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Celebrating the Achievements of Children TM

Amazing Kids! of the Month

Amazing Kids! is proud to highlight the Amazing Kids! of the Month!

Each month, we showcase kids who are accomplishing amazing things.  We hope that by telling their special stories, we will inspire other kids to accomplish their own amazing achievements.


Amazing Kids! of the Month for July, 2006:
Amazing Exceptional Young Artist, Amanda LaMunyon; Enid, Oklahoma

Amanda LaMunyon, age 11
Amazing Artist Amanda LaMunyon, age 11

Quotes of the Month

"I believe God gave everyone a gift, a special talent!  My gift is painting.

"I never knew one blessing (painting) would get me so far. It's a gift from God. I want to be a part in finding a cure for Asperger's."

"Without God and my art teacher, Mrs. Lillian Foulks, I would have never learned to paint. I never thought my paintings would be anything. I always thought I was just a girl who paints."

Amanda LaMunyon, age 11


"God was good enough to give Amanda her talent, and it has changed her whole life. It's changed the way people look at her and talk to her. 
She's a little picture of hope."

Sherry LaMunyon, Amanda's mother


Our July Amazing Kids! of the Month story is sure to inspire many young artists who read it!  Join us as we shine the spotlight on an exceptional young lady, Amanda LaMunyon, an 11-year-old girl who has exceptional artistic talent and who also has Asperger Syndrome, a developmental disorder.

Get ready to be inspired, as you read about Amanda's remarkable artistic talents and how she is using her talent to inspire others and to raise money for Children's Medical Research Institute in Oklahoma City.  Her goal is to help the Institute work toward someday finding a cure for Asperger Syndrome.

And don't forget, if you, or a young person (or persons!) you know, has an amazing project you are involved in, or a special skill, talent or ability you want to tell the world about, be sure to let Amazing Kids! know about it! Teachers are invited to nominate their entire classroom and the amazing projects they are working on too! Simply complete our online nomination form for the Amazing Kid! of the Month award, or email us!


Table of Contents

button Amazing Amanda
button In Amanda's Own Words
button Related Links

Amazing Amanda


Amanda LaMunyon, Amazing Artist, age 11
Amanda LaMunyon, amazing artist at work

USING HER ARTWORK TO INSPIRE OTHERS

When Amanda was 7-years-old, she was having trouble sitting still in school and socializing with other children.  Her parents soon discovered their daughter had a developmental disorder affecting social skills and behavior called "Asperger Syndrome." (It is also often referred to as "Asperger Disorder" or sometimes just "Asperger's.")

Searching for a way to help Amanda better cope with having Asperger's, Amanda's mother Sherry, enrolled her in art lessons.  Her art teacher was a brilliant light of a lady named Lillian Foulks, who took Amanda under her wing and inspired her to explore her artistic ability.  Before she knew it, Amanda had discovered she had an amazing talent for painting and soon began shining as an exceptional young artist.

Amanda's LaMunyon's Painting, "I Am"
Amanda's painting, "I Am"

"Without God and my art teacher, Mrs. Lillian Foulks," says Amanda, "I would have never learned to paint. I never thought my paintings would be anything. I always thought I was just a girl who paints."

That was just four years ago when the now 11-year-old discovered her exceptional talent for art.  At that time, Amanda and her family never dreamed that a bare canvas and some paint would become the outlet Amanda needed to connect with a world from which she had once felt isolated.  And yet, since that time, Amanda has been a shining example of how someone with developmental challenges such as Asperger Syndrome, dyslexia and dysgraphia can accomplish great things. 

As Amanda says, people with learning differences should know that "their challenges may also become a gift."

THE WORD ABOUT AMANDA'S AMAZING ART SPREADS...

Amanda's gift in art has been recognized by many others, including Duke University, where she is enrolled in the Duke University Talent Identification Program (Duke TIP), which identifies gifted and talented children like Amanda and provides resources to help them nurture their development.  Her artwork will be featured in an upcoming book entitled A Girl's Guide to Achieving in the Arts, written by Duke professor Dr. Kristen Stephens, Coordinator of Educational Outreach and Editor-in-Chief of the Duke Gifted Letter, and Dr. Frances Karnes, Director of the Frances Karnes Center for Gifted Studies, University of Mississippi.

