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April 2, 2011

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Art program helps autistic children

CHILDREN with autism in the city can benefit from a new volunteer treatment program to help them communicate through painting.

Funded by Shanghai Welfare Lottery Center, volunteer organizations launched the "rainbow brush" painting program to help children in the lead up to World Autism Awareness Day today.

"Art can help artistic children with poor language development express their feelings," said He Bin, an artist and a volunteer teacher on the program. "Moreover, learning painting can help kids with autism improve their coordination," he said.

He said many autistic children have great talent for art, citing English artist Stephen Wiltshire, who has been diagnosed with autism, as a role model.

Wiltshire, who draws landscapes after seeing them just once, came to draw at the World Expo in Shanghai last year.

The program has reached nearly 100 children since it was launched last month.

A week-long exhibition of their paintings was launched yesterday in the M50 Creative Garden at the south bank of Suzhou Creek, with further shows planned.

Shanghai has around 8,000 children with autism.


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