Special Needs Resource Fair to feature autistic artist from Carmel Valley

Chantal Sicile-Kira with her son Jeremy. Courtesy photos

By Kristina Houck

Although he has trouble communicating verbally, Jeremy Sicile-Kira can communicate in ways others cannot. Diagnosed with autism when he was 3 years old, Jeremy also sees and feels emotions as colors. He uses his synesthesia to create vivid paintings.

“I kindly frankly hope people realize that we are all hoping to be able to share our talents with the community we live in,” said 25-year-old Jeremy, who lives in Carmel Valley with his parents. He communicates by using a letterboard or keyboard. “I love the happy faces of people when they see my work.”

It wasn’t until roughly two years ago that Jeremy discovered his unique talent. While flipping through a book by an author who also has synesthesia, his mother discovered her son associates colors with emotions. After having a dream about painting, Jeremy began painting his dreams.

Now, he is the featured artist at the Special Needs Resource Fair’s first art show.

Set for May 17 at Seaside Center in Encinitas, the inaugural fair will feature dozens of local vendors, including many who work with special needs children. Funds raised at the event will help low-income families with special needs children participate in educational programs at Where Music Begins and The Special Education Station.

Jeremy Sicile-Kira painting.

Jeremy will have at least 10 of his paintings on display and available for purchase at the event. Members of the public will also be able to order paintings.

“I like the fact that we’re encouraging kids who have autism or developmental disabilities,” said Jeremy’s mother, author Chantal Sicile-Kira, who will also sign copies of her latest book, “Autism Spectrum Disorder: The Complete Guide to Understanding Autism.”

The 371-page book covers all aspects of the condition, including the causes of autism, treatments, and teaching strategies and resources for educators and other professionals. Copies of her fifth book, “A Full Life with Autism: From Learning to Forming Relationships to Achieving Independence,” will also be available. She co-authored the book with her son.

“This fair is a good way for families to learn about businesses in North County that work with special needs children,” said Sicile-Kira, who noted the importance of community resources.

When Jeremy was diagnosed with autism, Sicile-Kira was living in France. Doctors told the New York native to put her son in a psychiatric hospital. They said bad parenting caused his autism, Sicile-Kira recalled.

The lack of autism awareness and information propelled Sicile-Kira to write her first book.

Now, Jeremy is a high school graduate, published author and an accomplished painter. He also serves as a youth representative to the United Nations for the Autism Research Institute. In recognition of his work, Jeremy recently received a signed letter from President Barack Obama, which is framed and displayed near his art in his parents’ home.

Currently, he is looking for a live-in, paid roommate, so he can embark on his next adventure: moving out of his parents’ house.

“Believe in yourself and never give up,” said Jeremy.

The Special Needs Resource Fair will take place 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. May 17 at the Seaside Center for Spiritual Living, located at 1613 Lake Drive in Encinitas.

Jeremy is also one of the guest artists in The Rainbow Bridge Art Project’s May 22 art show and fundraiser, which will be held in conjunction with Cruising the Art Scene, a monthly Carlsbad-based art walk. The event will take place 5:30-8:30 p.m. at John Moseley Fine Art Gallery, 300 Carlsbad Village Drive, Suite 105, Carlsbad.

In addition, he will be featured in Hera Hub Member’s Art Show. The artist’s reception will take place 6-8:30 p.m. May 23 at Hera Hub, 9710 Scranton Road, San Diego. The show runs through Aug. 31.

For more information about the fair, visit specialneedsresourcefair.wordpress.com or www.facebook.com/specialneedsresourcefair.

For more information about Jeremy and his work, visit www.jeremysvision.com.

For more information about Sicile-Kira and her work, visit www.chantalsicile-kira.com or autismcollege.com.


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