Sunday, May 31, 2015

Wisconsin Lights

The State of Wisconsin is the home of 4 Autism Lights. The Wisconsin group includes an autism sister, a chiropractor and 2 animals.

 Wisconsin Autism Lights

  1. Dr. Kellen Binder is a chiropractor from Green Bay, Wisconsin. 
  2. Alex Cohen is an autism sister from Bayside, Wisconsin. 
  3. Fonzie Mills is a autism therapy dog from Racine, Wisconsin. 
  4. Autumn Moser is a Golden Retriever Dog from Ellsworth, Wisconsin
    You may reach all these posts by searching the blog through the "Wisconsin" Label.

    The map of Wisconsin is attributed to By TUBS [CC BY-SA 3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

    Saturday, May 30, 2015

    Damian Sharbowski

    Autism Light #403 is Damian Sharbowski.

    Damian Sharbowski is an autism father from the Metro Detroit, Michigan area. Damian lives in Troy, Michigan he has a business in nearby Sterling Heights. He is an auto mechanic and started Damian's Auto Service to help his son who has autism. Damian Sharbowski is an Autism Light because of his dedication as an autism father and for his work to raise funds for a groundbreaking Play-Place designed specifically for children with autism in Northern Detroit.

    Damian's Auto Service: In describing his auto repair shop, Damian Sharbowski shares that he built his business in 2014 so his son who has autism would always have a place to work. Damian's Auto Service is located at 6200 15 Mile Rd. (2 Buildings East of Mound) in Sterling Heights, Michigan. For more information call (586) 698-2175, Email:, or visit their website at

    Damian Sharbowski said, "I don't have a business degree, I am just a mechanic. But I run a business as the old adage as a spit in a handshake and that should be your word (As quoted in, May 21, 2015)."

    Damian also finds time to plow snow in the Winter in Michigan. He has two sons and he coaches the basketball team of his son who does not have autism.

    The following is a news story on Damian Sharbowski being named one of Amy's Angels for My Fox Detroit.

    Fox 2 News Headlines

    Play-Place for Autistic Children: Damian Sharbowski has been working with the Northern Detroit Business Development Group in efforts to raise $42,000 to build Autistic Play Place. The facility will be located near Mound and 18 Mile Roads in Sterling Heights, Michigan. It is a 501 (c)3 organization and plans are for it to open August 1, 2015.

    Damian Sharbowski described to Amy Andrews about this Play-Place saying, "This will be the first place in the United States and the world that is going to cater to autistic and handicapped children. They're going to have a lego room, an iPad room, there's going to be a calming center, a haircut hut (, May 21, 2015)."

    Busch Hero: In 2014 Damian Sharbowski was named a Busch Hero in recognition of the hardwork he does to make a difference in his hometown.

    Social Media: You can follow Damian Sharbowski and his work at the following social media areas.

    Special thanks to Damian Sharbowski for being an Autism Light. Damian is an example of the difference hardworking fathers can make in the autism community.

    Autism Light honors diverse heroes to the world of autism.

    Wednesday, May 27, 2015

    June Filby

    Autism Light #402 is June Filby.

    June Filby lives in Pitmedden, a rural village in Scotland in the United Kingdom. June Filby is an Autism Light because for the past five years she has raised valuable funding for the autism charity Speur-Ghlan through her knitting.

    June Filby has been "knitting scarves, hats, toys, tea cosies and cushions on behalf of her daughter Ruth Glynne-Owen's charity Speur-Ghlan (Inverurie Herald, May 10, 2015)." She has raised 12,000 pounds to help the autism charity Speur-Ghlan.

    Speur-Ghlan is a registered charity in Scotland SC041778. The word Speur-Ghlan is a Gaelic term that means "Blue Skies". They use the Pivotal Response Therapy (PRT) in their early intervention autism services. Read more on the work of Speur-Ghlan at their website at

    Social Media: You can find out more about the organization Speur-Glahn that June knits for at the following social media pages.

    The following is a post that was shared on Facebook about June Filby.

    Wow, this champion mum has made £12,000 knitting for her daughter Ruth's Scottish ABA charity - Speur-Ghlan Early...
    Posted by ABA4All on Saturday, May 2, 2015

    Special thanks to June Filby for being an Autism Light. June is an example that one can make a difference for autism by using one's simple talents such as knitting. The special support from people such as June Flby is essential to many autism charities across the world. We wish June the best in her knitting.

