Autism no barrier to making miraculous art

You may recall the heartwarming story of Jason McElwain, a mildly autistic teenager who went from varsity basketball team manager to international hoops sharpshooter in his final high school game. (If you haven't watched the video of his wonderful performance on the court, it's a must-see!)

Just as incredible are the wonderful talents of autistic Londoner Stephen Wiltshire, a 32-year-old artist who learned how to communicate via the language of his unbelievably detailed drawings of animals, city buses and eventually buildings.

Nicknamed "The Living Camera," Stephen drew a perfect aerial view of London when he was 11, and after only one helicopter ride. This wonderful YouTube.com video (link below) attempts to duplicate this wonderful feat, asking Stephen to draw a 5.5-yard panoramic view of the center of Rome after only seeing it once on a 45-minute helicopter ride. As you can imagine, Stephen's talents showcased in this video -- especially his wonderful eye for the fine details -- do not disappoint...

What makes Stephen's story all the more remarkable: He was raised, for the most part, by his mother and older sister, as his father died when he was 3. His father would've been proud indeed to know his talented son recently became a Member of the British Empire.

Again, autism can be frighteningly difficult, as it was early on for Stephen's family, but it doesn't have to be a life sentence either.

YouTube.com September 7, 2006

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