Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Herbert A. Kahn

Autism Light #276 is Herbert A. Kahn.

Herbert A. Kahn passed away at age 80 on September 29, 2005. He was from both Boynton Beach, Florida and Mahwah, New Jersey. Herbert A. Kahn is an Autism Light for being a founder of autism organizations that were important in the early history of autism diagnosis. He was part of a small group who along with Bernard Rimland and Ruth Sullivan founded the National Society for Autistic Children (now the Autism Society of America). He was also a founder of the New Jersey Center for Outreach and Services for the Autism Community (now Autism New Jersey). You can read Herbert A. Kahn's family placed obituary online at Legacy.com. Herbert Kahn will be added to the Autism Light Memorial Roll today and join other autism heroes who are at rest.

The Six Letter Word blog paints a picture of the founding of the National Society for Autistic Children (now the Autism Society of America) in an Autism Profile on Herbert Kahn.
He promoted autism awareness starting in 1965, when little was known about autism and families affected by autism had scant hope for happiness or understanding.  During that time, it was believed that autism was a severe emotional disturbance caused by poor parenting, not the neurological disorder we know it is today. It’s difficult enough to learn for the first time that your child will be challenged his or her whole life by autism. But the belief of that era – that you as a parent caused your child’s autism – must have been devastating.  I’m impressed that Mr. Kahn and his wife Rosalyn were one of the many families who read Dr. Bernard Rimland’s book INFANTILE AUTISM, which refuted this parenting theory and instead advanced the theory that autism was an organic disability. Dr. Rimland and Ruth Sullivan organized the first meeting of the NSAC, which was held in Herbert and Rosalyn Kahn’s home. That meeting gave the founding parents hope for a better future for their children and spread that hope to countless other families over many years (Source).
Education: Herbert Kahn earned his bachelor's degree from Indiana University.

Military Service: Herbert Kahn served in the Navy during World War II.

Career: For 50 years, Herbert Kahn was the owner and principal of J.L. Kahn & Sons, Inc. and was a manufacturers representative in the food service industry.

Autism Work: Herbert A. Kahn was a leader for autism and improved the lives of children with autism in New Jersey and beyond through his work in three important bodies.
  • In 1965 he was one of the founders of the National Society for Autistic Children (now the Autism Society of America).
  • He was a founder and Board member of the New Jersey Center for Outreach and Services for the Autism Community (now Autism New Jersey)
  • He was a member of the Bergen County Board of Special Services of Bergen County, New Jersey.
Herbert A. Kahn was survived by his daughters "Ellen Kahn Rampell and Laura Kahn; a son, Jerry; a brother, Richard; and three grandchildren. He was predeceased by his wife of 44 years, Roslyn T. Kahn. A funeral service was held at Beth-El Cemetery in Westwood, NJ on October 2, 2005 (Source)."

We remember Herbert A. Kahn today and all his work for autism. May his legacy continue to inspire others to give of themselves for the cause of autism.

Autism Light honors diverse heroes to the world of autism.

Note: If you liked this article you may wish to read an earlier post on Dr. Bernard Rimland who was Autism Light #90.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Faith Jegede

Autism Light #275 is Faith Jegede. 

Faith Jegede is from London, England and is an autism advocate by being a speaker, writer, and blogger. Faith Jegede's brothers Remi and Samuel both have autism. Faith Jegede is an Autism Light because of the extraordinary way in which she is spreading autism awareness through the perspective of a sibling. Faith Jegede said in her TED talk called What I Learned from My Autistic Brothers, "I can not remember the first moment I encountered autism but I cannot recall a day without it."

The following is a video that Faith Jegede has on her blog that she did for Autism Awareness Month - 2013.

Education: Faith Jegede will be starting her PhD in Communication at American University in Washington D.C. in August. She earned her MSc in International Management at the Henley Business School, University of Reading and her BA (Hons) in International Politics at the University of Surrey, UK.

