Thanks to my autism heroes!

Patricia WrightI am celebrating my 30th professional year of providing services and supports to individuals with autism, and when I reflect on the past three decades I realize that one of the things that motivates me most to stay engaged promoting autism services and supports is listening to stories from the experts in the field: individuals with autism and their families.

I learn best when working right in the same room with individuals with autism, but when I’m home alone writing or working on research, or when I can’t be out in the field, I feel fortunate to have a great book on my shelf I can pull out for inspiration, too. Autism Heroes contains 38 phenomenal family stories about living with autism. One of the stories is written by the famous actor Joe Mantegna, and he and the other 37 authors all write with a tenor of encouragement to the reader. The book is organized into four sections:

  • Dignity
  • Hope
  • Opportunity
  • Love

The essays are honest and insightful, providing a pure view into the life experiences of these families who live with autism. The book contains incredible photographs, too, and the pictures provide readers with a wonderful visual connection to the essays.

Reading the essays of the 38 families willing to share their stories in Autism Heroes provides inspiration for my continued work in the field. Seeing the smiles in the photos and reading the anecdotes — funny at times, heart-breaking at others — reinforces my commitment and understanding that working with individuals with autism is a privilege.


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  1. Patricia Says:

    Alan – indeed many parents and families do provide a great deal of support in managing finances for their adult children with disabilities. Easter Seals works closely with Mass Mutual Special Care Planners. Mass Mutual Describes Special Care as: SpecialCareSM is a program that provides access to information – from what you need to know in order to provide the best care to your loved one, to how to manage the needs of yourself and other family members. Additional information about Special Care can be found here: You may also want to contact your local State Council on Developmental Disabilities to learn if local resources regarding this issue have been developed in your community.

  2. Alan Katzer Says:

    Happy New Year to everyone at Easter Seals and hope to do more Public Service Ads about Easter Seals.

  3. Patricia Wright Says:

    Totally agree Colleen – sharing positive experiences/outcomes/perspectives is important. Thanks for sharing the link.

  4. Colleen Says:

    I think we need to hear more stories like this. Easter Seals Metropolitan Chicago also launched a Celebrate Autism” page a few years ago where families and professionals could write inspirational stories.
    Here’s the link.
    Merry Christmas to all of the special children, adults, families and professionals who make me proud to do what I do.

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