Zoom Autism Magazine Issue 8 - Page 52

SPOTLIGHT ON SUCCESS My life M y story is like Helen Keller’s, the amazing woman who started out deaf, mute and blind. Helen Keller had a teacher, Anne Sullivan, who taught her and took her out of isolation, as described in The Miracle Worker. My mom saved me from a life of despair, much like Anne Sullivan did for Helen Keller. My first great teacher was my mom. Then my high school teachers were really great about trying my mom’s method and were successful. I graduated from high school with a full academic diploma when I was 21. After graduating from high school, I co-authored a book, A Full Life with Autism (Macmillan 2012) to help other young people transitioning to adulthood. A great teacher once told me: you are the product of your parents and a product of your environment and the reaction you have to both. Frankly, my teacher told me, if you are a hard worker and have great parents and a good school, you will be successful. Now dreams. About three years ago, I told my mom I was painting colorful portraits of people in my dreams. Then, one night I dreamt I had a great art show of my paintings. I was really excited and asked my mom how I could make my dream come true and have an art show. Mom frankly told me that it could not happen unless I painted in real life. Truly, I was surprised to see that I could. By kindly trying hard, I learned to paint. When I dream, I am processing what I have seen when I am awake. I meet people in person or on Skype that are interested in me painting them. First I ask questions, listen to them and watch them. I’ll get enough to read their colors and have a dream about them, about their colors. As an artist, I can write a description of what I see in my dreams, and then I paint the painting. I have done this for people and for organizations. In fact, I had my first curated solo art show happening at Space4Art in San Diego. It was both exciting and nerve racking. I’m excited to show my art to the public. Truly, I hope to make a positive impact on the community. I really want to keep getting more clients to help them with my insight and also to be able to earn money and be able to support myself. I hope that the people who see my exhibit will wonder about Some years ago I realized that the way I see words and numbers is different than most people. Truly, I have synesthesia. Synesthesia is defined as a neurological condition where stimulation of one sensory or cognitive pathway leads to an automatic involuntary experience in another sensory or cognitive pathway. Now, I am an artist. I paint my B Y : J erem y S icile - Kira 52 ZOOM Autism through Many Lenses ZOOM Autism through Many Lenses 53