Jesse Buckwalter is an award-winning photographer in Lancaster PA. He is a young man with Asperger Syndrome, a form of autism. He overcomes many challenges as he continues to develop his talent for composing photographs. He has not mastered all the mechanics of the camera, but he has an eye for exceptional photographic composition.
He was first recognized when he won a first place prize for a photograph he had taken of a friend sitting on a sidewalk bench, entitled “Portrait of Dewey” in the Lancaster County Art association Art Show. His talent was further validated when a Baltimore art dealer offered to buy a lighthouse picture he had taken as a gift for his father, titled “On a Clear Day.”
He likes to take pictures of local scenes, specializing in the coast of Maine and the farmland scenes around central Pennsylvania. He also enjoys music, movies, studying weather, walking and trying out local restaurants.
Jesse also now enjoys living in his own condo, with the help of arrangements made by ASPIE. He has a quiet and secure living arrangement that is crucial to his ability to function at his best, along with personal life skills assistance provided by local support service providers that enable his independence. And with the proceeds from his photography, he is able to cover the cost of independent living.
Paul McAuliffe is a world/ethnic flute player, flute maker, drummer, storyteller, songwriter, autism advocate and short story writer from Panama City, Florida. He has a unique passion for bamboo and wood flutes from all over the world. He plays Native American flutes, as well as ones from Japan, India, Australia, Eastern Europe, Norway, Ireland, Nigeria, and South America.
Since he was diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome (high functioning autism) as an adult, he combines his performances of unique music with autism education. He discusses his own autistic journey of self-discovery, plays soothing flute music, describes what it’s like living with autism in a neuro-typical world, explains how autism can breed innovative thinking, and promotes multicultural understanding – all while compensating for his interactive autistic challenges and worsening physical health.
Paul’s been unable to work a “regular” job for some time. However, with assistance, he’s given his presentations throughout the Southeast, including state universities in Florida, Alabama, and Mississippi. He gave his “Flutes, Autism & a Different Way of Seeing” program at the Center For Disease Control in Atlanta, and has been featured on CNN and various National Public Radio affiliates. He’s given his “Flutes & Storytelling” program at elementary schools and Boys & Girls Clubs, and he loves to serenade endangered Florida panthers at Bear Creek Feline Center. He has created three CD’s with a wide variety of his original flute music.
Adversity can deal creativity a setback, but seldom stifles it. Jonathan Whitlock grew up with a love of drawing. He started drawing in second grade, and by age 15 he knew art was going to be his calling. He doodled constantly and took it upon himself to study the classic artists, particularly the cubists. He majored in Studio Arts at college and ended his freshman year with his first art exhibition.
June 1999 changed everything. During summer break back home in Lancaster PA, Jonathan sustained a traumatic brain injury when he was involved in a car accident. He remained in a coma for five months, and never regained his ability to walk or see out of one eye. When he emerged from that state, he had impaired muscle control and balance, a weakened left side, blindness in one eye, spasticity, and restarted his life confined to a wheelchair. Formerly left-handed, he had to train himself to be right-handed. It was ten months before he could pick up a paintbrush, but he persevered. He continues to regain his artistic instincts while exploring new creative paths and a broader stroke style.