I know many of you were expecting to see the last two parts in the series of blogs on Separation vs. Inclusion vs. Integration. Instead, I have a special announcement I would like to make.
We received confirmation late last week that Karen was chosen to receive an award called the Distinguished Spectrumite Medal (DSM) from a national Asperger’s & Autism Spectrum non-profit advocacy organization called GRASP (The Global and Regional Asperger Syndrome Partnership). GRASP has 26 Chapters both in the US and in Canada from California to New Hampshire, has thousands of members and is a powerful voice within the Autism and Asperger communities.
This year, the DSM Award has a special parenting component that recognizes inspirational and accomplished parents who are on the autism spectrum. Karen was chosen to receive this special award for the success she has had in a variety of areas as a woman with Asperger’s. This includes being an inspirational mother to two sons who are also on the autism spectrum. She loves them dearly and advocates for them daily. The Distinguished Spectrumite Medal award also takes into consideration the success she has had throughout her life as an entrepreneur in business as well as her risk-taking and sensory-filled adventures as a touring athlete on the Ladies Pro Bowlers Tour.
Karen is also a huge advocate for individuals of all ages and stages on the autism spectrum and co-founded Autism Empowerment, a 501(c)(3) non-profit in 2011. She also regularly blogs in a compassionate, humorous and thought-provoking way about important and personal issues that impact the autism & Asperger’s communities. She is not afraid to be real and raw about her life’s experiences in order to reach out and touch her fellow autism spectrum travelers.
Karen founded Autism Empowerment in the middle of June of 2011 based on the four foundational pillars of Accept, Enrich, Inspire and Empower. These foundational pillars are listed on the Autism Empowerment website but I wanted to include them below as well.
Accept - We strongly promote the unconditional acceptance of those on the autism spectrum and with related disorders. This includes self-acceptance and social acceptance. By accepting each spectrum traveler for who they are, where they are in the present moment, we are promoting both autism acceptance and autism awareness.
Enrich - Our goal is to provide educational resources, programs and tools to improve and enhance life skills for those on the autism spectrum as well as their families, caregivers, therapists and teachers. We aspire to make life more meaningful and rewarding.
Inspire - We dedicate ourselves to be a positive and uplifting organization that encourages. promotes and celebrates success in all individuals. We believe each person on the autism spectrum has the opportunity to make a positive difference in this world.
Empower - We strive to empower those on the autism spectrum to achieve their highest quality of life academically, emotionally, financially, socially and spiritually.
All of the programs of Autism Empowerment have roots in these four foundational pillars. Autism and Scouting, Autism Empowerment’s Access to the Arts, Autism Empowerment Let Your Light Shine and the Autism Empowerment Support Network are just a few of the programs of Autism Empowerment.
I know that Karen is humbled by the honor and filled with Grace to be in the same company as author, professor and speaker, Dr. Stephen Shore (award winner from 2009) who is famously known throughout the autism community for coining the saying, “If you’ve met one person with Autism, you have met one person with Autism”, Scientist John Elder Robinson (2010) for his work in Science and Author, inventor and speaker Temple Grandin (2011). Karen will be traveling to New York City in May to receive the medal at the May 15th awards ceremony.
****Congratulations to Karen and Autism Empowerment***
Vice President of Operations