Here is a talk for TED that Faith Jegede did in 2012 called "What I've Learned from My Autistic Brothers."

Blog: You can read The Faith Jegede Blog to keep track of Faith's blogging. In her blog Faith Jegede shares her thoughts and personal opinions on topics ranging from reflections on life, favorite quotes, original poetry, politics, and her Christian faith. On her blog she mentions admiring the poetry of Joshua Bennett, who was Autism Light #253. Faith Jegede also has shared personal thoughts about her brothers on her blog. Here is two excellent blog posts that Faith Jegede wrote about where she mentions her relationship to her brothers who have autism.
To Her Brother Remi: If I were to communicate one thing to you, it would be that you are extraordinary. Your brilliance is beyond our conceptualization and you are worth more than you'll ever be able to realize. In you lies a gift. In you lies a lesson. In you lies a solution. In you lies love (Source).

100 Things to Be Thankful for in 2010: 5. I'm #thankful for my brothers. They often drive me nuts but always bring me joy. I'm excited to see what God will do in both of them (Source)."
Radio Show: Faith Jegede is the creator, presenter, and producer of a radio show called "What's in Yours?" (Source).  Faith Jegede's radio show airs for an hour on Tuesdays and Saturdays and centers around her getting to know guests by digging deep into their bags. You can access episodes of Faith Jegede's show at the Premier Gospel Website.

Twitter: Faith Jegede is very active on Twitter as @FaithJegede. Here are two of her inspirational tweets about life.
Social Media: You can follow Faith Jegede on social media at the following areas. 
Special thanks to Faith Jegede for spreading autism awareness and being a dedicated sister to her two brothers with autism. Faith Jegede is setting a wonderful example of advocacy for other young people who have siblings with autism. We look forward to continuing to hear amazing things about Faith Jegede's autism awareness advocacy in the years to come. If you enjoyed this post you may wish to read about the other Autism Lights with the label Siblings. These people share the special perspective in their story of having a sibling with autism.

Autism Light honors diverse heroes to the world of autism.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Alabama Lights

The State of Alabama is the home currently to 3 Autism Lights. They include a teacher, a sibling of someone with autism, and an individual with autism.

Alabama Autism Lights

  1. Scott Parks is a special education teacher at Spanish Fort High School in Baldwin County, Alabama.

Individuals with Autism:

  1. Ethan is a 6 year old boy with autism who survived being kidnapped for a week in 2013 in Midland City, Alabama.

  1. Michael Gibbons is a prize fighter from Birmingham, Alabama whose brother has autism.
    You may reach all these posts by searching the blog through the "Alabama" Label.

    The map of Alabama is from the Wikipedia Commons.

    Wednesday, April 24, 2013

    David Ide

    Autism Light #274 is David Ide.

    David Ide was the Executive Director and co-founder of the Cornerstone Autism Foundation. He had lived in Zionsville, Indiana since 2006. On June 6, 1992, David Ide married Debbie Debolt. Their children Madison and Austin were born in 1997 and are fraternal twins and their son Austin has autism. David Ide is an Autism Light for his dedication as a father and co-founder of an autism service organization in Indiana.

    David Ide was born on October 7, 1964 in Petoskey, Michigan and passed away unexpectedly in his sleep on March 4, 2013, from what was believed to be a ruptured aorta. You can read David Ide's obituary online at the Indianapolis Star. David Ide will be added to the Autism Light Memorial Roll today as he is added to Autism Light

    Education: David Ide earned his Bachelor's degree from Central Michigan University

    Cornerstone Autism Center/Foundation: David Ide was the co-founder of the Cornerstone Autism Center/Foundation and at the time of his death was serving as its Executive Director. He had a passion to start the Cornerstone Autism Center because of experiencing first hand, as an autism parent, the need for more organizations to effectively meet the needs of children with autism. Cornerstone Autism Center has locations in Greenwood and West Lafayette, Indiana. Here's how their website describes this autism service organization. 
    The Cornerstone Autism Foundation was founded in December of 2011 by David Ide, Debbie Ide and Ken Weadick to maximize those who struggle, embrace those who love, and fulfill those who serve in the autism community. Cornerstone Autism Foundation accomplishes its mission by providing grants and sponsorships to Indiana-based nonprofit organizations, schools and charitable events that serve and benefit children living with an Autism Spectrum Disorder (Source).
    The following is a news story where David Ide is featured as the Executive Director of Cornerstone Autism Center as they gave iPads for children with autism in their community.

