5 Unsung Heroes of Autism Who Made 2015 Shine
A post by AngelSense, a GPS & voice monitoring solution designed for children with special needs.
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While autism may make life more difficult, it hasn’t stopped many from defying the odds, challenging misconceptions and living life boldly. These are the people we need to celebrate as they’re a powerful reminder of what’s possible. They teach us that no matter how tough things may be, we should never give up. Because if they can, others with autism can too!
Since 2016 is here, we thought it was time to highlight these remarkable people who gave us all a sense of hope in 2015. They’re the ones who challenge how autism is perceived, and even inspire kids with autism to reach for their dreams. Here are the unsung heroes who in our opinion, shined the brightest in 2015.
1. Lawyer with autism competed in a half-marathon
Erik Weber’s story is truly remarkable. Doctors were convinced he would never learn to talk, read or write, and recommended that he be institutionalized. Instead of going that route, his parents fought. They did everything they could to give him a normal life. And it seems to have worked.
Last year Weber passed the California Bar Exam; he has written two books about autism and plans to work with special education law. He leads an active and very full life which includes competing in marathons. Earlier this year he even took part in the Big Sur Half Marathon on Monterey Bay! Weber holds 91 gold, 12 silver and eight bronze medals in Special Olympics competitions.
2. Boy with autism saves classmate’s life
When a 13-year old boy with autism saw one of his classmates choking on a piece of apple skin, he immediately jumped to his feet and performed the Heimlich maneuver. His classmate was then able to spit out the apple which had gotten lodged in her throat.
Interestingly, the boy explains that he learned how to handle such situation from watching his favorite sitcom, SpongeBob. The boy’s father explained: “He picks up on things that most of us would miss, and files it all away in his head, and he can recall it all in an instant. That’s how he knew instantly what to do. And we’re glad he did. We’re proud of him.”
3. Young Formula 1 champion with autism wins Outstanding Personal Achievement Award
The first time Ethan Ling, a young boy with autism, tried go-karting he fell in love with it. At the time he was only 9-years old, and was on holiday with his parents. His interest in go-karting quickly developed into a talent for Formula 1 racing. Within 18 months he had already won several trophies, and it was clear that he was skilled on the track. In 2012, he won first place in the 2012 Celtic Championship in Wales and was crowned the Celtic Champion.
This impressive winning streak continued, and in 2013 he won several awards including coming first place in the DKRC and NKRA championships. In many ways 2014 was no different. He won many races, and was awarded two titles, Minimax Welsh Champion and Junior Max Celtic Champion. Last year, in addition to winning first place in the Junior Rotax, he won an award for outstanding achievement in sport!
4. Non-verbal boy with autism saves family
Taylor is a non-verbal 4-year old with autism who saved his family from a gas leak. When Taylor smelled the gas, he woke his parents by rattling the child gate at the entrance to his room. At first his parents thought he wasn’t feeling well, so they put him in their bed to comfort him. However Taylor refused to settle.
He was eventually able to convince his father to follow him by pointing at the stairs. As soon as his father walked into the kitchen he smelled the gas. His father called emergency services who advised the family to open windows and turn off the gas to avoid an explosion. Thanks to Taylor a terrible tragedy was averted!
5. Teen with autism saves his mom from a burning car
“I am not a hero until my mom is OK,” Tyler Gianchetta, a teen with autism said after saving his mom from a burning car. But really he is. Without his bravery, we hate to think how this story would have ended. Him and his mom were on their way to a doctor’s appointment when she lost control of the car.
The teen managed to pull himself out of the car, and rushed to save his mom. He was only able to pull the upper part of her body out of the car before it burst into flames. Several passing cars stopped, and helped the teen rescue Susan, Tyler’s mom. She is now conscious and recovering in hospital.
There are examples of brave, remarkable people with autism everywhere. Do you know of anyone with autism who made 2015 shine? Add them to the comments below.
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