Art of Autism with Neurodiversity panel at USC 2015

The Art of Autism will present a panel on neurodiversity, creativity, synesthesia, and the importance of music, sound, art, film-making, dance and movement in nurturing the human spirit.

Place: USC Institute of Genetic Medicine Art Gallery
Date: Sunday, May 17, 2015
Address: 2250 Alcazar Street, 2nd Floor (on the USC Health Sciences Campus)
Time: 3:30 PM – 6:00 PM
Cost: Free, Open to the public
Refreshments will be served

The Duda Art Gallery in collaboration with the USC Institute of Genetic Medicine Art Gallery will host a preview VIP Reception: Chunhong Wang will show art work of Chinese autistic students, Saturday, May 16, 6:00 – 8:00 PM (see flyer below)

The Art of Autism will host a neurodiversity panel.

Panel participants:

David-Sonnenschein1David Sonnenschein, a synesthete with sound and movement is the author of “Sound Design: The Expressive Power of Music, Voice, and Sound Effects in Cinema”. With degrees in Neurobiology and Music and Cinema/TV (USC), David applies his unique background to the area of sound design for film, games and health products. Trained as a classical musician, he has expanded into jazz and world music, and practices sound healing with the didgeridoo. David will bring his didgeridoo for a demonstration. He will also explain his latest games which focus on sound and the brain. David is founder of (exploring the power of Audio & Music for Brain Health) and (for Film and Interactive Media professionals). He began his career making educational films for the University of California and has produced and directed six feature films.

ChantalSicileKiraChantal Sicile-Kira is the author of five books on autism, a national speaker, consultant and the founder of Her son Jeremy Sicile-Kira is autistic, and a synesthete and sees people’s emotions as colors. He paints their portraits based on their emotions. Jeremy’s website is



KeriBowersKeri Bowers is a filmmaker, author, artist, autism advocate, but is always an autism mom first. Film credits include Normal People Scare Me, The Sandwich Kid and ARTS. She is currently filming Normal People Scare Me Too with her son, Taylor Cross. Her website is



KatherineYuKatherine Yu is author of the upcoming book Drawing Sylvia, a parent’s perspective of helping her child through art. Katherine who was born in Beijing will share her experience of the importance of art in raising her child who is on the autism spectrum. Her website is



DanielObejasDaniel Au Valencia is a neurodivergent adult who has been an expert on autism for 21 years. He has been working with the Autistic Self Advocacy Network (ASAN) since the summer of 2014, and started a new chapter in Southern California at the beginning of 2015. Daniel and ASAN are naturally focused on the needs of the Autistic community, but both also have an unwavering commitment to intersectionality, which is the crux of the neurodiversity movement. In his personal life, Daniel is an artist with a holistic approach to life. From graphics to multimedia to writing to performance, he haphazardly soaks up an endless supply of skills. Jack of all trades, master of some. Daniel is currently a full-time college student studying to become a sign language interpreter. If you’re a patient signer, feel free to strike up a conversation.

debbiewebDebra Muzikar, moderator for the panel, is the author of two books on autism: The Art of Autism: Shattering Myths and The Art of Autism: Shifting Perspectives. She is the co-founder of The Art of Autism collaborative which includes over 500 creative autistic people from around the world and over 50 organizations that partner with The Art of Autism to fulfill the creative destinies of people living on the autism spectrum. Her son Kevin is an artist on the autism spectrum whose art has been part of exhibits in museums across the globe.


Following the panel discussion, Chunhong Wang, will show Chinese ink & brush art from autistic children created during her therapy sessions at the Creative Art Therapy Academy in Beijing. Chunhong will talk about her unique therapy which combines dance, music, and art with theories from Chinese medicine which she calls Dimensionalartdance (DaDance). Chunhong Wang is a dance therapist based in Beijing, China. She was trained in DaoYin and TuiNa massage, and is director of the Chinese Art Medicine Association. Chunhong ran groups at psychiatric hospitals and is the director of GodGiftedGarden Art.

The panel is part of the reception for the Bionics exhibit at the IGM Gallery.


IGM Art GalleryThe mission of The Institute for Genetic Medicine Art Gallery is to serve as an art-framed forum for open-minded, deliberative discussions on complex social issues that interface with the creative process and findings of research in molecular biology, health and social systems.  Since 2000, the Gallery has offered a wide range of art exhibits and educational symposiums for student and community leaders on the USC Health Sciences Campus. This is a collaborative project between The Art of Autism and


For more information email theartofautism @

2 replies on “Art of Autism with Neurodiversity panel at USC 2015”
  1. says: Casey Best

    Again; none of these so-called ‘experts’ appear to actually have autism. Parenting a child with autism is not the same as actually having autism – this MUST NEVER BE FORGOTTEN.

    1. says: Debbie

      Casey Daniel Obejas is autistic. David Sonnenschein has synesthesia and Chantal will play a recording of Jeremy her son’s words. We’ve asked Jeremy to participate but he sometimes has problems at events like these so his mom is going to make sure he’s represented. Neurodiversity is not limited to autism. Casey, if you are in town I hope you can make the event and share your perspective.

      Debra Muzikar

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