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Local teen with non-verbal autism sells Christmas cards this year

Published: Dec. 2, 2020 at 4:38 PM CST
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GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) - A Green Bay teenager continues to make his dream come true this holiday season, one card at a time.

Words like hard work and determination don’t even come close to describing 16-year-old Will Sheppard who now has his own small business, called ‘With A Will There Is A Way, LLC,’

Will paints and sells cards designed by his mom. You can find him on Facebook at ‘WithAWillThereIsAWay’ or online at withawillthereisaway.com.

Will said he’s always enjoyed art but it took him several years of hard work to tell his mom.

“I didn’t have a way to tell anyone until I learned to communicate,” said Will.

“So I had no idea,” said Mel.

Will has non-verbal autism.

“His motor skills are fine, but he can’t get his body to do things that he wants,” said Mel. “I think that’s what is so confusing about those who have autism that are non-verbal, is when they don’t react. People assume they don’t understand, but we have learned through this whole process with RPM that these guys really do understand, but it looks very much like they don’t.”

Over the past several years, Will has learned to communicate using a method called RPM or Rapid Prompting Method. He spells out words for his mom by pointing to letters. Talking to her son is something Mel has waited a long time to do.

“I awaited, you know, probably 14 years to have a conversation with my son,” said Mel. “I waited until he was 10 for his first Christmas list.”

Will is not only speaking to his mom, but the entire world through his art.

“This has been a dream for years, you know, and it’s just about finding the niche,” said Mel.

Last year, Will sold 298 of his post cards. They are $2 per card or $9 for five on his website. This year, Will has already fulfilled 650 orders.

Will may not be able to talk to everyone who orders his artwork, but he said his work speaks volumes for him.

“I hope people have a lovely Christmas and feel safe and happy too,” said Will.

And like a true businessman, he is asking people to order some of his holiday cards this year.

“With hard work anything is possible, and I work really hard!” said Will.

With a Will there is a way
With a Will there is a way(WBAY)

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