Last week I was fortunate enough to be able to drop in on an animation workshop being conducted at the Ohio Center for Autism and Low Incidence that was led by 17 year-old Dani Bowman, an artist and entrepreneur on the spectrum based in California.

Read further to learn about my visit with her and her workshop participants as well as some useful links to her personal work as well as OCALI.
I walked into a room of about 15 participants all engrossed by brightly lit laptop screens as Dani stood on stage demonstrating some steps in an animation program on a projector screen. A few students were seeking assistance on a technique in the program and were calmly listening as she slowly described an approach on the screen. I was blown away by watching her teach and by meeting some of the workshop participants, some immensely talented local area teens and young adults with Autism spectrum disorders working in animation and computer graphics.
As part of a short multi-day workshop at OCALI, Dani was brought in to teach animation and illsutration using different animation and cartoon softwares. She travels around the country conducting similar workshops as part of her work for Powerlight Studios (her animation company) Upon meeting with her and speaking to other students, I learned a lot about the animation world and was amazed by the colorful and whimsical creations of the workshop participants. 
After speaking with Dani's aunt and fellow workshop travel companion, I learned of a group in California that is reaching out world wide called The Art of Autism which celebrates the artistic and creative contributions of individuals on the spectrum. This organization promotes works created by its constituents as well as exhibitions, books, and other products. 
Learning about this cause specifically in conjunction with the hands-on workshop I witnessed myself, it's clear that there is a growing movement within the arts to support and promote artists of all abilities and skills. I am excited to see Dani as well as the population of students and peers she teaches continue to grow and develop as artists and be embraced by the arts community. 

Some helpful links related to Dani's work as well as OCALI's programs