Non-speaking autistic self-advocate and poet
Dani Bowman is a 17 year old junior in high school with autism and a love of animation, illustration, and creating fun entertainment for children of all ages. Dani founded Powerlight Studios at age 11, and has been working professionally since age 14, partnering with Joey Travolta, and teaching animation to others with autism at his summer camp program. Dani has a full slate of regular high school classes with a 3.85 GPA. Dani aspires to be the Temple Grandin of her generation, working to change the world’s perception of autism and demonstrate all of the special abilities that people with autism have while striving for acceptance and integration within society and employing others with ASD at Powerlight Studios. For Autism Acceptance Month, Dani donated 3 iPads to non-verbal children on the autism spectrum, and Dani was honored by the Golden Goody Awards for her autism advocacy and anti bullying campaigns. Dani also speaks frequently about autism and speaking out against bullying, and mentors several autistic animators around the country, and was honored in April 2012 with the Temple Grandin Award by Future Horizons. She recently achieved a dream of hers by employing others with autism at her company, Powerlight Studios. Visit Powerlight Studios at www.powerlight-studios.com.
Charlie (Kristina Chew’s son), Kristina writes about her son at We Go With Him
I m Dusya Lyubovskaya, I am 30 years old and I was diagnosed 3 years ago and I do autistic self advocacy and I am a soon to be fascilitator of The GRASP chapter in Massachusetts.
Jane Strauss, “is the Aspergian matriarch of a clan of spectrum folks, living with an Aspergian partner in her own spectrum colony”
Jane Strauss has loved photography since the 1960s, but had a long lapse in its practice. By the time she returned to serious work in 2005, she gave up all thoughts of a darkroom and started working digitally with her South Minneapolis home as homebase. She shoots landscape panoramas, animals, macroscopic nature details, cars, swap meets, and mascots. She photographs automotive details. Did we mention, she does classic automobile portraits on contract? Her family has a good case of the Old Car Hobby, and one might as well bring the camera to the shows –it’s small and fits easily in her vintage Beetle.
Marcy Deutsch is an incredible artist. She was first diagnosed with autism at the age of 5. This was back in 1988. Back then she had almost no language. She would fixate on the movie Lady and the Tramp. We had 4 dogs already that she always ignored. One day we were in a pet store and Marcy started yelling “Lady” over and over again. She was pointing to this black and brown mutt that looked nothing like the dog in the movie. However she just kept pointing and saying “Lady” over and over again. I figured what’s one more dog and we brought “Lady” home with us. Marcy really took to this little puppy and Lady was incredible with her. The next day instead of going to the very back of the bus, ignoring the other kids like she usually did Marcy sat down next to one little girl and said her first sentence, “Marcy got dog, Lady.” That was the longest sentence she ever said. Today she speaks at autism conferences on what it was like growing up autistic especially at a time when no one ever heard the word autism much less knew anything about it. She talks about being bullied, and all she went through.
When she was 12 the school she was at had a school wide art project where all students had to draw their favorite pet or animal. That was when I got a call from the school that they had never seen a 12 yr. old draw like she did. She never drew before because to her it wasn’t perfect. She has been in several art books, Drawing Autism, and the two Artism books. She was also one of only 12 autistic artists from across the country that was asked to the Heroes for Autism art auction in Hollywood. She has had art at the U.N. Plaza, Princeton, Soho Village, L.A., and she was even in a book on autism and art in Poland. The Queen of England even has one of her prints. Actors from the show Heroes and The Office have prints of hers and actress Kelly Le Brock has one of her originals.
Her website is www.crittersonthings.com
Photography has played a key role at Mike Chimeri’s website since 2008. In addition to pictures of scenery and roadways, he also captures music performances. His biggest photography project each year has been of Smooth Jazz for Scholars, an annual benefit concert put together by keyboardist Jay Rowe in his hometown of Milford, Connecticut. His submission is a picture of guitarist Chieli Minucci (“key-L-e min-OO-chee”) from the 2012 Smooth Jazz for Scholars. (In the background are saxophonists Paul “Shilts” Weimar and Nelson Rangell.)
Mike also has a broadcasting background, hosting jazz radio shows at WCWP (FM and internet) and WGBB-AM, and briefly ran two contemporary jazz channels on Live365 Internet Radio.
You can see all his work at his website: http://mikechimeri.com/
NICK GUZMAN HAS BEEN A MUSIC LOVER SINCE EARLY CHILDHOOD.
