Sunday, March 29, 2015

Chase Faulingham

Autism Light #384 is Chase Faulingham.



Chase Faulingham is a 5 year old boy with autism from Dartmouth, Nova Scotia in Canada. Chase Faulingham is an Autism Light because he heard someone outside in distress and his alertness helped rescue the man.

On Thursday, March 19, 2015, Chase Faulingham was outside walking with his grandfather Thomas Murray. Chase heard a soft cry for Help coming from behind a snowbank. His alertness to the cry for help led to the rescue of the man who had fallen behind a snowbank and was injured (CTV News, March 22, 2015).

Last year Chase could barely speak, but he has had tremendous progress this last year that brought him to the capacity to listen to unusual sounds outside such as a cry for Help. Here is a video of a news story on Chase Faulingham being a hero for this unidentified injured person.



Chase's mother Jamie Mackinnon said, "People when they see a special needs child tend to put limits on him but it just goes to show he's a healthy little 5 year old boy (CTV News, March 22, 2015)."

Special thanks to Chase Faulingham for being an Autism Light. His heroic listening skills that helped rescue a man in distress is an example of the valuable things individuals with autism can do. We wish Chase all the best as he continues to grow and make a difference in the world.

Autism Light honors diverse heroes to the world of autism.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Jason Allison

Autism Light #383 is Jason Allison. 



Jason Allison is the assistant coach for the men's basketball team at Appalachian State University in Boone, North Carolina. He was born on July 23, 1976.  Jason is married to Hope (McLaughlin) Allison. Jason Allison is an autism father. His 8 year old soon Riley and 6 year old son Ryder both have autism. Jason Allison is an Autism Light for his advocacy for autism as an assistant basketball coach.

Jason Allison earned his B.A. in Physical Education from Liberty University in 1999. He played basketball at Liberty University from 1995-1998. Jason Allison was hired by Appalachian State University to be the Assistant Coach in 2014. He served from 2005-2014 as the Assistant Coach and Recruiting Coordinator at Virginia Military Institute. You can read the complete details about Jason Allison's experience at the Appalachian State Athletics Website.

Here is a video about the journey of Jason Allison's family in the world of autism that was used by the Appalachian State Men's Basketball program to promote their Autism Awareness Game against Troy on February 7, 2015.



Top Fundraiser in Coaches Powering Forward for Autism: Coaches Powering Forward for Autism partners with Autism Speaks and funds raised benefit the work of Autism Speaks. Appalachian State University participated in the campaign in their game against Troy on February 7, 2015. Thanks in part to Jason and Hope Allison's passion for autism, Jason's head coach Jim Fox was the top fundraiser on the Coaches Powering Forward for Autism campaign for 2015. As of March 28, 2015, Jason Allison had raised $2,457 of the $3,799 raised for autism on behalf of the Appalachian State University Basketball Team.

Jason Allison described part of the autism awareness that arises from the Coaches Powering Forward for Autism campaign that doesn't involve the fundraising. "We wear pins on our suits and it catches people's attention. It's something the rest of America has the opportunity to look at, ask questions, research and learn about. It is one of the better ways that we can draw attention to this on going process (As Quoted by Kayla May, The Appalachian, February 10, 2015)."

Building Autism Awareness for College Students:  Jason Allison said, "[Autism affects] one in 68 children now and the number is increasing. The student body will come in contact with autism at some point in their life, whether it's a family member or their own children. If it's something they can learn about now they can be aware of it. It won't hit them blind like it did me and my wife (As Quoted by Kayla May, The Appalachian, February 10, 2015)."

Social Media:  You can follow Jason Allison on Twitter@JAllison10.
Special thanks to Jason Allison for being an Autism Light. His dedication as a father of two boys with autism is an example to other fathers. The way in which he uses his position as an assistant coach to raise autism awareness is a light for the autism community. We wish Jason Allison continued success as an autism father and coach.

Autism Light honors diverse heroes to the world of autism.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Joe McKeown

Autism Light #382 is Joe McKeown.



Joe McKeown is the coach of the women's basketball team at Northwestern University near Chicago, Illinois. He was born on May 12, 1956. Joe McKeown is also an Autism Father. His 20 year old son Joey has autism. Joe McKeown is an Autism Light in part for how he uses his position as the coach of a Division I NCAA basketball program to spread autism awareness. But ultimately Joe is an Autism Light because of his dedication to place his role as an autism father above his coaching career.

