7 Inspirational Autism Advocates to Follow
1 Temple Grandin
The one and only grandmaster, leader and sensei: Temple Grandin. Her resume is self-evident, one of TIME’s 100 Most Influential people of 2010, TEDTalks speaker, world-renowned expert in animal science and subject of the HBO biopic Temple Grandin.
Grandin, a savant, has paved the way for autism and raised awareness unparallel to any other. She shares with the world her own difficulties growing up on the spectrum and how that has shaped her personal and professional life. A proud spokesperson and advocate, Temple is no doubt a trailblazer and leader within the autism community. Check out her website here.
2 Jennifer O’Toole
Jennifer is self-described as “cheeky, sassy, [and] geektastic” and is part of a beautiful family of 5 who all have Aspergers. As a mother of 3 Aspies and creator of the website Asperkids, she is one heck of an accomplished lady. Asperkids is a resource with all kinds of tools and tips laid out in a fun entertaining way that frames Aspergers in a unique light. Jennifer has written a number of books and offers podcasts that share her personal expertise and experiences.
3 Jenny McCarthy
Jenny McCarthy. As one of the most outspoken celebrities out there, she has gained just as many haters as she has devout followers. Many have mixed feelings towards her as a person because of her views associated with vaccines and autism. Nevertheless, she is an inspiration to many and has undoubtedly made an impact on the autism community with her bold and unfiltered comments. She is also the president of Generation Rescue, a non-profit that holds annual conferences and provides autism treatment resources for families.
4 Chloe Rothschild
As one of the younger autism advocates on this list, Chloe, 23, has accomplished a lot, particularly through her unique writing voice that details her journey as someone diagnosed with Pervasive Development Disorder, Not Otherwise Specified (PDD-NOS).
She is an avid writer for all things autism and has a “mission to help advocate for autism so that I can teach others what autism is like from my perspective, in order to help them understand autism better, so that they are better able to help individuals who have autism better”. Follow her now as she will definitely be inspiring others for a long time to come. Keep an eye on her blog, website and her awesome facebook page.
5 Holly Robinson Peete
Initially a Hollywood actress by trade, turned 24/7 autism advocate superhero, Holly Robinson Peete co-founded HollyRod Foundation with her former NFL quarterback husband Rodney Peete. The HollyRod Foundation provides “medical, physical and emotional support” to people who live with Autism Spectrum Disorder or Parkinson’s Disease. Both motivations were spurred by experiences coming from her immediate family because her late father had Parkinson’s and her son was diagnosed with autism when he was 3 years old. This celebrity power family has done a lot for raising autism awareness and continues to do so. Learn more about it here.
6 Lindsey Nebeker
Lindsey is someone who takes the road less traveled. For instance, she chooses to talk about love, sexuality and autism in an open, honest and personal way. Her personal experiences shed light on topics not covered very often in the autism community but ones that no less deserve attention. More than just being an amazing autism advocate, she also considers herself a musician and professional speaker.
NakedBrainInk, Lindsey's website, broaches topics such as sex education for individuals with ASD, the prevalence of sexual abuse and autism, and her personal identification with music. She is also one of the subjects in the documentary Autism in Love, which follows people on the spectrum and their path to discover what love is.
Her source of inspiration comes from her brother, who also has autism but is on the far end of the spectrum and is placed in residential care. Linsdey’s purpose is to provide a voice and rights for people like her brother who cannot speak on their own behalf.
7 Stephen Shore
Last but not least, Stephen is an autism advocate that has dedicated his life's work to the cause. He is incredibly accomplished in a variety of ways: professor of special education at Adelphi University, presenter all across the US and around the globe, author of Beyond the Wall: Personal Experiences with Autism and Asperger Syndrome and co-author of Understanding Autism for Dummies.
According to Stephen, all of these feats would not have been possible if it wasn't for the belief of his family, friends and teachers. Because he was non-verbal until 4 years of age and was seen as "too sick" for treatment, it was suggested that he be institutionalized instead. Thankfully, it didn't turn out that way. Stephen eventually attended Boston University and wrote a dissertation paper on how to best match needs for people on the autism spectrum. Read more about what he has done for the autism community on his website here.
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