Autism is a condition that deeply affects the lives of many children and often makes engaging in social interactions extremely difficult.
But, sometimes a little bit of hope, a paintbrush and a new BFF can make a world of difference.
Case in point: Iris Grace and her furry friend, Thula.
Iris Grace was struggling with the symptoms of autism when a little cat named Thula came into her life.
Iris Grace and Thula became instantly inseparable, and this newfound friendship helped Iris Grace discover her voice, as well as a serious artistic talent.
With the help of her feline friend, Iris Grace created all sorts of stunning paintings that have been purchased by various art collectors and even celebs like Angelina Jolie.
Iris Grace's family decided to create a book that tells the inspiring story of this unlikely friendship, with the hope it will be able to help others dealing with autism.
In a post, Iris Grace's mother, Arabella Carter-Johnson, wrote,
I wanted to raise awareness of autism, to show people that there can be a future, a bright one. The techniques that work for Iris may not work with every child but I do believe there is always a key – it is about following the lead of your child.
Take a look at the pictures below to see this heartwarming story.
Iris Grace is a 6-year-old girl with autism who was struggling to speak, read and interact with others...
A very happy girl this morning watching the aeroplane and helicopter display.https://www.facebook.com/thelittleexplorersactivityclub Posted by Iris Grace Painting on Saturday, June 14, 2014
...until she found her furry BFF, a cat named Thula.
This is one of the photos I took of Thula last night with Iris, she was holding it up and looking through to see Thula... Posted by Iris Grace Painting on Wednesday, March 19, 2014
With Thula's help, Iris Grace was able to discover her voice as well as her incredible gift to create all sorts of amazing artwork.
The artist's assistant is paying great attention this evening while she is shown various techniques with the small brushes. Posted by Iris Grace Painting on Monday, February 17, 2014
Iris Grace's mother told BoredPanda, “Thula has lowered [Iris'] daily anxieties in life and keeps Iris calm, but equally has the effect of encouraging her to be more social.”
Iris wanted to know how the harness was fitted so I showed her before our outing in the car today. She inspected it so carefully before we left and Thula waited patiently - such a brilliant little kitten. Posted by Iris Grace Painting on Tuesday, February 4, 2014
Now, Iris Grace and Thula are practically inseparable, and together these two are, as her mom said, showing the world "different is brilliant."
Figured out a way for Iris to get her nap with Thula, introduce 'Rabbit' and very soon they were both fast asleep. Who said 3 is a crowd :-) Posted by Iris Grace Painting on Wednesday, January 22, 2014
With the help of her purrrfect little art assistant, Iris Grace created a variety of magnificent paintings...
Posted by Iris Grace Painting on Saturday, June 29, 2013
Such as her eye-catching "Over in the Ocean" piece...
Over in the Oceanhttp://www.irisgracepaintingshop.com/products/over-in-the-ocean-giclee-printPainted onto Yupo Paper with Acrylics (part of Iris's 'Under the Sea' themed project for her Home Education) Posted by Iris Grace Painting on Monday, January 18, 2016
Her "Sea Elf" painting...
Sea Elfhttp://www.irisgracepaintingshop.com/products/sea-elf-giclee-printPainted onto Yupo Paper with Acrylics (part of Iris's 'Under the Sea' themed project for her Home Education) Posted by Iris Grace Painting on Tuesday, January 19, 2016
...and this stunning work of art, "Dancing in Snowflakes."
Dancing in Snowflakes http://www.irisgracepaintingshop.com/products/dancing-in-snowflakes Posted by Iris Grace Painting on Thursday, February 18, 2016
The proud mom said, "Her exceptional focus and attention to details have helped her create incredibly beautiful paintings."
Paquita, 55cm x 75cm Posted by Iris Grace Painting on Tuesday, February 18, 2014
In fact, Iris Grace's paintings are so good, even Angelina Jolie purchased one of them.
Posted by Iris Grace Painting on Friday, June 27, 2014
Her mom continued, "Autism has opened up my perceptions of how you can teach a child. It doesn't have to be in a classroom it can be wherever the child is most comfortable, using their own interests to inspire them."
3 double page spreads of Iris and Thula in the You magazine :-) With edited extracts from the book !... Posted by Iris Grace Painting on Sunday, February 14, 2016
So, together with the help of a photographer and illustrator, Iris Grace's family created a book that shares the incredible story of a girl and her cat.
Still at no. 2 on the Amazon New Releases Bestseller listings, so exciting !For those abroad who would like to buy the hardcover you can buy it with free postage through this link - http://bit.ly/BuyIrisGrace Posted by Iris Grace Painting on Wednesday, February 24, 2016
This dynamic duo certainly is an inspiration to all.
Thula admiring her favourite painting in the Iris Grace book, 'Raining Cats'. I wonder which one will be your favourite :-)http://hyperurl.co/IrisGrace Posted by Iris Grace Painting on Saturday, February 6, 2016
Citations: My 6-Year-Old With Autism Creates Stunning Art And Angelina Jolie Just Bought Her Painting! (BoredPanda), Heartwarming Friendship Of A 5-Year-Old Girl With Autism And Her Therapy Cat (BoredPanda)