Autistic Artist Sebastian Franco Hopes to See Northern Lights as He Contemplates Going Completely Blind

Sebastian Franco, 35, was born legally blind. When he was about 1 year old, doctors also told his mom, Jase Cameron, that Sebastian was autistic. He's surpassed people's expectations ever since.

Sebastian Franco, 35, from Wichita, Kansas, is an extraordinary human being who has defied the odds over and over again. When he was a few months old, doctors shared difficult news about him to his mother. 

“I realized that he still had a slight jerk in his eyes, like newborns do. He wasn't focusing on anything at all,” Jase Cameron tells Inside Edition Digital. “So, when I did take him into a checkup, the doctor had turned off the light and did some pen tests. And when she turned the light back on, she actually turned around and gave me a big hug and started to cry, and she said, 'I'm so sorry, but your child is blind.'" 

Sebastian was discovered to be autistic.

“When Sebastian was very young, I noticed that he didn't really have any verbal skills at all,” Jase says. “So I already knew that he was legally blind, but as far as the autism goes, he was not making any progress whatsoever.” 

Jase remembers that exact moment she realized Sebastian was special.

“We were watching Sesame Street,” she says. “Sebastian went up to the television, placed his face against the screen, and as soon as the commercial was over, he turned around and, word for word said the entire commercial exactly like it came off of the TV. So, we were really taken aback. My daughter and I were actually quite scared of what he had just done.”

He also learned to count to 100 very quickly and was like a sponge when it came to committing things to memory, including important information. Over time, Sebastian says, one of his creative outlets became drawing. It was a skill he’d mastered by second grade. 

“My teachers and classmates were so impressed that they encouraged me to just keep drawing and making art,” Sebastian says.

It’s difficult at times because of his eyesight, but Sebastian has adjusted. 

“I use a magnifying glass to get everything closer, and then I pick colors and then focus on the coordination," he says. 

His talent earned him the offer of a lifetime. Author Scott E. asked him to illustrate his children’s book, “The Life and Adventures of Merle the Tortoise.

Not only are Sebastian and his mom excited about the book, but they hope the earnings he makes from it, as well as proceeds from a GoFundMe campaign, can help him reach another milestone he's long wanted to achieve: seeing the northern lights in Alaska

“That is a bucket list project of ours that has been probably 10 years in the making,” she says, noting that the natural light display is one of his favorite things to draw. 

“That's something that's very dear to both of us, especially Sebastian because of his eyesight. He expresses his emotions talking about the aurora borealis," she says. 

As for other bucket list items? Sebastian has many.

“I’d like to see the beach, and [an] amusement park with all the neon colors at night,” he says. “Any amusement park that has all the colors flashing, and colors changing, and all that good stuff."

Not only is Sebastian an artist, he has several other extraordinary gifts. He’s a certified diagnosed savant, he can talk backward phonetically correctly, he can hear a song once and play it on piano, he plays guitar, he has an exceptional memory and has synesthesia. 

He also does character voice impressions, which he hopes to capitalize on as a career opportunity in the future. 

Sebastian is unsure of what the future holds, or if he will completely lose his eyesight.

"Well, the last doctor I saw approximately 10 years ago said it would be too traumatic for Sebastian to have any type of surgery,” his mom says. “So, the prognosis is that his eyesight is getting worse little by little. We are hoping and praying that, of course, it doesn't get to the point where he goes completely blind. But we have all the hope in the world that glasses and just continued nutritional care will keep his eyes as healthy as possible.”

“It may be a possibility,” Sebastian adds. “But hopefully, it doesn't happen, and I'm doing my best to try to prevent that.”

“He is a very, very special person,” Jase says. “He touches a lot of hearts in many different ways, and I just feel very blessed that he's in my life, and I'm very proud to be his mother.”

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