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Hi Hello,

The visit of Ping Lian Yeak, a savant artist from Australia, was a highlight this month at the Treffert Center. His mother, sister, aunt, uncle and Dr. Rosa Martinez accompanied him. Dr. Martinez is president of Strokes of Genius Inc., a program in New York City dedicated to “Training the Talent” of children and adults with special needs gifted in art. She arranges some of Ping Lian’s exhibits, including one at the prestigious Agora Gallery in New York City just prior to Ping Lian’s visit here.

I first met Ping Lian 10 years ago when he, some of his family, and Dr. Martinez visited Fond du Lac, and he showed some of his drawings at the Windows of Genius, Art of the Prodigious Savant exhibit at the Windhover Center. So this was a reunion visit, really, and a chance to be brought up-to-date on Ping Lian’s emerging success as an artist. 

Ping Lian has become an artist in his own right. His art stands side by side in galleries with all other artists. Pictures of his art and stories about him appear in both art magazines and in autism publications. His art is spectacular not because he is autistic, but rather, because he is a very gifted artist.

The visit began with a presentation at Marian University in the Treffert Annual Lecture series, featuring some of Ping Lian’s work, along with comments by Dr. Martinez and Sarah Lee, Ping Lian’s mother. (Access the lecture here.) The story of Ping Lian’s art journey is really a story about his mother’s unwavering optimism and belief in her son after discovering his extraordinary art ability. The evening served as a premier launch for his mother’s book about that journey - “I Want to be Artist: An Autistic Savant’s Voice and a Mother’s Dream Transformed onto Canvas.” 

The following day, Sarah Lee and Dr. Martinez shared their stories and experiences with some mothers of children on the spectrum. In some ways, parents of these special children are the real “experts” in identifying the “islands of intactness” in their kids and bringing them to full fruition. The afternoon ended with a presentation on art therapy in the Plaza Level Conference Center at St. Agnes Hospital by two art therapists, Sara Drake-Ricart, ATR, LPC-IT, and Lynn Genz, ATR, LPC.

The good news is that even though Ping Lian and family are continents away, some of his artwork remains at the center for all to enjoy. I just hope the next return visit will be sooner than 10 years away.






Darold Treffert, MD


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Spotlight Associate

Megan Puddy, BCBA, Agnesian Beyond Boundaries of Autism (ABBA) lead therapist

Meg Puddy-286080-edited.jpg Puddy is a licensed and board certified  behavior analyst (BCBA) who has been  working with children with autism since  2001. It was during Puddy’s undergraduate  studies at the University of Wisconsin –  Madison that she was introduced to the  world of autism and applied behavior  analysis. From her very first day as a line  therapist, she was in love and recognized  that she was one of the fortunate ones who  was able to find her passion early on in life.  Since this time, Puddy has gone back to earn  her Master’s degree in Applied Behavior  Analysis, with an emphasis in special  education and autism. In addition, she is  currently training to receive her certification  in Early Start Denver Model. Puddy is driven  to learn and apply techniques, theories, and practices that can enhance the lives of children and families. 

As Fond du Lac natives, Puddy and her husband made the move back to their hometown in 2008 to start their family. They are now the proud parents of two amazing little boys. The Puddy family is avid Wisconsin Badgers fans spending many weekends supporting Bucky in Madison.  

In 2015, Puddy joined Agnesian Beyond Boundaries of Autism (ABBA) where she works closely with the multidisciplinary team at the Treffert Center. The Treffert Center approach, which holds the core belief that all individuals have strengths and talents and the aim is to build upon a person’s skills, interests and talents to assist them in reaching their potential, is what drew Puddy to join the ABBA team. She believes the best outcomes occur when we invest in relationships with clients, staff and community partners, and when we listen, learn and work together to achieve shared goals. For all of us, including individuals on the autism spectrum, development is a lifelong process. There is no limit to potential; instead a responsibility to ensure that the correct supports and the right people are there to support each individual along their journey. Puddy is driven to effectively partner with, engage, teach and support families who entrust the ABBA team with their children. 


Treffert Academy News

 PingPing Painting with Kids.jpg Lian visited the Treffert Center to share his  gift with the children and to inspire them. The  children were given watercolors and the outline  of one of his horse drawings. As Ping Lian  happily did his watercolor painting, so did the  kids. Those drawings now grace the halls of the  center. They bring many smiles.

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Click here to read Dr. Treffert's latest blog!


Treffert Academy 

Now accepting enrollments!

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What our visitors are saying:

The Treffert Center is an amazing, inclusive educational center where kids can explore and learn while they have fun. Watching a four year old create a horse painting with watercolor and upon completing it, proudly expressing "I am an Artist" was fascinating! The staff and programming are as extraordinary as the savants which Dr. T has spent his life studying. It is evident that the underlying goal to explore the potential of the human mind eliminates limitations. I LOVE the Treffert Center!

 -Dr. Rosa C. Martinez, President of Strokes  of Genius, Inc.


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Darold Treffert, MD
 2017 Badger of the Year Award Recipient


The Fond du Lac Exchange Club awarded
Darold Treffert, MD with the
2017 Book of Golden Deeds Award

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