    Here is a video of David Ide at a Rock Out for Autism Fundraiser on September 29, 2012 that benefited Cornerstone Autism Center. 

    Debbie Ide issued the following statement to the community about the future of Cornerstone Autism Center after David Ide's passing.
    We wish to assure you that Cornerstone will strongly and with integrity continue on. Cornerstone Autism Center stands as David's legacy to the world, his gift to all of us. What began as a dream became a reality that will continue to bring hope, support and empowerment to those with autism and those who love them. In the emotional aftermath of this tragedy, you can be comforted in the knowledge that the amazing therapy and care of children that has been associated with Cornerstone Autism Center will not be diminished in anyway. Our 'best in class' service will be maintained. Our desire to honor David compels that (Source).
    Other Activities: David Ide's obituary said, "David was a past grand knight of the Knights of Columbus, an active member of the Boys and Girls Club board, and taught religious education at St. Alphonsus (Source)." 

    Social Media: You can follow the Cornerstone Autism Center/Foundation at the following social media areas.
    David Ide Memorial Fund: The David Ide Memorial Fund has been established in David Ide's memory. You can donate online toward this at this link. Those that started the Memorial Fund said, "David Ide has helped so many children and families who struggle with Autism Spectrum Disorder. He has impacted so many lives, especially our children who are affected by autism. In honor of our beloved leader, we have created the David Ide Memorial Fund through his foundation (Source)."

    We honor the memory of David Ide and hope that his example as a parent and leader for autism will inspire others to do whatever they can wherever they are. David Ide was truly a light for autism during his life and his influence continues to be felt by those who knew him and who experience the Cornerstone Autism Center.  After his death David's wife Debbie said, "This tragedy reminds us all how short life truly is. May you live today as intentionally as David lived his life (Source)." The autism community experienced a tremendous loss when David Ide passed away and our thoughts continue to be with David Ide's family at this time of loss, especially his wife Debbie and his twins Madison and Austin.

    Autism Light honors diverse heroes to the world of autism.

    Friday, April 19, 2013

    Luke Steibronn

    Autism Light #273 is Luke Steibronn.

    Luke Steibronn is from Waverly, Iowa. In the Summer of 2010 he played on the Waverly Twins baseball team in the Waverly Area Youth Baseball League.  Luke Steibronn is an Autism Light for the way his participation in his baseball team shined a light on autism for his teammates and community.

    Luke practiced and played the game just like the other players did as a member of the team. His coach during the season was Noel McMillan and his mother Jennifer served as a scorekeeper and was supportive of Luke. Through the experience of playing in team sports, Luke was able to grow in his social skills as well as athletic talent and he helped his teammates grow in understanding of autism. 

    Anelia K. Dimotrova developed this documentary on Luke Steibronn's 2010 baseball season called "BEHIND THE BAT: Boy shines light on autism for teammates". It chronicles how autism impacts Luke's life and how his life impacted his teammates. 

    Luke Steibronn's mother Jennifer used the following acronym for his name to explain what Luke is like. 
    L ove
    U nderstanding
    K indness
    E nthusiasm

    Special thanks to Luke Steinbronn for how he shined a light on autism for his teammates. This story demonstrates to others in the autism community the value that team sports can have for some individuals with autism when the proper supports are in place. We are honored to link this article with the Autism Light page featuring other amazing individuals with autism.  

    Autism Light honors diverse heroes to the world of autism.

