Diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder at the age of three, doctors told Tim Sharp's mum the best thing to do would be to "put him away and forget about him". They didn't know then that he would become famous.
Sharp, creator of the iconic Laser Beak Man cartoon superhero, is special guest at the Aspect South Coast School's Artists with Autism exhibition this weekend.
At age 11, he invented the colourful Laser Beak Man, then went on to make artworks keenly sought by public and private collectors.
His work has been exhibited at the Sydney Opera House, the National Museum of Australia and in Washington DC and New York City, and has spawned an animated series on ABC3.
Principal Bruce Rowles said Sharp was a household name at the Aspect school.
"He's a little bit of a hero for many of the children here," he said.
"He's an inspiration not only to them, but also for their families to see what could be achieved.
"It's good for families of children with autism to remain positive and see that there is a bright outlook there."
The exhibition, at North Wollongong Surf Life Saving Club, will feature works by Sharp and other artists with autism spectrum disorder.