Below you will see some of speaking engagments in locations like the Gateway Academy Commencement Speech at Scottsdale Community College in Scottsdale AZ, and the speech for The Art of Autism Exhibit at the H.H. Dorje Chang Buddha III Cultural and Art Museum in Covina CA.
Here's a list of speaking engagments I done are:
- The Art of Autism Exhibit at the H.H. Dorje Chang Buddha III Cultural and Art Museam. Covina, CA.
- Gateway Academy Commencement Speech at Scottsdale Community College. Phoenix/Scottsdale, AZ.
- Autism and the Arts: Supporting Students In A Post-Secondary Studio Environment. Daemen College. Amherst/Buffalo, NY.
- Alaska Autism Resource Center Roadshow. Fairbanks, Valdez, Palmer, Sitka, and Anchorage, AK
- Alaska Autism Resource Center Roadshow. Juneau, Bethel, Soldotna, and Anchorage, AK
- Oklahoma Statewide Autism Conference, Oklahoma City, OK, Keynote
- Temple Grandin & Friends at Club Nokia, Los Angeles, CA
- OCALICON, Columbus, OH. Sponsored by Hasbro Inc., spoken to over 2000 people.
- CORE 10, Long Beach, CA. Informative speech to transition young adults about the importance of having a college education.
- AGI conference in Bolder, CO. Informative speech about myself to my fellow leaders.
- Advanced LA, Los Angeles, CA. Informative speech to transition young adults about the importance of having a college education.
- APSE, Long Beach, CA. Informative speech to transition young adults about the importance of having a college education.
- Conference. Persuasive speech to the autism community about why it’s beneficial to them to employee people with disabilities.
- La Canada Kiwanis club. Persuasive speech to small business employers about why it’s beneficial to them to employee people with disabilities.
- Autism in Long Beach “Bully Free Zone 1 2 and 3” in 2014/2013/2012 Persuasive speech to intercity kids of all abilities about the importance of staying in school and going to collage.
- Aquarium of the Pacific, Festival of Human Abilities. A closing speech to thank everyone for attending.
- Pitting for Autism Benefit. Informative speech to a punk rock audience about autism.
- Art of Autism, Mr. Music Head art event in Hollywood, as well as featuring my art. Talking about art and autism.
- Acceptance speech at Exceptional Ability Award “for Next Level Artist”
- ARI Conference, Irvine, CA, Employment Panel.
- 6th annual Autism Conference of America. Informative speech, “My Story“.
- Genius of Autism, McCarton Foundation, New York, NY
- Golden Goody Award, Award Acceptance Speech. 2011
- Art of Autism, Barnesdale Theater in Hollywood, Informative Speech about myself and my animation company
- Art of Autism, Southern California Gas Company, Informative Speech about myself and my animation company
- Cal-TOSH, Informative Speech about myself and my animation company
- California Avocado Festival in Carpentaria, CA, Informative Speech about myself and my animation company, followed by a book reading of one of my books.
- Orange County Festival of Children's Books, Informative Speech about myself and my animation company, followed by a book reading of one of my books.
- Rotary Club in Auburn Hills, Michigan, Informative Speech about myself and my animation company.
- Girltopia, a meeting of over 12,000 Girl Scouts at Staples Center in Los Angeles. Informative Speech about myself and my animation company, followed by a book reading of one of my books.
Below is my speech for opening ceremony for the exhibit at the H.H. Dorje Chang Buddha III Cultural and Art Museum in Covina CA, "Expressions: An Exhibit by Exceptional Artists."
Please click on the link below for the video.
Below is the Commencement Address for Gateway Academy at Scottsdale Community College.
NOTE: In the first 8 minutes, it starts with Valedictorian Speech with a Gateway Academy graduating student Antonio Gipson.
This is Official Script for the Commencement Speech for Gateway Academy at Scottsdale Community College.
(IMPORTANT: Please DO NOT plagerize Dani Bowman's commencement speech, NOT EVEN A SMIDGE! Thank you.)
Good Morning all friends, families, and staff. And welcome to this amazing graduation program, and for students graduating welcome to the rest of your life!