    Monday, April 15, 2013

    The Henry Ford

    Autism Light #272 is The Henry Ford. 

    The Henry Ford is a National Historical Landmark that was founded in 1929 in Dearborn, Michigan. It is the nation's "largest indoor-outdoor history museum" (Source). It includes a museum, Greenfield Village, Factory Tour, and IMAX all spread across 200 acres. 26 million artifacts are part of The Henry Ford. The Henry Ford has partnered with the Autism Alliance of Michigan to make it an easier experience for autism families to enjoy visiting The Henry Ford (Source). The Henry Ford is an Autism Light for their dedication to be inclusive in making their museum autism friendly.

    The following is a video introducing what is offered at The Henry Ford.

    Autism Alliance of Michigan:  The Henry Ford has established a partnership with the Autism Alliance of Michigan. The benefits of the partnership to autism include the following plans:
    As part of the partnership, the Dearborn museum plans to include a link to pre-visit information on its website that describes environments and sensorial experiences to the families, provides varied dietary options, areas for noise reduction and other hospitality services. And the Autism Alliance will provide training in basic aspects of autism for Henry Ford staff members (Source).
    The kickoff to this partnership between The Henry Ford and the Autism Alliance of Michigan will be on April 28, 2013, when Greenfield Village hosts "A Day Out With Thomas the Tank Engine" (Source).

    The Autism Alliance of Michigan plans to help provide ear plugs for exhibits such as the IMAX and help provide information on a schedule that can be used to for an individual with autism coming to visit The Henry Ford. Because of the partnership these resources will be on both The Henry Ford and the Autism Alliance's webpage. More information on this partnership can be found on The Henry Ford's Blog.

    For More Information: Visit these websites for more information on The Henry Ford.
    Social Media: You can follow The Henry Ford Museum on social media at the following areas.
    Special thanks to The Henry Ford for making it easier for autism families to enjoy your historical treasures. Your partnership with the Autism Alliance of Michigan is a tremendous blessing for autism. Hopefully your outreach will encourage other historical sites to follow your example.

    Autism Light honors diverse heroes to the world of autism.

    Saturday, April 13, 2013

    John Schneider

    Autism Light #271 is John Schneider.

    John Schneider is an actor and musician from Agoura Hills, California who is probably best known for his role as "Bo Duke" in the 1980's television show The Dukes of Hazzard.  John Schneider has a personal reason for having a passion for autism causes. John Schneider's son Chasen has the form of autism known as Asperger's. John Schneider is an Autism Light for his role as an autism father, his advocacy for autism and for helping to show how actors can help the cause of autism. 
    Actors for Autism: The following is a Public Service Announcement that John Schneider did for Actors for Autism.  

    Autism Speaks: John Schneider has worked with the autism organization Autism Speaks. John Schneider said, "My involvement is raising funds for their cause as well as speaking to people, firsthand, about the experience of raising a wonderful young man who is among those on the spectrum (Source)."

    Acting Career: John Schneider has a prolific acting career. His first and most famous role was as Bo Duke in The Dukes of Hazzard, which started when he was just 18. He also starred in 100 episodes of Smallville, where he played Jonathan Kent, the father of Superman.  In addition, he had a recurring role on Dr. Quinn: Medicine Women. You can view his complete list of acting roles on his IMDb Webpage

    The following is a video of John Schneider singing the song "Just The Good Ole' Boys" with Tom Wopat in the last performance at Nashville Now. 

    Music Career: John Schneider is also a country music singer who has recorded over 10 albums. In 1985, his album, A Memory Like You featuring the song What's a Memory Like You (Doing in a Love Like This) was #1 on the charts. 

    Children's Miracle Network:  In 1982, John Schneider co-founded with Marie Osmond the Children's Miracle Network to meet the needs of children while they are receiving hospital care.

    Larry King Live: The following video features John Schneider with some other entertainers talking about autism on Larry King Live in 2013.

