Freshman art major Rene Salvador was diagnosed with Autism at age four.
Salvador said, “I was diagnosed by a neurologist with Autism Spectrum Disorder. My teachers would ask me questions, but I was unable to speak.”
Like many disorders, autism has different levels of severity. Autism Spectrum Disorder, also known as ASD, is a disorder where an individual will often have difficulties interacting socially, have repetitive behaviors, and sometimes will have symptoms that can affect the individual’s ability to function in society.
Since autism is a disorder, there are ways to help individuals like Salvador to cope and become successful despite it.
For Salvador, it was special education classes and art that helped him through his ASD.
Salvador said, “special needs classes helped me with social and life skills. For communication, they put me in speech therapy, but because of these classes I was unable to take art classes.”
After high school, Salvador took a course that focused on independent living at Taft College that, “helped me by teaching me how to live on my own, in the dorms, and also gave me job skills,” said Salvador.
While at Bakersfield College, Salvador took a time management class that helped him not only with time management, but also with his reading and writing skills.
In elementary and middle school, it was art that helped Salvador express himself.
“We did color therapy, which is the mixing of colors for painting and drawing. That helped me relax.”
The individual bright colors and mixing them are what attracted Salvador to art. He always liked to draw and paint tress and the sky. Blue is his favorite color. He tries to find interesting things to incorporate into his drawings or paintings.
While in beginning art class, Salvador tries to ask questions and not to let the pressure of the assignments criteria set by the professor stop him from completing his assignments.
“I’m comfortable with basic art that can help me when it gets harder. I find ways to make difficult things more comfortable.”
For Salvador, portrait drawing is a good experience that can be difficult at times, since you have to make adjustments based on who or what you’re drawing. His professor will make a suggestion and he will try it to see if that makes it any easier.
Salvador hopes to get a job where he is able to paint, draw, or do graphic design.