I’m Dani Bowman, I’m a 22-year-old university student with my own company DaniMation Entertainment, a company that I started when I was 14 years old by combining my six passions, which are:
- Autism Advocacy
- Public Speaking,
- Teaching Animation to individuals on the autism spectrum
- Fine & Visual Arts
And I also happen to be on the autism spectrum.
First of all, I would like to say thank you to the staff at Spectrum Academy including Robin Sweet, Max McFadden, and Dr. Tom Bloom for inviting me to speak at this amazing graduation.
I’m going to start with my animation reel! Here it is!
(Reel, then look Back)
Wow…that reel seems so old now, later I will be showing you my most recent work.
But first I’m going to talk about my life story of how I’m constantly working to do the best that I can including how I work through my challenges, and where I am now.
You know, “When Life Gives You Lemons, Make Lemonade”, right?
I was diagnosed with autism at age 2, the doctors told my parents not to expect much from me. They said I may never speak. Okay, so it did take me a while to speak. I did not speak until I was six year old, but as you can see, I can speak just fine now. Yes, I’m constantly working on my vocabulary, but it can be done.
The Doctors also said that I may never learn how to socialize and have friends, but now I think I socialize pretty good, I mean I’m not perfect. People can tell that I’m a little quirky or “different”. But that’s okay.
Who wants to be just like everyone else anyways?
It is okay to be different. Wouldn’t it be boring if we were all the same?
I still have challenges like eye contact, sometimes I lose my train of thought, and I may go on tangents when I converse, but I’m still learning how to improve that.
The Doctors also said that I may never graduate high school.
Well I almost didn’t graduate because I had been going to a public school and taking special Ed English all through school. And at my IEPs, it was never explained to me that in order for me to graduate with my class, I had to be at a certain level of English.
And with Special Education English, it would have been almost impossible to pass the California High School Exit Exam.
When I was in the 11th grade was when I found this out…I was so behind. So if wanted to graduate with my class, I had to take regular English classes. It seemed like an impossible task, and it was really scary.
11th grade English was one of the hardest classes I had ever taken. It was kind of like taking a third year of a foreign language class without ever taking the first two years. But my English teacher was really nice and helpful, and with the assistance of my aid and my family. Eventually, I became more confident and found the class much easier. I finished my junior year with straight “A”s. It was difficult, but I really enjoyed being challenged for once. That was when I realized how much special Ed classes really held me back.
Sure for the next two years, I had no freetime at all. That meant no video gaming, no DeviantArt, no Facebook, and I had to stay off of YouTube, which meant No Cat videos (and I really like those cat videos), but I had to make a choice. I either focus on my English or I wasn’t going to graduate.
In otherwords, I had to give up every leisure activity to study English every night for about 4-5 hours and all weekends. It was hard, but I had to do it because I was planning to go to college, and I had to have a high school diploma in order to be qualified…but I did it.
So yes! I did graduate…with a 4.0…and honors.
Now I was definitely college bound, however, I was a little afraid of the transition from high school to college, so I decided to attend a junior college at first to get my feet wet. Yes! College is different from high school. I am not sugar coating anything. There are good things, but there are also difficult things about college. And Here they are:
First of all, there are no bells, so I had to learn how to keep time and manage a schedule. However, The good thing compared to high school is that I can select classes to customize my own academic schedule.
There is no Special Ed and no IEPs, but most colleges do allow special accommodations like Extra time for testing, note taking, and rephrasing questions, so I can understand the questions better during an exam.
And some colleges even allow an aid to help if you needed like my college did. Believe me, I really needed my aid, not because I couldn’t handle the academics. But because college was so confusing to me for the first couple of weeks. You have to go this department, and fill out papers, then you have to go to that department to drop them off, but then you end up with the wrong paperwork, and they send you to a different department. It’s all very confusing, but don’t EVER let that stop you!
You see? 80% of students with autism and/or special needs drop out of college within the first two weeks, and I can understand why… it’s not because we can’t handle academic classes…it’s because college can be confusing and scary at first, but there is no reason why we can’t go to college once we learn how to overcome those first two weeks. We just need a little help with getting into a routine.
