People with disabilities can be successful,I am living proof

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FireBird
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06 Jan 2009, 7:22 pm

I have been diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder and autism, as everyone already knows. Lately I have been extremely successful, I am becoming a professional speaker and I am also a business owner with my art. My second speech is on February 4th (my first can be seen on my website and YouTube, my website is www.crittersonthings.com and it can be seen in the "about the artist" section at the bottom of the page) at the Capitol building in Olympia, WA and it is about my autism. Soon I will do mental health conferences as well but they are harder to get into because it is mainly doctors doing the speeches but I hope one day that I can change the way the world views people with disabilities such as autism and schizophrenia and many more. My next speech after that is on February 10th in a parent's meeting at the local autism center which is also in Olympia. I live near Olympia but in the middle of nowhere instead where all the cows are. Then on April 2nd, has the potential, I repeat its just a potential at this moment, I might speak at the UN on World Autism Awareness Day in New York. My contact in New York is also trying to get me into other autism and mental health conferences in the New York area. May is a big month as well. I have 2 speaking dates in May. One on the 29th and one on the 30th. One day apart. The one on the 29th is in Shoreline WA and the one on the 30th is in Yakima, WA. I also have contacts that can get me into more conferences, possibly all over the country by the end of this year or early next year. People with disabilities can do anything if they put their mind to it. They have dreams just like anyone else, don't give up and pursue your dreams no matter what. Don't let the doctors stop you. When I was first diagnosed with autism, a panel of doctors told my parents that I will never make anything of myself, that I will never have friends, never get a job, and I would have to be put away someplace. I proved them all wrong! I have tons of friends, my job is now (well, its in the beginning stages) a professional speaker and artist, I am not locked away in some institution, and I am a success. I'm going to be in several more magazines (at least 5 {2 local ones and 3 national/ online ones} more this year, possibly more by the end of the year), one day I might even be on TV on a talk show. Even though I have many psychotic episodes (I am having one now if you've seen my other posts about the bomb in my neck, etc.) I am still an amazing person and beat the odds stacked up against me. You can beat the odds, too if you believe in yourself. My art business is taking off and a lot of people are going to order in February. (at first I thought it was January because they all said "after the first of the year" but apparently most people order in the middle of the first quarter). I am going to be published in a book called Artism Anew (artism is a combination of the words autism and art) and you can see some of my artwork at www.artismtoday.com and in the gallery I am on the second page with the bird in the sunset. The book will be published in February. On my website under "about the artist" there are many links to the different articles I have been in. If you google my name, I have around 4 pages that is all about me. I am also going to try to get in Schizophrenia Digest magazine as well. In 2010 when my speaking career is really taking off and the same with the business, I am planning on writing a book on my experiences with my autism and schizoaffective disorder and how to become a success. So, anyone with schizophrenia, autism, or even Down's Syndrome can be a success. (I know someone with Down's and he is an amazing success, he's been on TV and also speaks at conferences around the country). My art is currently selling in 20 stores (will be in the hundreds by the end of the year because every month we are contacting 200 places) in galleries, pet stores, casinos, zoos, flower shops, and more. At the holiday bazaars last year (in November and December) we made several thousand dollars and at one alone we made around $800 in a day and a half and everyone said business is down 40-60% so we would have made a couple of thousand dollars selling cheap items such as my fine art cards ($4) and prints ($26). So, if I can be a success, you can be too! Just remember that!



mitharatowen
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06 Jan 2009, 7:24 pm

Congrats on what is surely a very encouraging post!
I can't read it without paragraphs, but kudos nonetheless! :thumleft:



garyww
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06 Jan 2009, 7:26 pm

Thi is a great thing to post about. I've been to your site some time ago based upon other threads. I've never had an lack of confidence in my own abilities, probably like yourself, and have a hard time identifying with others who have Aspergers but don't feel that they can actually have a real life beyond their 'condition' for some reason.
This is excellent timing and an inspiration for everybody.


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Kirska
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06 Jan 2009, 7:37 pm

I love the bird guide in your website. I've always wanted to have a large pet bird but haven't been able to stand the noise.


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FireBird
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06 Jan 2009, 7:53 pm

I have a macaw at home and he screams at 105 db! That can damage your hearing. The bird guide was done by my mom, she is a bird expert. Birds are also very messy. But my macaw Tiny is the cutest thing on this planet, he believes he is God and you have to bow to him! If you don't he sits in the corner of his cage and cries! Has anyone ever heard of a bird with delusions before?



glider18
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06 Jan 2009, 9:10 pm

I really enjoyed your post. You are indeed a very talented artist. I visited your website and watched your video---very well done. I too feel blessed with my outcome. I nearly died in birth---the cord was wrapped around my neck and I sufferd 45 minutes of oxygen deprivation and was delivered by emergency C-section. I attribute that to my AS.

