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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.

News Source: abc7.com

Tags: localish autism disability music localish wls with autism people

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Chicago area Muslims mark end of Ramadan as Israel-Palestine conflict continues

AURORA, Ill. (WLS) -- Muslims in west suburban Aurora held a massive outdoor prayer service to celebrate Eid, marking the end of the fasting of Ramadan.

The service is especially meaningful at a time when violence continues to escalate overseas.

In Gaza, at least 83 people are dead including 17 children, and hundreds are injured as airstrikes continued on the holy day.

RELATED: Palestine and Israel violence continues as weary Gaza marks Muslim feast

People in Aurora prayed for their brothers and sisters in the Middle East.

"We have to still be concerned about what's going on and pray for the people that are there, pray for peace, so it's important as we have our celebration to understand there are other people celebrating differently and they affected by what's going on," said Imam Rizwan Ali with the Islamic Center of Naperville.

In Israel, seven people have died so far, including a young boy, and 150 have been injured, a warning for people to stay home because of heightened attacks.

Officials said an Egyptian delegation is negotiating a cease-fire in the escalating Gaza conflict.

"We're seeing in the Middle East right now is very upsetting, it's disconcerting. And it was totally avoidable," said Daniel Goldwin with the Jewish Community Relations Council. "Unfortunately the Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad terrorists sought to exploit some tension in Jerusalem. And then unleashed over 2,000 missiles fired indiscriminately Israeli civilian targets."

Hamas militants fired hundreds of rockets into Israel; the Israelis launched repeated airstrikes against targets in the Gaza Strip.

It's a reminder to Muslims here at home pray for peace.

"We're requesting all of our congregates to do they make this supplication for the Muslims around the world because there is still there are those that lost loved ones and they are struggling," said Kashif Fakhuiddin of the Islamic Center of Naperville.

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