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Meet Jayson, a Teenaged Artist (with an Autism Diagnosis)

By August 4, 2011

Today's blog is from Heidi Halberstadt, the proud mom of Jayson, age 16.  Jayson is an award-winning artist, and a rising junior in high school.  He also, by the way, has an autism spectrum diagnosis.

Please do take the time to write a quick comment to Heidi and Jayson (just click on comment at the end of the blog).  If you would like to submit your own essay, please do!  Here are the details regarding length and how to submit!

About the Artist

Jayson Halberstadt is 16 years old. He will be an 11th grader at McFatter Technical High School where he will study Multi-Media Design. At the age of two he began to draw and never stopped. He began with shapes and progressed to video game characters. Several years ago, Jay began taking cartooning lessons from a former Disney animator named Al Baruch. For a young artist, Jay has had many accomplishments. His art has been shown in several community centers, museums, libraries, parks, universities and Artserve in Fort Lauderdale. He has also donated artwork to several local charities, including a 12" X 12" canvas to the Friendship Circle of Fort Lauderdale and an 8.5 X 11 colored pencil drawing to Project Lifesaver to be auctioned for fundraising. He also donated two 4' X 4' golf targets for the Autism Society of Broward children's golf program. Aside from volunteering for the Young at Art Children's Museum, Jay has volunteered as an assistant art teacher at the DPJCC and the Plantation Community Center. He also created a team called Jayson's Giants to raise $1,000 for Autism Speaks. He's been recognized for his community efforts and work in the arts in the Our City Weston and the Weston Lifestyle magazines.  He was also honored as a Powerful Kid semi-finalist by the Chris Evert Children's Hospital and has volunteered at the Joe DiMaggio Children's Hospital drawing cartoons for young patients.

Aside from his philanthropic activities, Jayson has received recognition from some of his heroes such as Derek Jeter of the New York Yankees and Geddy Lee from the band Rush who sent autographs for his "awesome" pictures. Jay was a member of the Junior National Honor Society and was recently invited to join the National Honor Society. He has sold original artworks as well as many prints. You can check out his websites artbyjay.biz or cafepress.com/artbyjay. Eventually, Jayson would like to pursue a career in audiovisual entertainment.

Oh...and he was diagnosed with autism at the age of 5.

August 4, 2011 at 1:51 pm
(1) Torill says:

Hi! How wonderful to read about your son – it’s so good when a person finds something to do that they like and have a talent for! I’m sure he will do well in the future! I also have a son with Aspergers, he is now 25 and works as a computor programmer. He has a bachelor in this and was head-hubted for his current job. Of course I am very proud of him!!! Besides being a mom I run a councelling and publishing company here in Norway where we focus on autism / Aspergers. Feel free to check out our website. One f the pages there is in english…

August 4, 2011 at 10:13 pm
(2) Heidi says:

Thanks Torill – Congratulations to your son on his career! I’d love to check out the website. What is it?

August 6, 2011 at 4:03 am
(3) Torill says:

the website is http://www.spiss.no and is our site for SPISS which is a councelling- and publishing company in Norway, sepcialized on autism/Aspergers. On the main page you’ll find a link to the english page at the left hand side.

August 4, 2011 at 2:15 pm
(4) Alexia says:

Great work Jayson! Just goes to show you that when you focus on the gifts you have, you can soar to new heights. And if we work together we can achieve (my son is on the spectrum).

CONGRATS Heidi and thanks for introducing us to your son.

August 4, 2011 at 2:23 pm
(5) Anne Burnett says:

My blog post today titled A “Defining” Moment, http://alleviateautism.com/2011/08/a-defining-moment/
talks of how we as parents, community and the world view the diagnosis of an ASD (autism spectrum disorder).

To that note, I applaud your comment “Oh…and he was diagnosed with autism at the age of 5.” Clearly this being your philosophy has played a major role in Jason’s success, both professionally and personally.

Please spread the word…autism doesn’t define you, rather it is just one more aspect that makes you truly special and unique!

August 4, 2011 at 10:16 pm
(6) Heidi says:

Thanks Anne – “autism doesn’t define you, rather it is just one more aspect that makes you truly special and unique!”
I couldn’t have said it better!

August 4, 2011 at 5:44 pm
(7) Sandra Trinidad says:

We are very proud of Jayson at Young At Art Museum. He also participates of our Comic Convention showing and selling his work but most importantly inspiring young people to be creative and philantropic like him. Thanks Jayson and Thanks Mom for sharing him with us. We have seen him blossom through the years.

August 4, 2011 at 10:21 pm
(8) Heidi says:

Thank you Sandra for your support and for providing opportunities for Jay to participate in the community. It means so much to our family when Jay finds people and places where he feels accepted.

August 9, 2011 at 6:48 am
(9) Uleen Gobin says:

Great work Jayson. I am proud of you.

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