better than his father)
- His English vocabulary is excellent (larger than his Mother’s)
- He has overcome many illness such as severe asthma
- Physically he is a runner, a cyclist and a gymnast
- He is learning the violin.
Siao takes on the violin
He is happiest when he is creating something new. His artistic abilty continues to grow and develope thanks to his hard work and his dedication as an artist. He draws and paints regularly. A number of art exhibitions have featured his work, including a solo exhibit “Beautiful Wild Animals” hosted by The Singapore Art Academy and officially launched by Jose Ramos-Horta, the president of Timor-Leste. He was awarded the Bronze medal in the Singapore Youth Festival Competition in 2008. He also illustrated a children’s book “Hey, I know you”, published in December 2010.
The Artist at work
A recent work - Golden Retriever titled: “Hello, you are my human”
What advice would Siao Siang’s parents give to other parents of a brain-injured child?
“We think that parents should love their child even more. See the beauty in him or in her. Attend the “What to do“ course and start the intensive program as soon as possible. This will be the most rewarding thing for the family and for the parents.”
An Exhibit of the works of Siao Siang
Siao Siang kindly permits us to make an extensive exhibit of his most recent works whenever we present the What To Do About Your Brain-injured Child course in Singapore.