Achieving Great Success Beyond the Autism Diagnosis
Throughout most of his life, Gregory Chabolla had continuously proven that he could achieve far beyond the limits set by his diagnosis. It was back in 1998 when he was diagnosed with Pervasive Development Disorder-Not Otherwise Specified (PDD-NOS).
Gregory was just three years old. And his mother, Michelle, was told her son would never be able even to speak, feed himself, and learn to read and write.
Take him home and love him—these words summed up the recommendations of several “specialists” to Michelle after her son’s diagnosis. With the challenge of Gregory’s learning disability, plus the battle their family faced with schools, and within the society, Michelle can only describe the next 15 years after the diagnosis as pure survival.
However, any difficulty they faced was worth it, because in every challenge, they saw how amazing Gregory was. Soon enough, he was doing a lot more than what the specialists thought he could. He showed a great deal of attention to details as he was growing up. Eventually, he found an interest that turned into his career and business.
Gregory first got into woodworking after seeing his grandparents’ neighbor, Patsy Williams, creating wooden crosses. Patsy then agreed to teach Gregory and found that he was a fast-learner even just after a few sessions together. Woodworking soon took up a huge chunk of Gregory’s daily schedule, evidently helping his self-esteem and confidence.
It was not just a hobby for Gregory, as woodworking gave him a sense of purpose, kept his body and mind in good shape, and lessened his anxiety about what his future holds for him.
From simple wooden pieces he made when he first started, Gregory’s grew more and more interested in doing more complex designs grew as well. To show his skills, he became fonder of making complex pieces with lots of details. And indeed, the complex creations did. Gregory’s wooden crafts became famous across Texas and even farther than his home state, prompting him to open a website where anyone could reach him for orders.
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Far from what his doctors thought his future would be back in 1998, Gregory became a successful scroll artist and a business owner. He reached incredible success that was far beyond what his diagnosis implied.
But more than contributing to his income and business, Gregory’s creations allowed him to have great relationships with his family, friends, and customers. It brings him joy to see people smile and be amazed every time they see his creations. He even gets the opportunity to make friends with customers and other people he meets during art festivals.
Gregory has inspired a lot of people—his family, friends, clients, and anyone who hears about his story. He continues to inspire with his ability to stay focused while he works on his scroll saw, which gives his mother peace of mind whenever he is working. As with any kind of woodworking, safety is a common concern, so Gregory makes sure he takes precautions very seriously. Hurrying is never an option.
With the improvement and success he has achieved through woodworking, Gregory has a few words to say about recommending woodworking to others: Woodworking is good for anyone that can be calm and focus, not all people can do that. And as for himself, Gregory truly found a passion in woodworking. “Woodworking doesn’t help my autism,” he said, “It gives me a way to work in my own special way on my own.”
Gregory’s story was featured in Sawinery.net as one of the site’s inspirational stories about amazing woodworkers. If you want to learn more about Gregory and his creations, visit his Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/gregorygifts/) or his official website (http://www.gregorysgifts.com).
This article was featured in Issue 89 – Solutions for Today and Tomorrow with ASD