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"Art Speaks with the Colors of the Soul"

Tirana, Albania

March - April, 2021

As a result of Pandemic Covida-19 that has gripped the globe, there has been a noticeable deterioration of the emotional state of children with autism spectrum disorders and their families. Therefore, in these conditions, the Association "Albanian Initiative for Development" took the initiative to implement the project "Art speaks with the colors of the soul."

The aim of this project was the rehabilitation of children using a very effective instrument, ‘Figurative Art’. Painting is a value that conveys emancipation and tolerance between human beings.

Concrete objectives of this project were: 1) Promoting and developing the creative skills of children with special needs; 2) Their involvement in social activities and improvement of their psychological condition as a result of the Pandemic; 3) Improving the emotional state of family members of children with special needs; 4) Promoting the artistic skills of children with special needs.

The project consisted in the implementation of some creative painting sessions, which took place from 6 March to 27 March 2021.

Pictures taken during the activity days

Initially, children with autism problems were identified, from the age of 5 to the age of 14. The children were divided into age groups and creative sessions were held with psychologists and painting teachers for each group. The children learned the painting techniques, were introduced to the spectrum of colors and the materials applying their individual creations. The special feature of the project was the use of a prominent and wide variety of material base. Different working materials were used in each session. Specifically, canvases of different sizes were used. For the most realistic reflection of the works, professional brushes of different thicknesses and lengths were made available to the children. We selected a variety of colors of acrylic paints, as well as personal tables for the placement and spread of paints. Multi-colored sheets with and without glue, scissors, paper and cream glue, A3 tray with smooth and porous surface, multi-colored Plasticine was used. Part of the creativity was working with oil and watercolor paints, working on canvas and trays.

The psychologist's presence was intermittent throughout the process, not only to track their progress but also to assist in the socialization process. Psychologists assessed the children throughout their work. Their presence also affected the children's self-confidence and adaptation to the new physical and social environment.

At the end of the creative sessions, on the eve of the World Autism Awareness Day, a 4-day exhibition was organized with the most outstanding works made by children. All the children's works were presented to the public in a variety of easels, enabling the distribution in a uniform and artistic way, which were promoted in the most frequented area of Tirana, specifically in the Castle of Tirana. In conclusion, the families of the children were presented with their children's creations, certificates of appreciation and photo albums, with the most beautiful and meaningful moments during the process of learning and entertainment of the children.

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