Tuesday, July 30, 2013

South Carolina Lights

The State of South Carolina is the home currently to 5 Autism Lights, including two autism mothers, an autism sibling, a CEO of an autism organization, and a special education teacher who is on the Memorial Roll.

South Carolina Autism Lights

  1. Ann Eldridge: Anne serves as President and CEO for the Early Autism Project in Sumter, South Carolina.
Autism Sibling:
  1. Natalie Palumbo: Natalie is an Autism Sister and is from Columbia, South Carolina. Her brother Anthony has autism and she is the Sibling Voice for Age of Autism.
Autism Mother:
  1. Crystal Lyons: Crystal is an Autism Mother from Elgin, South Carolina. She formed Vests for Visionaries as a charity to give away weighted vests to shine a light for autism. 
  2. Lorri Shealy Unumb: Lorri is an Autism Mother and Attorney from Lexington, South Carolina. She authored Ryan's Law.
Memorial Roll:
  1. Jan M. Curtis (1959-2015) was a Special Education Teacher in Lexington, South Carolina
    You may reach all these posts by searching the blog through the "South Carolina" Label.

    The map of South Carolina is from the Wikipedia Commons.

    Monday, July 29, 2013

    Lorri Shealy Unumb

    Autism Light #295 is Lorri Shealy Unumb. 

    Blog Header for Lori Sheally Unumb Autism Light #295

    Photo of Lorri Shealy Unumb and her son Ryan
    Lorri Shealy Unumb is an attorney from Lexington, South Carolina. She is also a mother of a son with autism named Ryan. She has been called "inspirational" and "passionate" by David Newton (Humanitarian Award Winner Inspiring, ESPN.Com). Lorri Shealy Unumb is an Autism Light for the multitude of ways she helps the cause of autism through her advocacy and forward vision. Besides being a mother, her autism legacy includes three major areas. She is the author of Ryan's Law, a South Carolina Autism Insurance Law; the co-founder, along with her husband Dan, of the Autism Academy of South Carolina; and the Vice-President for State Government Affairs for Autism Speaks.

    Ryan's Law: Lorri Shealy Unumb authored an autism insurance bill that was called Ryan's Law in honor of her son. Her passion was to help South Carolina Autism families who didn't have the means to give their children autism treatment. The South Carolina House and Senate passed Ryan's Law on June 7, 2007, by overriding then Governor Mark Sanford's veto (South Carolina Autism Insurance Bill Passed, Autism Speaks News). Ryan's Law made South Carolina one of the first states in the United States to mandate health insurance cover autism treatment.

    The following is a news feature on Lorri Shealy Unumb's efforts to pass Ryan's Law by WBTV3 Charlotte.

    Betty Jane France Humanitarian Award: Here is a video where Lorri Shealy Unumb was a finalist in 2012 for the Betty Jane France Humanitarian Award, which is given to a NASCAR fan who gives back to the community. She won the 2nd Annual Betty Jane France Humanitarian Award in 2012 and designated the $100,000 award to go to the Autism Academy of South Carolina, the autism organization she founded in honor of her son Ryan (2013 Betty Jane France Humanitarian Award, NASCAR News).

    Autism Academy of South Carolina: Lorri Shealy Unumb and her husband Dan founded the Autism Academy of South Carolina in 2010 and it is based in Columbia, South Carolina. Their website states their vision as follows: 
    The Autism Academy of South Carolina (AASC) was born out of a vision to enhance the educational options that exist for children impacted by Autism in South Carolina. After searching the country in 2009 for "best practice" educational models, the founders, Lorri and Dan Unumb, decided to make it their mission to create an alternative education option that utilized the principles of Behavior Analysis to not only provide exceptional services for learners, but to also serve as a community resource for those impacted by autism (Autism Academy of South Carolina, About Us).
    The AASC has an enrollment of approximately 18 children (Humanitarian Award Winner Inspiring, ESPN.Com). A promotional video from the Autism Academy of South Carolina on YouTube explains their work (Watch Video). 

