Patrick Lockard is a joyful soul who delights in discovering the world around him. He has a fun-loving spirit and enjoys music, art, sports, and community activities. He also has autism and is intellectually challenged. With the support of his mother, Marlene Terrazas, he has flourished and is excited to be 29 years old on the 4th of July. Patrick was born and raised in the west end of the Inland Empire in Southern California, and now lives in Colorado in his mom’s hometown near his grandparents and extended family.
After the many changes that Covid-19 brought, Marlene and Patrick decided to continue some online connections through Autism Society Inland Empire after they moved out-of-state. This helped Patrick continue his social relationships, while discovering new opportunities. His favorite Zoom classes have been Fun with Music and Online Art Class. In the art class, two instructors take turns presenting a weekly drawing that they demonstrate during a Zoom session. Patrick was nervous about learning to draw, but his mom encouraged him to keep trying, as she is his constant guide and assistant. They spend time together beyond the one-hour class to work on details and take their time in multiple sessions.
Marlene often helps Pat with erasing when needed, so he can focus on the drawing. She also helps him by offering color choices, such as 4 shades of blue to choose from. Making these decisions can become overwhelming. Ultimately, he does the choosing, the drawing, and the coloring, giving him artistic freedom. Mom is usually side-by-side with him supervising, tutoring, explaining art vocabulary, and cheering him on. Patrick loves to get a high-five and have his artwork posted on social media for friends and family to see. People often comment on his eye for color and distinctive style particularly with animal faces.
Marlene recently began a new career as a property manager for an independent living senior community. She has a bachelor's degree in Behavioral Sciences and has worked in healthcare, social services, and special education. Marlene always tells her son that being his mom is the best job that God gave her. She is also a writer and lover of culture and the arts, which she strives to share with her son. When Patrick was diagnosed with autism at three years-old, his parents were told that he would struggle without structure and may have difficulty in new situations. That is when Marlene began her quest to make sure to expose Patrick to as many experiences as possible, especially related to all the wonderful things he enjoys: balloons, trains, dinosaurs, baseball, basketball, yoga, tap dance, rock bands, orchestras, opera singers, and more!
Marlene’s advice for people new to the autism world: Remember that each person, autistic or not, is an individual with their own set of abilities and challenges. Get to know the person. The bases for how she handles parenting someone with special needs involve basic parenting skills, knowing your child and empowering them to have their own internal motivations and critical thinking skills at whatever level they are at.
“There is no cure for being human.”
Patrick from Dec 2021 with his Rudolph drawing and the 2 ornaments he made with the prints. We went to a workshop at our local community college, Aims, to make the ornaments. He gave the ornaments as gifts to his dad and his godmother. Drawn with pencil & colored pencils. Approx 3 hours to complete over a few days.
Interview With Patrick
Tell us what you like about coloring?
“Coloring is good. I’m pretty good at coloring. Coloring is fun. I like coloring a lot.”
“I feel very proud. I like learning.”
What is your favorite picture that you colored?
“I like the peacock. It’s pretty. I like the shapes and colors.”
“I drew a tiger and I outlined it. I like the eyes, eyelashes, whiskers and tail.”
What is your favorite song to sing?
“My favorite song is Rainbow Connection from Kermit the Frog. I feel happy when I’m singing and I feel fantastic!”
“Singing is fun. I liked singing the Star Spangled Banner at the baseball ceremony.” (He was asked to sing at the opening ceremonies of Alta Loma Little League for about 4 years in a row. You can hear Patrick singing the national anthem at a local baseball game here.)
Tell us something about your mom.
“I like my mom a lot. I like when we’re together! We take care of each other and do our work (chores). I’m very proud of helping Mom.”
“I like to do my very best. I like to help Grandma.”
“Although people with autism look like other people physically, we are in fact very different . . . We are more like travelers from the distant, distant past. And if, by our being here, we could help the people of the world remember what truly matters for the Earth, that might give us quiet pleasure.”
Sunflower, March 2022 - Patrick completed this in a little over 4 hours during 3 sessions using pencils, marker and crayons. He used 4 shades on the petals. This art lesson was inspired by Georgia O'Keefe (1887-1986). I show him the instructor's example and I guide him on the texture (even though I'm primarily guessing & learning myself). It seems to work out for us. I give him colors to choose from and he decides what shades to use.
“It takes a village to raise a child. It takes a child with autism to raise the consciousness of the village.”
—Coach Elaine Hall
Peacock, Feb 2022 - Ta-da! Patrick worked on this one for a few weeks. It took about 8 sessions to draw, outline with marker, and color with crayons. (8+ hours) The toughest part may have been getting the 2 shades of green for the background. He did a great job!
Ladybug, March 2022 - This was 4+ hours of drawing, outlining, and using colored pencils. I wanted to have him skip the shadowing, but he wanted to do it! It's hard for him to freehand those details and we did a lot of erasing, but he persisted. It took 45 minutes just for the shadows. The hairs were hard to do, too. So many new concepts for him, but I love that he wants to do it and enjoys it so much.
Year of the Tiger: I think it was made in Dec 2021. He seems to have a distinct look to his animal faces.
The bunny in the grass is the last one that he finished over 4 1/2 hours of work. Drawn with pencil, outlined with marker, and colored with crayons (4 colors used for the grass.) Patrick took weekly art lessons from 2 instructors via zoom from Autism Society Inland Empire from July 2021 - April 2022. The lessons are an hour long, but Pat enjoys working on all the details over time. He also enjoys the interaction with me as I coach him along.
“What makes a child gifted and talented may not always be good grades in school, but a different way of looking at the world and learning.”
Resources, Events, and Activities
- Autism Society Inland Empire
- Autism Society Los Angeles
- Inland Regional Center
- San Gabriel Pomona Regional Center
- Autism/Asperger’s Adult Social Activities Group, Claremont and Zoom
- Service Center for Independent Life
- Special Olympics Southern California
- Also, check local city recreation programs. For example, Rancho Cucamonga has a program called IncredABLES with activities and links to coalitions and support groups.
- Internet Safety Guide for People With Autism Spectrum Disorder