Raising the Bar in Disabilities Advocacy to an ART
Keri Bowers: Speaker / Seminar / Workshop Leader / Filmmaker / Disabilities Advocate / Specialties: the ARTS and TRANSITIONS .
As an international speaker, Keri’s talks and seminars include a long list of clients including governmental agencies, the military, pharmaceutical, university/colleges, hospitals, private and non-profit organizations. Educational institutions regularly use Keri’s films for in-service and education. .
In 2006, Keri co-created and directed the hit documentary film, Normal People Scare Me; a film about autism, with her son, Taylor Cross, now 24 with autism. The film, produced by Joey Travolta provides candid interviews with 65 individuals with living with autism everyday. .
In 2007, Keri co-created The Sandwich Kid with her son, Jace. The film explores the intrinsic issues experienced by siblings of people with disabilities. Sharing Jace’s challenged journey with his brother, Taylor, along with candid and compelling interviews with dozens of “sibs”, the film touches a variety of feelings and issues we don’t hear too much about in mainstream press. .
In 2008, Keri released her third film, ARTS, a film highlighting the importance of music, dance, fine arts, and drama to develop vocational, social and life skills for people with disabilities. Featuring luminaries including Temple Grandin, Donna Williams, Stephen Shore, Stephen Wiltshire, Jerry and Mary Newport, Geri Jewell, Elaine Hall and Karen Simmons, ARTS explores “possibilities, disabilities & the arts” in a whole new way. .
Her workbook, “Mapping Transitions to Your Child’s Future“ is key to her work in transitions planning. Her son, Taylor, now lives in his own apartment with independent living supports provided by the ARC of Ventura. . Keri’s has been featured on CNN; PBS, Geraldo, The Today Show; Access Hollywood; Extra; CBS, ABC, FOX, NBC, Lifetime, and more. Feature articles include People, Spectrum, Scholastic, Scholastic Science magazines and more. .
Specialties: . Producer/director: The ART of AUTISM, multi-city live theatrical events celebrating talents of people with ASD . Editor:The ART of AUTISM; Shifting Perceptions by Debra Hosseini. . WORKSHOP & KEY NOTE TOPICS INCLUDE: SCREENING OF NORMAL PEOPLE SCARE ME; THE SANDWICH KID; and/or ARTS; Meet the Filmmaker Q&A FREE & LOW COSTS STRATEGIES – “MAPPING TRANSITIONS TO YOUR CHILD’S FUTURE” THE “ART” OF DEVELOPING SOCIAL/LIFE SKILLS THE SPIRITUAL NATURE OF RAISING KIDS W/ SPECIAL NEEDS
2010 – Present (3 years) Global
The ART of AUTISM is a collaborative project connecting artists & performers of all ages on the autism spectrum with opportunities & venues to showcase their varied talents. We educate the artists & general public, as we support building resumes, portfolios, administrative/executive functioning skills, & work experience, while encouraging powerful self images through public performances, art shows, & global social media. . By bringing awareness about the artistic gifts of people w/ ASD, The ART of AUTISM inspires community members, gives hope to parents, self advocates, & provides professionals with ideas for their own communities development. Through art installations, book signings, live performance events, books, & film, we focus on promoting artists who love: fine arts, visual arts, animation, theater, comedy, dance, music, film, poetry, and creative writing/blogging . The arts reach children who are otherwise not being reached.
Success in the arts becomes a bridge to learning and eventual success in other areas of learning and life including:
• Enhanced learning & achievement
• Fortifying/developing cognitive skills, language & communication skills
• Increased self-esteem
• Development of new relationships & social skills
• Improves executive & administrative functioning
• Increased academic achievement & success
• Experiences in the arts creates capabilities/motivations that show up in non-arts capabilities
• Those who participate in the arts are stronger in abilities to express thoughts & ideas.
They also perform better on measures of creativity, fluency, originality, & elaboration . The Art of Autism supports
1) media attention for artists who contributed to the book;
2) display & sale of art at shows
3) creating work on site, showing the process behind their art;
4) recitations of poetry;
5) presentations about autism, art, & other relevant subjects by guest experts.
December 2004 – Present (9 years)Producer/Director of documentary films in autism and other disabilities. Films include Normal People Scare Me, The Sandwich Kid, and ARTS.