I was on the Honor Society in high school, and graduated with honors on both my bachelor's and master's degrees. I taught high school English for 19 years before switching over to become the school's gifted intervention specialist. I have also taught at the university level. I am also a professional musician. So I feel overwhelmed at overcoming these odds for me---especially after realizing I was autistic.

I am doing something very similar to you. You are taking to the road (so to speak) in delivering motivational type speeches at autism conferences. I am taking to the road with my hammered and mountain dulcimers in giving mini-concerts at local area churches in southern Ohio. I am incorporating messages and stories of overcoming obstacles and stories of hope in my ministry of music. It is taking a lot of courage and faith for me to speak to crowds like this---not something I would normally do. School teaching is different in that one discusses academic matters there. In public speaking, or like my ministry, one speaks on personal matters.

I was feeling a little less motivated to do this until I read your post, saw your website, and watched your video. It gave me more strenth to continue to pursue this dream of mine. Thank you.



lionesss
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06 Jan 2009, 9:25 pm

If anyone acts on their dreams, and follows it, disability or no disability, it can happen.



Callista
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06 Jan 2009, 10:12 pm

I don't feel like I have to "overcome" my disability to be successful. People act like disability is something you have to get rid of or somehow make inconsequential before you can do anything; but it's really just a normal part of life for me, just like cliques and fads are normal parts of life for NTs. I'm going for what I want to do with my life, like anybody does; and having autism doesn't really change that.


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pensieve
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06 Jan 2009, 11:15 pm

This truly an inspiring post FireBird. I love your art.
I love to draw but I'm not as good as you.

I'm to much of a procrasinator to get anything done. I want to be a screenwriter but still haven't written any of my ideas down.
And I wanted to open a gallery in time for Autism Awareness Day. I just need to get my act together, then you can view my photographs and watch my movies. :)



FireBird
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06 Jan 2009, 11:38 pm

pensieve wrote:
This truly an inspiring post FireBird. I love your art.
I love to draw but I'm not as good as you.

I'm to much of a procrasinator to get anything done. I want to be a screenwriter but still haven't written any of my ideas down.
And I wanted to open a gallery in time for Autism Awareness Day. I just need to get my act together, then you can view my photographs and watch my movies. :)


What kind of photographs do you take? Are they animals, landscapes, or people? You've heard of World Autism Awareness Day on April 2nd? Cool if so! Thank you for saying that about my art. Do you have a favorite animal? That would be cool if they have a gallery for autistic artists or people with disabilities. Does one even exist?



pensieve
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06 Jan 2009, 11:49 pm

FireBird wrote:
pensieve wrote:
This truly an inspiring post FireBird. I love your art.
I love to draw but I'm not as good as you.

I'm to much of a procrasinator to get anything done. I want to be a screenwriter but still haven't written any of my ideas down.
And I wanted to open a gallery in time for Autism Awareness Day. I just need to get my act together, then you can view my photographs and watch my movies. :)


What kind of photographs do you take? Are they animals, landscapes, or people? You've heard of World Autism Awareness Day on April 2nd? Cool if so! Thank you for saying that about my art. Do you have a favorite animal? That would be cool if they have a gallery for autistic artists or people with disabilities. Does one even exist?


I take photos of a lot of different things; concerts, animals, people and landscapes. I like just taking my camera out and taking photos of random things.
Yeah, I want to open a gallery with photographs of people with autism for World Autism Awareness Day. I should start to plan it soon. My concert photographs will be opening in a gallery in two weeks, so the person that helped me put that on may be able to help me with my future project.
To answer your questions about animals I love pelicans. I love all animals.



millie
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07 Jan 2009, 1:06 am

congratulations. lovely animal pics. so good to read a positive post that is engaging and hopeful. :D



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07 Jan 2009, 6:53 am

FireBird wrote:
You can beat the odds, too if you believe in yourself.


I will be a mercenary, I will be a mercenary, I will be a mercenary and shoot some people; I believe I can, I know I can, I will click my heels together, I will twitch my nose, I will touch wood, and I will overcome my fear of flying, as I have got no fear of dying, and I will shoot some African militiamen.



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07 Jan 2009, 7:03 am

Wow way to go!! !! What an amazing accomplishment!! !! I was at the UN in NYC last year during World Autism Awareness Day, it was very interesting, hearing Bob And Susan Wright talk, CDC, and other ppl as well. Anyways CONGRATS!! ! Keep us updated on how everything goes, what is most of your speeches about? i love you artwork, amazing, keep up the great work, and defintely keep me informed love to hear about your everyday accomplishments, because it also gives me hope hehehe!


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07 Jan 2009, 7:58 am

I have dreams and aspirations to own a craft business selling my crafts, and to become the top Toastmasters speaker in the world. There's also no doubt in my mind, that I can achieve these two things. My mind is set, and there's no stopping me. I'm not telling anybody about my plans, either. I want to surprise my family and relatives. If I tell them my plans, they will try to squash my dreams.


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