College student with Asperger's works as illustrator, creates fidget toys

Image 1 of 6

A college student diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome is living out his dreams as an illustrator thanks to a local man's invention.

Working 35 years in the automotive industry, David Crorey developed dozens of patents for robotics, never dreaming his love to invent would transition into the toy industry.

"My granddaughters came over and they said papa, we want to make friendship bracelets and so we're making them, and we're pinning the threads to the table and I said there's got to be a better way," he said.

David would go on to create devices that make friendship bracelets, ribbon barrettes, buttons, image bracelets, lanyards and more. You can find them locally at their family owned business the Friendship Factory in downtown Rochester, used for everything from self-esteem workshops to birthday parties.

But David's toy making didn't end there. He came up with Skeezix, acrobatic fidget toys. Each one, a character kids could collect.

But David needed someone to create the characters. Every professional illustrator couldn't see his vision until he put in an ad at a local college. Ryan Bryer answered.

"When I first came across the ad to start doing illustrations for Skeezix, I thought there is no way I am qualified enough to get this job, but I sent in a few sample illustrations and surprisingly he thought my work looked really nice," he said.

Ryan was able to bring David's thoughts to life.

"He is like a match made in heaven. He is perfect he does all of our characters," David said.

"I was really surprised Dave enjoyed my work made me feel like I am finally doing it," Ryan said.

Ryan was two when doctors diagnosed him with Asperger syndrome, but he never let it hold him back. 

"At first, he really couldn't hold pencil when he was little and so when he started drawing we were really amazed," his mother said.

Ryan has turned his passion for art into a toy line that kids are excited about. Still in college, he never expected to find a job as a professional illustrator for a national toy line in his hometown, reminding anyone with a disability that anything is possible.

"Don't limit yourself you can still achieve great things. Don't let the disability prevent you from doing what you want to do," he said.

And the possibilities are endless.

For more information on The Friendship Factory, click here. You can also check out Skeezix and the bracelets online here