:D :D Our granddaughter has autism. We've known this since she was about 3 years old; she is now 14. At one point she lived in Alaska with her mother and step-father(She was about 8 years old) While I was visiting there with her and it was way to cold to be outdoors, I decided to teach her to make a quilt. We started on a simple 9 patch which we sewed by hand. This taught her to thread a needle, tie a knot, and sew a 1/4 inch straight seam with small stitches. She was so very proud of her accomplishments and it certainly helped passed the time when there is more darkness than daylight. I think we forgot that it was dark and cold outside.
More than filling the time, we had discovered a way to captilize on some of her obsessive/compulsive nature. She loves colors, she is very "pickey" about the feel of fabrics in her clothes so 100% cotton fabric met "the feel test". Then the need to have everything "just perfect" got realy good results in a quilt block.
This first quilt has her "hooked on quilting". She has returned to Texas to live with us and Santa brought her her own sewing machine in 2005. We have now graduated to making star quilts; she loves every minute of her quilting time, and it has been a way she spends time in the sewing room away from me. Some times she sews all day long.
Not all autistic children will be able to learn to quilt. Some have very limited motor skills. Our child is very fortunate to have very very good fine motor skills. We had a very sharp teacher who had sissors in her hands by the time she was 3 years old and by the time she was 5 teachers had her cutting out items to be used for class projects.
This posting is to encourage anyone out there who may have children in their family with disabilities such as autism to search for and use the abilities which they do have. Quilting may not fit everyone. With our grandaughter, quilting has been a very great opportunity for her to excell and has helped me as a caregiver to provide an activity which I only supervise. I do need to say that I have been very careful to explain safety issues like closing the rotary cutter each time it is laid aside, and not only have I talked about this I practice everything!!!!
Also, each person/child with a disability may have special ways in which they learn. Our child seems to learn best by watching someone, and she observes every minute motion. When we are starting a new quilt, I sew out the first block while she is watching and from then on she is on her way. There have been times when I am making some of the blocks with her and there have been times when my block does not meet her standards and she throws it aside.