    Autism Light honors diverse heroes to the world of autism.

    Monday, May 25, 2015

    Ana Abreu

    Autism Light #401 is Ana Abreu.

    Ana Abreu is a security guard at the Promenade Mall in Thornhill, Canada, a suburb of Toronto.  Ana Abreu is an Autism Light because in March of 2013 she helped a teenager with autism named Cliff McIntosh, who was having a difficult time in the mall where she was worked.

    In March of 2013, Cliff McIntosh became overwhelmed because he lost his sunglasses at the Promenade Mall in Thornhill, Canada. His mother Laura Kirby-McIntosh struggled to control him in the ensuing meltdown. Ana Abreu was a security guard at the mall who arrived on the scene and helped Cliff make it through this rough time.

    A video of the news story on Ana Abreu being a hero to a person with autism was done by CBC News. Laura Kirby-McIntosh, Cliff's mother, nominated Ana Abreu for the Community Hero Award. On May 21, 2015, Ana Abreu received the Community Hero Award in a ceremony at the Promenade Mall (CBC News, May 20, 2015).

    Laura Kirby-McIntosh said this about Ana Abreu:
    Through it all, though, I remember Abreu. She spoke to me calmly, reassured me that I was doing a great job and helped to keep the people around us safe. I remember feeling comforted by her presence, knowing that we were safer as a result of her help. I remember her listening to me while I told her a bit about my son’s story, and laughing with me as I tried desperately to relocate the sense of humour I frequently use to get me through my hardest moments (Laura Kirby-McIntosh, Parents of Autistic Children Rely on 'Angels' such as Ana, The, May 15, 2015).
    Ana Abreu is presently volunteering with the Toronto Police Force and hopes to one day join its Mobile Crisis Intervention Team (Laura Kirby-McIntosh, Parents of Autistic Children Rely on 'Angels' such as Ana, The, May 15, 2015). For more information on Ana Abreu receiving the Community Hero Award read the Paladin News Release on May 21, 2015.

    Special thanks to Ana Abreu for being an Autism Light in her job as a mall security guard. Ana Abreu received her Community Hero Award on behalf of all the unknown people who offered to help Cliff and his mother at the Promeade Mall in March of 2013.  Likewise we present this Autism Light to Ana Abreu on behalf of all the other security guards and other nameless individuals who have been a tremendous blessing when the stepped into help people with autism and their parents during public meltdowns.

    Autism Light honors diverse heroes to the world of autism.

    Saturday, May 23, 2015

    James Durbin

    Autism Light #400 is James Durbin.

    James Durbin was born on January 6, 1989. He is a musician from Santa Cruz, California. James Durbin has the form of autism known as Asperger syndrome and he also has Tourette syndrome. James Durbin rose to prominence in the entertainment and music world when he finished in fourth place on the tenth season of American Idol in 2011. James Durbin is an Autism Light for his anti-bullying advocacy and for the way in which his music has encouraged others with autism to reach for their dreams. In fact, James Durbin is a role model specifically to Autism Light #159, Michael Korins.

    On His Autism: Kerry Magro, who was Autism Light #119, interviewed James Durbin in the Spring of 2014. James Durbin said this about his autism and the opportunity to be an autism advocate.
    It makes me really proud. Proud to have Autism. Proud to be overcoming this obstacle. And especially proud to be showing the world that regardless of what label you're given, regardless of what diagnosis you have, you are not fully disabled of your dreams. It is up to us to be that difference. Spread the word & make it known that we are just as capable as everyone else. More so I think. We just need a little more time, a little extra help (James Durbin as quoted by Autism Speaks, April 8, 2014). 
    Here is a video of James Durbin singing the song in the finals of American Idol in 2011 called Don't Stop Believin. 

    Music: James Durbin has released the following recorded music.

    • In 2014 James Durbin produced his Album called Celebrate. His website states, "It's this musical juxtaposition of rock and pop that Durbin offers up on his eagerly awaited sophomore album, CELEBRATE.

    Family: James Durbin married his wife Heidi Lowe on December 31, 2011. They have a son named Hunter and a daughter Kinzee Cuz.

    Anti-Bullying Message: James Durbin is a spokesperson for the Be a STAR Alliance. He shares an anti-bullying message and has revealed that he was a victim of bullying growing up. James Durbin said, "If you're being bullied the best thing you can do is to tell someone. It's also, and I know from experience, it's the hardest thing to do (, March 19, 2012)."

