Iris Grace is a 5-year-old who lives with her mom, her dad, and her cat in Leicestershire, England. In December 2011, Iris was diagnosed with autism, which affected her ability to communicate, caused her to become “desperately distressed” when she would interact with other children, and resulted in certain obsessive behaviors.
“She is now starting to speak but that doesn’t come easily to her and she has great trouble with interacting with others,” her mom, Arabella Carter-John, explains on Iris’ website. “But [she] expresses herself through movement and art.”
Iris likes nature and flowers and reading and dancing, but her favorite thing to do is paint. Her mom says she has an “incredible concentration span of around 2 hours each time she paints.”
And painting helps with her speech therapy and joint attention.
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Arabella says that Iris has “an understanding of colours and how they interact with each other.” Which is a bit of an understatement: Iris’ paintings are truly remarkable and have sold for thousands of dollars in the UK and around the globe, from the U.S. to Asia.
All proceeds go to paying for Iris’ private therapy — including occupational therapy, speech therapy, yoga, music therapy — future expenses, and obviously, more painting supplies.
Her story has spread even further.
“We were very surprised when the story travelled the globe last year, all I set out to do was to raise some Autism Awareness in our local town,” Arabella told ETonline. “Then for her story to spread once again this time through social media, it absolutely amazing.”
Her mom says, “She now rides on my back in fits of laughter, squealing with delight, plays, communicates by creating her own signs, a few small words and her sleeping is much better.”
You can read more about Iris on her blog or check out her paintings here.