    John Schneider explained that he is involved in charities that are important to him personally:
    That is why I helped start the Children's Miracle Network 25 years ago. A child's experience while in a hospital happens to really mean something to me. How kids on the autism spectrum are treated and how those around them are educated about their specifics is truly important to me (Source).

    Christian Faith: While living with Johnny and June Cash, John Schneider converted to Christianity (Source). Schneider continues to be  practicing Christian to this day. John Schneider also starred in the Christian movie, What Would Jesus Do?

    FaithWorks Productions: John Schneider founded FaithWorks Productions in 1995 to produce family oriented films and media. Over the years many films have been produced by FaithWorks. In 2012, John Schneider produced two pro-life films in the same year (Paul Bond, Hollywood Reporter, March 29, 2012).

    Advice to Parent about Autism: John Schneider has given this advice to parents of those on the autism spectrum.
    Autistic kids, as well as adults, are amazing people who we can learn from. I believe the best thing you can do is to help them focus on something they are truly interested in, and you will be amazed at what they can accomplish! For example, my son, Chasen, was interested in both sport and history of body building when he was eleven. He focused and was published in two separate magazines on the sport with the byline "But what do I know...? I'm just a kid!" (This quote was taken from a website on Internet that has a broken link).
    Additional Information: For more information on John Schneider visit these websites.
    Social Media: You can follow John Schneider in the following social media areas.
    Special thanks to John Schneider for all he does for those with autism. John Schneider's work as an Autism Light is an important help to the autism community.  

    Autism Light honors diverse heroes to the world of autism.

    The photo of John Schneider in this post is in the Public Domain and is attributed to Phil K. Onstantin.

    Thursday, April 11, 2013

    Dan and Will Haggerty

    Autism Lights #270 are Dan and Will Haggerty.

    Dan and Will Haggerty are brothers who are members of the swim team at Wissahickon High School in Amber, Pennyslvania. Dan is 17 and Will is 15. In addition to swimming talent, the two brothers share a diagnosis of autism. Dan and Will Haggerty are Autism Lights for being and inspiration and demonstrating the pure enthusiasm for swimming that should be the winning trademark of all sports.

    Channel 6 ABC in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania did a news story on Dan and Will Haggerty and their success in swimming.

    Plymouth Whitemarsh Special Olympics: Dan and Will Haggerty began their swimming experience about four years ago when they joined the Plymouth Whitemarsh Special Olympics swim team. Their initial devotion involved practicing an hour a week for 7 months during the school year (Source).

    Dan and Will Haggerty have enjoined success in the swimming pool and that has greatly increased their confidence.  Their Coach John High reflected on their first swim meet: "They jumped out of the water and they were like 'I won.' As they walked down the deck, I turned and the entire team was there giving them high fives, and hugs. It was totally unprompted and extremely heartwarming (Source)."

    Dan and Will Haggerty's mother, Susan Haggerty said, "Over the years, it's been hard, but situations like this, having the chance to let them shine and show some skills. We knew they could swim, we just didn't know they could swim on this level. It was the most incredible experience (Source)."

    Online Articles: The following articles have been written about Dan and Will Haggerty.
    Special thanks to Dan and Will Haggerty for showing parents and individuals with autism how it is possible to be successful at swimming. We wish them the best in their high school career as swimmers and in all their endeavors. They are truely two brothers who are an inspiration for autism. 

    Autism Light honors diverse heroes to the world of autism.

    Tuesday, April 9, 2013

    Mike Lake

    Autism Light #269 is Mike Lake

    The Honorable Michael "Mike" Lake is an Autism Father, businessman, and has been a Member of Parliament in Canada since 2006. Mike Lake is from Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. He is a father of a teenager named Jaden who has autism. Mike Lake is an Autism Light both for his dedication first as an autism father and for spreading autism awareness in his role as a political leader in Canada.

    Mike Lake and his wife Debi have two children, a son Jaden, 17 and a daughter Jenae, 13.  The following is an interview Mike Lake had with Steve Paikin on The Agenda in 2012. Mike Lake's son Jaden is sitting beside him during the interview. 

