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Owensboro man breaks down barriers for Autistic Community
Messenger-Inquirer - 3/25/2021
Mar. 25—Since being diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder at the age of 2, Owensboro resident Corey Ziemer has used art as a form of expression to communicate with his loved ones. Now, he has developed it into his own business, according to his mother Tisha Ziemer.
Tisha Ziemer said her son was nonverbal until 7 years old. By using art, he was able to draw pictures to communicate his needs.
"Before Corey could talk, he used pictures to communicate with us ... so we knew that there was something up with his artistic ability, but it started to just progress," Tisha Ziemer said. "His pictures started out, then, as just shapes and stick figures, then over the years, became more detailed."
In high school, Corey Ziemer's passion for art really started to shine, according to his mother, and he became involved in theater and art classes. He even began developing his own business before graduating, she said.
For Christmas one year, Corey Ziemer drew a picture of a nativity that really jump-started his business, she said.
The business is called "Corey's Heart and Soul Designs." He sells Christmas cards, T-shirts and personalized stepping stones.
"He's had a lot of successes, but his art is kind of the biggest one," Tisha Ziemer said.
Corey Ziemer also received the Eagle Entrepreneur Award from Apollo High School, where he attended, in honor of him being the first student there to start his own business before graduating.
Tisha Ziemer said it's a blessing for Corey Ziemer to find something he is passionate about and to be able to share that passion with others.
"We didn't see this coming, and the last several years have been such a huge blessing to us, especially with him getting into art and finding something. That's probably one of the biggest challenges, most families would say, is finding something that they are passionate about, that they enjoy doing," she said. "And the fact that he gets to bless others with his art is just a plus."
She said she is proud of what he has been able to accomplish and the obstacles he has overcome since being diagnosed.
"When he was severely affected, it was hard. Getting through a day was a challenge," she said. "He couldn't talk, he couldn't communicate, he couldn't tell me what hurt or what was frustrating him, and it was so hard as a mom not being able to help your own child."
Owning his own business, she said, has "taught him how to present himself to people. It's given him pride and self-confidence. He's grown and thrived, and he's healthy and he's happy."
Since beginning his art business, Corey Ziemer's art is now sold in three stores — two in Indiana and at Crazy Me Gifts and Apparel in Owensboro. In honor of National Autism Awareness Month, he will also sell autism awareness shirts at Crazy Me throughout April.
"One of the biggest things that I want to get across ... Corey's not recovered from autism, he'll always have autism, but he's recovered from many of the binds of autism. He's broke down a lot of walls," Tisha Ziemer said.
Christie Netherton, email@example.com, 270-691-7360
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