An Art Therapy Success Story

At age 2, Jake Schindler of Colfax,Wisconsin, was diagnosed with autism. Unable to speak, Jake has recently learned he can express himself through painting. It started when his grandfather saw a show on television about two men who were also on the spectrum that were able to create beautiful works of art. Jake’s mother, Christina Schindler, thought it would be a good idea to have Jake try this too.

One of Jake’s care workers, Teri Anderson, helps Jake set up for his painting sessions, “I set everything in front of him and I ask him what color he wants to use and he picks it up and sometimes he wants it in his hands and sometimes he wants me to drop it on his canvas.”[i] Both Teri and Christina notice that Jake enjoys painting with bright colors, particularly purple and pink, and reflects his good mood.

Christina can tell that Jake enjoys painting, “You can see he’s really enjoying it too. You’ll look at the corner of his eyes and grin and see all those facial expressions that at times we don’t see.”

Jake’s older brother is also autistic, but is verbal and can handle daily tasks more independently.

Christina is thrilled that her son has found an outlet to express himself, since he cannot do so with words. His paintings have been donated to the Red Cedar Medical Hospital where he was born, and has been transformed into mugs for sale at the Mane Street Salon and other areas in his community. His work has even been transformed into an interactive children’s book entitled “What Do You See?”

[i] “WEAU” Autistic artist paints a thousand words. 28 Oct 2013. Web. <>