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Ten years ago, Wayne Gilpin, the founder and president of Future Horizons, came up with the idea to provide monetary awards to individuals on the autism spectrum who have made achievements of any kind—to shine a spotlight on abilities and tell the world that those on the spectrum CAN contribute to the greater good.
According to Wayne, the idea of the Temple Grandin Awards came to him over a decade ago in the midst of one of Future Horizons’ autism conferences.
It was an idea that came to me while managing a conference in California,” Gilpin said. “I was speaking to a parent group the night before and I lamented that too often we focus on what kids and adults with autism CANNOT do and not as much as we should be extoling what they CAN do. I was first going to name it after my son, but then decided that Temple’s name added prestige to the award.
Temple Grandin has achieved celebrity status for her work as an expert in animal behavior for the livestock industry. Today, she is a professor, inventor, best-selling author and vocal autism advocate. She agreed to be the name behind Future Horizon’s prestigious award for this reason:
I get satisfaction out of seeing stuff that makes real change in the world. We need a lot more of that and a lot less abstract stuff.
Each year, nominations are collected and numerous awards are given out. Two nominees—one with Asperger’s and one with autism —that have made the most significant achievements are awarded the grand prize.
But in 2014, after a decade of honoring spectrum individuals with this award, there were twelve Temple Grandin Award winners chosen including children, teens, and adults with autism, with a wide range of personal, social, and professional accomplishments. Some winners have greatly improved the challenges of social interaction and speaking, while others have established careers in writing and counseling.
By shining a light each year on individuals on the autism spectrum and their accomplishments, with none too small, Future Horizons hopes to instill a sense of hope and courage throughout the entire autism community.
For a dose of inspiration, make sure to read the brief bios for the 2014 Temple Grandin Award winners!
**Future Horizons was founded on the belief that dissemination of information about autism and Asperger’s syndrome through books, conferences, and other media would beneficially impact those who live and work with the condition, personally and professionally. Future Horizons has grown to be a world leader in publications and conferences on autism spectrum disorders and sensory issues. WEBSITE | FACEBOOK | TWITTER | YOUTUBE
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With a network of affiliates across the United States, the Autism Society is the nation’s leading grassroots autism organization. Their mission is to increase public awareness about the day-to-day issues faced by people on the spectrum, advocate for appropriate services for individuals across the lifespan, and provide the latest information regarding treatment, education, research and advocacy. Contact and join a local affiliate and get involved! To find the affiliate nearest to you, click on your state below.