New hobbies cultivate creativity and foster well-being

Sparking one’s imagination and putting hands to work can be calming and empowering. Whether it is dancing or drawing, running or writing, active ways of expressing oneself can be beneficial for the mind and body.

A seven-year-old Melbourne boy with Autism has found a special way to express his creativity. He weaves colorful 3D loom bracelets and shares his work with friends and family. Jake Grima was taught how to make loom bracelets from a friend at school, but initially became frustrated when he attempted to make his own. In an effort to persevere, he started watching YouTube videos, where he cultivated his hobby and learned how to make complex 3D structures.

In an interview with Australia’s 9News, Jake’s mother, Jennifer, describes his excitement of his newfound talent: “He sits on his iPad and teaches himself to make them which may take him 8-10 hours over two to three days…he has such a passion for them and is so proud of himself.” With the access to technology and commitment to his art form, Jake has gained pride and ownership of this creative aspect of his life.  Jake has worked on making loom bracelets for about four months, and has found his “happy place,” a balance of improving his behavior and exercising creativity. The hours he spends on creating the vibrant and complicated bracelets has also improved his hand coordination.

Food in 3D-loom band form!

Jennifer says Jake’s mood and confidence have taken a positive turn since he started his hobby. She attests that Jake’s life is happy and bright, as well as those of the people around him. “He is such a tranquil, pleasant, and witty person… He has made our lives more interesting and he’s taught me more in seven years than anything else in my whole life… I feel gifted to have a son with such a special gift and wouldn’t change it for the world.”

By bridging gaps of art and technology, creative outlets like loom bracelets can bring to life one’s imagination. For children with Autism, finding healthy ways of expression can make all the difference in improving behavior, mood, and confidence. Jake and his colorful creations speak to the notion that everyone can create. Loom bracelets may not be a prevalent form of artistic expression, but they certainly are a big part of this child’s unique world.

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