Author's books teach kids about autism

October 24, 2011 8:42:45 AM PDT
Author Motesem ''Moe'' Mansur, 25, knows first hand what it is like to be autistic, and his talent continues to amaze many people.

In the library at Woodgate School, located in south suburban Matteson, fourth and fifth graders listened to Moe read from his book, Teddy Turbine: A Quarterback with Autism.

"It's about a sixth grader that nobody understood because he had autism, and everybody rejected him until he decided to try out for his school football team, and everything changed. He had talents in football, and he used them and he proved a whole school wrong about autism," the author said.

Moe said he could relate to the main character, Teddy.

"I was picked on many times when I was growing up, and it was very tough for me -- very, very tough. And I figured, you know what, I'm going to make a difference for someone else," Moe said.

This is Moe's third book. His other two books also feature characters with autism.

"It affects me a lot because there are certain behaviors I do, like pace the floor, and I can't talk to people direct sometimes. I have trouble concentrating. I can't carry conversations very well. Sometimes I'm friendly and outgoing, but most of the time I am isolated," he said.

Moe is also a gifted artist.

"I do art work for people with disabilities, and my pictures are sold at the Jewel Box gallery, and you know I keep going, and it's a wonderful program," he said.

"I am also involved in Project Onward," Moe said.

A not-for-profit organization for people with disabilities, Sertoma Centre is working with Moe on his life skills. Jean Tsai is one of the staff members.

"He's so charismatic and he takes a lot of initiative, you know? I think it's almost about giving him an opportunity. He just runs with it," Tsai said.

Woodgate Principal Nina Gregory Kind says Moe is a good role model for students with and without disabilities.

"I feel that anytime children are given the opportunity to see someone that supposedly has a disability, they see that they are not so different from them. There's no reason to look at a person and try to judge or be afraid. And it makes that person very human, and they can go home and talk about it," Kind said.

Moe's books and art work are up for sale. To learn more about his work and the Sertoma Centre go to http://stores.lulu.com/moe86 and
www.sertomacentre.org.

Project Onward
Chicago Cultural Center
78 East Washington
Chicago, IL 60602


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