    The following is a video of James Durbin being interviewed by Dr. Drew about his autism and Tourette's.

    Contact: To contact James Durbin use the following email.

    Social Media/Websites: You can follow James Durbin on the following social media pages and websites.

    Special thanks to James Durbin for being an Autism Light. James Durbin has a special talent as a singer and guitarist. We expect to continue to hear good things about James Durbin's music career and influence as an autism role model in the future.

    Autism Light honors diverse heroes to the world of autism.

    Photo: The photo of James Durbin is in the Public Domain.

    Tuesday, May 19, 2015

    Kansas Lights

    The State of Kansas is the home of 3 Autism Lights in 2 posts. The Kansas group includes an autism mother, a musician, and a child with autism who is on the Memorial Roll.

     Kansas Autism Lights

    1. Tyler Gregory is a musician from Lawrence, Kansas. 
    2. Sheila Meldham is an autism mother from Colwich, Kansas. She has been instrumental in taking up the cause of leading autism safety after the tragic death of her son Mason.
    3. Mason Allen Meldham (2005-2010) is a child with autism who died from a drowning when he was wandering away from his family. He lived in Colwich, Kansas. 
      You may reach all these posts by searching the blog through the "Kansas" Label.

      The map of Kansas is attributed to By TUBS [CC BY-SA 3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

      Saturday, May 16, 2015

      Justin Zemser

      Autism Light #399 is Justin Zemser.

      Justin Zemser was a Navy midshipman from Queens, New York, who died along with 7 others in the derailment of Amtrak Northeast Regional Train 188 in Philadelphia on May 12, 2015. Justin Zemser was born on March 25, 1995, and was the youngest victim of this terrible accident.

      Justin Zemser is survived by his parents Howard and Susan Zemser.  His funeral was held on May 15, 2015, in Hewlett, New York with full military honors and Naval Academy Jewish chaplain, Lt. Yonatan Warren presided and served as burial rabbi. Justin Zemser is an Autism Light because he found time in his remarkable life to be a big brother and mentor to two children who had autism. Justin Zemser will be placed on the Autism Light Memorial Roll today.

      The following is a photo of Justin Zemser posted on Facebook.

      MIDN 3/C Justin Zemser. Beautiful.
      Posted by Navy Sprint Football on Thursday, May 14, 2015
      Justin Zemser was a high school graduate of Channel View School for Research in Rockaway, Queens, New York. He was the valedectorian of his class with a 4.0 grade point average. He also served as the President of the Student Body and as a standout wide receiver for the school's varsity football team (, May 13, 2015).

      The following is a news story about the funeral of Justin Zemser.

      New York Senator Chuck Schumer nominated Justin Zemser for the Naval Academy. When he received news of Justin's passing Senator Schumer said, "He stood out among countless applications. He was valedictorian of his class and volunteered at a community church program. He was a big brother and mentor to two children with autism. He was totally well rounded. I mourn the loss for his family. He would have served his country extremely well (New York Daily News, May 13, 2015)."

      Justin Zemser was a second year student at the Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland, and had been on the Amtrak train on his way home to see his family. While at the Naval Academy he served as vice president of the Jewish Midshipmen Club and played wide receiver for their sprint football team (, May 15, 2015).

      Justin Zemser was a hero and role model to countless numbers of young people for various reasons, but he was an autism hero because he included being a big brother and mentor to two children with autism into his busy schedule as a student. It would be wonderful if other young people would take on the role of being a big brother and mentor to peers with autism in memory of Justin Zemser. In order to respect their privacy in this time of grief, Autism Light did not contact any of the family or friends of Justin Zemser in preparing the first version of this tribute. Our thoughts are with Justin Zemser's family and friends during this difficult time.

      Autism Light honors diverse heroes to the world of autism.

      Lois Pilot

      Autism Light #398 is Lois Pilot.

      Lois Pilot is an Autism Mother from Orange County, California. Her son Dylan has autism. Lois Pilot died on October 9, 2000, from brain cancer, at the age of 37. Her funeral service was held on October 12, 2000, at Pacific Coast Church in San Clemente, California. She is survived by her husband Kevin Pilot and her two sons Dylan and Kurt. They were 6 and 8 when Lois passed away and are now young men in their early 20's. Lois Pilot will be placed on the Autism Light Memorial Roll today.

