CELEBRATION, Fla. – A family in Celebration hopes their young son’s talent will serve as a ray of hope for families with children who have special needs.
“The logo you see on his shirt he drew that. That is his creation. It’s the autistic tiger. He is the autistic tiger and he’s just proud of it,” David Villec said of his 8-year-old son, Tiger.
Three years ago, Tiger revealed to his parents a natural-born talent.
“I got him a whiteboard and he just started drawing everything,” Villec said. “He started drawing on it but he was holding one of his toys like a reference model and he’s drawing with his hand. I couldn’t believe it. He was 5 years old and using a reference model to draw.”
The family said they always knew Tiger would develop a remarkable skill because of his autism.
“In California, I worked as a disability advocate and I helped people like Tiger get on SSI or social security disability and I always knew that ASD kids had like one special talent and we were always on the lookout,” Villec said.
But his parents weren’t the only ones on the lookout. His second-grade teacher suggested Tiger’s gift be showcased at the Osceola County Fair.
“He actually won 3 blue ribbons. Even though Tiger’s not in art class in his school, they knew that he had a talent for this and they asked us to submit a few pieces that were farm or animal-themed,” Villec recalled.
Tiger’s mother said her son’s artistic side has also helped him with his communication skills.
“When he started to do art he just did it wonderful and he get better and better. He started to talk more. I just think this is the best thing ever,” Jenjira Chitphimai said.
Villec said his son is a perfectionist with his drawing. If a line doesn’t look right, he said his son will erase it and start all over again. In some cases, he just throws out the piece of paper and starts from scratch.
“If he could be an animator with Disney, wow! I mean, we moved to Orlando so he could be next to Disney World so in case when he’s 18 he could get a job he’ll be right there,” Villec said, adding that if parents notice a skill in their child, patience is important.
“Keep looking for the things that they have an affinity to or an interest and help that out and feed it as best you can.”
Tiger’s parents created a YouTube channel to highlight their son’s work and his journey to become an artist. David said Tiger will be attending the Elite Animation Academy in Orlando in April.