NBC News with Lester Holt recently featured Exceptional Minds, a vocational school in Sherman Oaks, California, that provides visually-gifted young adults on the autism spectrum with customized instruction to support, nurture and develop their skills. As part of the school, students who attend are trained in visual effects, digital animation and work readiness to pursue careers in digital animation and visual effects.
Graduates of their program have helped work on films such as Mockingjay Part 2, Avengers: Age of Ultron and Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Road Chip.
Yudi Bennett, Director of Operations at Exceptional Minds told NBC News, “This program has exceeded my wildest expectations.”
To help advance the mission of Exceptional Minds, Autism Speaks has provided the organization with over $54,500 in funding through our Family Services Community Grants program, Baker Summer Camp scholarships and the Brian & Patricia Kelly Postsecondary Scholarship Fund. You can learn more about the grants we provide here.
In addition to the grants programs, Autism Speaks is committed to expanding employment opportunities and supports for young adults and adults with autism through outreach and resources. TheSpectrumCareers is a portal designed to connect individuals on the spectrum with jobs and employment support service providers. The Autism Speaks Employment Tool Kit helps people with autism research, find and keep employment in the competitive labor market.