Dreamworks Joins Tom Hanks, Ed Asner and Other Hollywood Visionaries in Support of Exceptional Minds, Working Studio For Young Adults on the Autism Spectrum

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On October 4, Exceptional Minds accepted a check from DreamWorks Studio that will help fund the movie industry's first vocational school and working studio for autistic students. Exceptional Minds prepares Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) individuals for careers in computer animation and special effects.

DreamWorks and Hollywood support movie industry's first working studio for students with autism.

DreamWorks donated money to help fund career aspirations of Exceptional Minds students, shown here during a field trip to the studio in early 2012.

...it signifies how far our students have come as productive members of a community that recognizes their unique gifts and contributions.

The Hollywood community is rallying around Exceptional Minds, a unique school and working studio for young adults on the autism spectrum that has received support from Tom Hanks, Ed Asner, Adobe Systems and now DreamWorks Studio, which recently donated funds to the school.

“We were incredibly impressed with the passion and work of the students at Exceptional Minds and continue to be inspired by the work they are doing," comments Dina Strada, the Manager of Events and Communications for DreamWorks, the motion picture company formed by partners Steven Spielberg, David Geffen and Jeffrey Katzenberg.

“This generous donation by DreamWorks is meaningful on so many levels, but most of all because it signifies how far our students have come as productive members of a community that recognizes their unique gifts and contributions,” says Yudi Bennett, the operations director for Exceptional Mind and the parent of a young adult on the autism spectrum.

Exceptional Minds was started by pioneers in the film and special effects industries as a bridge between high school and the working world for those with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Opened in September of 2011, the school quickly went from idea to Hollywood prodigy with several movie projects under its belt, including title work for a major motion picture.

Exceptional Minds started its second school year the week of September 10 with a waiting list for enrollment into its three-year program, which includes technical training for Adobe (ACA) certification, job readiness skills and a professional reel/portfolio that graduates can use to seek employment in the fields of animation, computer graphics and visual effects.

Along with Ed Asner, Tom Hanks and now DreamWorks, the school has received support from Autism Speaks, Adobe Systems, Visual Effects Society, Bialis Family Foundation, Luminous Capital, Riordan Foundation, New York Community Trust, and Kayne Anderson Capital Advisors Foundation.

About Exceptional Minds

Exceptional Minds is a non-profit vocational center and working production studio for young adults on the autism spectrum. Chartered in 2011 to provide the training necessary for visually-gifted ASD individuals who may not otherwise be able to make the transition from high school to the working world, Exceptional Minds offers technical proficiency and work readiness skills that prepare students for careers in graphic arts, animation, web design, visual effects and rotoscoping. Located in Sherman Oaks, Calif., Exceptional Minds is both an instructional learning facility and a working studio with hands-on student involvement in production projects, many for the film industry. The school has worked on three films.

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