Sixteen-year-old Yap Hanzhen of Malaysia apparently suffered through a childhood in which even the most simple of communications was difficult. Hanzhen’s parents say he barely spoke through most of his adolescence.

Like many children who display difficulties communicating during early development, Yap turned out to have a form of autism – a fact that his parents struggled to convince doctors and child psychologists, who were apparently quick to presume simple bad parenting as the source of young Yap’s speech difficulties.

In taking the special needs care of their young son into their own hands, Yap’s parents gave him a sketch book and pencil to help him associate thumbnail drawings with words for everyday objects, inadvertently nurturing a latent talent that would eventually see Yap touring the world, showing off his extraordinary drawings.


By his own admission, Yap’s sketches benefit from the boy’s “photographic memory,” which allows him to remember extremely fine details of things he’s seen up to 24 hours after leaving the scene. Yap takes great care in his sketches, preferring 3B or softer leads that enable finer gradation and, we hear, other cool stuff that’s way over our heads.


Yap’s works were chosen for display at the Asia ParaArt Tokyo competition in Japan, and the boy has even published his works in his own compilation book.

According to the young artist’s website, about one in ten people with Autism display some type of “savant” talent. While Yap’s primary talent may be drawing, he’s also interested in music and wants to be both an artist and a musician when he finishes school. Yap says he spends six hours a day on schoolwork, and as many as six hours a day on his art.

For comparison, we spent six hours yesterday watching cat videos on the Internet.

hanzhen10 hanzhen9 hanzhen7 hanzhen6 hanzhen2 hanzhen1 hanzhen8

Source: The Straits Times
Images: Yap Hanzhen official Website