Autism Society Annual Award Winners Announced
June 28, 2012
By Autism Society
Each year, the Autism Society presents a number of awards to individuals and organizations in recognition of their commitment to the autism community. Award winners are announced each year at the Autism Society’s National Conference and Exposition on Autism Spectrum Disorders.
We are proud to announce the 2012 Award winners:
Autism Society Volunteer of the Year: Kelly Londenberg, Inland Empire, CA
Since being diagnosed with ASD as a teenager, Kelly has been an integral member of the autism community and a dedicated board member of the Autism Society of Inland Empire. She is tireless in her efforts to educate people about autism and she does so in a manner that is forthright and accessible. Kelly spends countless hours each month dedicated to improving the lives of individuals and families affected by autism. She has been an invaluable member of the Inland Empire chapter’s Board of Directors since 2007. For the chapter, she currently volunteers to run four Social Recreation Groups, manages social media, organizes and facilitates the annual family picnic and camping trips, answers countless phone calls talking with parents, professionals and individuals with autism, and speaks frequently throughout Southern California and nationally, educating parents and professionals.
Autism Society Audrey I. Horne Memorial Award: GHA Autism Supports, Albemarle, NC
Established in 1978, GHA Autism Supports, a private, non-profit organization, provides quality services to individuals with autism. This agency was developed by concerned citizens who saw a need of services for individuals with autism. GHA’s services cover residential, vocational, classrooms, job sites, farm, apartments and in-home supports. GHA has served as an educator to the community as it relates to autism with the belief that communities have responsibilities to all residents. From its humble beginning, GHA has shown the world that living with a disability does not have to limit a person’s quality of life. GHA is dedicated to supporting each individual in reaching goals, dreams and aspirations.
Media Excellence Award
Don Dare, WATE, Channel 6, Knoxville, TN
Don Dare, Anchor/Reporter for WATE’s “6 on Your Side” news program built autism awareness in the East Tennessee region with multiple stories in 2011. His enthusiasm and willingness to tell real-life stories behind media headlines makes him a popular advocate in our community. Examples of Don’s passion were evident in the stories submitted for consideration: one about a child with autism placed in a padded room and completely isolated from other students in her elementary school, the other highlighting cuts for disability services in Tennessee and how these changes will adversely affect an adult with autism’s ability to receive home-based care. Mr. Dare is giving a voice to individual members of our East Tennessee autism community so they can receive the services they need.
Making Our Way – Autism, Daniel Lambert, Lewiston, ME
Daniel Lambert from Maine Public Broadcasting Network (MPBN) produced the documentary Making Our Way: Autism. He wanted to make sure that this documentary represented Maine families and their struggles. He went above and beyond getting to know the families and autism. There was a huge response to the documentary after its airdate of November 7, 2011. At one point the documentary was one of the top five most-shared videos nationally in the PBS system. So many pieces were filmed for the documentary that not all made it into the final product, but Dan posted seven segments online for viewers to learn as much as possible.
Outstanding Literary Work of the Year - Family/Social Division : Autism Every Day by Alyson Beytien, Dubuque, IA
Autism Every Day is a poignant, honest, encouraging, hilarious and extraordinarily wise book about raising three sons on the autism spectrum. Mrs. Beytein talks openly about her family’s path toward a diagnosis, challenging behaviors, her children’s education and therapy, family life, and taking her children out into the community. Through family stories, we get to walk with her through twenty years of joy, pain, uncertainty and a lot of laughter. In return, she gives us strategies based on research and hard-won experience to help us on our journey. This book makes a unique and significant contribution to autism because it is a trustworthy guide for parenting kids on the autism spectrum.
Outstanding Literary Work of the Year - Educational Division : You Are a Social Detective: Explaining Social Thinking to Kids by Michelle Garcia Winner and Pamela Crooke, San Jose, CA
Co-authored by Michelle Garcia Winner and Pamela Crooke, both internationally acclaimed speech-language pathologists specializing in social learning challenges, this book introduces beginner-level social thinking skills to kids who have challenges with social learning and provides parents with clear methodology, quirky characters, and relatable situations to provide a positive atmosphere for learning. Vocabulary is presented in bold typeface throughout the book, along with a glossary of complete paragraph definitions and explanations. Reinforcing worksheets extend learning in concrete ways. The content, format and ease of use make this book an excellent aid for educating children with autism.
Dr. Cathy Pratt Autism Professional of the Year: L. Lynn Stansberry-Brusnahan, Minneapolis,MN
L. Lynn Stansberry-Brusnahan has made a significant contribution to professional practice through her work with the Minnesota Board of Teaching. Dr. Brusnahan’s professional work over the last three years has centered on two newly approved special education teacher licenses in Minnesota. With the new proposed cross categorical license and autism spectrum disorder licenses now approved, Minnesota will be one of approximately five states that have an autism special education teacher license. She has also served on the board of the Autism Society of America, the Autism Society of Wisconsin and the Autism Society of Southeastern Wisconsin.
Outstanding Individual with Autism of the Year: Elena Velasco, Austin, TX
Elena Velasco is a vibrant 20-year-old young lady with Asperger’s Syndrome who will be pursuing a B.S. in Clinical Laboratory Science. Elena was 4 when she was formally diagnosed with PDD-NOS and then re-diagnosed a few years later with Asperger’s Syndrome. Elena has a track record of dedication and perseverance. She was an honors student in high school, a violinist in the school’s philharmonic orchestra, vice president of the Anime’ Club and has earned two black belt ranks during 11 years of martial arts practice. For the past two years Elena has been a dedicated assistant scout master for the troop where her brother Jose, who is also diagnosed with autism, earned his Eagle Scout Rank.
April 10, 2013
The Autism Society, the nation’s largest and oldest grassroots autism organization, has chosen Pittsburgh as the host city of its 44th annual conference on autism spectrum disorders.
April 5, 2013
Individuals with autism can attend the Autism Society National Conference and Exposition (in Pittsburgh) for FREE this year! Learn more: www.autism-society.org/conference.
April 3, 2013
Monarch Teaching Technologies, the makers of VizZle®, web-based educational software for visual learners with autism, will give one-year of free VizZle to every new (or renewing) Champion Member during April.
April 2, 2013
Read the Autism Society’s digital magazine about autism spectrum disorders!
April 2, 2013
Today, throughout the world, individuals will come together highlighting the needs and dreams of people living with autism.