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Thursday, July 9, 2009

Sacred Threads: Asperger's Healing Quilt

OK, even though I posted tonight on another topic, I thought I had better do one on yet another of the Sacred Threads exhibition. Yes, there are STILL more quilts which I thought were pretty special.

Here's Kathy York's brilliant piece which grabs you in with color and texture. Her quilt is entitled "Falling through the Cracks."

In her artist's statement, Kathy explains that this quilt represents her son's travails with Asperger's syndrome:

"There is no perfect place for my son at school. He has Asperger's, which is a high-functioning form of autism. A regular classroom uses all his coping skills, just to be there, and attend to the overwhelming sensory input and social expectations. And the special education classes don't fit him either. So, it is no wonder that at times I feel like he is falling through the cracks of public school. His new caseworker tries to “catch” him, she is a godsend and has brought immeasurable healing to our family. "

One of my close friends in Connecticut has a son who has Aspergers and in many ways, this quilt reminds me of him.

Here, the caseworker tries to catch the child. Notice in the "sky" the whirlwind like quilting in the little diamond shaped "holes"? I feel like this represents my friend Betsy's, and her son's, feelings as they try to cope with this neurological disorder.

The colors are bright, as the kids often are, and full of vitality and texture. The buttons march on in little rows, but the marble like shapes, although similar, just don't fit and fall out.

Kathy's quilting patterns mimic the disorientation and tumult of working with an Asperger's child. It's not all negative, as the quilt feels joyous, but it is a struggle as they try to find their places.

In Connecticut, I was close friends with yet another woman who had a son with Autism. Here, another quilter has a son who also has Aspergers. I'm truly dumbfounded as until I met the women in Connecticut in the 1990s, I had never known of anyone with this diagnosis. I watched as Betsy and her husband struggled in trying to find what was the difficulty in a really bright child. I also watched as my other friend's struggles with her low functioning child tore at her family.

Why is it that there are so many children diagnosed with Autism? I really don't know. I do know that with Betsy's son, he is a bright, funny kid with an incredible sense of humor even if it is a bit different than most people's. Kathy must have a similar experience with her son as I certainly can relate to her quilt even though my child doesn't have this challenge.

Kathy is from Austin, Texas and you can see more of her wonderful work on her blog:


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