Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Rachel D'Avino

Autism Light #245 is Rachel D'Avino.

Rachel D'Avino of Bethlehem, Connecticut was born on July 17,1983. She was a behavioral therapist who was taking advanced studies in autism and had just recently started working at Sandy Brook Elementary School. Rachel D'Avino was shot and killed along with 25 others at her school on December 14, 2012, while working as a teacher's aide for special needs students at Sandy Brook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. Rachel D'Avino is an Autism Light for her dedication to teach children with autism and her inspiration to others who work tirelessly in the field of behavioral therapy for autism.

The Chicago Tribune said, "D'Avino specialized in special education and formerly worked as a therapist for autistic children (Source)." A message on a Facebook memorial page posted in the early morning of December 18, 2012, said of Rachel that, "She loved karate, cooking, animals, baking and photography but her foremost passion was her work in behavioral therapy with children with autism (Source)."

John Molteni, the director of the Institute for Autism and Behavioral Studies at the University of St. Joseph shared on Facebook that Rachel D'Avino had recently finished the requirements for taking her certification exam. John Molteni said of Rachel D'Avino that when she was shot, "She was a paraprofessional working with a student with special needs, something she had dedicated her life to doing (Source)."

Lovetere Stone was a mother whose autistic son had been helped tremendously by his therapy with Rachel D'Avino and the extra effort she took to help him in life. "I think she taught me more about how to be a good mother to a special needs child than anyone else ever had," said Lovetere Stone (Source).

Rachel D'Avino's life was full of hope and promise.  Rachel was unaware of something exciting that was about to happen in her life. Two days before the shooting her boyfriend Anthony Cerritelli had asked her parents permission to marry her and he planned to ask her on Christmas Eve (Source).

The following is the coaches and artists of The Voice singing Leonard Cohen's Hallelujah in memory of Rachel D'Avino and all the victims of the Sandy Hook shooting.

Social Media Tributes:  

The Rest In Peace Rachel D'Avino Fund page has been set up on Facebook.

Here are a few Twitter tweets in memory of her.
Here is a YouTube video in honor of Rachel D'Avino.

Words can not express the loss that the autism community feels in losing this promising young educator who was specializing in autism. May Rachel D'Avino's story inspire other young people to dedicate their life to making the world brighter for people with autism by becoming autism behavioral therapists.

An obituary on Rachel D'Avino with more information on her life was published by the Associated Press for Legacy.com. Rachel D'Avino will be added today to the Autism Light Memorial Roll and her post here will be updated as more information to remember her by becomes available.

Special Note: It is the policy of Autism Light not to include photos of individuals unless they are in the Public Domain or permission from the person or family can be obtained. At this time of tragic loss we have not sought out permission for a photo, so not to disturb the privacy of Rachel D'Avino's family. If in the future an authorized representative would like to give permission for a photo of Rachel to appear with this respectful tribute, please email AutismLight@Gmail.com or leave information in the comments to this post.  Thank You.

Autism Light honors diverse heroes to the world of autism.

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