    Autism Speaks: Lorri Shealy Unumb serves as the Vice President for State Government Affairs with Autism Speaks. In her role she travels extensively and aims to replicate South Carolina's autism insurance mandate in other states.  In the five years since Ryan's Law passed, over 30 states have passed similar laws. You can watch a YouTube video of Lorri Shealy Unumb speaking in Missouri in support of autism insurance legislation. 

    Advice to Parents: Lorri Shealy Unumb gave this advice for autism parents in a message to Autism Light on July 28, 2013. 
    Take it upon yourself to educate those around you about autism, and assume that people want to help. They just don't know what to do. I certainly wouldn't have known how to be helpful to an autism family before my son was diagnosed. Assuming people want to help has been my philosophy in approaching the legislators I've worked with, and I've considered it my job to inform them about autism and what they can do (Lorri Shealy Unumb-7/28/2013).
    Social Media: You can follow Lorri Shealy Unumb on the following social media areas. 
    Special thanks to Lorri Shealy Unumb for being an Autism Light. Her efforts for the cause of autism now go far beyond their beginnings to help her home of South Carolina. The victories that she has helped win in state legislators for autism will have far reaching consequences for autism families.
    Autism Light honors diverse heroes to the world of autism.

    The photo in this post is used with permission of Lori Shealy Unumb. 

    Saturday, July 27, 2013

    Autism Awareness Horse

    Autism Light #294 is the Horse Autism Awareness.

    Autism Awareness was an 8 year old race horse from California. He was injured in a race on April 14, 2013, at Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, California and he had to be euthanized because of the extent of his injuries. Johnny Taboada owned Autism Awareness and gave him his name to draw attention to autism, because his 13 year old son Riley has autism. Autism Awareness is the first horse to be named an Autism Light and the horse's name will be placed on the Autism Light Memorial Roll today.

    Autism Awareness was more than a horse to those who followed him and to his owner Johnny Taboada, who told Horse Racing Nation, "He has something we can't explain; the horse is here for a reason, and it's a bigger purpose than racing (Source)."

    The Blood-Horse staff at BloodHorse.com wrote a tribute to Autism Awareness on their site and they described the horse in this way. 
    The 8-year-old son of Tannersmyman out of Sharp Victor mare Lady Essex, was bred in California by Jim Eaton, Paul Arndt, Dave Marabela, and Mr. and Mrs. Terry Smith. Johnny Taboada purchased the colt for $1,000 at the 2006 California Thoroughbred Breeders' Association's Northern California yearling sale.
    Named to help draw attention to autism, a cognitive development disorder from which Taboada's 13-year-old son suffers, the colt earned $356,732. Autism Awareness was trained by Genaro Vallejo for all of his 39 starts and held a record of 5-5-2.
    Autism Awareness scored his biggest victories in the 2008 El Camino Real Derby (gr. III) and the 2009 Berkeley Stakes (gr. III). He also placed in the Governor's Handicap at Sacramento and the Bull Dog Stakes at Fresno. [Read more on BloodHorse.com: http://www.bloodhorse.com/horse-racing/articles/78454/popular-runner-autism-awareness-dies#ixzz2aFlG7zo4]

    After the race that caused his death, Johnny Taboada told Horse Racing Nation, "This is by far the saddest day of my racing career. Autism Awareness has always had a very special place in my heart. This is very hard to swallow, he was one of a kind (Source)."

    Each race Autism Awareness was in he was able to raise awareness to the cause of autism by his name. May his life show other owners that the name of a race horse can have an impact on advocacy. Autism Awareness is a fitting Autism Light to represent horses around the world who are making a difference for autism, many through horse therapy. We expect he won't be the last horse to be an Autism Light.

    Autism Light honors diverse heroes to the world of autism.

    Friday, July 26, 2013

    Frank Diaz

    Autism Light #293 is Frank Diaz.