Joe McKeown has been a women's basketball coach since 1986. In June, 2008, Joe McKeown unexpectedly left his highly successful position as the women's basketball coach at George Washington University to take over as the coach for a struggling Northwestern program. His move was not to advance his career, but it was for his son Joey to have better educational opportunities available him in the Chicagoland area.
Those closest to McKeown knew his decision to take over Northwestern's long-struggling program had nothing to do with basketball. McKeown was leaving because his high school-bound son, Joey, had been diagnosed with autism and educational resources were lacking in Northern Virginia (The Washington Post, Gene Wang, February 28, 2015).
Being a coach in a rebuilding program is a challenge. After several average years at Northwestern, coach Joe McKeown had a breakthrough year in the 2014-2015 season where his team won 23 games and they were selected for a birth in the Women's NCAA Tournament, losing in the first round to Arkansas. During this season he passed 600 wins in his coaching career. Here is a video congratulating Joe McKeown on the milestone of 600 wins.



Autism Awareness:  In 2008, Joe McKeown brought a case to Congress to battle for autism awareness. Although he lost that fight with the government he was determined after that to do what he could to raise awareness as a coach (Northwestern Wears Blue for Autism, Chicago Talks, May 12, 2014).  Kaitlyn Cubacub wrote about the autism awareness legacy that Coach Joe McKeown brought with him to Northwestern in 2008,
This was wear Northwestern sports made their turnaround. The women's basketball team changed their game plan, it wasn't so much about winning anymore, it was deeper than a victory. Their mission now was to create autism awareness at every game they could. Whether it be wearing autism awareness pins or holding fundraisers throughout the season, the team made sure that every opportunity didn't go untouched (Kaitlyn Cubacub, Northwestern Wears Blue for Autism, Chicago Talks, May 12, 2014)
Under Coach Joe McKeown's leadership, the Northwestern University Women's Basketball Team has an annual Autism Awareness Game. During this home game the Northwestern fans are encouraged to wear blue for autism awareness. They also open the event to autism families in the Chicagoland to enjoy a special day with their kids in a wonderful atmosphere. In addition, the team participates with other Northwestern athletes in an annual walk for autism at Chicago's Soldier Field.

Playing Career: The Northwestern Sports website says that,
As a player, McKeown earned Junior College National Small Player of the Year honors at Mercer College in Trenton, N.J. He helped the team to a 33-1 record and a spot in the NJCAA Championship game. McKeown transferred to Kent State the following season, where was the co-captain of the Golden Flashes as a senior and earned honorable mention All-Mid-American Conference honors. His school-record 15 assists in a game still stands (Northwestern Sports, Joe McKeown Bio).

On Dealing With Schools:  Joe McKeown said this about the difficulty faced by autism parents in educating their special needs children.
We've all fought over the years just trying to create awareness and trying to get the kids better opportunities and schools and not be pushed to the side. That's still our biggest fight. The principals and education systems. Every school you talk to is broke. Every state in the country is broke. The laws are there. It's just being able to enforce the laws and make sure these kids get the money that's supposed to be allocated (Joe McKeown as Quoted by Neil Hayes, November 23, 2012).
Other Information: You can read more about Joe McKeown and his work with autism in these online news stories:
Wikipedia: The Wikipedia Page for Joe McKeown has more information on his life and coaching career statistics.

Special thanks to Joe McKeown for spreading autism awareness.  As a legendary coach of a top team in the nation he has a remarkable opportunity to raise autism awareness. His dedication as an autism father is an example to others who have children with autism. We wish Joe McKeown continued success as an autism father and coach.

Autism Light honors diverse heroes to the world of autism.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Tom Herrion

Autism Light #381 is Tom Herrion.


Tom Herrion is the Assistant Coach of the men's basketball team at Georgia Tech. He was born on November 13, 1967. Tom Herrion is also an Autism Father. His 9 year old son Robert has autism. Tom Herrion is an Autism Light for his willingness to use his role as an autism father and an assistant coach of a Division I NCAA basketball program to spread autism awareness.

Basketball Career: Tom Herrion played basketball in college for Merrimack College from 1985-1986. Tom Herrion was hired by Georgia Tech Coach Brian Gregory to be his assistant coach on September 18, 2014. He has 147 career wins as a head coach at College of Charleston and Marshall University. Follow the future success of his team at the Georgia Tech Men's Basketball Page.

Coaches Powering Forward for Autism: Tom Herrion and Pat Skerry started the Coaches Powering Forward for Autism campaign in 2014. Both coach Herrion and Skerry have sons with autism. In 2014 they presented their fellow coaches across the NCAA with the request to wear the Autism Speaks blue puzzle piece during televised games the first weekend of February. In its first year (2014), "More than 82 NCAA coaches and broadcasters took to the sidelines and airwaves throughout the weekend wearing the pin (Autism Speaks Press Release, January 15, 2015)."