      Sketch of Lois Pilot, by Dane, a young man with autism
      Lois Pilot is remembered both for her dedication as an autism mother and for her autism advocacy. Her advocacy started in 1994, when her son Dylan was diagnosed with autism. She is remembered for the following achievements (LA Times Obituary, October 12, 2000).
      • She helped start the Autism Coalition for Creative Educational Social Services and succeeded in establishing a pilot program for autistic children at Aliso Viejo's Foxborough Elementary School in California.
      • She volunteered at Pyramid Autism Center, which was founded in 1998 and continues today to operate in Orange, California. Her son Dylan was one of the first students of Pyramid Autism Center. 
      • She was a fundraiser for autism causes.
      • She was active in a national advocacy group called Cure Autism Now. Cure Autism Now merged with Autism Speaks in 2007.
      Kevin Pilot explained to Autism Light how mothers like Lois were pivotal in the history of autism in paving the way for the increased services we experience around the United States today. Kevin Pilot said,
      In those early days, we had nothing. The school districts were refusing ABA or any other kind of meaningful therapy. The "programs" as they existed were essentially all the disabled kids regardless of disability in a room for the day, separated from everyone else. Everyone told us this is how it is, and this is what we do and they didn't want to change. It took a handful of mothers like Lois to say "no," this isn't how it is and we don't accept that this is what it has to be for our children and they got together. They started meeting, and saying "no." and going to fair hearings. They became medical experts, legal experts, nutritional experts. The meetings got so big that they had to rent halls instead of meeting in people's homes. The school districts started listening and changing. It was really moms like Lois that paved the way for the services that many younger families have today. So in that sense, she is a hero, as are many of the other moms that really gave up their lives for a time in service of their children.
      James Mulvaney who worked with Lois Pilot in the Cure Autism Now chapter in Orange County, California said, "She was a leader in Orange County in trying to get innovative therapy for children. Her house was filled on the weekend with volunteers training people to better help children focus. She had this bubbly enthusiasm, even though she was dealing with a very difficult situation with her son (LA Times Obituary, October 12, 2000)."

      Kevin Pilot told Autism Light that, "Our house was not only filled with volunteers or other parents and people being trained but also children. Our house was an interesting place where children with autism mixed with the neighborhood kids, it was a kind of inclusive environment before inclusion was a word thrown about as much as it is today."

      "If 'mom' is in the dictionary there should be a picture of her in there," Kevin Pilot said. "She was perfect, a terrific mom (LA Times Obituary, October 12, 2000)."

      Kevin Pilot shared this about the enduring impact that Lois had as a mother to her two children.
      Her kids both are kind, love people and are the kinds of people that would give the shirt off their back for someone in need. I think they get that from her. Our oldest son Dylan lives in a group, functioned extremely well for a non-verbal autistic young man who had some very serious behavioral issues growing up. He goes out to restaurants, parks, and movies. He doesn't have as complete a life as I think he might without his limitations but I think he is pretty close to having as complete a life as is possible for him. That is due to his mother. I think there was a moment after the diagnosis when she just decided there would be no stone unturned and she pursued his interest vigorously, with great insight and completely. And I think had she survived, she would have been pleased with the result.  There was light at the end of tunnel even though she just had a small glimpse of it.
      Kevin Pilot told Autism Light about Lois' philosophy of integrating children with autism into the fabric of society,
      That was the thing about Lois. She didn't focus on what our kids couldn't do but more on what they could. I think it is easy to focus on what is lacking in our children and miss out on what shines in them, and I think she always had the ability to get past all the behaviors and communication barriers and see the person inside. And respond and interact with them. She really strived to make Dylan (our autistic son) a part of everything, the family, the neighborhood, and the community.
      Lois Pilot's passion for helping people associated with autism resonates 15 years after her passing. Lois is an example of how the light of an autism mother shines on beyond the length of their years. We remember Lois Pilot today and hope that her example as an autism mother will encourage others to shine a light for autism. Our thoughts are with her family in the loss they experienced, knowing that no amount of time can completely remove the loss they feel.

      Autism Light honors diverse heroes to the world of autism.

      The sketch of Lois Pilot was used here with permission of Kevin Pilot.

      Tuesday, May 12, 2015

      Jan Curtis

      Autism Light #397 is Jan Curtis. 

