High Expectations Return with Students to Exceptional Minds, now Starting Year Two as a Working Studio for Young Adults on the Autism Spectrum

Share Article

Fifteen aspiring animators and graphic artists with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and six movie credits between them greeted each other with a mixture of high-fives and half-smiles on September 10 as the second vocational year began at Exceptional Minds, a unique school and working studio for young adults on the autism spectrum.

They arrived at the Exceptional Minds studio classroom this week with flash drives, headphones, and high expectations. Lloyd returned with his collection of drawings to be rendered, Kevin brought his latest animated adventures of Salsa Joe. Some came from Hollywood a few miles away, others from as far away as Hawaii.

Fifteen students with six movie credits between them, including those for major motion picture Lawless, greeted each other with a mixture of high-fives and half-smiles on September 10 as the second vocational year began at Exceptional Minds, a unique school and working studio for young adults on the autism spectrum.

“If our second year is anything like our first, be prepared to be blown away by the talent in this room,” commented Exceptional Minds Program Director Ernie Merlan, referring to a year of many firsts at the school and working studio. Among the highlights of the studio’s first year in operation were visits to and by DreamWorks and Warner Brothers, support from actors Tom Hanks and Ed Asner, and paid movie projects as well as being featured on the CBS evening news.

Exceptional Minds was established in 2011 as a bridge between high school and the working world for those with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Now viewed as the poster child for “what’s next” for the tidal wave of ASD individuals about to enter the workforce, Exceptional Minds is one of the first vocational schools and working studios to address the unique skills and aptitudes of young adults on the spectrum. The three-year program 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 affects.

Share article on social media or email:

View article via:

Pdf Print

Contact Author

Dee McVicker
Grassroots Communications
(480) 545-7363
Email >
Visit website