We wanted to share a little update on one of our favorite featured kids from this past year. Back in May, we talked about Santino Stagliano, who was diagnosed with autism more than five years ago. With his parents’ encouragement, Santino was able to direct his love of drawing and dragons to create beautiful t-shirts that he is selling and donating half of the proceeds to the Center for Autism. Best of all, this process had given Santino a boost of self-esteem and a way to connect with people.
Now, fast-forward only a few months and Santino’s Dragons is expanding, doing amazing things. Santino, who is 10 years old, recently visited William Penn Charter school to share his story, his t-shirts and autism awareness with other kids his age. As his dad explains, Santino wasn’t even able to speak to anyone six months ago. And now, he’s talking in front of large groups of kids and fielding questions from students. For example, while at Penn Charter, he was asked:
How do you make dragons? “It’s what you feel inside, and you just do it,” Santino said.
What special things can you do? “I can climb trees, I can swim fast, and one time I went on this ride that teenagers usually go on, and I wasn’t scared at all.”
Who inspires you? “I get inspired by this person,” he said, pointing to his mom.
Santino also started a program called “Find Your Dragon,” which is designed to help children with autism express themselves and make friends. And if that wasn’t enough, he also chooses one child every month and does something special for them.
What an amazing kid – he is truly an inspiration. I have a feeling this will be one of many updates we’ll be doing about all of the tremendous and impactful work he is doing.
Check out more on Santino’s Dragons Facebook page.
Lynsey, Community Manager