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Monday, December 2, 2013

Exceptional Minds and Employment

Many posts have discussed employment of ASD adults.  At The Los Angeles Daily News, Christina Villacorte profiles Lloyd Hackl, a participant in Exceptional Minds, a Sherman Oaks nonprofit vocational center and animation studio.
.“You can’t judge them by the way they look or by the way they talk,” said Yudi Bennett, the school’s operations director. “Somebody on the outside looking at Lloyd would only see the limitations. We see the potential.”
“(Those with autism) have high attention to detail, and that’s a trait we’re trying to capitalize on,” said the school’s program director, Ernie Merlán. “I call it their superpower.”
For “American Hustle,” the students did rotoscoping, a tedious animation technique necessary for color correction, and computer effects such as making superheroes fly by erasing the wires that hold them up. When asked if he enjoys the precise art of rotoscoping, Katz, 22, responded with an emphatic “yeah!”
Exceptional Minds’ lead instructor, Josh Dagg, said nothing compares to helping students with autism feel the sense of accomplishment that comes with making a living. “I know that the program is working because we’ve been able to teach them to deliver on a professional level — on a level that can be blown up to 30-60 feet high and shown globally,” he said. “If their work is good enough for that, then it’s good enough for anybody.”
“Exceptional Minds started with a group of parents trying to figure out what was going to happen to our kids after high school,” Yudi said, adding the unemployment rate among those with autism is about 90 percent. [Maybe not quite that high, but still bad]

The school allows students to earn certification in post-production work by providing customized instruction, hands-on training, expert lectures and field trips to various studios.