    Frank Diaz is a 53 year old garbage truck driver for the City of Fresno, California. Greyson Kelly is a 4 year old boy with autism. Every Wednesday for the past two years, when Frank Diaz drove by Greyson's home on his garbage pickup route, the young boy would excitedly come out to see the big truck. Frank Diaz is an Autism Light both for how his weekly routine at work has brought joy to Greyson's life and for taking the time to show kindness by letting the boy sit in his garbage truck.

    Here is a video of the news story that Brian Williams gave on the NBC Nightly News on Frank Diaz and his imapct on Greyson Kelly and his family.

    Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy
    Barbara Anderson noted in an article for the Fresno Bee, that Greyson has demonstrated growth in his communication over the years of greeting the garbage truck delivery. His first word was "truck" and recently he had a breakthrough when he uttered his first sentence, which was, "I want truck (Source)."   Chrissy Kelly says this about her autistic son's reaction when the garbage truck comes each week. "You see the way he reacts. He lights up, his entire body feels joy (Source)." Greyson's mother, Chrissy Kelly, has a blog called Life With Greyson + Parker, in which she chronicles her families journey with autism. In an entry on her blog called, people are good, Chrissy Kelly wrote a letter to Frank Diaz thanking him for showing special attention to her son Greyson and letting him sit in his truck. The article went viral and was viewed by over 10,000 people in the first few days. Here is the closing paragraph of the letter Chrissy Kelly wrote:
    Sometimes I worry-How will the world treat my boys? And today was a beautiful reminder that people are good-all because of you, Frank. I saw the way your face lit up with joy that my son put there and I was so proud and so honored and so humbled to be a part of such a magical moment. Sometimes I hear phrases like People are so stupid, or crazy or mean. To them I say - No they aren't. You haven't met Frank (Source).
    Special thanks to Frank Diaz for being an Autism Light. His gift of inspiration to the Kelly family shows us that someone can become an Autism Light when they least expect it, and even in the midst of doing one's daily job.

    Autism Light honors diverse heroes to the world of autism.

    Thursday, July 25, 2013

    Cynthia Joyner

    Autism Light #292 is Cynthia Joyner.

    Cynthia Wild Joyner is from Chattanooga, Tennessee. She has a teenage son named Matthew who has autism. Cynthia Joyner was born on December 4, 1981, and died on July 20, 2013, as a result of injuries sustained in an automobile accident. Cynthia is survived by her husband Ricardo Joyner and two children, Matthew and Traci. Cynthia Joyner is an Autism Light both for her dedication as an autism mother and for the countless hours she volunteered with the Chattanooga Autism Center. Cynthia Joyner will be added today to the Autism Light Memorial Roll.

    Here is a video of the news story on Cynthia Joyner's death.

    Cynthia Joyner's obituary stated, "She was a fearless advocate for her son, Matthew, who has autism and volunteered countless hours of service to the Chattanooga Autism Center (Source)."

    Chattanooga Autism Center: Cynthia Joyner was the 2013 Volunteer of the Year for the Chattanooga Autism Center. She was a tremendous asset to the work of this leading autism organization in Chattanooga, Tenneessee. Here are some of her contributions to the Chattanooga Autism Center according to an article by Yolanda Putman for the TimesFreePress.
    • She was the coordinator for a fundraiser at Honest Pint in 2012 that raised $10,000.
    • She worked with movie theaters to increase autism friendly showings.
    • She fostered relationships with law enforcement to educate them about autism and facilitated some children with autism meeting officers (Source).
    According to Alyce Benson, a clinical social worker who sees clients at the Chattanooga Autism Center, Cynthia Joyner's mission, "was to educate people about autism and to change attitudes from being judgmental toward autistic children and their parents to being more understanding (Source)."

    Cynthia Joyner played an important role in caring for her teenage son Matthew who has autism and her death creates a critical need in the family. The Chattanooga Autism Center has committed $6,000 to help Cynthia Joyner's family with expenses. If you wish to make a donation for this need, make checks out to Ricardo Joyner, c/o Chatttanooga Autism Center, 1400 McCallie Ave. Suite 100, Chattanooga, TN 37404.