Amanda's story has been told in numerous media outlets including Woman's World Magazine. She also had the opportunity to travel to North Dakota where she shared her story and her artwork during a conference on Asperger's.

In the summer of 2003, Amanda entered the National American Miss Pageant where she showcased her artwork for the first time. She has continued to enter pageants where she sings and shows her artwork during the talent competition.

Amanda LaMunyon singing "Castle on a Cloud" at National American Miss Pageant, Tulsa, OK, June 2006
  Amanda performs the song "Castle on a Cloud" in front of her painting
during the National American Miss Pageant in Tulsa, Oklahoma in June, 2006


Amanda recently began selling her artwork on her website (www.AmandaLaMunyon.com)
and has donated a portion of the proceeds to Children's Medical Research Institute in Oklahoma City.

Tea Time, painting by Amanda LaMunyon, at age 9
"Tea Time," by Amanda LaMunyon at age 9


Amanda being interviewed by Children's Miracle Network after her performance
Amanda being interviewed during the 2006 Children's Miracle Network Telethon
Amanda donated a portion of the proceeds from her art sales to the organization.

Amanda said even though life has been challenging at times she wants to continue to use her artwork to encourage others and wants to be involved in finding a cure for Asperger's.

She said sharing her artwork with others is her way of sharing her faith in God.

"My mother always says God has bigger and better plans for us than we could ever dream up," Amanda said. "I believe her."

Amanda recently received the Temple Grandin Award from Future Horizons.  The award is given to individuals with autism or Asperger's who have had achievements of any kind.  The purpose of the award is to focus on the amazing abilities, rather than the disabilities, of persons with Asperger's or austim.

Amanda said she wants to encourage other kids to never give up, whether or not they have Asperger's.

"You don't know what you can do until you try," she said. "With God's help you will succeed."

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In Amanda's Own Words

"I am Amanda LaMunyon from Enid. I believe God gave everyone a gift, a special talent!  My gift is painting.

Through my paintings I have been able to work with Children's Medical Research Institute and donate a portion of my earnings from my website to them to help sick kids. I have been very blessed!

I know I will always love painting, but most of all, my greatest desire in life is to help find the cause, cure and prevention of Asperger Syndrome and Autism and to encourage people with learning differences to know that their challenges may also become a gift."

Amazing Kids! is delighted to share Amazing Amanda's inspiring story with our readers, and we know that both her artwork and her story will inspire many young aspiring artists, with or without Asperger's, to reach for their dreams!


Links:
button Amanda's website: www.AmandaLaMunyon.com
button What is Asperger Syndrome? www.aspennj.org/WhatIsAS.html
button Autism Asperger Publishing Company:  www.asperger.net
button Autism Spectrum: www.autismspectrum.net
button O.A.S.I.S.:  Online Asperger Syndrome Information and Support:  www.udel.edu/bkirby/asperger/
button Asperger Syndrome Educational Network, Inc. (A.S.P.E.N.): www.aspennj.org/
button Apserger Syndrome - Useful Information for Teachers:
www.kusd.edu/students/research-links/bookmarks/asperger.html
button Center for the Study of Autism:  www.autism.org/asperger.html
button  Duke University Talent Identification Program: www.tip.duke.edu/about/
button Duke University TIP's "TIPsters in the News": http://www.tip.duke.edu/about/news/2005/tipsters_in_the_news.html

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A Special Message from Amazing Kids! for all you kids:

It's no secret...every person has an "amazing-ness" inside of them, just waiting to be discovered. (Sometimes we just need a little help in finding out what that "amazing-ness" is!)

If you are doing some amazing things too, we want to hear about it! Send us your stories about your amazing accomplishments, so we can tell the world just how amazing you are! We are always looking for new stories. And don't be shy! We'd love to hear from you!


Here's an idea you might want to try:

WHY NOT HELP OTHERS SEE THEIR OWN POTENTIAL?

If you know someone who needs a little encouragement, why not tell them what you think is special about them? Maybe you can be the one to help them uncover their own special talents!

Amazing Kids! is looking for teens to be Amazing Teen Volunteers and Ambassadors . If you'd like to join Amazing Kids! in helping to spread the word, please email us at: info@amazing-kids.org

HELP US SPREAD THE WORD:

It's cool to be an Amazing Kid!


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