Artistic expression is an ‘energy outlet’

Artistic expression is an ‘energy outlet’

Ben Whymark painting with sister, Mia, three and mum, Sonia. Picture: OX67519 Damian Halliwell

An example of Ben's work

First published in News Herald Series: Photograph of the Author by , Health reporter, also covering Kidlington. Call me on 01865 425271

OFTEN unable to express his feelings, brain damaged Ben Whymark is finding his voice thanks to the magic of art.

The seven-year-old contracted meningitis aged 16 months and suffered damage to the frontal lobes and the back of his brain.

The Didcot youngster’s family was asked by the Child Brain Injury Trust if he wanted to contribute artwork for Action for Brain Injury Week.

And now he has had his first two efforts displayed in a London hotel.

One picture shows a family day out with noises such as “crunching leaves” and “tweet” written around him. Another depicts his head erupting like a volcano.

Mum Sonia, 33, said: “He will just switch off and it will be ‘Ben, Ben’ and he doesn’t talk to you. He could be walking into the road and he doesn’t know what he is doing.”

She said: “The big thing is his memory processing speed, he needs a lot longer to listen to instructions and do what he is asked to do.

“His anxiety is quite high. He doesn’t really like change at all, he doesn’t have an off switch, he needs melatonin to help him go to sleep.”

Ben said it was “absolutely amazing” to see his work displayed at the Town Hall Hotel, Bethnal Green, during Action for Brain Injury Week, from May 12 to 18.

He said: “The thing I liked doing best was drawing the train, the cars and the people.

“The reason I like this the best was I like putting on the page the things that are real.”

His mum added: “I think it is helping. It is allowing him to grab hold of his feelings and express them in a safe way.

“He is a wonderful, amazing little boy, he really is something very, very special.”

Charity chief executive Lisa Turan said: “We want this project to not just highlight some of the difficulties children with an acquired brain injury face but also make adults think about how they act and react to children who may be exhibiting some of these behaviours and who unbeknown to them, have an acquired brain injury.”

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