Teen wins 10th Annual Zoowalk for Autism Research T-shirt design contest

image taken from Facebook

image taken from Facebook

Mesa East Valley, AZ – Matthew Baltzley, 13 won a T-shirt design contest held recently for the upcoming 10th Annual Zoowalk for Autism Research sponsored by the Arizona State University. Matthew’s design, which featured five types of animals– an elephant, a falcon, a giraffe, a kangaroo and a monkey– will be featured on T-shirts that will be given out as awards to top fundraising programs.

Matthew’s mom, Kimberly Baltzley, said her son was both surprised and ecstatic about winning the contest. Matthew was diagnosed with mild autism at the age of three, and has been attending the Tempe Autism Academy with his older brother, Timothy, who was also diagnosed with mild autism.

Kimberly says that Matthew sees his disability as a ‘superpower‘, as he is aware that his special abilities, especially in the field of drawing,  is partly attributed to his autism.

Matthew’s winning design was given recognition at the Zoowalk kick-off event held Sept. 12, where autism activist and renowned author Temple Grandin was also in attendance. Grandin, who was featured on Time’s 100 most influential people of the world, also has autism herself.

The 10th Annual Zoowalk for Autism Research will be held Oct. 4 at the state’s Phoenix Zoo, where approximately 6,000 people are expected to participate.

The original article by on the East Valley Tribune website can be read here