Also getting used to classrooms, and keeping up with the fast pace of lectures is difficult, however, an aid can help with that for the first couple of weeks of class, they can help you set a routine, so it’s easier.
At first, the school district told us that my aid could not go with me to my classes because I was now in college. We are supposed to be adults, and learn how to be independent, but my aid knew me, and she knew I wouldn’t have been able to make it by myself.
Thank goodness she didn’t give up, and fought the system for her to be allowed in the classrooms with me! She wanted to help me get into a routine because she knew routines are important for success. I may not be in my fourth year of University if she just let me do it on my own.
Some of us may need extra assistance in college, and some of us maybe fine without an aid, but whatever it takes, JUST DO IT. Because getting an education is VERY important, and its definitely worth it! Just keep in mind, “the more you learn, the more you’ll earn”.
I was on a transfer program, and after two years, I transferred to a private university called Woodbury University, aiming for an Animation major and a Business minor. Again, a new school, new rules, more paperwork, but again my aid was always there.
This fall, I’ll be a senior at Woodbury University, and my goal there is to earn BA degree in Animation. After earning my BA, I’m planning to transfer to UCLA for my MFA.
And another thing the doctors said that I may never amount to anything, and not to expect much from me.
Well I sure prove them wrong.
Not only am I planning to get my MFA. I been working in the animation industry for the past 8 years, as well as 6 years teaching animation around the country, at Joey Travolta’s Inclusion Film Camps, as well as other companies like Animation Gets Real by VSAFlorida and CARD from Tampa, FL.
I’m also a public speaker, keynoting autism conferences around the country. I Illustrated and published 6 books, and premiered 6 award winning animated shorts at San Diego Comic-Con.
My long term goal is to form an animation facility for my company, DaniMation Entertainment. But I don’t know how or if is going to work out, I’m not sure where I will end up. But I know one thing for sure, I just keep going and try my best each day, and I know eventually something will stick.
So you see? The doctors were wrong, DON’T EVER let anything or anyone tell you “you can’t do this” or “you can’t do that”, if anyone ever does, look at them straight in the eye. Well…as straight as you can because I know it’s hard, but yeah, look at them straight in the eye, and say “Yes I can and I will! Just watch me!”
Now I will show you some of my current animation work.
First of all, I’m starting with my latest work I did at my university in Junior Studio. “Hide & Shriek”. In the beginning of my third year at Woodbury University, students are divided into three teams based on their strengths and weaknesses. Learning to work in a group was one of the hardest things I ‘ve learned so far in my university because I was the only student on the autism spectrum, and my teammates feared that a person with autism could put them behind schedule. They were very reluctant to give me a chance at first. However, I proved to them that I can easily put animation clips together when they fell behind in their animation work including an animatic. I ended up being the lead in the whole project, and they accepted me in their group.
I didn’t just tell them what I could do, I showed them, and that’s very important. Don’t tell somebody what you can do…SHOW THEM. There will always be reluctant people in our lives that are reluctant to give us a shot, but all we have to do is be patient, and wait for your opportunity to show them what you can do.
And now, here is the result of my team’s Junior Studio Project. WARNING: There will loud sound effects, so this is the time to take out your earplugs if you need them!
Okay are you ready? Here it is! (Video Plays)
Next I will play a music video called “Be A Friend” by Spectrum Laboratory. Spectrum Laboratory is non-profit organization in Los Angeles CA that empowers young adults on the autism spectrum to create original works of film and music, helping them to become the artists they can be.
Their goal is to build a conservatory for artists on the spectrum, where they can learn all about different aspects of Film and Music Industry.
At Spectrum Laboratory, I work as an “Animation Teacher” for SpecLab’s Spec Saturday Animation workshop classes. My first animation class ran every Saturday for 2 hours from February 4th to May 13th. I taught my students the animation basics with the animation software ToonBoom Harmony 14– which is a software for my projects, and ToonBoom Animation is also my sponsor since my animation company started.
I along with my amazing students with autism animated this music video together using our original characters.
The song “Be A Friend” is also SpecLab’s original song created by students on the spectrum. It’s included in SpecLab’s latest music album “Use Your Imagination”, which is now available online at Speclabs.org
Now let’s play the music the video, just keep in mind. This animation was done by my students in a total of 26hours!