    Education: Mike Lake graduated from the University of Alberta with a Bachelor of Commerce (with distinction). 

    Sports Executive: Before Mike Lake entered Canadian federal politics, he worked for 10 years with the Edmonton Oilers Hockey Club. He served as National Accounts Manager, Director of Ticket Sales and Group Sales Manager for the Edmonton Oilers. 

    Autism Society of Edmonton:  Mike Lake is a Member of the Autism Society of Edmonton. In August, 2012, Mike Lake held his 5th Annual Pancake Breakfast to raise funds for the Autism Society of Edmonton.  The event raised $40,000 in 2012, which was $8,000 more than in 2011 (Source).

    At his annual fundraiser in 2012, Mike Lake shared how important the Autism Society has been for his family and said, "We got the diagnosis from the Glenrose and the first place we turned was the Autism Society to try and find out what to do next and get advice and hear a little bit more about what was available out there and here from other families who were going through the same thing we were (Source)."

    If you want to learn more about the work of the Autism Society of Edmonton visit their website at www.autismedmonton.org.

    Member of Parliament: Mike Lake has been a Member of Parliament in Canada, serving in the House of Commons since 2006. Mike Lake was appointed by Prime Minister Stephen Harper as the Parliamentary Secretary of Industry in 2008. The following is a statement that Mike Lake made on World Autism Awareness Day -2013 for the Parliament in Canada

    Autism advocacy is a very important component of Mike Lake's work in Canada's House of Commons. Mike Lake told ABC News in September, 2012, "I didn't get elected to Parliament on the autism issue, but as time has gone by, it's one world. It has allowed me a platform to get out there and raise awareness (Source)."

    Visit the Autism Work section of his Website to see extensive content and media work Mike Lake has done for Autism since his election to Parliament in 2006. This is a very helpful page for all those interested in Mike Lake's autism advocacy. 
    Additional Information: You can read more about Mike Lake on the following Websites:
    Social Media: You can follow Mike Lake on the following social media areas.
    Special thanks to Mike Lake for being a dedicated father, a fundraiser, and an advocate for autism awareness. The autism community in Canada is fortunate to have Mike Lake in Parliament providing a voice to those who, because of the effects of autism, can not speak for themselves.  If you wish to read posts on other Autism Lights from Canada you can click on the Canada Label at Autism Light

    Autism Light honors diverse heroes to the world of autism.

    Sunday, April 7, 2013

    Hernando High School Interact Club

    Autism Light #268 is Hernando High School Interact Club. 

    Hernando High School is located in Hernando, Mississippi in DeSota County, Mississippi. The high school's Interact Club has provided leadership for an annual community observance of the "Light It Up Blue" Campaign, beginning in April, 2012, in observance of World Autism Awareness Day. Hernando High School's Interact Club is an Autism Light for leading their community in the Autism Speaks Light It Up Blue Campaign for Autism Awareness Day in April.

    For two years Hernando High School's Interact Club has been able to get the high school and many community businesses to light their buildings up blue. Holly Neel and Angela Gregg are two of the clubs teacher/sponsors.

    2012 "Light It Up Blue": Here is a video of Hernando High School's Interact Clubs first "Light It Up Blue" project in 2012 that was produced by Kerry Magro for Kerry's Corner. Kerry Magro was Autism Light #119.
    The "Light It Up Blue" Campaign was a highlight of the Interact Club's goal to serve their community and earned them the "Business of the Month" award in May, 2012. The school's website explains the importance of the "Light It Up Blue" campaign to the Interact Club organization in this way. 
    Hernando High School Interact Club, which is sponsored by the Rotary Club of Hernando, is made up of approximately 110 members and 4 sponsors. In April of 2012, the HHS Interact Club hosted the first "Light It Up Blue" event at Hernando's historic Square. This event brought over 500 people to the square in hopes of spreading autism awareness (Source). 
    2013 "Light It Up Blue": Hernando High School's Interact Club held their 2nd Annual "Light It Up Blue" campaign in 2013. Here is a video of their special efforts in 2013.

