King Richard's full name is David Kingston Richard. He goes by "King", which is short for Kingston and is also fitting because of how he points to Martin Luther King, Jr. as his hero. King is a young adult from Pensacola, Florida. King has autism and despite limited communication skills, he is able to communicate through music. King Richard is an Autism Light because he utilizes his variety of talents and skills to be an inspiration to others. King Richard demonstrates that those with autism (in the words of Martin Luther King, Jr.) SHALL OVERCOME!
Often people outgrow their teenage idols but not so for King Richard. While millions honor Martin Luther King, Jr. on the day set aside each year as a holiday, King Richard thinks about him through out the year, because he visits the statute of Martin Luther King, Jr.in Pensacola, Florida twice a week to honor him.
Music: King Richard has shared his vocal singing at a variety of venues. The following is a video of King singing the United States National Anthem from his YouTube Channel.
Spirit of Life Award - 2009: King sang the above National Anthem at a ceremony in 2009, where he received the "Spirit of Life" Award from the Pensacola Civitans Club. The Autism Society of Pensacola wrote an article in their newsletter about King receiving award and saying this about King Richard:
He is a member of Jehovah Lutheran Church where he sings in the youth choir. Recently he has sung the National Anthem at the Special Olympics Games, the Annual Autism Dinner, the annual Walk-4-Autism, Senior Honors Awards Night at his High School, UWF Disability Awareness Day, at a Pensacola Pelicans Ballgame- and now he has sung for Pensacola Civitans (Source).Community Awareness: King Richard is a advocate for autism awareness in Pensacola, Florida and beyond. Ann Richard writes this about King's activities:
In a voluntary capacity, King has helped to raise Autism Awareness within his community by making appearances at many community events, churches, and attending fundraisers and charitable events. He has raised Autism Awareness in such a profound way locally, and nationally. More importantly, he has helped to break down barriers and sterotypes associated with his condition. For many who know King's outstanding achievements and contributions to this community, we can say with certainty that his life has impacted the lives of many and has made a difference in the world.Modeling: King's photogenic qualities have given him the opportunity to model for the photo illustration needs of several organizations. King is a Poster Child for the National Autism Society of America, which means his photo is used around the world at autism conferences. King has also been featured on the cover of several autism related magazines, including Autism Aspergers Digest, Autism Spectrum Quarterly, and Exceptional Parenting Magazine.
Parents: King's life has been so successful in large part to the dedication and support of his faithful parents David and Ann Richard. Ann Richard is an autism speaker and has published a book and wrote nationally syndicated articles about King and their family's life with autism. Find out about them at the following links.
- And When He Didn't Come Home (2002)
- An Unforgettable Christmas - Fox News (12/16/2009)
- The Sunday I Let Go - Guideposts
King Richard graduated in 2009 from Booker T. Washington High School and sang the National Anthem during the Senior Awards Night. King is presently attending classes at the Transition Employee Center (TEC) that is operated by United Cerebral Palsy. This training is preparing King for the work force.
Special thanks to King Richard for being an inspiration to many in the autism community. Martin Luther King, Jr. would have been very proud to have such a fine young man call him his hero and because of that and so much more we call King Richard today's Autism Light.Autism Light honors diverse heroes to the world of autism.
Photo: The photo in this post of King Richard was used with the permission of Ann Richard.
The photo of Martin Luther King, Jr. is in the Creative Commons of Wikipedia and is from the National Archives and Records Administration.
This Autism Light post went into syndication on Autisable.