SOUTH PHILADELPHIA -- For the first time ever, a comic brigade in the 2018 New Year's Day Mummers parade with consist entirely of children with special needs. The group was inspired by 12-year-old artist from South Philly, Santino Stagliano. Santino said he draws dragons because, “They are cool! They can fly and breathe fire. They're misunderstood creatures.”
Santino's mother, Lisa Stagliano, says drawing was how her son, who was nonverbal until the age of 5, communicated with her. Santino was diagnosed with autism shortly after he began drawing dragons.
Around the age of 10, his drawings caught the attention of the internet and people wanted his designs put on t-shirts. After selling thousands of shirts, the Stagliano family founded Santino's Dragon Drawings Inc. They're a fully functioning non-profit.
Through Santino's creativity and acceptance of others . . . he found his dragon. Since then, he has started an art program for autism and special needs kids, planed day trips, and helps families with autism.
On Sept. 17th at 3:00 p.m., Coda Night Club is hosting Santinos Dragons and will show the premier of "A Dragons Tale," which is a short film documentary about Santinos journey living with autism. The film is directed by Timo Gilhuis who lives in Amsterdam and has followed Santino's journey from the beginning . Tickets to the show are $10. For more info, click here!
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