Autistic student uses art as therapeutic tool


A Fox Chapel Space Large University senior is channeling her love of artwork as a therapeutic resource.

Emily Hook, 17, is autistic, but her diagnosis came a long time after having difficulties with psychological health and fitness difficulties that 1st surfaced in the third-quality.

“I’ve been producing artwork for as lengthy as I can try to remember,” said Emily, who graduates June 5. “Art has been a helpful software for speaking my thoughts and thoughts when I was unable to come across the words and phrases to describe them.”

Emily lives in Aspinwall with her dad and mom, John and Katherine Hook, brother William and the spouse and children animals — dachshunds Redd and Peyton.


Louis B. Ruediger | Tribune-Evaluation

Emily Hook, a senior at Fox Chapel Higher College, will show up at Rhode Island School of Style, majoring in graphic design. Emily normally produces artwork that represents her experiences connected to dwelling on the autism spectrum. She is joined on May 19 by her two dogs, Redd and Peyton.


Emily plans to attend Rhode Island College of Layout in Providence this tumble, majoring in graphic style and design.

In an illustration of lifetime imitating artwork, Emily frequently produces artwork that signifies her ordeals related to residing on the autism spectrum.

“I’m normally intrigued to know what attracts a person to a unique piece or how they feel looking at it,” she explained.

Her favored mediums are photography, digital illustrations, paint markers, paint, embroidery and collages.

Previously this year, Emily gained 3 Gold Essential awards for her artwork portfolio in the Scholastic Art Awards, the 1st Fox Chapel Area University District college student to do so.

Her blended media piece, “Night in the City,” was nominated in the American Visions group.

Christine Smith, a pc artwork teacher at FCAHS, has taught Emily the very last 4 a long time.

Smith praised Emily’s artistic model as exceptional.

“She’s realized to mix her images abilities with her drawing skills. We were thrilled to see it grow to be so extremely acknowledged by the regional amount of scholastic judges when she gained a gold key,” Smith stated.


Courtesy of Emily Hook

An orignial blended media piece created by Fox Chapel Region Superior University university student Emily Hook. Hook will attend Rhode Island School of Style and design in Providence this drop.


Amy Wickman, a photography teacher at FCAHS, has taught Emily for 3 years.

“Her ultimate portfolio function in AP pictures was stellar. This concept-centered function on the autistic brain demonstrates mastery in talent, experimentation and study. Emily has set the bar superior for the FCAHS artwork software and has demonstrated her peers what it is to be an unbiased artist and establish get the job done at a university amount expectation.”

Emily’s mom Katherine reported her daughter’s late diagnosis get rid of light-weight on why a lot of of the prior treatments and therapies did not alleviate her signs or symptoms.

“She was equipped to realize that this was element of who she is,” explained Katherine Hook.

For Emily, acquiring a analysis throughout her late teenagers was tough.

“I have now completely recognized the analysis and really don’t see it as a weakness, but in its place as a critical piece in what has formed me into the man or woman I am these days,” claimed Emily, who offers with obsessive-compulsive disorder, anxiety and despair.

“There is continue to a disheartening sum of stigma bordering mental overall health, and in order to lesson the stigma, we want to normalize achieving out for aid and talking about how we truly feel,” she said.

In addition to her creative pursuits, Emily volunteers annually at Spin Your Wheels, a physical fitness-themed fundraiser held in Aspinwall.

This yr, she produced and donated a massive raffle basket with items of her art, together with a sticker with her acquire on a new image symbolizing autism.

The sticker highlighted an infinity symbol designed up of flowers.

“She brings a one of a kind point of view to how we tactic just about every aspect of Spin Your Wheels and without a doubt helped to make the day the good results it was,” reported function organizer and mate Jennifer Evashavik. “She’s really incredible. Autism seems distinct on a lot of ladies. They are really fantastic as “masking,” so several situations they’re either misdiagnosed or diagnosed afterwards in lifestyle, causing them to endure mentally. With Emily, her prognosis lastly gave her answers and helped her persevere.”

When Emily isn’t generating authentic art she competes nationally as an indoor climber, enjoys reading, producing, the outdoor and expending time outdoor. Furthermore, she’s a member of the Finest Buddies Club at FCAHS.

Joyce Hanz is a Tribune-Evaluation staff author. You can get in touch with Joyce at 724-226-7725 , [email protected] or by way of Twitter .


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