A few months ago, I made the mistake of sharing an article about Candy Waters. She’s a young, nonverbal girl with autism who expresses herself through paintings, which her parents then sell prints of online.
I say it’s a mistake, because I’ve gotten a few messages from people who believe the paintings sold aren’t really being done by her. So, I’ve been slowly making my way through what I could find.
Because dyslexia slows my reading down and I’ve been juggling things in my personal life, I haven’t been able to dedicate a whole lot of energy to this until recently.
I had liked Candy’s Facebook page shortly after discovering the initial article I’d and unliked it shortly thereafter. At the time, it had strictly been used to publicize the Zazzle store selling Candy’s prints. Since there’s no point to scrolling through the spam on my feed, I moved on.
I’ll freely admit that I’m no social media maven, but that page was exceptionally poorly run. To be fair to the Waters, it takes a while to get those skills down. To be fair to me, I have finite energy to spend on looking at ads.
Around the same time, the author of the Candy Waters Autism Art – SCAM? blog contacted me. That’s when I started to wonder about the art’s validity.
There is speculation that Candy didn’t actually make the pictures herself, with opinions from various professionals to back it up. After looking at the linked videos, and reading the responses from her parents, I can see value in the skepticism.
On the other hand, the only videos I’ve seen were over a year old. If I’ve learned anything from my friends with autism and those who have kiddos on the spectrum, it’s that folks with ASD build upon their skills, just as alistic folks do.
Could she have made some of the paintings? Maybe. Did she make all of them? I have my doubts.
Her parents have recently begun posting pictures of her painting, perhaps in an attempt to verify authenticity. It’s also important to remember how easy it is to generate deceptive photos. When I used to sell my handmade goodies online, I learned quite a bit about how much of a difference posing makes in selling a product.
The same goes for photos “proving” validity.
What Bothers Me the Most
The worst thing I’ve seen is how her parents have been conducting themselves. Once I checked into various links and posts, I’ve seen them do the following:
- Threaten legal action against people pushing for proof of validity
- Expose personal information of those who don’t believe their claims
- Pose as doctors
There are more than enough personal accounts of them harassing those who comment on the linked blog or ask questions that I no longer doubt they cope with requests for verification through bullying and intimidation.
I also find it incredibly troubling that they seem to be doing the same thing with their son’s art, now. They’ve even set a Zazzle page up for him.
Would I go so far as to call them a scam? I don’t know for certain. They could be, but there’s not enough evidence for me to go quite that far, yet.
Whether they’re a scam or not, the parents’ conduct has completely turned me off from giving them any sort of support, which is why I’m not linking to any of their pages. They have been engaging in what at best are questionable practices. At worst, they’re damaging the hard work real autism advocates are doing.
Bear in mind, these are my personal opinions. I’m not trying to convince anyone else of which actions to take, but I do feel as if I should share my thoughts.
I encourage each of you to look at both sides of the story and come up with your own conclusions.
Edit: It looks like the same old trolls who’ve been plaguing other posts questioning the authenticity of this art have found the entry. As I have a zero tolerance bullying/flame war policy on this blog, I’ve turned off comments on this entry and blacklisted the troll in question.