      Jan M. Curtis was a special education teacher in the Lexington School District 1 in Lexington, South Carolina. Jan Curtis was born on June 25, 1959, and passed away on March 3, 2015. Jan leaves a legacy of service to her students with autism. She is survived by her husband Bob Curtis; her son Eric (Amanda) Curtis, her daughter Sarah (Justin) Curtis Wolford, grandaughters, Kendall Marie and Olivia Rose Wolford; and her brother, Lonnie Brooks Munich, II.  Her funeral service was held on March 7, 2015, at Our Lady of the Hills Catholic Church in Columbia, South Carolina. Jan Curtis will be placed on the Autism Light Memorial Roll today

      In her obituary it was said of Jan Curtis, "She loved teaching and volunteering with Special Olymics. She never saw a child as special needs, she just saw a child ( Obituary for Jan Curtis)."

      Jan Curtis graduated from Columbia College in South Carolina. She went on to earn her Master's in Autism from the University of South Carolina.

      Gifts in memory of Jan Curtis may be given to the South Carolina Autism Society. You may also leave tributes to Jan on the Shives Funeral Home Website.

      Jan Curtis is representative of the dedicated educators who invest their lives in teaching children with autism. Our thoughts are with Jan Curtis' family and the South Carolina autism community who will feel her absence. It is hoped that in Jan's memory young people will be encouraged to go into autism education and shine a light for autism like she did.

      Autism Light honors diverse heroes to the world of autism.

      Sunday, May 10, 2015

      Kim Stagliano

      Autism Light #396 is Kim Stagliano.
      Happy Mother's Day!

      Kim Stagliano is an Autism Mother from Fairfield City, Connecticut. Kim and her husband Mark have three daughters, Mia (age 20), Gianna (age 18), and Bella (age 14), who all have autism. Kim Stagliano is an Autism Light for her dedication as an autism mother, advocate, writer, and for being the managing editor of the popular Age of Autism Website.

      Kim Stagliano with daughters Mia, Gianna, and Bella
      Kim Stagliano graduated from Boston College in 1985, the same year that Autism Light #86  Doug Flutie graduated from Boston College. According to her Twitter Account @KimStagliano, Kim is a Howard Stern fan, muscle car lover, does Shito-Ryu Karate, and is a Matayoshi Weapons student.

      The following is a video where Kim Stagliano talks about her three daughters.

      Age of Autism: Kim Stagliano started her role as the Managing Editor of Age of Autism, which is the first Daily Web Newspaper of the Autism Epidemic, in 2007. As Managing Editor, Kim Stagliano is responsible for all daily content, technical work advertising, organization, layout and leads a team that helps with comment moderation.

      The following is a video featuring Kim Stagliano that celebrates the 10th Anniversary of Generation Rescue and the work of its founder JB Handley.

      Kim has extensive writing experience at online websites that include: Age of Autism Huffington Post Debutante BallDallas Morning News Moms Blog , and The Autism File. Kim also speaks at national autism conferences and has appeared on Good Morning America (with the kids!), ABC News, Fox News, The Chicago Tribune, The National Catholic Register, and on blogs around the world (Bio on

      Several of her blog posts have gained national attention, including a recent one she did for the Washington Post called "My Three Daughters are Autistic. I Despise Autism Awareness Month". In this article, Kim says:
      I dread April, which has been designated as Autism Awareness Month. As mom to three young women with autism – ages 20, 18 and 14 – I eat, sleep and live autism every day. My youngest daughter, Bella, can’t speak a word and was abused on a school bus, leading to a criminal case. My oldest, Mia, had hundreds of grand mal seizures a year from ages 6 to 10. My middle child is wracked with anxiety. For all three, I have to cut their food, tend to their monthly feminine needs, and bathe them. They will need that daily living assistance forever; when I die, a stranger will have to do those things for them. That is why I bristle at the festive tone of April, the suggestion that the circumstances of my daughters’ existences are to be celebrated. For me, this should be a month of solemn acknowledgement and education about a global crisis (Orange You Glad It's April).
      Author: Kim Stagliano is the other of the following three books.

      Faith:  A look at Kim Stagliano's past experience with special education catechism classes in the Catholic Church can be found in the article by Joseph Pronechen called Special Needs, Sanctifying Deeds - Catechizing the Developmentally Disabled that appeared in the National Catholic Register on October 16, 2009.

      Advice to Mothers: Kim Stagliano shared this word of encouragement with Autism Light for autism mothers on Mother's Day, "You are NOT alone - we are a close family even when we differ on cause. Autism Moms will always reach out to help one another because we understand the 'walk'."