Coaches Powering Forward for Autism partners with Autism Speaks and funds raised benefit the work of Autism Speaks. The campaign was in place in 2015 for the televised games on the weekend of February 6-8, 2015. The Coaches Powering Forward for Autism fundraising page lists the coaching leaders in this autism awareness campaign in 2015. The top 3 coaches in 2015 in fundraising for autism as of March 23, 2015 are:
  1. Coach Jim Fox, Appalachian State University
  2. Coach Mike Krzyzewski, Duke University
  3. Coach Mike Brey, Notre Dame University
Both Duke and Notre Dame have teams that are experiencing success on the court in the 2015 NCAA Final Four Tournament as well.

Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said, "There's so many good things that have happened for these youngsters, and so to help in some way is an easy thing to do. And Tom's a great guy, and so we'll participate in that, definitely, and feel proud and honored to do it  (Atlanta Constitution, February 5, 2015).

Liz Feld, president of Autism Speaks said, "Pat (Skerry) and Tom (Herrion) are advocates in every sense of the word. Last year's campaign was a true grassroots effort, and it continues to grow under the Coaches Powering Forward for Autism banner with far more coaches and broadcasters engaged. In addition, Pat and Tom have become great ambassadors for Autism Speaks attending events across the country that demonstrate the importance of participation and volunteerism (Autism Speaks Press Release, January 15, 2015)."

Here is a video of Tom Herrion giving a speech at an Autism Speaks event.


Other Information: You can read more about Tom Herrion and his work with autism in these online news stories:
Wikipedia: The Wikipedia Page for Tom Herrion has more information on his life and coaching career statistics.

Social Media: You can follow Tom Herrion on Twitter at @CoachTomHerrion.

Special thanks to Tom Herrion for spreading autism awareness. His leadership in Coaches Powering Forward for Autism has indeed had an impact around the United States. We wish Tom Herrion all the best in the future as an autism father, coach, and autism advocate.

Autism Light honors diverse heroes to the world of autism.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Pat Skerry

Autism Light #380 is Pat Skerry.


Pat Skerry is the head coach of the men's basketball team at Towson University in Maryland. He was born on January 21, 1970. Pat Skerry is also an Autism Father. His 5 year old son Owen has autism. Pat Skerry is an Autism Light for his willingness to use his role as an autism father and coach of a Division I NCAA basketball program to spread autism awareness.

Basketball Career: Pat Skerry played college basketball at Tufts University from 1988-1992 and set the career record for assists (634) and the season record (198) at Tufts. Pat Skerry has served as the coach of Towson University Tigers' men's basketball team since the 2011-2012 season. He has 80 career wins as a head coach, including two years coaching at Curry College. Follow the future success of his team at the Towson Athletic Website.

Coaches Powering Forward for Autism: Pat Skerry and Tom Herrion started the Coaches Powering Forward for Autism campaign in 2014. Both coach Skerry and Herrion have sons with autism. In 2014 they presented their fellow coaches across the NCAA with the request to wear the Autism Speaks blue puzzle piece during televised games the first weekend of February. In its first year (2014), "More than 82 NCAA coaches and broadcasters took to the sidelines and airwaves throughout the weekend wearing the pin (Autism Speaks Press Release, January 15, 2015)."

Coaches Powering Forward for Autism partners with Autism Speaks and funds raised benefit the work of Autism Speaks. The campaign was in place in 2015 for the televised games on the weekend of February 6-8, 2015. The Coaches Powering Forward for Autism fundraising page lists the coaching leaders in this autism awareness campaign in 2015. The top 3 coaches in 2015 in fundraising for autism as of March 22, 2015 are:
  1. Coach Jim Fox, Appalachian State University
  2. Coach Mike Krzyzewski, Duke University
  3. Coach Mike Brey, Notre Dame University
Both Duke and Notre Dame have teams that are experiencing success on the court in the 2015 NCAA Final Four Tournament as well.

Liz Feld, president of Autism Speaks said, "Pat (Skerry) and Tom (Herrion) are advocates in every sense of the word. Last year's campaign was a true grassroots effort, and it continues to grow under the Coaches Powering Forward for Autism banner with far more coaches and broadcasters engaged. In addition, Pat and Tom have become great ambassadors for Autism Speaks attending events across the country that demonstrate the importance of participation and volunteerism (Autism Speaks Press Release, January 15, 2015)."

The following is a news story on Pat Skerry's work with autism awareness at Towson University.




Other Information: You can read more about Pat Skerry and his work with autism in these online news stories:

Wikipedia: The Wikipedia Page for Pat Skerry has more information on his life and coaching career statistics.

Social Media: You can follow Pat Skerry on Twitter at @CoachPatSkerry.



Special thanks to Pat Skerry for spreading autism awareness. His leadership in Coaches Powering Forward for Autism has indeed had an impact around the United States. We wish Pat Skerry all the best in the future as an autism father, coach, and autism advocate.

Autism Light honors diverse heroes to the world of autism.