HILLSIDE, Ill. -- Jason Thomson not only lives with Aspergers, a form of high functioning autism, he triumphs in spite of it.
Thomson, 42, takes us enthusiastically into his world. He describes the different ways people with autism struggle with communication and how that affects social interaction.
"I had difficulty keeping my eyes on their eyes when speaking to people," he said.
Jason also spoke candidly about being bullied.
"I got teased and picked on at school just about every day," he recalled.
Jason has lived an incredible journey, conquering those challenges and finding success in so many different areas. He was hired at Aspire, a non-profit organization that helps people with disabilities pursue and achieve their aspirations.
At Aspire he serves as the concierge and ambassador. The CEO of Aspire said he "sees the world with these optimistic eyes that inspire everyone."
He also mentioned Jason is a gifted artist and Aspire incorporates his art whenever the opportunity arises.
Jason also showcased his considerable talents as a musician, an artist and cook. The recipient of a Masters degree in clarinet from the University of Illinois, Jason plays clarinet in the Naperville Municipal Band and has performed several solos. His mastery of the complicated piece "Flight of the Bumblebee" is impressive.
He also creates beautiful art that adorns his apartment. On top of that he loves experimenting with different foods and makes delicious, healthy meals.
Jason has succeeded by focusing on his many talents, relying on his faith in God and the support given to him by his parents and siblings. He eagerly shared his words of wisdom: "We have to accept people for who they are."
He said Mr. Rogers is a source of inspiration, and reminded everyone that we have to understand that out of 7 billion people, there's only one person like us, and We have to accept that this is how God made us, this is exactly who God wants us to be.
Chicago area man with autism shares struggles, triumphs on life's journey