At first glance, one would not know that Siri has a disability. She is a well-dressed young woman with a mild disposition. But when you start talking to her, you realize that her speech is very limited, she becomes very anxious and she repeats what you say. Siri, as she is fondly called by her family and friends, was diagnosed with autism when she was three. She went through special education classes and the school system, eventually graduating from Wings Learning Center at the age of 22. There have been several ups and downs during her school life, especially during middle school. Although Siri is intelligent and can read and write at a 3rd grade level, her limited communication skills created frustration and angry outbursts.
Physically, Siri is fit and has excellent fine motor skills. She likes to be productive and helpful. She has a lot of patience in completing a task. Her mother recognized that Siri was good at arranging and matching things when she incidentally discovered Siri’s talent for making jewelry. Siri quickly mastered many of the fine skills necessary. Her work ethic and a desire to impress people have helped Siri hone her skills. She loves to work (although not every day) and can sit for hours while making beautiful necklaces and earrings. Making jewelry has had a therapeutic and calming effect on her and boosted her self-confidence. She is very proud of her work and thrives in the accolades she receives at various events, where she gets to display and sell her jewelry.
Siri's family hopes to help develop her skills and expand her work so that many others with disabilities could be employed by her enterprise. She continues to inspire others, with and without disabilities, to become productive members of society. She lives with her parents and two brothers in the San Francisco Bay Area. Her work can be seen at www.DesignsBySiri.com.