Mother of Son With Autism Hand-Paints Rocks to Promote Autism Awareness
A mother in Columbia Falls, Montana is promoting autism awareness in a unique and artistic way.
Christine Wiley, whose son Dylan has autism, has begun hand-painting rocks, with a resource on the back for people to learn more. Following Dylan’s diagnosis, Wiley realized the ignorance and lack of understanding surrounding autism, a spectrum of conditions that impairs social skills and verbal communication and affects millions of people worldwide.
Looking in, they don't really understand what Autism really is,” Wiley said, according to a report this month by Kpax.com. “They just assume that your child is out of control and being a brat and that you need to do something about it.”
She added that she herself didn’t realize Dylan had autism, assuming he was only slightly delayed, until he joined the Head Start program and was diagnosed. Wiley was then provided with the resources she needed.
To promote autism awareness, Wiley hides her painted rocks in various locations in the area, where they might be discovered by strangers, who can then follow a link to her website, Autism Rockz.
“These rocks, [we] go out and we hide them around the valley. We've hid them in Whitefish, Kalispell, Columbia Falls,” Wiley said. “And when they're found [it], if you look on the backside of the rock it, gives a description of the website. They go to the Autism Rockz. And when you get there, it explains about Autism and the misunderstandings."
Dylan, for his part, said he appreciates his mother’s efforts towards raising autism awareness and breaking down stereotypes about people on the spectrum.
“She's making awareness for people like me and giving them a chance in the world,” Dylan said. “Everyone that has autism is looked at differently and it's awful."
Wiley says she plans to continue her project, which been successful thus far.