Charlie's autism hasn't stopped him creating his super artwork that has become internet success

Charlie Teague's autism meant he couldn't access a lot of what was on offer to him at 20 years of age, and his family were left wondering what his path would be.

Charlie Teague is 20 and from the Craven Arms area. He suffers with severe autism and learning difficulties. However he has started to make art and has found his calling
Charlie Teague is 20 and from the Craven Arms area. He suffers with severe autism and learning difficulties. However he has started to make art and has found his calling

That was until he discovered the wonderful world of art and metalwork and developed his skills during lockdown, meaning he could start to sell his work locally and nationally.

Charlie is still 20 and lives on his family farm in Beaucott, near Craven Arms.

Due to the severe nature of Charlie's autism and learning difficulties his parents, Sue and Tim, were struggling to find something to occupy him with when he finished school a couple of years ago.

One day, family friend and neighbour Laura Williams, and her parents, paid Charlie a visit – father Robert started Charlie off with metalwork, and mother Helen with painting and drawing.

Charlie with his paintings

And Sue said they were so surprised when Charlie, who is non-verbal, enjoyed the art lessons and they are so proud of how far he's come.

"He is a lively boy and always on the go," she said. "His sensory system means he has higher levels of being active, so he really can't sit still.

"While he was in education, which was three days a week, we thought how we could engage him in stuff that is active – we found he loved being outdoors.

"But now he is at home full-time, we had to really think what we were going to do.

"Laura's father came over and thought Charlie might like to do some metalwork. And that was the start of it really.

Charlie has enjoyed doing metalwork and has made tables and log baskets

"Charlie could originally only concentrate for about 15 minutes when he was around 18 years old. Now, he has built it up and concentrate for an hour at a time.

"The artwork started when Helen came over and said she would try some art work with him.

"That has really grown – he loves it. Its gone from scribbles on a page and mixing colours to really nice pieces."

Charlie also gets support from a friend, Derek, who visits. He can now make household items from log baskets to tables and also hanging baskets.

Laura, who has just finished university and is an aspiring actress, helped the family set up a website and Facebook page for Charlie and it has all grown from there – with people buying Charlie's art from all over the country.

Charlie Teague is 20 and from the Craven Arms area. He suffers with severe autism and learning difficulties. However he has started to make art and has found his calling

"With Facebook, I try to upload videos of Charlie working so people can see him," she said.

"Sometimes its hard for people to understand just how special it is that Charlie is doing what he is doing. The support has been great.

"Me and Charlie are near enough the same age and I've grown up with him.

"I'm really proud of where he's at as we're all on separate journeys, his is just a more difficult one. But in these times its great to build young people up and celebrate them."

Sue added: "The thing we notice more than anything is how Charlie's self-esteem has improved.

"His behaviour has improved ten-fold. Lockdown has limited Charlie's opportunities and facilities but it hasn't stopped him."

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