58-year old man with autism communicates through art

Here’s a quick addition to Paula Pompa-Craven’s post about finding housing for adults with autism. An article in the Marina del Rey Argonaut touts Pierre Dumas, an artist in southern California who has autism.

Pompa-Craven says interacting with his fellow artists at the art wall has done wonders for Dumas’ development.

“Being part of a community can be very therapeutic,” she said. “Pierre has grown by leaps and bounds. His eye contact, an important sign for someone with autism, has increased dramatically, and part of that is due to his family support and the opportunity to express himself artistically.”

Another huge part of Dumas’ growth is due to his living situation. Dr. Paula Pompa-Craven, Psy.D., is Regional Vice President at Easter Seals Southern California, and that affiliate was instrumental in moving Pierre Dumas from a more controlled environment in Costa Mesa to a group home in Culver City.

For the last three years, Dumas has lived with two other men, and according to those who know him best, he has progressed at a rate that no one had previously thought possible.

Yvette Beaird, Dumas’ sister, is a witness to those changes.

“He has changed so much,” she said. “He can prepare sandwiches for himself and do certain chores, which we thought would probably never happen.”

Prior to arriving at the home in Culver City, he was living in Costa Mesa in a more controlled environment. But since he moved to his new residence and began visiting the art walls, Dumas’ social skills have improved by leaps and bounds, says Beaird.

In Monday’s post, Paula said that Easter Seals Southern California has assisted many adults with autism and other disabilities from state-run institutions into community-based living arrangements. She said they’d found that “people often flourish, beyond the expectations of even their family members, in a home setting with enhanced staffing support.”

Just thought I’d link to this story so you could read about one of those adults who has flourished. Keep up the great work, Easter Seals Southern California!


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