For many young people a career path has been planned before finishing high school. For students with disabilities the last day of high school begins with the promise of government funded programs for job skills training that never seem to materialize. The desire for a fulfilling employment position is sought after by people with disabilities as much as those without disabilities.
Brandon is an autistic artist. He developed the talent for drawing from a very early age. He used drawing as a means of communication as a nonverbal three year old boy with autism. His communication skills slowly evolved, as did his drawing skills.
As a teenager he delved into the professional artworld with an increasing inventory of paintings and drawings. Soon, he was selling his original artwork and being commissioned to design book jackets and program covers. Today at 23 he sells his art and the books he has authored locally and through online resources.
As an Autistic entrepreneur, Brandon shares his micro-enterprise philosophy with other aspiring autistic artists in a social networking group based in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. As a member of Artists With Autism, Inc, a nonprofit organization, he is provided opportunities to display and sell his artwork at minimal to no cost. He sells his artwork at local craft fairs, church bazaars, autism awareness events and galleries. He has expanded his designs to include his printed artwork on gift items such as mousepads, cosmetic bags, and recently a line of clothing for young women creating a colorful, eclectic table display at festivals and artshows.
The Artists With Autism, Inc. micro-enterprise program often provides the members a booth –sharing experience encouraging Brandon and the other member artists with constructive feedback from mentors regarding appropriate social and business etiquette.
As a small business owner, Brandon is learning about supply and demand, pricing and customer satisfaction. He is also developing confidence in his abilities to communicate effectively and gains much satisfaction from seeing his talents appreciated.
Brandon requires a mentor to help him manage his art business finances. He maintains a simple bookkeeping record of his sales and inventory expenses and is disciplined in saving a fixed amount after his net proceeds.
Though Brandon is still hopeful for traditional employment one day, self-employment is offering him the freedom and flexibility to develop his social skills and business skills through the mentoring program offered as a member of Artists With Autism, Inc.
For more information about Artists With Autism, Inc visit their website at http://artistswithautismunite.webs.com/
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