Employing People With Autism in Art and Animation

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Employing People With Autism in Art and Animation
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I have autism, and a I have a small animation company called Powerlight Animation Company that I started when I was 11. My dream is to employ others with autism at Powerlight Studios, utilizing their amazing visual skills. It is a sad fact that only 10% of autistic adults are employed at all, and those that are employed are employed below their true abilities and skills. May people with autism have amazing skills in the visual arts, and very creative. As an example, I have eight original series that I created, each with about 30 characters, and I am not the only one with autism that is this creative. Since I started Powerlight Studios, I've met many others with autism like me that are excellent in drawing and telling stories and have started mentoring some of them so that that can tell their stories too. My company has grown and I have several projects that I'm working on at any given time, and some of the kids that I have been mentoring are now assisting my with my projects. One of the young adults is fine artist in New York with gallery representation, but works in a bakery decorating cakes. While there is nothing wrong with decorating cakes, Justin's art is incredible and he's also a very good story board artist, and hope to help him have a career in animation. I also feel that it's important to create a message of hope and opportunity, that autism is not a bad thing or a limiting condition that can hold a person back from living out their dreams. With the assistance of Sparkaction, I can spread this message, grow my business to employ others with autism and provide job training in a field that many with autism love, animation and illustration.
I am a 17 year old high school girl with high functioning autism. At age 11, I decided that I wanted to found my own company, Powerlight Studios. With the help of my aunt and uncle, I launched it at age 14 and I quickly animated a music video and illustrated a couple of books. Today while maintaining my grades in high school, I mentor several other young adults with autism in animation and story boarding while working on 5-6 client projects at a time. My life story was recently featured by RethinkingAutism.com in the animated video "Believe It: The Dani Bowman Story." "Believe it", produced by Powerlight Studios and RethinkingAutism.com, is an inspirational video tells the story of the founding of Powerlight Studios and was produced with the assistance of autistic storyboard artist Justin Canha, autistic singer and songwriter Talina Toscano, voiced by me with voice over production and tag line by autistic actress Tammy Klein. See the video at www.powerlight-studios.com/animation. I speak frequently about my work and autism with the goal of changing the word's perception of autism and inspire others to follow their dreams. I have spoken at her high school, Barnesdale Theater in Hollywood, The Southern California Gas Company, Cal-TOSH, The Avocado Festival in Carpinteria, CA, Orange County Festival of Children's Books, the Rotary Club in Auburn Hills, MI, and at Girltopia, a meeting of over 12,000 Girl Scouts at Staples Center in Los Angeles. I am also is a contributing member of “Awareness in a Box” (see http://awarenessinabox.com/ ) which creates inclusionary events for the typical and special needs communities. I also participates in the Autism Community by serving as a committee member for Walk Now! For Autism Speaks in Los Angeles, one of the largest walks in the country for the past two years.