..at Exceptional Minds we are able to focus on what each one of us is already good at so that we can learn to be the best at what we already love to do.
Sherman Oaks, California (PRWEB) April 18, 2013
The crowd of three hundred parents and childhood developmental professionals at the Pasadena Convention Center for a Profectum conference erupted in applause and dabbed at tears when the credits rolled on an animated video created by the students at Exceptional Minds, a new digital arts academy for young adults on the autism spectrum.
Seated in the front row following his keynote speech at Friday’s Three Dimensional Thinking conference was the country’s top pediatrician Dr. T. Berry Brazelton, 94, whose life’s work as an advocate for individual development was parodied in the students’ animated short now the object of so much attention.
Finally, one of the students, 21-year-old Eli Katz, stepped forward to speak on behalf of his 15 fellow students there from Exceptional Minds digital arts academy, the only vocational school of its kind with a three-year program now preparing young adults on the autism spectrum for careers in the fields of animation, computer graphics and post-production.
“Your Touchpoints work focused on treating each child as an individual and developing that child's strengths. In that spirit, at Exceptional Minds we are able to focus on what each one of us is already good at so that we can learn to be the best at what we already love to do,” said Exceptional Minds’ Katz, who presented Dr. Brazelton with an honorary DVD of the animated cartoon chronicling the pediatrician’s life and work that culminated in the Presidential Citizens Medal in February.
Not lost on the special needs educators, pediatricians and other child development professionals in the audience on February 12 was how Exceptional Minds students, 15 of whom stood before them, exemplified Dr. Brazelton’s work with early childhood and individual development.
Dr. Brazelton's understanding of the uniqueness of each person is at the foundation of Exceptional Minds’ approach to vocational training for young adults on the spectrum. Established in 2011 by visionaries in the film and visual effects industries to create a bridge between high school and the working world for those living with autism spectrum disorders (ASD), Exceptional Minds has captured the interest of the autism community as a model for achieving life-long skills critical to the employability of individuals with autism.
The vocational school’s curriculum involves both customized instruction and workgroup collaboration in order to prepare young men and women with ASD for employment, an estimated 90 percent of whom are currently underemployed or unemployed.
For many at the Profectum conference on April 12, this was their first exposure to the creative students at Exceptional Minds. They let off another round of applause that reverberated throughout the conference center and seemed to startle the 15 Exceptional Minds young adults standing before them at the front of the conference room as Dr. Brazelton rose from his chair and accepted the DVD. The nation’s top pediatrician spoke words of gratitude and encouragement to the aspiring animators, telling them that “you will one day have fulfilling jobs. Each and every one of you.”
Throughout the conference Ricki Robinson, M.D., an international autism expert and author of Autism Solutions as well as faculty member of Profectum Foundation, referred to Exceptional Minds as the trendsetter in the field of job readiness for adults with autism. Exceptional Minds students and staff were available to answer questions about the program during the Three Dimensional Thinking conference, held April 12 -14 at the Pasadena Conference Center and sponsored by Profectum, a professional organization devoted to educating parents and advancing special needs research and developmental models.
About Exceptional Minds (http://www.exceptionalmindsstudio.org):
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 individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) 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, California, 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.