“Look at our mosaics!” The workshop-gym of life for young people with autism

from Rosella Redaelli

The activity of Cascina San Vincenzo was the birth of a laboratory that gives work and autonomy to 150 young people. And at the end of the day, anyone who wants to can stop and sleep. The association created a model center

Music by Fabrizio de Andr in the background and Gabriele, who knows all the texts by heart, sings while gluing the mosaic tiles on a wooden planter. Next to him is Edoardo who is plastering other cards, Federico who polishes the frames ready to be packaged and then Francesco, Chiara, Luca, Andrea. In the mosaic workshop in via Don Girotti in Concorezzo (in the photo) the future mosaic artisans are all children with autism, young adults who, flanked by the art teacher Dula Sironi and a team of educators, are learning a profession for which they receive a salary at the end of the month. The artistic laboratory was inaugurated last April 2 on the occasion of the world day for autism sensitivity and is only the latest project of the Cascina San Vincenzo association which for ten years has offered answers to 150 families who, after a diagnosis of discomfort of the spectrum autistic, they ask for help.

When we had the diagnosis of our son who is now 22 – he explains Efrem Fumagalli, president and one of the founders of the association – no one has been able to show us a way to go and so with a group of families we decided that we had to offer us some answers, think of services, workshops, accompanying paths towards autonomy for these children. The farmhouse, received on loan for use by Caritas, is now a model center: here live two families who take care of the reception and organization, there is a large apartment on the first floor that there training ground towards autonomy life for the kids who learn home management here with personalized courses, the attic instead is the place for free time courses on weekends, but also for training meetings for teachers, listening for families, siblings, grandparents autistic boys. We follow 150 children aged 2 to 38 – explains Fumagalli – we have 70 on the waiting list. The new spaces of the laboratory, 120 square meters bright and with two windows overlooking the street, will allow us to welcome a few more and have them followed by our team of psychologists, pedagogists, speech therapists, educators. Decorating vases, flower boxes, tables, Christmas objects and favors with mosaic tiles seems to be a very suitable activity: I started to propose some workshops on the weekend in the oratory rooms – he explains Dula Sironi, graduated from the mosaic school of Spilimbergo – it was a gamble, but I was pretty sure it would work, because it’s a business with precise phases, clear tasks. To facilitate the task of the future mosaic masters the spaces of the laboratory have been studied in every detail: at the entrance there are photographs of the boys, next to the task of the day characterized by different colors.

We have prepared some cards – explains Sironi – in which the necessary tools are indicated for each stage of processing, while other cards summarize the actions to be carried out at the end of the day such as cleaning the brushes and rearranging the work table. The transparent boxes with thousands of ready-made cards of every shade of color are all numbered, while on the cabinets there are images of what they contain inside: gouges, tweezers, glue, vinegar, putty. After the working day – he continues Alessandra Ballar, clinical manager – children can spend a night on the farm, an important moment for socializing, to accept the separation of the family of origin, to work on skills. The autism spectrum has many faces, we have high functioning boys who attend university, others who have found work in local companies, others with lower functioning who find the right context to grow in the artisan workshop. Our boys are proud of their work – concludes Fumagalli – egi feel good in this context which was designed for them. Very often, however, the work activities offered to autistic children require that children adapt to the context, but not the best way for everyone. The objects produced by the mosaic workshop travel on social networks and are in great demand. They are not yet for sale, but can be received with a donation to the non-profit organization.

May 22, 2022 (change May 22, 2022 | 5:55 pm)

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