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Yes, you can! By 'Autism Awareness' performer Danny_The_Acrobat - Circus Acts - StageLync

Yes, you can! By 'Autism Awareness' performer Danny_The_Acrobat

United States since 2024
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  • 5 min

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     Daniel Franzel, aka "Danny_The_Acrobat," is a performing acrobat first, and secondly, he deals with a serious form of autism that affects his behavior and ability to speak every day of his life. He trains and performs as a means of communicating his raw emotions and strength. Born March 1, 2002, in San Antonio, Texas, Daniel was considered a champ. He had no outward signs of any disorder. He grew and met all the typical milestones of infants up until the age of two and a half. Gradually, after all immunizations, a few colds, and bouts of apparent allergies, Danny stopped talking. Running away from his parents and caregivers, and engaging in repetitive behaviors, were his primary occupations. His doctors suspected he was either going deaf, or had autism.

      The 2004 Olympic Games impacted Daniel intently as he watched the divers and gymnasts. He tried to imitate what he saw on the family room sofa. His mother bought a trampoline and enrolled him in gymnastics. Those were among the few things that held his attention. Early interventions helped Daniel learn to communicate through sign language, sign boards, and he eventually developed a sparse vocabulary. But, when he flawlessly said, "I am an acrobat!" his mom went on the hunt for a coach. Eventually, she found veteran Ringling circus performer Csaba Szilagyi standing on top of a galloping 🐎 horse and got a good feeling about him!

     Eleven years later, after spending several days a week together, Daniel became a well-trained and highly skilled acrobatic aerialist on the silks and trapeze. He awed hundreds of spectators, and even moved many to tears. Daniel still doesn't talk much with words, but he expresses himself through acrobatics. And does he have a lot to say! He lets audiences know that while autism can be overwhelming, it can also be overcome to varying degrees. His message is that even with a diagnosis, one can be successful in circus 🎪 and in life!

      Cheers to overcoming autism! And three cheers to diversity and inclusion!