Remarkable Teen Creates Autism Awareness With Wearable Art
Let me introduce you to Kiana Lee Murphy. A twin born 13 years ago and 2 months premature. When Kiana and Tyler made their entry into the world, little did we know at the time how difficult Kiana’s life was going to be.
In the first week of Kiana’s life, we were told she had a heart defect, and by week two we were told she had water on the brain. We were not sure what to expect from this. When the doctors gave us the okay, we brought our gorgeous twin girls home still oblivious to what was to come.
Move forward a number of years and Kiana has been diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome, a high functioning autism. For Kiana, this affects her mainly in her areas of social skills. On top of this Kiana is deaf in one ear. Whilst some might find this diagnosis heartbreaking and defeating, Kiana being the person she is, sets herself goals and ticks them off proudly when they are achieved.
When Kiana first told us about her decision to enter Wearable Art we were proud to support her as she feels this is a great platform to get people talking about and raising awareness for autism. It seemed only natural for her that she chose the jigsaw puzzle being the logo representing autism (putting the pieces together).
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Kiana not only designed but made the dress herself, sourcing a dress and jigsaw pieces from a second-hand shop where together with her father she spraypainted them, stapled and glued them to the dress over a period of five months.
The name of her piece is “Life is a Jigsaw,” and Kiana would like you to know, “that when you meet one autistic person, you have only met that one.” They are all different.
Michelle Murphy is a wife, creative designer, and mother of twin girls now living in Mandurah WA. After many years of trying for children and endless rounds of IVF, Michelle and her husband Kent were thrilled with the news they were expecting twins. The girls Kiana and Tyler made their entry into the world two months premature and spent many weeks in the hospital. As any mother of twins knows balancing the daily routine of working, raising children and running a home is difficult. After many years of doctor, psychiatrist and pediatrician appointments, Kiana was diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome.
Michelle knew that she needed a personal outlet to enable her to function fully as a mother and turned her hand to designing and creating artistic jewelry utilizing the senses. Michelle now has a successful business which encompasses her passion and artistic flair. When Kiana decided to enter the Wearable Art competition, Michelle felt this would also be a good platform for her to further her creative flair at the same time as connecting further with her daughters. Together they worked on their art pieces involving Tyler who now models Michelle’s design.
Michelle knows only too well the difficulties and heartbreak of raising a child with Aspergers and the struggles on a daily basis. She is passionate about raising awareness and ensuring that children diagnosed with ASD feel inclusion and non-isolation.
This article was featured in Issue 79 – Managing Everyday Life