Autism and Employment: an inspiring success storyby Laura Shumaker, blog.sfgate.com
January 21st 2013 10:25 PM
Since Jodi Murphy’s son was 2, she had a hunch that he might be on the autism spectrum, but it wasn’t until Jonathan was 13 that he was formally diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome. A bright boy, it was clear to Jodi that with the right interventions, her son could learn to function independently in society. But when she identified the best resources and services for her son, it was difficult to access them because Jonathan’s disability was not considered ‘substantial’ enough.
As a child, he showed interest in (and a talent for) acting, and Jodi encouraged him to audition and perform in community theater. When he was a young teen, Jodi wondered how she could help Jonathan use his talent as an actor as a possible career as he approached adulthood. She encouraged him to take Voice Over classes when he was 16 and…. Drumroll….
Jonathan, now 27, has been in the Voice Over business for the last three years. He has an agent who brings him auditions and work and he works with clients directly. The Murphy’s have a recording studio in their home that they created out of a walk in closet. Jodi helps Jonathan with his administrative duties and marketing, allowing him to focus on his strengths and not become overly anxious over tasks that overwhelm him.
Jonathan is living in an independently about 5 miles away from his family’s home, where he works and auditions. Jonathan also performs on stage and does some on camera commercial work.
Now Jodi is pooling her family’s talents—Jonathan’s voice over, her daughter’s writing, her husband’s technical acumen and Jodi’s marketing skills—and collaborating with creative professionals to develop a children’s book app series for the iPad. “We are sharing Jonathan’s real life experiences in a unique, respectful and, hopefully, entertaining way,” says Jodi, “to share how someone on the spectrum overcomes obstacles, triumphs over social anxieties, and thrives…quirks and all!”
The series Geek Club Books and the app will make it’s debut in Fall of 2013. In the meantime, the collaborators are building a community that embraces its “geekiness” and are recruiting role models for the 8-12 year bunch. Each week, the “I am unique, I am a geek” forum announces a twenty-something ‘Geek of the Week’ who shares some insights that are just endearing and inspirational.
“My son’s life has been quite the adventure, says Jodi, ”from being the boy that paced in the corner to being a social outcast, bullied and reclusive, to commanding a stage, making people laugh with him (and not at him), finding friends who like him for him, and earning the respect of professionals in his industry. He still struggles with seemingly simple daily living skills, but he perseveres and never gives up.”
To learn more about Jonathan CLICK HERE.
To learn more about Geek Club Books, CLICK HERE.
Read the first three chapters of my book HERE.
You’ll be hooked.
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