Last but not least, I will now show you an example of my commercial work, a PSA for Autism Society of America.
I became involved with this PSA for Autism Society of America because it was an amazing opportunity to showcase my work at over 4,000 AMC theaters nationwide. I was able to bring awareness and acceptance to the general public about the capabilities that people with autism have, and also to bring hope to people with autism that it's possible to have a typical life with the right help.
I started to work on this project when Autism Society of America’s Vice President of Development, Matthew Asner (son of a famous actor Ed Asner), contacted me along with Matthew Manning (a director and animator for projects at Stoopid Buddy Stoodios) to come up with a pitch for the PSA because he wanted to raise awareness of this organization.
While working on this PSA, I asked a fellow animation student at Woodbury, Madison Shafer to help me out with the backgrounds, and Lauren Dair Owens (a musician and actress from FOX's New Girl) to re-record the song "Better for You", a song that she originally wrote for me a couple of years back for one of my animated shorts, The Namazu (2012).
This PSA was uploaded on Facebook, March 31st, 2017, and went viral with over 20k views, 505 reactions, and 293 shares within a few weeks. Not only was it shown at over 4,000 AMC theaters nationwide, it was also shown at Autism Society of America’s first annual film festival called “Autism International Film Festival” (or AutFest), a film festival that features films made by individuals with autism and/or featuring characters with autism. This film festival is a great example, showcasing the talent of people with autism in the film and animation industry, and it was attended by actor Ben Affleck of The Accountant, and the directors of Disney Pixar's Inside Out, Pete Docter and Jonas Rivera.
Now I will you this PSA. (Video)
You see like I said? Anything is possible! Transitioning from high school to college can be difficult at first, but with the right help, support and encouragement, there is always a light at the end of the tunnel.
I just like to leave with a couple of reminders to you graudates!
- Remember. The more you learn, the more you earn.
- Stay motivated.
- Apply everything you learn. It’s like a building block.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Because you’re an adult does not mean you don’t get help.
- Learn from your mistakes. And remember nobody is perfect, we all make mistakes.
- Special Accommodations is NOT a Crutch. Maybe you don’t need them anymore But again, don’t be afraid to ask for them.
As a final reminder, focus on your ability, not your disability. Never give up and follow your dreams, work towards something you love, and remember…If I can do it…so can you!
And Congratulations graduates, the world is your oyster!
Thank you very much!
SPEECH ENDS HERE.
(IMPORTANT: Please DO NOT plagerize Dani Bowman's commencement speech, NOT EVEN A SMIDGE! Thank you.)
For the past 6 years, I been teaching animation around the country to over 800 students with autism.
Here is the list of teaching locations by companies.
Joey Travolta's Inclusion Film Camp
- Heal Foundation at the University of North Florida. Jacksonville FL. (2011)
- Marble Jam Kids at St. Peters College. Tenefly Nj. (2011)
- OUCares at Oakland University. Detroit MI. (2011, 2013-2014)
- ACT Today at Cox Communications. San Diego CA. (2012-2013)
- Futures Explored at St. Mary's College. Moraga CA. (2012-2017)
Sondra Williams' SPEAKS
- OCALI Headquarters. Columbus OH. (2012-2013)
- Step by Step Academy. Worthington OH. (2014-2015)
- The Center for Autism & Dyslexia. Findly OH. (2014-2015)
Animation Gets Real (With VSA Florida & CARD)
- iTeach Lounge at College of Education, University of South Florida. Tampa FL (2014-2017)
- College of Engineering, Florida International University. Miami FL (2017)
- Acting Antics with Ryan Commings. Malvern PL. (2014)
- Let's Animate! An Animation Class (2016)
- Spec Saturday Animation Workshop with Spectrum Laboratory (2017)
Software I used to Teach Animation
- ToonBoom Studio (2011)
- FlipBoom Cartoon (2012-2013)
- FlipBoom All-Star (2014-2015)
- ToonBoom StoryBoard Pro (2016)
- ToonBoom Harmony Essentials (2017)