Autistic Penang boy receives fan mail - from US President Barack Obama

A photo of Delwin Cheah Wien Loong, 11, taken from his Facebook page. -- PHOTO: DELWIN CHEAH WIEN LOONG/FACEBOOK
A photo of Delwin Cheah Wien Loong, 11, taken from his Facebook page. -- PHOTO: DELWIN CHEAH WIEN LOONG/FACEBOOK
Delwin Cheah Wien Loong, 11, with the framed letter from US President Barack Obama -- PHOTO: SIN CHEW DAILY/ASIA NEWS NETWORK

GEORGE TOWN - A Penang boy, who is Malaysia's first autistic savant artist, has received a letter of encouragement from United States President Barack Obama for his amazing ability to draw.

Delwin Cheah Wien Loong, 11, has been drawing since the age of three. Diagnosed with Asperger's syndrome at five, he has an IQ of 114.

The child prodigy, whose works have been published, is known to draw from memory and imagination, and can easily complete his works in less than five minutes. He never needs the eraser.

In the letter, Mr Obama wrote: "The world needs young people like you who are trying hard in school, serving your community, and dreaming big dreams.

"We face many challenges, but with your help, we can build on what we have already achieved and forge a brighter tomorrow."

Delwin's face lit up with a huge smile when he received the letter, according to his mother, Erina Law Mei Sun.

"We have no idea who sent Delwin's art book, which was published two years ago, entitled I Can Draw, to the US president," Ms Law, 39, was quoted as saying by Malaysia's official Bernama news agency. She added that Delwin would be sending a drawing to Mr Obama as a thank-you gift in return.

Autism is a lifelong developmental disability that affects how a person communicates with, and relates to, other people and the world around them. It is a spectrum condition, which means that, while all people with autism share certain areas of difficulty, their condition will affect them in different ways. Asperger's syndrome is a form of autism. Austistic people may have exceptional talent in a certain area, such as music or the arts.

"The biggest challenge going forward for Delwin is social skills and we will continue to support and help him build confidence," said Ms Law.

Delwin's talent won him a place in the Malaysia Book of Records as the youngest artist to hold a solo exhibition and in the US Record Setter as world's youngest autistic savant artist to hold a solo art exhibition in 2013, Bernama said.

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