Local 9-year-old with Autism publishes artwork

Parents Susan and Mike Maggio reading "My Dog Holly," a book illustrated and authored by their 9-year-old daughter, Kristin.

AKRON, N.Y. (WIVB)- 9-year-old Kristin Maggio is your average fourth grader, only she’s got a pretty special gift. She’s already a published artist.

“There was a very long period of time where she didn’t have any words at all, and she used to draw to communicate with us. So that’s kind of how it started,” said Kristin’s mom, Susan.

Kristin has Autism. Talking can be hard for her, so she draws instead.

She completed a stunning replica of Starry Night at age five.

“I was just blown away. I couldn’t believe it. The talent she has, it’s such a gift.” said Mike Maggio, Kristin’s dad.

It wasn’t until a terrible loss though, that Kristin’s parents realized her art was also her therapy.

Kristin’s longtime therapy dog, Holly, passed away.

She didn’t speak about her feelings, but instead reached for a paper and pencil to express her grief.

“It was drawing after drawing. Just drawing it, when she was done she threw it over her shoulder, did another drawing, threw it over her shoulder, and when I gathered them all together it was like looking at a photo album,” Susan told News 4.

So the Maggio’s helped Kristin write captions for the pictures, and turned it into a book.

They remember when they learned of Kristin’s diagnosis, and want their daughter’s book to serve as a symbol of hope for other parents.

“You hear all about the delays, and all about the things they can’t do. And Kristin has this amazing ability that’s wonderful to share with people and it also just shines the light on the things they can do,” said Susan.

“My Dog Holly” can be found online at Amazon, through her online store, or at the Walden Galleria at the Autism Services gift-wrapping counter.

50 percent of the book proceeds will be donated to Autism Services.

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