With music in his soul and an ear for sound he quickly discovered The Beatles, Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young, The Monkees, Paul Simon and Cat Stevens, as well as most 60’s rock music. He began his own musical exploration on an old piano that had been stored in the garage when he was just six. It wasn’t long before tunes were wailing from the garage into recognizable songs. Music therapy lessons came next, followed by his father teaching him guitar and then regular piano and guitar lessons.
Music has been Nick’s crossover from days filled with frustration and insecurity to self-acceptance through his love of performing. It has been a gift that helps him continue to grow. While in high school, Nick was a member of the choir through most of his high school years. He enjoys writing his own songs on Garage Band. He is currently taking music courses at West Valley College in Saratoga, CA.
In 2006, Joey Travolta came to San Jose, CA to teach his film camps to children with Autism. Nick was then noticed for his musical talent. Soon after came TV and radio interviews and opportunities for him to perform.
In 2008 Joey Travolta and his music composer friend, Jeff Lass, co- wrote a song for Nick called “Since We’re Friends”. The filming of that music session was then added to a film called “ARTS, Disabilities, Possibilities and the Arts”, directed by Keri Bowers which includes Geri Jewel from Facts of Life, Temple Grandin, a doctor of Animal Science and an author, Donna Williams, a best-selling author, artist, singer-songwriter, screenwriter and sculptor, as well as others.
Nick is often a guest performer at various venues in the San Jose area and enjoys attending open mics weekly. He has performed for Autism organizations from San Francisco, Sacramento, Los Angeles, and San Jose. The next event will be The Fly Concert at The Grove in Los Angeles on October 4th, benefiting The Miracle Project. Guests are to include Jack Black, Stephen Stills, Holly Robinson Peete and Ellen DeGeneres.
Robert Moran was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome when he was a teenager. He has a degree in broadcast journalism, He currently works as a Desk Assistant at ABC News in Los Angeles.
Scott Deutsch (apple and android app)
Scott was recently diagnosed with autism. Throughout his life he struggled with issues such as reading, math, living skills and while he had friends he never really played with them. Instead these kids would come over because we had all the latest video games and systems. He was severely ADHD and out of the 7 forms of dyslexia he had 6. The school he was in gave up on him ever learning math. All they teach him was to use a calculator. When he was getting ready to go into high school they wanted to put him in some kind of vocational program because he wasn’t good in school stuff. Luckily we moved to Yelm, WA. Here they taught him to do math without a calculator. He found out about DigiPen at New Market. This was a program that teaches game and simulation programming. He excelled in it. This is an all math based study. He ended up graduating in the top 10% of his class. He went to DeVry University where he studied game and simulation programming and was the top student in the class. To this day his professors tell all the new students about Scott’s incredible skills at programming. He also ended up getting his Masters in business.
Because he had trouble getting a job (he always blew the interview portion), he started his own company. Because of his sister he decided to do something to help other autistics like her. He remembered back to his childhood and remembered all the things his sister struggled with, such as brushing hair and brushing teeth. He also knew that he struggled with those same things. That is why he created this app called Life Skills Winner that teaches both social and life skills to autistics and other special need individuals. It is all interactive and uses ABA techniques to help kids learn. One of the ways it does this is that every step is broken down into small steps and for each step completed the child gets points. The points he gets he can use to collect a prize or reward. Parents decide what that prize/reward is. There is both verbal and written instructions. There are also resources such as videos that the child can watch. Right now Life Skills Winner is available for the Android and Apple platforms. But because so many parents can’t afford tablets Scott took it a step further. He is now creating a web-based version. This PC version will have even more features such as reward certificates that can be printed out. Plus he is creating a special tool that will allow parents and teachers to create tasks for their kids.
She is 11 and attends Burger School for Autistic Students in Garden City, MI.
In her spare time she is an actress at Out of the Box Theater in Wyandotte, MI and a working artist.
She has participated in group shows and is collected internationally.
She has a generous spirit and donates half of all her art proceeds to Forgotten Harvest.
Her facebook page is: http://www.facebook.com/
Her etsy shop is: http://www.etsy.com/shop/
Yvona Fast is an author, freelance writer, food columnist, photographer, editor, and
speaker. Her first book is a career guide for individuals with Asperger Syndrome or Non-
Verbal Learning disability. Her second book, My 9 Lives, is a Holocaust memoir she
co-authored with her mother. She also works as Support Groups Manager for GRASP,
writes a food column, North Country Kitchen, and has had articles and photos in various
Her blog is: www.wordsaremyworld.com