Sunday, November 25, 2018

Tristram Smith

Autism Light #468 is Tristram Smith.

Tristram H. Smith, Ph.D., BCBA, was a leader in the field of evidence-based research as a treatment for autism. He had been serving at the University of Rochester Medical Center (URMC) since 2000 and at the time of his passing was the URMC's Haggerty-Friedman Professor in Developmental/Behavioral Pediatric Research. He was born on April 9, 1961, and passed away on August 8, 2018, at the age of 57, from a heart attack. He is survived by his wife Jennifer Katz and two children, Jonah Smith and Madeleine Katz. His funeral service was held on August 10, 2018, at the Anthony Funeral Chapel in Brighton, New York (Read more at Anthony Funeral Chapel Obituary for Tristram Smith). Tristram Smith will be placed on the Autism Light Memorial Roll today.

Alison Singer, president of the Autism Science Foundation, said of Tristram Smith, "For autism families, he was a hero. His research was groundbreaking, of course, but he also pushed for increased access to autism services and lobbied for legislative changes. It's unusual to see scientists also act as advocates, but Tris went far beyond what most clinician-researchers do (As quoted by University of Rochester Medical Center News, August 8, 2018).

Other Tributes: The Association for Science in Autism Treatment published several noteworthy tributes to Tristram Smith after his untimely death. You can read them in the article Tributes to Dr. Tristram Smith.

In April 2018, the Autism Partnership Foundation gave Tristram Smith the Lifetime Achievement Award. Here is the video of the presentation of the award.

Author: Tristram Smith published the book Making Inclusion Work for Students with Autism Spectrum Disorders: An Evidence-Based Guide in 2011. It is available on

Tristram Smith passed away just days after giving this presentation at the UC Davis Mind Institute on August 3, 2018.

We remember Tristram Smith for his efforts to advance the field of evidence-based research for autism treatment. It is our hope that his life and research will be a foundation to inspire others to enter the field of autism research to continue the advancements for future generations. Our thoughts are with the family he leaves behind.

Autism Light honors diverse heroes to the world of autism.

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Trey Kruse

Autism Light #467 is Trey Kruse.

Trey Kruse lives in Stillwater, Minnesota and is a Junior at Stillwater High School. Trey is a member of the National Honor Society, plays football and is captain of the Stillwater High School wrestling team. Trey Kruse is an Autism Light because of a friendship he has with Adam Potter, who has autism. That friendship has made a tremendous difference in Adam's life.

The two first met when they were classmates in 2nd grade at Stonebridge Elementary School. The friendship between Trey Kruse and Adam Potter has taken different turns as the pair advanced through middle school and high school, and became involved in many separate activities in high school. But their friendship has survived the test of time and has especially impacted Adam by giving him an added strength to face the world each day, knowing that he always has that one good and true friend.

Lisa Potter said about her son Adam and Trey, "We've had many, many people come into Adam's life and all of a sudden they never come back. But Trey is the one who's stayed true (Quoted by Boyd Huppert, KARE 11, November 5, 2018)."

Watch this video from KARE 11 in Minneapolis for a moving look at the friendship between Trey and Adam.

Here is what was posted recently on Twitter about their friendship.

Lisa Potter said about her son Adam and Trey, "Every day he's (Adam's) trying to navigate this foreign language and trying to figure out what we mean. Trey is that bright light that reminds him everything's going to be OK (Quoted by Boyd Huppert, KARE 11, November 5, 2018)."

Special thanks to Trey Kruse for being an Autism Light and being a good, long-time friend of Adam Potter. Trey and Adam's friendship is a shining example of how a relationship between a student with autism and their neurotypical peer can be life-changing. May their friendship continue to remain steadfast through the unknown future.

Autism Light honors diverse heroes to the world of autism.