    Funeral Arrangements: Cynthia Joyner's funeral will be at noon on July 26, 2013, at the Greater Sweet Branch Baptist Church in Olar, South Carolina. A memorial service in the Chattanooga area will be set at a later date.

    The loss of Cynthia Joyner will be felt deeply by both her family and the Chattanooga Autism Center. Our thoughts and prayers for strength and comfort are extended to Cynthia's family, including her autistic son Matthew. May the example that Cynthia Joyner set in her life as a volunteer inspire others to step up to support autism organizations. The spirit of volunteerism is so critical in helping autism organizations accomplish their work.

    Autism Light honors diverse heroes to the world of autism.

    Wednesday, July 24, 2013

    Ethan Fowlks

    Autism Light #291 is Ethan Fowlks. 

    Ethan Fowlks is a 6th grader with autism from Salt Lake City, Utah, who is a member of the Salt Lake Sidewinders' Under 12 Baseball team. Ethan Fowlks is an Autism Light because he is a very talented baseball player and is impacting the way people around him think of autism.

    Here is a news story on a dramatic game that Ethan Fowlks had to help his team win the championship.

    The Salt Lake Sidewinders' under 12 team were playing in a championship game in Cooperstown, New York on July 11, 2013. With his team trailing 2-0 in the 9th inning of the game against the Tallahassee, Florida Heat, Ethan Fowlks stepped up to bat and he hit a 3 run walk off home run to win the game for the Sidewinders. Thanks to Ethan's home run "the Sidewinders became the first Utah team to win a championship game at the Cooperstown Dreams Park in Cooperstown, New York, home of the Baseball Hall of Fame (Source)."

    Ethan described his walk off home run as "Probably one of the most wonderful experiences of my life. Having to make history to make Utah proud (Source)."

    Guy Fowlks said about his son's baseball talent, "When I started throwing pitches to him, his ability to track and hit the ball was extraordinary. It was impressive. The baseball field became the one place where he was more normal. Put him on the field and let him play the game, that's where he wants to be. It's his world (Source)."

    Rob Jeppsen, Ethan's coach, said, "Baseball has been a big enabler for Ethan. He's remarkable. He plays ball, has a good time and sits in the dugout with his friends (Source)."

    Special thanks to Ethan Fowlks for being an Autism Light. His talent as a baseball player is an inspiration to others with autism who are wanting to be involved in competitive sports.  Read the Autism Light Sports page to read more about other sports players with autism.

    Autism Light honors diverse heroes to the world of autism.

    Monday, July 22, 2013

    James Gandolfini

    Autism Light #290 is James Gandolfini.

    James Gandolfini, Jr. was a popular actor who was best known for his starring role as the mobster Tony Soprano in The Sopranos. Gandolfi was born in Westwood, New Jersey on September 18, 1961. James Gandolfini had homes in Los Angeles, California and Manhattan, New York, and his hometown was Park Ridge, New Jersey. James Gandolfini died on June 19, 2013 from a heart attack while in Rome, Italy. James Gandolfini is an Autism Light because his friendship and generosity to autism fathers extended to leaving $50,000 in his will to his college friend Doug Katz who has an autistic son named Andrew (Source). James Gandolfini will be added today to the Autism Light Memorial Roll.

    Acting Career/Awards: James Gandolfini is best known for playing Tony Soprano in the HBO TV series The Sopranos which debuted in 1999 and ran through 2007. Gandolfini's exceptional career as an actor included winning three Emmy Awards, three Screen Actors Guild Awards and two Golden Globes for Best Actor-Drama Series (Source). You can read more about James Gandolfini's complete career at his page at Biography.com or at IMDb

    Here is a news story on Hollywood's reactions to James Gandolfini's Death. 