    Thanks to the efforts of the Interact Club, there is now a special "Light It Up Blue" page as part of the Clubs and Organizations at Hernando High School Website and "Light It Up Blue" has become an annual event for the high school and community. Special thanks to the Hernando High School Interact Club. It is hoped that the example they have set will influence those that follow them at Hernando High School and other schools around the world to lead autism awareness in their communities. 

    Autism Light honors diverse heroes to the world of autism.

    Mississippi Lights

    The State of Mississippi is the home currently to 5 Autism Lights. They include two professionals, two who have autism, including the first person ever diagnosed with autism, and a high school club.

    Misissippi Autism Lights

    1. Dr. Rebecca Mullican is the founder of the Jackson Autism Center and lives in the Jackson, Mississippi area.
    2. Dr. Mark Yeager is known as the "Father of the Mississippi Autism Movement". He lives and practices in Smith County, Mississippi.

    Individuals with Autism:
    1. Watson Dollar learned to communicate through an iPad after decades of silence. He is from the Jackson, Mississippi area. 
    2. Donald Triplett is the first person to be diagnosed with autism. He turns 80 this year and lives in Forest, Mississippi.
    1. Hernando High School Interact Club has led two annual community observances for the "Light It Up Blue" Campaign for Autism Awareness. They are located in the city of Hernando in DeSota County, Mississippi
    You may reach all these posts by searching the blog through the "Mississippi" Label.

    The map of Mississippi is from the Wikipedia Commons.

    Saturday, April 6, 2013

    Donald Triplett

    Autism Light #267 is Donald Triplett.

    Donald Gray Triplett is from Forest, Mississippi and has autism.  Donald was born in September, 1933 and will turn 80 this year. Donald Triplett was the first person ever diagnosed with autism. Donald Triplett is an Autism Light for making history with the first autism diagnosis and for having a long and happy life that reveals much about the lifespan of someone with autism. There is an entry in the Encyclopedia Britannica on Donald Gray Triplett in recognition of him being the first person diagnosed with autism.

    Donald Triplett was referred to as "Case 1....Donald T" in a 1943 medical article and starting with that piece of information John Donvan and Caren Zucker were amazingly able to track Donald down in Forest, Mississippi. Here is a video that John Donvan and Caren Zucker called "Finding Donald" about their research of locating Donald for an article they penned for the Atlantic in October, 2010 (Source).

    Dr. Leo Kanner: At the persistance of his parents, Oliver and Mary Triplett, Donald Triplett was evaluated by Dr. Leo Kanner at John Hopkins University in 1938. Kanner was known as the nation's top psychiatrist of his day. There was no label for Donald's condition at the time, but Dr. Leo Kanner began to see the same traits in a handful of other children and it was eventually confirmed as autism. One telling observation Dr. Kanner made about Donald Triplett's education is this: "He attended a country school, where his peculiarities were accepted and where he made good scholastic progress (Source)."

    Donald Triplett spent a year away in an institution as a child, attended Millsaps College, and has visited 36 foreign countries and 28 states in the United States, but he always returns to his home in Forest, Mississippi. Today Donald Triplett lives alone in Forest, Mississippi in the house where his parents raised him.
    John Donvan and Caren Zucker write this about Donald Triplett's struggle with communication.
    FOR ALL THE PROGRESS that Donald has made in the decades since—the driving, the golfing—conversation is an art that continues to elude him. He initiates on occasion, but his purpose is generally to elicit a piece of information he needs (“What time is lunch?”) or to make a passing observation (his comment about the sticker on our car). A regular chat, the casual back-and-forth of kicking around an idea, is something he has never experienced. (Source).
    Hobbies: Donald Triplett's hobbies include golf, traveling, assigning numbers to people he meets, and watching television shows such as "Bonanza". 

