“Don’t Limit Yourself!” 2016 graduate with Asperger Syndrome creates art for national toy line
“Don’t Limit Yourself!” 2016 graduate with Asperger Syndrome creates art for national toy line
Posted on 05/20/2018
Ryan with animal toys he designedUtica Community Schools graduate Ryan Bryer has a message for anyone who may face challenges in their life. 

“Don’t limit yourself,” he said. “I never gave up. I believe that if you work hard for something, you can do it.”

Diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome at the age of two, Bryer pursued his passion for art and is now two weeks away from realizing a life’s dream of having his work featured on a new toy line.

Bryer will be introduced at a June 1 grand opening as the artist behind new collectible toys for young children – an accomplishment he and his family said was made possible by support he received as a student. 

“Through his unique experiences in Utica Community Schools, Ryan has pursued his life’s dream and now his art work is now being featured in a national spotlight,” superintendent Dr. Christine Johns said. “Ryan’s story of hard work and determination is inspiring, and our entire school community is proud to celebrate his tremendous success.”

Bryer has designed posters and drawings for a collectable pets series called Skeezix, created by Choose Friendship Company. The toy is described as a fidget collectible and is designed as a hands-on toy that sparks the imagination of young children.  He also created all the animation for the product's online videos and commercials.

A 2016 graduate of Stevenson High School, Bryer and his family credited his UCS background as a prime reason his name will appear as the product’s artist. 

“I believe the wonderful and devoted teachers and aides who were involved with Ryan have had a positive impact on the success he is having today,” said Rhonda Bryer, his mother. “I think it is important that others know the effect Utica Community Schools has had in his life and to inspire other kids that are up against challenges. We will always be proud Utica Community Schools parents.”

Bryer said she was part of a committee that initially designed a program for students with Asperger in the district.

As a UCS student, Ryan Bryer said he was always interested in illustration and found multiple opportunities in the district’s programs to pursue his creativity and skills.

He also said special services teachers and aides worked with him to develop important life skills – such as organization – that he uses every day as he holds down his job as an illustrator and continues to pursue a degree in art. 

Bryer said the opportunity came to him when he learned Crorey Creations was seeking samples for an artist who could design a new product.

After submitting samples, Bryer was called in for an interview and offered the opportunity. He said the company gave him general ideas of content and animals that they wanted featured in the design. He then created the art work for the products and the toys, which will be introduced at a special ceremony on June 1 at the Friendship Factory in downtown Rochester.

Bryer said the idea that his work will be viewed nationally began to sink in when he saw the demonstration models of the toys. 

“It feels so amazing to see what you have created on something official,” he said.