    Friend of Autism Father Doug Katz:
    Doug Katz, a college roommate of James Gandolfini, has a 12 year old son named Andrew who has autism. Over the years James Gandolfini helped Doug Katz with some special expenses related to his autistic son, and at Gandolfini's untimely death his will included a gift of $50,000 for Doug Katz (Source).

    Julie Marsh and Lorena Mongeli of the New York Post talked to Doug Katz about how much James Gandolfini had helped out through the years with their family's autism expenses. Doug Katz said this about James Gandolfini:
    He got him nutritional supplements, anything Andrew needed to help him lead a better life. Jim sponsored gymnastics for my son. He always said, 'How can we help? How can we make it better?' And none of it was lip service. I'd rather have Jim alive than his money. You could never meet a nicer guy in the world. He was the glue that kept us together (Source).
    Friend of Autism Father John Travolta: James Gandolfini was good friends with the actor John Travolta. John Travolta's son Jett Travolta had autism (Source). After Jett Travolta tragically died in 2009 at age 16, James Gandolfini stayed with his friend John Travolta for a week to make sure he would be okay.

    Here is a video of John Travolta describing how much James Gandolfini's friendship meant to him.

    Wikipedia: You can read more information about James Gandolfini on his Wikipedia page.

    Special thanks to James Gandolfini for being an Autism Light and having a deep friendship with autism fathers Doug Katz and John Travolta. We mourn the loss of this generous friend who understood how financially and emotionally challenging autism can be. James Gandolfini made a real difference in two autism families, whether it was being present with John Travolta after the loss of his son or providing financial assistance to Doug Katz with his autism family expenses.

    Autism Light honors diverse heroes to the world of autism.

    The photo of James Gandolfini is attributed to Isabelle Vautier and is in the Creative Commons of Wikipedia.

    Sunday, July 21, 2013

    Garrett Giauque

    Autism Light #289 is Garrett Giauque.

    Garrett Giauque is a 13 year old boy with autism from Salt Lake City, Utah.  An amazing talent for drawing has surfaced in Garrett. Garrett Giauque is an Autism Light for the way his talent at drawing is serving as an inspiration to the autism community.

    When asked to describe himself, Garrett said, "Well Garrett's a different man and Garrett's a surviving guy, surviving autistic kid. Trying to survive this life and world (Source)."

    Mormon Faith and Autism: In August, 2011, Garrett's mother April, who also has two other children with autism, wrote an article called, "Garrett Was God's Child First" which appeared in the Ensign, a publication of the Mormon Church. The article is very helpful in showing how faith, in this case Garrett's mother's Mormon faith, gives a perspective on autism. April Giauque writes in the article about what she has learned from Garrett:
    What I have learned from Garrett and our other children who fall within the autism spectrum is that they are children first and people with autism second. I imagine that it is much the same way that our Heavenly Father sees all of us: we are His children first, and we have trials and experiences second. Our children want love, attention, help, success, and praise. They want their pain to be eased, and they want to feel hope. They enjoy life differently than many people do, yet their needs and wants are similar to those of most everyone  (Source)."
    Autism Contributes to Garrett's Artistic Ability: Garrett's mother, April said, "The ability that autism has given him in the sense of how to focus, how to look at detail, how to create things. That is going to be his gift back to the world."

    Future Plans: While 13 is young to have one's future planned out, Garrett's mother foresees that he might have a career someday working in a museum and drawing animals (Source).

    There is an archived news story by KSL.com-Utah by Peter Rosen on Garrett Giauque that you can read at this link.

    Special thanks to Garrett Giauque for being an Autism Light. We look forward to hearing amazing things about how his talent develops in the future. For more information on artists with autism visit the Autism Light Art page.

    Autism Light honors diverse heroes to the world of autism.

    Saturday, July 20, 2013

    Ruby Tingum

    Autism Light #288 is Ruby Tingum.