    Donald Triplett's life has been remarkably blessed because of both the resources his parents had to prepare their unique child for life and the compassion the entire Forest, Mississippi community has had in taking Donald under their wings over the years. Donald eats every Sunday with his younger brother Oliver. Now that his parents are both gone, Donald relies on the support and protection of his community even more. To this day Donald's living expenses are provided for through an irrevocable trust fund that his family established for him. 

    Special thanks to Donald Triplett for being an Autism Light. Donald and all those, who have been part of his support network over the almost 80 years of his life, demonstrate to us that an individual can have a life full with autism. For more information on Donald Triplett read the full article that appeared in The Atlantic in October, 2010. If there was ever any evidence needed that individuals with autism can live a normal life span, one needs only to look at Donald Triplett. His story is a reminder that plans need to be made in society for the care of both adults and senior adults with autism.

    Autism Light honors diverse heroes to the world of autism.

    Tuesday, April 2, 2013

    Jack Loth

    Autism Light #266 is Jack Loth.

    Jack Loth is an inspirational young adult with autism from Omaha, Nebraska. He was born on July 5, 1992. Jack Loth has been spreading light for several years through his efforts to raise money for charitable causes and his encouragement to his high school baseball team, where he served as the manager for two years. Jack Loth is an Autism Light for making the world brighter for people in his community.

    Special Olympics: In February, 2010, Jack Loth started to raise funds for the Special Olympics by walking backwards. He walked backwards for three months and raised $7,000 for the Special Olympics. The Get Back Jack page on Facebook chronicles Jack Loth's adventure in helping great causes.

    Here is a tweet on Twitter that was shared by @TomBecka about Jack Loth's efforts.
    Jack's mother explained what motivated him to walk backwards and raise funds for the Special Olympics.
    "He saw that he was going to be able to make a difference and give back to the community because that's really all he wants to be is a normal member of the community and not looked at as a kid with autism (Source)."

    High School Graduation: In 2012, Jack Loth graduated from Burke High School in Omaha, Nebraska. Here is a video of Jack Loth receiving his diploma when he graduated from Burke High School.

    Jack Loth served as the Manager for his Burke High School Varsity Baseball Team in 2011 and 2012. In the Fall of 2011, "Loth told his mom that his only wish for his senior year at Burke was to not eat lunch alone. Within a few days, the baseball players joined Loth at lunch and made sure someone sat with him all school year (Source)." KETV produced a video of the news story featuring the Burke High School Baseball Team's friendship with Jack Loth. You can view it at this link. Autism Light originally was going to honor the Burke High School Baseball Team of 2012 for this attitude towards Jack Loth, but we felt they would want us to dedicate this entry to Jack's story. Here are some words about Jack Loth from his high school baseball team at Burke High.

    • Coach Scott Hodges of the Burke High School Varsity  Baseball Team revealed why Jack Loth is such an inspiration to his team when he said, "He always has that big smile on his face (Source)."
    • A student baseball player Turner Gaines expressed the teams feelings when he said, "We enjoy being with Jack. He's always happy. He's our friend (Source)."
    Angel Guardians, Inc.: Jack Loth's most recent charitable cause has been to support Angel Guardians, Inc. by helping sell pies for their annual apple-pie fundraiser throughout the community. Angel Guardians is based in Omaha, Nebraska and their mission is to "improve the quality of life for special-needs teens and adults in the areas of housing, employment, fitness, socialization, and recreation (Source)."

    Social Media: If you would like to follow emerging details of Jack Loth's amazing efforts to shine a light on his world, you can "Like" the Get Back Jack Facebook page.

    Special thanks to Jack Loth for being an Autism Light. We wish Jack continued success as he shines his light to the world and represents the autism community in a way that only he can so uniquely and effectively do. Jack Loth's story is one of amazing abilities not a disability. We are honored to link this article with the Autism Light page featuring other amazing individuals with autism.

    Autism Light honors diverse heroes to the world of autism.