Autism Student Knocks it Out of Park at Dodger Stadium

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Exceptional Minds student Patrick Brady, 21, walked onto the field at Dodger Stadium during Autism Awareness Day Wednesday as the embodiment of a thriving, successful autism vocational program.

Exceptional Minds vocational school for young adults on the autism spectrum

When it comes to raising autism awareness, 21-year-old Patrick Brady knocked it out of the park during Wednesday's Mets vs. Dodgers baseball game at Dodger Stadium, Los Angeles. Brady is a third-year student with Exceptional Minds digital arts academy for young adults on the autism spectrum and the embodiment of a thriving and successful autism vocational program.

On Wednesday he walked onto the field at Dodger Stadium, the oldest among seven others from all walks of the autism spectrum, to represent an innovative, new model for preparing young people with autism for meaningful careers. Twenty of his fellow students at Exceptional Minds – including Danny Gott, son of Jim Gott, former Dodgers pitcher and now Angels pitching coach – were also in the stands as a show of support for their home team and Autism Awareness Day, a joint effort by Los Angeles Dodgers and Autism Speaks that set aside a portion of every ticket purchased for autism programs.    

Autism now affects one in 50 children, the first million of whom will age out of the U.S. public school system in the next decade with few job prospects and fewer training options.

Exceptional Minds is the first digital arts academy in the nation with a three-year vocational program that prepares individuals living with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) for meaningful careers in computer animation, post-production and multimedia. Since enrolling in the vocational program, Brady has acquired Adobe certification in three digital arts applications and gained real work experience in the digital and graphics fields.

Exceptional Minds was established in 2011 by visionaries in the film and visual effects industries to create a bridge between high school and the working world for young men and women with ASD. The innovative program is now a model for achieving lifelong skills critical to the employability of individuals with autism, and as such, has earned the 2012 Autism Speaks Family Services Community Grant, among others.

Next month, Patrick Brady will begin his graduating year in Exceptional Minds’ new high-tech classroom studio, opened in June to meet heightened demand for the program. Upon completion of the three-year program he will have acquired professional accreditation in several program applications as well as job readiness skills and a professional reel/portfolio that he can use to seek employment in the fields of animation, computer graphics and visual affects.

Patrick lives with his parents and a brother near Sherman Oaks. He rides the bus system to and from the studio every day, and expects to get his driver’s license and have his own place some day. Until then, he’s racking up skills and experience along with his fellow students at Exceptional Minds – and going to the occasional ball game.

About Exceptional Minds (

Exceptional Minds is a non-profit vocational center and working production studio for young adults on the autism spectrum. It was chartered in 2011 to provide the training necessary for creatively gifted individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) who may not otherwise be able to make the transition from high school to careers. Exceptional Minds offers technical proficiency and work readiness training that prepares 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.

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Yudi Bennett

Dee McVicker
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