    Ruby Tingum is a Golden Retriever who lives with Bruce and Caroline Tingum's family in Encinitas, California (part of San Diego County). She is an autism service dog who is very gentle around children and received her training from Tender Loving Canines Assistance Dogs, Inc. Ruby's role is to protect Garrett Tingum, a 10 year old boy with severe autism. Ruby Tingum is an Autism Light for the help she provides to the Tingum family and Garrett Tingum as he navigates through life.

    In addition to autism, Garrett Tingum has mild cerebral palsy, apraxia (motor planning disorder), and pica (eats non-edible items). Garrett's most dangerous behavior is his tendency to escape his home and run into the street or go into people's homes. Ruby has been especially trained to find Garrett when he goes missing. Here is a video on Ruby's story of comforting the Tingum family.

    Caroline Tingum described Ruby and Garrett's friendship in the above video, "Garrett has a friend. He's never had a real friend before. You know you don't think of children with autism as being lonely just because they can't express it. Ruby has filled that void I think."

    Special thanks to Ruby and all the talented and loving dogs who are making a difference around the world for autism. If you liked this post you may like to read about other Autism Lights with the label "Animal". Ruby Tingum has also been featured on our Golden Light blog as Golden Light #8.

    Autism Light honors diverse heroes to the world of autism.

    Thursday, July 18, 2013

    Watson Dollar

    Autism Light #287 is Watson Dollar. 

    Watson Dollar is a 20 year old man with autism from Magee, Mississippi in the Jackson Metropolitan Statistical Area. After two decades of silence, Watson has amazingly started to communicate with the use of his iPad. Watson Dollar is an Autism Light for demonstrating to the world that communication can surface even later on in the life of someone with autism.

    Watson Dollar's last word was uttered in 1993, when he said "Lights" before having surgery on his ears. He was diagnosed with autism on May 17, 1993. Through the years Watson remained silent although he was given speech therapy to try and help him communicate. His mother Pam Dollar said in the video included in this post, "Never give up, because that big breakthrough can come when you least expect it. Watson was 20 years old when this big breakthrough came for him. And at that point we just assumed we probably were where we were going to be."

    On November 11, 2011, Watson Dollar miraculously communicated his first words in two decades through his iPad in a conversation with his mother. The words he typed was part of a discussion about not using his mother's glass because she was sick. He then typed the words, "I love you, Mom. Very much (Source)."

    Emily Le Coz of The (Jackson, Mississippi) Clarion Ledger wrote a news story on Watson Dollar's communication. In the video below Emily Le Coz explains that now that Watson can communicate he has goals to develop friends, erase false stereotypes about autism, and to find a job.


    When the news broke recently of Watson Dollar's breakthrough, it served as a bright light to the autism community. Watson Dollar is a living example that has given many parents of older children precious hope that they can hold on to.

    Special thanks to Watson Dollar for being an Autism Light. We look forward to hearing more from Watson as his communication serves as an inspiration and window into the world of one who has autism.

    Autism Light honors diverse heroes to the world of autism.

    Tuesday, July 16, 2013

    Spencer Timme

    Autism Light #286 is Spencer Timme.

    Spencer Timme is 20 years old and was born in San Diego, California. He currently lives in Norfolk, Virginia where he attends James Madison University. Spencer's older brother Mitchel has autism. Spencer Timme is an Autism Light for the special relationship he has with his brother Mitchel who has autism.

    The following is a video that Spencer Timme developed about "What it's like to have a Brother with Autism". The video has had over 122,000 views as of today and it was featured on the Most Watched Today Website. In the description of the video, Spencer Timme wrote, "A short video I made about what is like to have an older brother with autism. I hope you enjoy it and see how blessed I am to have Mitchel as my brother. I love him to death and I want everyone to see how awesome our bond is!"

    In the above video, Spencer Timme says about his brother Mitchel. "Our relationship is special. Not one person understands him the way I do. Our bond is strong. He is the most important person to me. I'll always protect him. He is my brother."

    Student: Spencer Timme is a student at James Madison University in Norfolk, Virginia. He is a majoring in International Marketing/Business Spanish and is scheduled to graduate in 2014.  While in school he is working as a Product Tester for Nike and he is serving as a Marketing Intern at Hampton Roads Piranhas.

