My life with art and autism
My name is Taylor Crowe, and I have High Functioning Autism. I was born on June 2, 1981. By all accounts I was a normal child. At the age of three I began to regress. This regression included the loss of nearly all of my language skills. For well over a year my parents didn’t know what was wrong with me. I was four and a half years old when I was finally diagnosed with autism. The doctor who diagnosed me told my parents that I‘d never have any friends, never drive a car, never have a job, never live independently, never be married, never “you name it”. My parents, however, wanted to do their very best with me and decided to take their own path. They believed that I could learn to do those things; they would just be harder for me and take me a lot longer to learn than most children. Learning that I had autism was the best thing that ever happened to me. I am now a working editorial cartoonist at a daily newspaper and speak on independent living as an autistic artist with insight and ideas that surround my world. Whether through my art or speaking engagements, I am always interested in connecting with people. Click here to receive updates on future talks and artwork.
My Dad, David Crowe, continues to inspire
Dr. David P. Crowe, 62, passed away March 7, 2014
The following is writing from a yet to be published book on the journey that David shared with Taylor… “As I watched Taylor pass through his childhood, struggling virtually nonstop day after day, month after month, year after year in an effort to learn and understand the countless things that come naturally and without thought to the rest of us, it occurred to me that the journey we were undertaking with him was the slow, methodical, step-by-step systematic process of inventing a life. And in 2007 that journey took us to a gorgeous, sunny, perfect Southern California day where people were unfolding lawn chairs and spreading blankets on a hillside bordering the courtyard where Cal Arts [California Institute of the Arts in Valencia, California, the most respected school in the country for the study of animation] holds its graduations. I watched Taylor in the late-afternoon light as he prepared to cross the stage, laughing and talking with friends he’d met on his own, in the midst of a life he had chosen for himself, pursuing a dream he’d held close since he was in grade school, even while struggling in a world of profound isolation and confusion. That graduation day was an extraordinary time for Taylor, a special moment for someone who had worked incomprehensibly hard for years to be standing where he was that afternoon. What Taylor has accomplished continues to amaze me. He and I are telling this story because to individuals and families confronting the challenges of autism, Taylor’s message is one of hopefulness, not hopelessness. Of capability, not disability.” Click here to receive news when David Crowe’s book is published.
My circle of family and friends
This is how I get through life. First with the help of my parents and now on my own – finding a “circle of friends”. The core idea seems elemental: as much as possible, in as many different settings as possible, I surround myself with normal peers who understand autism. It has helped me to learn how to interact with others. With their support, I watch and learn. And by keep doing it my life has been enriched with friends and family who understand me, helping me understand them. Below are but a few photos of the circle that has enriched my life.