By Eileen Miller
Kim Miller is a 22 year old artist who happens to have autism. She is unlike many other autistic individuals for the fact that she was born with the disability. As an infant, the effects of the disorder plagued her daily life. At the age of 3 when she was finally diagnosed, she presented 35 of 50 symptoms of classic autism. She did not have a communication system until she learned to use sign language and with several failed and successful systems, she put meaning to her utterances. She learned how to eventually speak but could not functionally verbally communicate until years later.
It was at the age of 3 1/2 years old, when Kim began to draw. It changed the course of her life. Not only could she draw three dimensionally in kindergarten, but also show a window into her rich and expressive world. At first her drawings showed a young child’s imaginings, but grew to be so much more. When teachers did not believe that a inclusion in a typical classroom in public school was the appropriate placement for an autistic child, Kim’s drawings proved them wrong. By jr.high school, she revealed that an autistic individual can have the same feelings of inadequacy, self discovery, and peer pressure as typical students her age.
She has illustrated a book that has been published titled: “The Girl Who Spoke With Pictures”, written by her mother, Eileen Miller. It was released in September 2008 by Jessica Kingsley Publishers. In the past week, the children’s book titled, “Apples For Cheyenne,” that she illustrated in partnership with Autism Author –Elizabeth King Gerlach, was released, Future Horizons Publishing. To learn more go to: http://www.thegirlwhospokewithpictures.com/
Not only is she challenged with autism but is a very gifted individual who is prolific with different mediums. She still chooses to use her artwork as a means to communicate her emotions although she is able to speak quite well. One resounding, reoccurring theme in her artwork is exploration of the female experience as an autistic individual.
(The first image is a picture of how she feels when she has sensory overload. The second image shows her with her companion dog in a peaceful moment.)