    Advice to Other Autism Siblings: Spencer Timme provided this advice via Autism Light to pass on to other autism siblings about improving their relationship with their autistic brother or sister.  
    Some advice I have is for the siblings to have patience with their autistic sibling. I can tell right away when my brother feels any sort of anxiety and I try my best to never rush him with anything and let him do things at his pace. Another huge bit of advice is just to make your presence known around your sibling. Not in an authoritative way but for instance if he or she is watching TV, just hang out in the same room with them. Even though sometimes it isn't acknowledged, they know you're there. My brother and I are very comfortable around each other and I think that comes with time of just being around each other even though sometimes we are just silently doing our own activities. 
    You can follow Spencer Timme on the following social media areas.
    Special thanks to Spencer Timme for being an Autism Light and giving the autism community a glimpse at his relationship with his brother. We look forward to hearing amazing things in the future about Spencer and Mitchel. If you wish to email Spencer Timme and share your autism stories you can contact him at timmesc@dukes.jmu.edu.

    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.

    The photo in this post was used with permission of Spencer Timme.

    Friday, July 5, 2013

    Iris Halmshaw

    Autism Light #285 is Iris Halmshaw.

    Iris Grace Halmshaw is a 3 year old from Market Horborough, England who is nonverbal and has autism. Iris also is an artist who creates awe-inspiring paintings. Iris Halmshaw is an Autism Light for giving to the world her gift of art and for demonstrating the exceptional artistic talent that some people with autism have.

    Here is a MSN news story on Iris Halmshaw and her painting.

    Peter-Jon Halmshaw, Iris' father, told the Leceister Mercury that "When she started doing art therapy we thought it was amazing, but we're her parents so we think everything she does is amazing. But lots of other people started saying it was great. It went beserk from there (Source)."

    Arabella Carter-Johnson, Iris' mother, said, "Her autism has created a style of painting which I have never seen in a child of her age. She has an understanding of colours and how they interact with each other (Source)."

    The National Autistic Society shared this tweet describing the work of 3 year old Iris Halmshaw.

    Some of the prints of her paintings have sold for several hundred dollars and are available to the public through her website at irisgracepainting.com. Iris Halmshaw's family is planning an art show in the future where they will sell originals of some of her paintings to raise funds for her ongoing autism therapy.

    Social Media: You can follow the growth of Iris Halmshaw and her artwork on the following social media areas.

    Special thanks to Iris Halmshaw for being an Autism Light. Your artwork is an inspiration the autism community and those that appreciate art. We look forward to hearing more exciting things about Iris and her artwork in the future. For more information on artists with autism visit the Autism Light Art page.

    Autism Light honors diverse heroes to the world of autism.

    Special Update: Iris Grace Halmshaw's autism therapy cat is Thula who was named Autism Light #358.

    Wednesday, July 3, 2013

    Harrison Teuber

    Autism Light #284 is Harrison Teuber.

    Harrison Teuber is a 15 years old young man from Northern Illinois who has autism. As part of his vocational training he created a free grocery service for families with special needs children in the Winnetka and Northfield, Illinois areas located in northern Cook County, Illinois. Harrison Teuber is an Autism Light for providing a practical service that helps special needs families in his community.

    Here is a news video on Harrison Teuber's service by Chris Walker of the Chicago Tribune.

    Autism blogs like Joy's Autism Blog, Autism Epicenter, and Autism from a Father's Point of View have shared the challenges of taking some children with autism to the grocery store. Harrison Teuber is filling an important need for special needs families to be able to obtain their groceries and avoid the noise and struggles of navigating the supermarket with children that are unable to handle the experience.

    Special thanks to Harrison Teuber for being an Autism Light.  Perhaps his vocational training program will spawn ideas that can be tried in other communities across the country and world. 

    Autism Light honors diverse heroes to the world of autism.