Child artist with autism sells enough paintings to cover therapy
A painting by 12-year-old Eric that eventually helped fund his speech pathology and occupational therapy.
Martin Sy via Twitter

Child artist with autism sells enough paintings to cover therapy

Ratziel San Juan (Philstar.com) - February 19, 2021 - 12:48pm

MANILA, Philippines — Art therapy has helped 12-year-old Eric cope with autism, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic when both of his parents lost their jobs and needed to cut down expenses.

A timely opportunity for extra income came when Eric was commissioned to do a series of artworks.

The customer, however, ended up bailing out due to unforeseen circumstances, and even blocked Eric's mom on social media. She had already spent on the materials while Eric had finished the watercolor paintings — leaves and flowers that were his favorite subject.

This is when Eric's art therapist Martin Sy stepped in to offer the paintings online.

Each work was retailed for P1,500, but some social media users ended up paying extra "because they liked his paintings so much and believes it should be priced more and they just wanna help the family out," Martin told Philstar.com in an online interview.

Ultimately, 14 of Eric's artworks were sold for around P50,000 total. The amount is enough to cover almost six months of his therapy.

“Eric’s mom was very happy and proud since they didn’t expect the support would be so overwhelming,” Martin said.

Martin, the Executive Director of Mbrace Project and Program and Development Director for Special Achievers, helps fund Eric's speech pathology and occupational therapy. He regularly volunteers as an art therapist for children with cancer and learning disabilities, as well as those who were raped and physically abused.

Martin has known Eric for almost three years as his art therapist. Although the young artist remains non-verbal, Martin observed that art therapy, in tandem with consistent speech and occupational therapy, has greatly improved Eric's development.

"It is through art that he is able to express himself," Martin said.

Martin said that they have also sold paintings from his other students, which similarly funds their therapy.

Related cases may inquire from the art therapist’s organizations, Special Achievers, which helps youth with disabilities “reach their potential by focusing on their strengths and passions,” and Mbrace project, which helps “children with disabilities in the time of COVID-19.”

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