      Treatment Ideas: Autism Light asked Kim Stagliano what treatments for autism may have helped her family over the years and she said that the most important thing is diet. Kim has her daughters on a gluten free diet. Also, she suggests speech that has an OT and sensory component as having the potential to be helpful.

      Passions: Kim Stagliano shared with Autism Light her three most important passions about autism advocacy. They are as follows:
      1. Safety for all - no matter how old.
      2. Prevention - we can't continue at this rate.
      3. Treatment to help with aggression, seizures and other aspects of autism that alienate and are life threatening. 
      Social Media: You can follow Kim Stagliano and her work as an author and editor on the following pages.
      Special thanks to Kim Stagliano for being an Autism Light. Kim is representative of the dedicated autism mothers who we salute on this Mother's Day 2015. She is also part of a smaller group of autism mothers who have multiple children on the autism spectrum. We wish Kim Stagliano all the best in her role as an autism mother, advocate, and writer. We expect to continue to hear good things in the future about the difference she is making and the light she shines for autism.

      Autism Light honors diverse heroes to the world of autism.

      Photos: Photos in this post are used with permission of Kim Stagliano.

      Thursday, May 7, 2015

      West Virginia Lights

      The State of West Virginia is the home of 4 Autism Lights. The West Virginia group includes three autism mothers and an autism father who is on the Memorial Roll.

       West Virginia Autism Lights

      1. Mindy Dawson is an Autism Mother from Capon Bridge, West Virginia. She founded a Sensitive Santa event for children with autism in her community. 
      2. Dreama Denver is an Autism Mother from Princeton, West Virginia who operates the Denver Foundation in honor of her son Colin who has autism. 
      3. The late Bob Denver (1935-2005) is an Autism Father and actor who was dedicated to his son Colin. He lived in Princeton, West Virginia
      4. Ruth C. Sullivan is an Autism Mother from Huntington, West Virginia. Her son Joseph has autism. She was one of the founders of the Autism Society of America and has bee a community organizer for autism.
        You may reach all these posts by searching the blog through the "West Virginia" Label.

        The map of West Virginia is attributed to By TUBS [CC BY-SA 3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

        Tuesday, May 5, 2015

        Virginia Lights

        The State of Virginia is the home of 10 Autism Lights. The Virginia group is very representative of the country as it includes a vaccuum salesman, two autism mothers, two autism fathers, an autism brother, a story teller, a musician, an athlete (runner), and a journalist on the memorial roll.

         Virginia Autism Lights

        1. Al Archie is a vaccuum salesman from Fredericksburg, Virginia
        2. Elizabeth Becker is an Autism Mother from Wytheville, Virginia. Her son Matt Johnson has autism. 
        3. Karen Jackson is an Autism Mother from Norfolk, Virginia. Her daughter Samantha has autism. She has been instrumental in leadership of the Faith Inclusion Network. 
        4. Joe Hill is an Autism Father and iPad app creator from Chesapeake, Virginia
        5. Marc Leber is a runner from Suffolk, Virginia who befriended a young man with autism named Ashton McCormick. He know attends Georgia Tech University.
        6. Joel Manzer is an Autism Father from Norfolk, Virginia
        7. Robbin Thompson is a musician from Richmond, Virginia.
        8. Spencer Timme is an Autism brother from Norfolk, Virginia. His brother Mitchel has autism.
        9. Jim Weiss is a storyteller from Charlottesville, Virginia
        10. Dan Olmsted (1952-2017) was the owner and editor of Age of Autism. He was from Falls Church, Virginia. 
          You may reach all these posts by searching the blog through the "Virginia" Label.

          The map of Virginia is attributed to By TUBS [CC BY-SA 3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

          Monday, May 4, 2015

          7 Memorable Mothers of Autism Light

          Autism Mothers are Awesome!

          Here are links to 7 memorable posts on Autism Mother's that were featured in the past on Autism Light.
          1. Diane Soucy: Diane Soucy was the first autism mother to be featured on Autism Light. Diane's son Matthew has autism. Original Post: June 24, 2011.

          2. Nuala Gardner: Nuala Gardner is from Scotland. Her post is Autism Light's most accessed International Post featuring a mother. Nuala's son Dale has autism. She is the author of the book A Friend Like Henry. Original Post: October 5, 2011.

