I'm an ADULT! ... Am I ready for this?
May 20, 2019
It’s difficult to keep up in today’s world of technology and social media. It’s even far more challenging when you struggle with processing delays and autism.
But, being left behind was never an option in my house. I was raised by a strong, independent mother whose primary goal was to make sure, somehow, I would be ready to navigate this world when I aged out of school. She was not waiting until I turned 18 to teach me how to work and use my talents.
Mom knew that being independent was a LEARNED BEHAVIOR; you’re not born with it. I was 13 years old when my mom heard Dr. Temple Grandin speak out to parents and young adults about building on talents and teaching them to work. She lives and breathes by what she calls “The Temple Grandin Golden Rules.”
Mom created a life for me that would allow me to use my skills … especially, if something happened to her.
At an early age, it was obvious to people that I had a natural talent for art. My Mom could not afford formal art classes; instead, she would find affordable ways to help me develop my abilities. I attended free classes, discount classes, and even gathered recycled materials to stretch my imagination.
Art is My Therapy
Art became my form of therapy for my anxieties. Drawing, coloring, painting and even tearing paper for hours and days. Yes, it was an obsession; but it felt right.
It became obvious that I had talent, some said a “Great Talent!” Mom wasn’t waiting; she seized the opportunity and decided to take my art to the people. She knew very little about the art world. But, she has courage and is very stubborn. She followed her heart, too.
My future is brighter because of her, Dr. Temple Grandin, and so many others.
A Lot Has Happened
Since starting my art career, a lot has happened. I have won and received honors for my artwork. We have built a successful Art and Literacy outreach program. I teach Eco-art using my techniques. Plus, we share our books, which feature an innovated dyslexie font for those struggling with reading.
In 2018, we launched our first children’s book, Grant the Jigsaw Giraffe ~ Different is More.” A heartfelt book about a young giraffe born different, but who follows his passion for art and rises above his challenges. Yes, it’s my story, but with a twist … I am a giraffe!
Within one year, we have sold over 12,000 books, won an “Outstanding Media and Communication Award” from the Governor of Texas, and been recognized by the Barbara Bush Literacy Program. We’re currently writing books about other animals with disabilities or challenges: autism, dyslexia, epilepsy, bullying, and more. I’m creating new character art for these books.
My Mom reminds me often ... this is not the “typical” transition that most artists experience. It takes years, lots of years, to become famous and some don’t even get recognized until after they die. I am fortunate to witness people, of all ages, enjoying my art and being inspired to save the planet by creating Eco-art.
I have a Plan B
However, I do know that making a living as an artist comes with risks. So, I have a plan B … I have a part-time job at STAPLES. I do enjoy working outside the home. Plus, I need to take a break from art so that I don’t burn out.
I meet new friends, I’m developing job skills and I’ve learned to take Uber as I am also working on my driver’s license.
There’s a balance and peace in my life as I multi-task and navigate my world of autism.
My friends on the spectrum are moving into their own apartments, buying homes, getting degrees, obtaining full-time jobs, having relationships, getting married, and having babies.
I think I will start with the apartment next … one-step at a time.
-- Grant Maniér Age 24
“Over the years, I have watched Grant develop both artistically and as a person. Getting out and doing art shows has helped him develop both his art and social skills.” -Dr. Temple Grandin
“When Grant started working here, we were unsure where his best placement would be. Along the way, we discovered his strengths. He’s great with customers and his attention to details made him one of my best cashiers in the building.” – Reyna Ybarra/STAPLES Manager