Skip navigation

Calls to Action

Heart of Autism

The Heart of Autism initiative highlights the work of kind and compassionate individuals on the autism spectrum who give back to the autism community!

We love hearing stories from family and friends, through emails and in the news, about the generosity shown by so many to our loved ones with autism. But the stories that touch us the most are perhaps the ones we hear about the least: stories about people with autism helping other people with autism.

We know that individuals on the spectrum are often willing and able to help their peers, and their efforts are frequent and widespread. That's why we created Heart of Autism  so we can share these inspirational stories with all of you!

An Eco-Artist Inspires the Autism Community

"My name is Grant Manier, I am an author, artist and special needs advocate. I have autism and I consider my autism a gift…I have become a voice for those you cannot hear and I lead by example for those you cannot understand.  I am doing my part to teach environmental responsibility and raising the awareness of special needs talents through my gift as an Eco-Impressionist.”

Click here to read more about Grant!

Talented Jewelry Designer Supports Autism Speaks!

"My name is Bill Franklin III. I am 19 years old and a Senior in high school. I am on the Autism Spectrum and my obsession is jewelry. I love to make people happy and people seem to love my jewelry. I am donating a portion of my proceeds to a wonderful group called Autism Speaks."

Click here to learn more about Bill and how he inspires and supports the autism community!

Nothing is Sweeter than this Candy!

Candy Waters is a 12-year-old painter with severe autism. Candy inspires the autism community in so many ways! Half of the proceeds from the sales of Candy’s beautiful paintings go to helping others with autism fulfill their dreams of becoming artists.  Candy's art has inspired people and raised autism awareness around the world! Most importantly, her paintings give people hope.

Click here to read more!

Chloe Rothschild's Friendship Forever

"My name is Chloe Rothschild. I am a young adult who has PDD-NOS. I am on 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."

Click here to read more!

Lydia Wayman Gives Back to the Community

Lydia Wayman hopes to encourage autistics in the next generation to find their way of connecting with the world, share their stories, and find joy in being who they are. She has self-published several books and blogs. Her passions are her faith, cats, and, of course, writing.

Click here to read more!

17-Year-Old Advocates for Others with Severe Autism

Ido Kedar is a 17-year-old young man with autism, and a champion and advocate for individuals of all ages with severe autism. Ido is nonverbal, and for the first seven years of his life, was unable to communicate with the people around him. His ultimate goal now is to help unlock the thoughts and potential of the many other nonverbal individuals on the spectrum desperately trying to communicate.

Click here to read more!

Dani's Animation Movement

Dani is an 18-year-old girl with autism who is an animation guru, owns her own company and hires others on the spectrum! Dani spends countless hours at different venues around the country, not only to help individuals with autism but to also educate our society about the world of autism and autistic individuals. Through her passions and abilities she wants to change the world's perception of autism while inspiring others to follow their dreams!

Click here to read more!

Autism Speaks, So Does Selena

Selena is a 12-year-old with autism who decided to teach her class about autism, and more about herself, in celebration of Autism Awareness Month! The post is written by Jaclyn Lowdermilk, Selena’s Resource Specialist. Jaclyn met Selena this school year and will never forget all that she has learned from this amazing young lady.

Click here to read more!

Fairy Queen Flutterby: Giving Back Through Storytelling

Robin Borakove is an entertainer, children's book author and storyteller with Asperger's Syndrome. She tells inspiring and motivational stories to children dressed as her favorite character, Fairy Queen Flutterby. She donates the proceeds from her children's book sales to families of individuals with autism. My goal is to raise awareness that Asperger's Syndrome is real and to use my storytelling to teach children important lessons and to make them feel happy and confident.

Click here to learn more!

Making Other Kids Feel Proud

Lucas Laliotis is a nine-year-old boy from New Hampshire. When he was 6, he was diagnosed with high functioning autism/Asperger Syndrome. Lucas works with his mom and grandma to create lap pads and other sensory tools for kids just like him. Lucas’ goal is to help other kids like himself, so they are no longer embarrassed by the tools that help them succeed!

Click here to learn more!

Chef Tom Dickinson Gives Back

Tom Dickinson is a professional chef on the autism spectrum. Ever since he was diagnosed, his goal has been to use his own experience on the spectrum as inspiration to help others. Today, Tom is very involved in the autism community. He teaches healthy cooking classes to children with autism and their parents, has his own radio show and is a regular blog contributor!

Click here to read more!

Spreading Autism Awareness with Duct Tape

Erin Clemens creates beautiful and colorful autism awareness bracelets using duct tape. She generously donates the proceeds from the sale of her popular bracelets to the autism community! In 2012, she made enough money to buy an iPad AND a military grade case and screen protector for a class of students with autism.

Click here to read more!

Little Man and Me

Brian Patrick decided to rollerblade across the US and back to help raise autism awareness and inspire other people in the autism community along the way. His story is an inspiration, and we are so proud of all he is doing for the autism community! 

Click here to read more!

Painting for the Autism Community

Tyler is a 20-year-old accomplished artist from central New Jersey, and an engaged member of his local community. After Hurricane Sandy, Tyler’s family was without power, water and heat for several days. Tyler decided to have an art show to raise money for AutismCares, an Autism Speaks grant program that provided food, clothing or shelter to families who experienced dramatic or lasting effects of the storm.

Click here to read more!

Do you have a story to share for our Heart of Autism series? We'd love to hear from you! Email us at heartofautism@autismspeaks.org.