          3. Jeanette O'Donnell: Jeanette O'Donnell has the distinction of having the most children with autism on Autism Light. Jeanette is from Texas and 5 of her children have autism. Original Post: October 11, 2011.

          4. Joan Edge: Joan Edge is from England and is one of the sweetest mothers to appear on Autism Light. At age 82 when she was featured, she was the oldest mother to appear as an International Post. Her son Michael has autism. Original Post: January 10, 2012.

          5. Eustacia Cutler: Eustacia Cutler is the mother of Dr. Temple Grandin, who is Autism Light #38. Eustacia was featured as the first post in our Mother's Day series. Original Post: May 13, 2012.

          6. Lin Wessels: Lin Wessels is the mother of Sam Wessels, who is Autism Light #152. Lin was featured as the second post in our Mother's Day series. Original Post: May 12, 2013.

          7. Areva Martin: Areva Martin was the first Autism Mother to be part of our Martin Luther King, Jr. Series. Areva's son Marty has autism. Original Post: January 19, 2015.

          The graphic at the top is from WebWeaver Free Graphics.

          Sunday, May 3, 2015

          Roxy the Pitbull

          Autism Light #395 is Roxy the Pitbull.
          Roxy/Courtesy of Best Friends Animal Society
          Roxy is a 60 pound female Pit Bull Terrier who was adopted by Joey Granados and his family. She was adopted on the Saturday after Thanksgiving in 2014 from the Best Friends Animal Society shelter in Los Angeles, California. Joey is a 14 year old who has Asperger's Syndrome. Roxy is an Autism Light because her relationship with Joey Granados helped him hug his mother for the first time and improve in his social relationships.

          The following is a video about the impact Roxy has had on Joey Granados and his family.

          Amanda Granados told, "For all those years, he wouldn't hold my hand, he wouldn't hug me--it was all part of the autism--but this dog has taught him how to give and show affection. He holds my hand now! He hugs me! The first time I got a kiss on the cheek was when Roxy came home (, Laura T. Coffey, April 27, 2015)."

          Joey Granados himself described the impact that Roxy has had on his life when he said, "I didn't have too many friends growing up, but then we got Roxy and I've been able to make friends ever since (, Laura T. Coffey, April 27, 2015)."

          Special thanks to Roxy for being an Autism Light. Roxy is representative of the thousand of autism therapy dogs around the world who are making life easier for individuals with autism. We wish Roxy and Joey many years of friendship.

          Roxy will be added to the Autism Light Animal Page today. Roxy is the second Pit Bull breed to be featured on Autism Light. The first was Karma. That means the Pit Bull breed at this time is second only to the Golden Retriever in being highlighted on Autism Light.

          Autism Light honors diverse heroes to the world of autism.

          Photo: The photo of Roxy was used with permission of the Best Friends Animal Society, an animal shelter with a no-kill mission.

          Saturday, May 2, 2015

          Iowa Lights

          Map of Iowa

          The State of Iowa is the home of 3 Autism Lights. The Iowa group includes an Autism Mother and two young men who have autism.

           Iowa Autism Lights

          1. Luke Steibronn has autism and is from Waverly, Iowa. He was recognized for his efforts to raise autism acceptance in Little League Baseball. 
          2. Lin Wessels is an Autism Mother and Advocate from Rock Rapids, Iowa. Her son Sam has autism. She was featured as part of the Mother's Day series. 
          3. Sam Wessels has autism and is a self-advocate from Rock Rapids, Iowa
            You may reach all these posts by searching the blog through the "Iowa" Label.

            The map of Iowa is attributed to By TUBS [CC BY-SA 3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

            Friday, May 1, 2015

            Oregon Lights

            The State of Oregon is the home of 5 Autism Lights. The Oregon group includes two Autism Fathers, a Teacher, a Businessman, and a man with autism.

             Oregon Autism Lights

            1. Brett Bigham is a special education teacher from Portland, Oregon.
            2. Derek Hadley has autism and lives in Springfield, Oregon. He donated one of his kidneys to his brother Jeff.
            3. Jason Hague is an autism father and pastor from Junction City, Oregon. His son Jackson has autism. 
            4. David Humphrey is the President of Kirkman Labs, located in Lake Oswego, Oregon.
            5. Scott Phillips is an autism father and film maker from Eugene, Oregon. His son Luke has autism. 
            You may reach all these posts by searching the blog through the "Oregon" Label.

            The map of Oregon is attributed to By TUBS [CC BY-SA 3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons