The finalists of a national art competition, which showcases the creativity of young people with an autistic spectrum disorder (ASD), have been announced.

The competition, Create! Art for Autism, was open to all young people aged 11-25 with a formal diagnosis of an ASD. The aim of the competition is to dispel the myth that people with an ASD cannot be creative and shows that art can significantly improve their lives.

The competition was organised by Beechwood College, a specialist residential college for young people with an ASD More than 350 entries were received from 52 different schools from across the UK, and as far away as India and Croatia. The judges have chosen six finalists in each category of 2D art, 3D art and digital media art. They have all been invited with their guests to attend an awards ceremony at Beechwood College on July 24, alongside key media and specialists in the field. The awards ceremony will celebrate the creativity of all contestants, before announcing the three final winners.

The finalists’ work will be rolled out into a national art tour open to the general public and hosted in prestigious galleries, first at The Old Library in Cardiff and later in London in September. Darren Jackson, principal of Beechwood College, said: “We have seen how engaging in art and creativity programmes can transform the lives of young people who previously struggled to make themselves heard. This competition has shown us there is a huge amount of creative talent among young people with an ASD and I would like to congratulate the 18 finalists and all of the entrants on their fantastic artwork.”