UNLOCKING THE CHAINS OF AUTISM

Using Art as a Medium to Transcend the Limitations of Words

  Renowned American artist Georgia O'Keeffe once said, "I found I could say things with color and shapes that I couldn't say any other way, things I had no words for." Kim Miller, a talented young artist with autism, also draws to express things she can't say in words.

  "Art plays many roles in my life," writes Kim. "It helps me express feelings, communicate and heal my wounds. Along with my disability comes a great gift." Kim's mother, Eileen Miller, has captured this gift in her new book The Girl Who Spoke with Pictures [September 2008, Jessica Kingsley Publishers, 208 pages, 16 color pages, 90 illustrations, paperback, 978-1-84310-889-4, $19.95]. "This book is about a child who reached out past the confines of her disability to reveal her feelings and her thought processes through the medium of art," Miller explains in the book's foreword. Illustrated with drawings created by Kim between the ages of 3 and 17 years old, the book gives an insight into how Kim expressed her thoughts and feelings through pictures, revealing her capacity to learn and be understood by those around her. Reflecting on her daughter's artwork, Miller explores the concept of art as a universal language that can transcend barriers and enhance the personal and educational experiences of those with autism.

  "Going through the drawing process is like thinking out loud, but on paper," writes Kim. "I record my hopes and dreams as well as circumstances that make life difficult. For years I have been chained by autism, and art is my key to unlock my inner desires. After many years of creating, I realize that I have become a liberated autistic individual not confined by mere words."

  Kim's artwork combines with her mother's moving examples and vignettes surrounding her daughter's struggle to be understood to create a window into one autistic girl's experience, espousing Pablo Picasso's own belief that "a painter has only one language."

  Eileen Miller is a parent advocate for her daughter, Kim. She has worked extensively with her local Early Intervention and public school district to increase awareness of children with autism, placing an emphasis on working with the families of those children. She lives in Oregon with her husband and daughter. Kim Miller is an accomplished artist. She illustrated the children's book Apples for Cheyenne by Elizabeth Gerlach and is now a sophomore attending community college in Oregon.


  For further information or for a review copy, please contact:

Teresa Finnegan, Jessica Kingsley Publishers, 400 Market Street, Suite 400, Philadelphia, PA 19106, USA.

Tel: (215) 922-1161; Fax: (215) 922-1474; email:

teresa.finnegan@jkp.com